From Eastern Europe With Love

From Eastern Europe With Love

So I recently got back from taking a trip to Croatia for a wedding. The island of Hvar to be specific.

It’s a lovely place with a town (also named Hvar) spanning I’d say around a mile in diameter. Not large at all.

While I didn’t cope with the heat well at all, seeing as even here in the UK I find it hard to tolerate the very random and brief sunny spells that visit, I did adore the sights and culture.

The town itself is very picturesque with cobblestone streets, old stone buildings lined up, narrow alleys and stone steps for streets between the buildings. A welcome change from the wide busy streets filled with cars and red brick that I’m used to.

Compared to my previous trip to Paris however the atmosphere was very different and I noticed it straight away. There were tourists in Hvar as there was in Paris but the attitude of the locals were totally different. I suppose due to the size of the town itself it seemed like everyone knew everyone and seemed to get along really well. In Paris it was sort of like being alone in a large throng of people constantly moving. It made me feel very small and it was sort of exciting just exploring not knowing and knowing that no one would interfere or try to help. In Hvar everyone was the opposite. Friendly, outgoing and offering aid if it seemed like you needed it.

The town square in Hvar is the hub of activity with several food shops lined up side by side using an elevated square within the centre as a space for tables and chairs. I thought it was one massive restraunt at first before I realised the hedges between rows signified the boundaries of each separate establishment.

Aside from this the most noticable difference was at around 1-2PM.

The entire place just seemed to die off.

I remember walking up to a fort on the top of the hill which overlooks the town and coming back down to find pretty much every employee milling around outside their shop and simply taking in the sun. No one was bothering them either.

It was a strange sight to see pretty much the entire town on break as it were when back in the UK or even Paris someone seems to be on shift all the time.

Once the break was over though it was back to business as usual and it was strange to be standing observing the square as the employees went back to work and almost immediately tourists and locals came pouring out of their homes back into the streets to shop and dine.

The entire place is one of outstanding beauty, both in visuals and atmosphere. I do still prefer the business and more temperate climate of Paris however, where I hope to return later this year or early next year.

However, Croatia was definitely an eye opener though in many aspects and I can definitely see why some do love visiting these small and otherwise unknown places that fly under the radar for most people.

I’ve taken several photos along my journey that I’ve put below along with a video put together from footage I took while exploring during my spare time and not so spare time. Enjoy!

Hvar, Croatia – An Adventure In Three Minutes from Alex Holyoake on Vimeo.

Turn On The Light

Turn On The Light

Sometimes I look on society and wonder. Everyone seems to just follow. We listen to other people telling us how to live our lives and take their ideas on board. We hear one side of the story in the news and take it as the all encompassing truth. We hear one politician shouting the loudest and promising the most, so we flock to their side.

Humanity, it seems, has become a flock of sheep.

Is it bad to follow someone? No. Every body of people needs a leader (though that is subject to debate, now I think about it) so it’s natural that we join sides with someone and follow them. What I do think needs to change however is the mindless following of the crowd or sugar coated words which are used to sway the populous. It seems with the age of media (especially social media), that whatever side uses the best marketing, has the loudest voice and promises what people want to have will easily become the side people gravivate to. When it comes to people being torn down the same is also true. People seem to be so eager to see public figures being torn down and humiliated that they don’t even bother to seek out the other side of the story, only giving attention to the negatives which the news publishes.

I believe that as a whole humanity needs to step back and instead of following what we immediately hear and cast judgment, we need to take the time to see both sides of the coin and understand what’s actually going on instead of ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ so to speak.



I was taken to hospital the other night with pneumothorax (a collapsed lung). I rarely go to hospitals usually and even rarer for myself, so it was a bit of a sudden thing since I’m usually in good health.

On the way to the hospital in the ambulance I was abrupty reminded of how much potential every person has in life and how many people never fulfill it. I was lying there thinking how less than 12 hours earlier I had left an interview at Wolverhampton University and had my place confirmed to finish my degree in Photography. It was such a short timespan in the grand scheme of things yet here I was with a potentially life threatening medical condition.

It occured to me that every day people have plans to better themselves. To make something of their time and talents and better the world and themselves with their existance. Yet in a lot of cases these lives are cut short without warning and their potential and ambitions are never fulfilled. It sort of brought home how fragile life really is and that in all honesty unless the time you have is spent recuperating from endevours or doing those endevours, it’s a very serious waste of life.

I also found myself thinking of all the things I could do in my life that I’d never given thought to before, which made me realise that even if someone endevours to live their life to the fullest, there will always be things they want to do that they don’t even realise themselves until the end.

