Posts By: Karl Hodge

How To Live Anywhere In The World For Free

Posted by & filed under Factoid, How To....

Shh. We’ve got a secret to tell you. Being an adventurer, gallivanting around the world and seeing everything it has to offer doesn’t have to cost you the Earth. You don’t have to be a posh toff  to safari in Africa or a trust-fund Tarquin to summer in the South of France. The secret’s this: the most expensive part of any trip is always accommodation, but it doesn’t have to be. You can stay in any country in the world – for free. The types of accommodation on offer range from sharing a hut with Asian villagers to having free run of a Californian villa. It doesn’t matter whether you want a taste of adventure or a brush with luxury. And here’s how. Work for your room If you’re prepared to graft for your bed and breakfast, paying your way by working is one way to avoid handing over any money. It’s also a good idea when you’re starting on a trip or need to refill the savings account when you’re on a big trip. Teaching English as a foreign language and working as a rep are popular choices  we’ve covered before. Other perennial favourites include picking fruit for a…

How To Buy Jewellery For Your Man/Woman

Posted by & filed under Factoid, How To....

Buying jewellery for another person is like buying them underpants – only much, much more expensive. A piece of jewellery is a very personal thing. So why do we even buy jewellery for other people? Well, for all the reasons that it’s so bloomin’ difficult. When you gift jewellery to someone, it’s special. You’re telling the recipient how you feel about them, in all kinds of subtle ways. No pressure there, then. General Rules Every time you buy a piece of jewellery it will be a unique experience. Just like the person you’re buying for and the occasion that warrants it. But there are some general rules you can use in every situation. Take a friend Assuming the purchase is a secret, take a friend with you. It can be an entirely neutral third party or a friend that knows a bit about the person you’re buying for. Either way, they bring a second opinion to the table that will be valuable when you’re planning to spend half your savings. Match your spending to the occasion Never spend more or less than you have to. Match the occasion and the circumstances. An engagement ring, for example, is going to set…

Self-Help Advice From Alan Partridge

Posted by & filed under Celebrities, Factoid, How To..., Media.

Do you long to be more interesting? A charisma leviathan, part man, part God? There can be only one blueprint. Norfolk’s answer to Jesus of Nazareth, Alan Partridge. Some say Partridge is a fictional character played by comedian Steve Coogan in several series, some TV specials and a mildly disappointing film, but we say those people are crazy. How could anyone invent Alan Partridge? Except, perhaps, a genius mind like Nietzsche, Kant or Jilly Cooper. Partridge is both the everyman and the ubermensch. Women want to be him and men want be him with the women who want to be with him. How could you, a normal man, with a man’s courage, ever be like Partridge? Well, we’ve been studying the formula and we’ve broken it down in our laboratory to seven component parts. Gentlemen and strange ladies, here’s how you can be more like Alan Partridge in seven steps of varying difficulty. And to top it off, we’ve got a collection of Alan Partridge’s best clips. 1. Be a ladies man Though divorced from the love of his life Carol, who bore him children Fernando and Denise, Partridge doesn’t let that cramp his bachelor style. At one time, between…

How to Survive Your Next Shark Attack

Posted by & filed under Factoid, How To....

First, the good news. Statistically, most people who are attacked by sharks survive. Only 20% of shark attacks are fatal. While we’re talking numbers, it’s reassuring to know that shark attacks don’t happen very often either. In 2013, there were just 72 confirmed attacks by sharks worldwide. Not all sharks attack either. Of the 480 recorded shark species, only three have been known to attack the hairless chimpanzee we call “humans” in more than double figures. Those sharks are the great white, the bull shark and the tiger shark. Now the bad news. Sharks are apex predators, designed to dominate their environment totally. They are organic machines made for aquatic killing, fashioned from muscle and teeth, with senses honed to detect movement and smell blood. If a shark decides to attack you, there’s no winning for you. There’s only survival. Luckily, you’re reading this – so if you ever do get munched by a shark, you’ll know exactly what to do. Shark strategies There are two basic kinds of shark attack; provoked and an unprovoked. Provoked attacks are just about what they sound like. Funnily enough, if you poke a shark with a stick or swim around waving your flippers…

How To Plan An All-American Road Trip

Posted by & filed under Factoid, How To....

The great American road trip. Vast, craggy landscapes orange-soaked in desert sunbeams, two lane blacktop stretching to the horizon. The coffee, black as the hearts of men, pie spilling cherries like gut-shot cowboys. The dusty roads and gas station assignations between… This grand continent fought for and gained its independence from us back in 1776. As the US celebrates again this July the 4th, maybe it’s time for us Brits to reflect on what we lost when the original colonists separated from the Mother country. There’s a reason there are no movies about commuting from Reading to Norwich. America is a land of limitless contrasts, from lush forest and mountains in the midwest, to snowy-peaks along the Canadian border, to the red desert between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. And the only way to truly experience it, is to drive through it. This is a land conquered by the car. No wilderness has been left unscarred by road, no desert unmarked by tracks. And Seven Elevens. And Piggly Wigglies. If you want to see the USA, you should do it as God intended; in a 2.0 litre saloon. Hallelujah, brethren. But where do you start? Getting your wheels First things first, you’re going to…

How To Go Travelling (Not On Holiday)

Posted by & filed under Factoid, How To....

