Young couple, both expats turned Brit, been based in London for the past fourteen years and here to stay. We blog about everything that’s fun: London, travel, food, culture and whatever else we come across.
The blog was named in reference to a Dylan Lewis sculpture at Berkeley Square (Mayfair, London) that has now been relocated somewhere else (ever since May 2016 or so). The sculpture looks like some half-beast, half-man barbarian and we really like it. It has so much wild energy, like much of Lewis’s work! The coat hanger gorilla (yes, it is made of coat hangers) in the feature photo is from one of the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibitions about 8 or 9 years ago, and it’s the next best thing to the Barbarian sculpture, of which we didn’t manage to take any good photographs.
When I started the blog in early 2016, Ms Barbarian had not been a part of it yet. Ever since she joined (a short while later) she keeps on grumbling (in her very feminine, pleasant way of course) about how ‘Barbarian’ is no name for a lady blogger. So – considering it was too late to change the name of the blog – we decided to call her Ms B and me Mr B.
Mrs B (photos above show her and Mr B canyoning in Portugal in February 2017) grew up in South Korea, New Zealand, and Australia. She had not done much travelling until well after uni, when she decided to do the obligatory Aussie tour of Europe. It was love at first sight and she decided to relocate to London a few months later, taking trips to continental Europe at least once per month. In London she also met Mr B. They married 6 months after they first met and apparently are still in their ‘honeymoon phase’, as Mrs B keeps on telling close friends and unsuspecting strangers alike.
Mr B grew up in Germany and did a high school exchange with the U.S. He travelled a lot with his parents, including long journeys around Europe in a mobile home during the summer holidays and many skiing trips each winter. He always tried to travel as much as possible since. While at uni he took part in another exchange program, this time with Australia. For the past 7 years the Barbarians have been running their own little consultancy firm, helping investment banks to comply with new regulations. Until now, they have not taken more than 30 days per year off, even though the plan is to start taking longer holidays at some stage in the future.
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The pins show locations we’ve visited in the past (individually or as a couple), in some cases many moons ago. Only very few of them we’ve blogged about so far, but you’d be welcome to contact us for some feedback, if you like. We can’t promise that we’ll always have something relevant to add. We tried to omit places we’ve been to but don’t remember much about, omitted places we’ve only passed through, but even in some of the remaining cases we do list, “yeah the place was good fun, nice little town, friendly people and great food” won’t be a game-changer for your travel-planning exercise ahead, in other cases you might have to stop us bombarding you with details about places we might have lived at for a few months or years.
Fun facts about us
When growing up in New Zealand, Mrs B and her friends regularly picked abalones off the rocks at the coast, grilled them on the spot, and gobbled them down.
Mrs B spent one year teaching English in Korea. She also has a scuba diving license.
Mr B is severely afraid of heights (fact!) but completed the obligatory military service with the German mountain troops, at times spending several weeks bivouacking north of 2,000m altitude. After two days of sleep deprivation he once lost his loaded rifle during an exercise and didn’t find it for several hours, which was met with some criticism by the sergeant. He describes this time as ‘not always dominated by light-hearted merriment.’
Mrs B is very good with directions, but not so much with maths. Watching her trying to divide the total number of kilometres’ distance by the number of days or similar is one of the great joys of Mr B’s life.
Mr B once drove a 30-year old Czech fork lift truck in 12-hour shifts in Barcelona for a living; these fork lift trucks had defunct forward/backward buttons, leading to many shelves being pushed over (no harm to humans, great fun, actually, at least in hindsight).
Mr B spent one month as a paid consultant working for a development organisation in Papua New Guinea. In an unrelated incident, the country’s prison wardens went on strike as soon as he arrived and decided to release all the prisoners, which was a source of concern for locals and expats alike during the 4 weeks that followed.
Whenever Mr B tries to talk Mrs B out of booking another crazy trip and suggests to go hiking in the Cotswolds instead or just having a quiet time in, Mrs B likes to remind Mr B of the great trips she went on before she met him, and which included: hot air balloon ride over the pyramids in Giza, quad bike ride through the Wadi Rum desert, and visits to the ancient ruins in Petra and Troy; thus ever so gently implying that her life has already slowed down a lot and shouldn’t be allowed to turn into complete dullness.
A start-up firm that Mr B once used to work for, went on a team-building trip to Italy which involved everyone jumping 80m from a railway bridge towards a stony creek with a rope attached to their feet. Everyone involved wasn’t able to wipe the crazy smiles off their faces for a few hours afterwards. (Won’t do it again, though, too scary.)
Mr B can imitate horse neighing so realistically it regularly gets horses confused (and earned him a metaphorical medal with his nephew and three nieces).
Enough. Thanks for your interest in our blog. It’s still early days, so things will hopefully get even better than they’re now, as we ride the learning curve and add more content.
During the past 18 months we’ve visited Australia (like every year, to visit Ms B’s family and our friends), Dubai (for some skiing), a good many places in Europe (9 countries), the Sahara (Morocco, blog post here) and the North Pole (well, kind of: Spitsbergen, blog post here, is only 1,000km away from there; its capital Longyearbyen is the northernmost settlement on planet earth; polar bears occasionally roam the streets in town, so you are obliged to carry a gun or be with someone who does). We’ve dined at great pizza places, as well as at fabulous one– and two-starred restaurants, we’ve done some rock-climbing and off-roading, a ride in a helicopter and a ride on a camel. We also talked a friend into blogging on our page about Kalmykia and Grozny.
About 20% of what we do are collaborations (the rest we pay for ourselves, either press rate or full price). We usually do collaborations with companies that have good ratings, that are newbies without a significant number of previous ratings, or that have recently changed ownership or management. Do we think that this compromises our objectivity? No. We thoroughly research each partner before any collaboration and then decide if we have confidence in their product or service. We would never write a positive review of something we do not believe in 100%. We also always clearly indicate which things were sponsored, and which things we paid for.
We’re planning our next trip to Sydney via Tokyo at the moment, and next week we’ll be at Traverse in Rotterdam, stopping over in Amsterdam on the way, which should be great fun. Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned. 🙂