Living a fulfilling life isn’t easy by any stretch and I don’t think anyone in the world will ever be able to honestly say that they’ve experienced it all and have no regrets, but at least we can all try.

As for my own medical condition I’m just housebound for a few weeks to make sure nothing else happens before my checkup. The odd thing is that this might happen again without warning, so I’ll have to keep an eye out, especially with changes in air preassure when flying or swimming. I have never been able to use the phrase ‘living life on the edge’ so accurately until now.

365 Days

365 Days

I’m not the most regular updater but hey, whatever works I guess. I always mean to put something up here but just never get around to doing it. Whether it’s lack of motivation or something else I always just end up putting it off to another day.

However as you can see this time I actually got around to it.

I’ve never been that much into birthdays. Well, my own at least. I’m a year older. Yay. I can’t deny it does signify something however and that there is some amount of respect I have for people who manage to live through life’s hardships year after year and find the strength to carry on.

Birthday’s may lose their importance as we get older but that doesn’t mean they lose their meaning one bit. Surviving another 365 days is no small feat, especially with the hazards and challenges that can happen in small spaces of time. I do think it’s good to celebrate the fact that another year has been passed and you’ve lived to tell the tale.

On the subject of birthdays my sister recently hit 11 and sometimes I look back on the photos from when she was 2 thinking how far she’s come and how much she’s learnt. It really is something to see someone grow up, go through phases and learn from mistakes. Of course her journey isn’t over. Far from it in fact. It is comforting to know however that she’s lived 11 years without anything happening, which gives me hope that she’ll see many more.

Letting Go

Letting Go

Now, I’m pretty damn sure I’ve written something about this topic before, and I sincerely apologise if anyone remembers it. However, it’s just the topic on my mind so hey, I’ll just roll with it! Maybe I’ll write a longer post one day, you never know.

So today I went on a forest walk, and it was in the area which I used to live in before as a kid my life took a drastic turn which led me to where I am now, and It was a bit surreal doing the things I used to do years ago, such as climbing the same banks, walking the same paths, and generally following in my younger self’s footsteps. I took note of all the mountain bike trails I rode, and noted all the subtle and major changes that have taken the forest and the town outside it. I also noted the things that hadn’t changed at all, which was nice.

I’d been there last year, but didn’t explore as much. Last time I went though, I kept having serious heart strings pulled as my memories of the past conflicted in my mind, and I wished that things had followed the path they were going earlier on in my life, instead of all the changes which happened. This time around however, I looked back on the memories with a certain fondness, and didn’t have near as many moments of ‘if only’ as I had before. It was a surprise but also a burden in itself, as I realised that I was letting go of the past in a sense, and no longer clinging to a dying dream of attempting to return my life to the path which I would rather it have taken.

Obviously, I’m only 19, so I know that this is literally the least of my worries when I think of the life I’ve yet to live, and the challenges I’ve yet to face, but this scenario has taught me something that I hope to carry into my future:

It’s hard to let go, and even harder once you realise you’re letting go, but sometimes it’s for the best. Not all memories have to bring on waves of regret. Not all paths of life that start off wrong or take a wrong turn end that way. Not all dreams are meant to become reality.

Regrets & Death

Regrets & Death

Everyone says to live life without regrets, since obviously you can’t change the past, but lets be honest. We all have at least one thing that we would like to have done differently if we knew what the future had in store for us.

I recently found out that my friends grandma was moved to hospital, and inevitably we got onto the subject of regrets, and how even though he can still go visit her now, he regrets not spending more time with her when she was more able bodied. In turn I shared how I too have regrets, as when my grandad died, I suddenly realised that in reality, I hadn’t spent much time with him at all in the recent years beforehand, a fact which I still feel responsible for to this day.

No one knows how much time they have left, and I think that sickness and death highlight how much time we actually spend with the individuals we care the most about, or how much time we should spend with them. However, often when we realise our mistakes it’s too late to rectify them, and we’re left wishing for a second chance in order to spend more time, but that can’t happen.

So just remember that you don’t have all the time in the world, and neither do your close family and friends. There are a million and one ways that life can be snuffed out, so make sure you use the present wisely, as the future is never promised to any of us.



Sometimes I forget how little I actually know, and I’m surprised at how many mistakes I make.

I know that I don’t know everything, of course, and I know there’s always something to learn ot learn to do better, but sometimes it’s surprising to look at myself and see the blatant mistakes I make that I should’ve avoided in the moment.

I’ve made some recent mistakes, and I’m learning the hard way that I need to plan ahead more often and learn temperance in certain areas of my life. I just hope that this time I’ll actually take the lesson to heart and make sure to apply them in future.