Travelling is a very different thing to just going on holiday. When you travel, you see the world and soak up its culture. You spend time getting to know places and people; their customs and rituals. When you go on holiday you spend a week eating egg and chips in a hot country. Going on holiday, you come back with ten days worth of identical memories and a phone full of sunsets. When you travel, you change your life. You become a different person. That’s why it’s worth dropping out for a year to do it properly. But to do it properly, you’ll need to plan – which is where we come in! Choose Where to Go We’re going to suggest you experience one fairly large part of the Earth in depth, because travel isn’t fast food. The world is your oyster and, like oysters you should savour the experience. That doesn’t mean you should restrict your year off to a tour of Bognor Regis and its surroundings, but choosing a distinct geographical area has advantages. You’ll have time to absorb the culture better You’ll be able pick up regional travel deals and discounts You may be able to learn…

How To Smoke A Fine, Fine Cigar

Posted by & filed under Factoid, How To....

Smoking cigars has a very old school, upper-crust, Gentleman’s club vibe about it. It’s redolent of the leather Chesterfield in the drawing room after dinner, a fine Cognac warming in a glass next to the fire as a couple of chaps puff on a pair of Havanas. But, things change and you no longer have to wait for an invite to the Groucho or for one of your friends to have a baby before indulging in a cigar. All you have to do is go to the right shop, buy one and smoke it. It’s a free world, after all. An occasional cigar is a pleasure you can’t beat, on a par with a sneaky nip of single malt at the weekend or splashing out on a special bottle of red. And like wine and whisky, there’s a little bit of specialist knowledge you’ll need to enjoy your cigar at it’s best. We take you through buying a great cigar, then offer a few tips on getting the best out of your smoke.  Go to a specialist cigar shop or club They’re becoming a rare sight on high streets full of electronic cigarette shops, but the best place to go for…

Get A 2nd (3rd, Or Even 4th!) Passport Today

Posted by & filed under Factoid, How To....

Why have one, lonely passport when you can have two passports? Having a pair of passports could come in very handy indeed… For example, if you get one nicked while you’re on holiday – the other one will be safe in the hotel’s safe. If you apply for other ID, like a driving license, you can still gallivant across the globe while the DVLA drunkenly processes your form. And applying for visas will be stress-free, knowing you’ve still got a passport you can travel on while the other’s stuck in the post. But how do you got about getting one? It might be easier than you expected… How To Get Two UK passports You can have a two UK passports at the same time. Not a lot of people know that because the Passport Office doesn’t  publicise it very well. Or at all. It’s called a “concurrent passport” and it’s fairly common for frequent business travellers to have one, for two reasons: You travel for work that requires you to apply for multiple visas You travel to “incompatible countries” The first reason’s easy enough to explain. When you travel for work, you may need to apply for a permit to work in…

How To Disappear Completely, Never Be Found (& It’s 100% Legal)

Posted by & filed under How To....

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to start over? What if you could disappear and, months later, re-emerge as a deckhand on a long-haul fishing vessel, or tend bar in the Caribbean? What if you could wipe the slate clean and emerge as an entirely new you?  No baggage, no history. As we sit here on a drizzly English morning, tapping out these words on a crumb covered keyboard, it all sounds very tempting indeed… Like the 70s classic sitcom character Reginald Perrin, it is possible to disappear completely and never be found; emerging with a new identity. But you have to get it right. You only hear about the people who fail at this; John Darwin – “the Canoe man” – who faked his death for half a million quid in life insurance. Then there was fallen Serb despot Radon Karadzic, who evaded war crimes charges for a decade with a new name, a bushy beard and a job as a faith healer… All of these characters committed “pseudocide” to evade the law; they disappeared and changed their names. But we’re staying on the right side of the boys in blue here. All the advice we’ll give you is…

How to Learn Languages Like A Polyglot

Posted by & filed under How To....

If the last time you tried to learn a foreign language was at school, learning a new one will seem pretty daunting. Here’s a thought; why don’t you cheat instead? You couldn’t get away with cheating in exams, but this is real life. There are no invigilators here; no teachers ready to smack you on the hand with the back of a ruler. Cheating can take many forms, from full on faking to taking short-cuts. You can speak double Dutch in the Netherlands, or get a helping hand in Hungary. We look at full-on faking it first, then show you how to speed up language learning so much that it will feel like cheating. Because it sort of is. Faking It Here’s the scenario; you’ve been a bit economical with the truth, telling your new date that you’re fluent in five languages. Now you’re sitting in an dark, Italian restaurant and she’s waiting for you to order. The waiter comes up, takes out his pad and… you begin speaking gibberish in an ostentatious Italian accent. But does the waiter roll his eyes and blow your cover? No – because two hours earlier you nipped in on your way to pick…