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Lloyd Goes Global!!


So you've managed to find my travel page. Well done! If you're here than you must be a little interested in what i've been up to, so here goes....
Oh, and feel free to leave me a message and i'll reply and add some photo's as soon as i'm near a puter.
(be advised that any message you leave can be read by anyone on this site)


Diary Entries

Saturday, 12 August 2006

Location: San Francisco, USA

Here it is then, the last diary entry…

I left you as we were about to fly to the States where we arrived safely in LA and promptly made our way to Hollywood, which would be our home while in town.
We went for an explore on Hollywood Blvd and par took in that all American past time - Eating! I got myself a huge burger, which was the first for a while. That night we got talked into going on a bar crawl with the hostel. We went to six bars around Hollywood and met some strange characters. One being an ex-gang member from Compton. Possibly the oddest conversation I’ve had in a take-away at 2am!
The next day we took a city tour through Beverly Hills, Bel Air and Mulholland drive to name a few. We then went back to Hollywood to see the Barcelona football team who were there doing some promo thing. Ronaldhino got absolutely swapped by fans.
Another night out. This time we ventured to Sunset Blvd to a famous bar called ‘Rainbow’. We didn’t bump into any celebs, just some drunk American’s. Next morning was a quick visit to Venice beach and then it was off to Vegas!

We got to Vegas after a 5 hour drive through the Mojave Desert. Our first view of the city was from about 20 miles away! As we approached the enormity of it became apparent. We turned on to the strip and were faced with the first huge hotels. The MGM grand, New York New York and the Bellagio to name a few. In the day it all looked like a big film set but at night however, it really is a sight to be hold. Like no other place I’ve ever seen. We took a walk up the strip from our hotel that was the Sahara and looked around some of the famous casinos. After losing $20 on roulette I decided that was it for gambling.
The following day was spent doing much the same. The hotels there are so big you could spend weeks walking around and you still wouldn’t see them all. We went on the NY NY roller coaster and watched the fountains at the Bellagio, which were pretty impressive.
It was then time to see what natural beauty America had to offer.

We set off at the ridiculous time of 6am towards the Hoover damn and the Arizona state line. 3 hours later we jumped off the bus with about 500 other people. A short walk and there it was in all is gigantic splendor!
The Grand Canyon has a lot to live up to being the number one tourist destination in the world. If I’m honest it didn’t blow me away quite as much as I thought it would but I think that is because it is just so big that it takes a while to sink in. Either that or the throngs of Japanese tourists detract from its beauty some what. But it really is a wonder and deserves its place in the top 7.
After a very long day it was apparent that it was Bernard + Lloyd’s last night together as I was heading for Yosemite and Dan to visit some relatives in Salt Lake City. Feeling very tired we didn’t let our old age get the better of us and headed to ‘Studio 54’ in the MGM. I’ll be honest (again). It could have been any nightclub with the added extra of people dancing on the walls!! A few beers and a dance and that was it for the Bernard + Lloyd show. Great memories Dr Byrne!

So, off I went towards Yosemite national park. Well, I say towards, I took a bit of detour through Death Valley, which was an amazing place. Also the hottest place I have ever experienced. Being out of the car for longer than 5 minutes was unbearable. Still, glad I made the trip. After a monster 9 hour drive I finally arrived at Yosemite, or just outside where my hostel was. Once again I was faced with the news that I had to be up at 5.30am as the road into the park only opens for a short period of time at 6! Just what I needed after a massive drive and very little sleep the previous two nights. However I am very glad I did get up.
I set off in to the park where I found my self pretty much on my own. It was great as there were no annoying tourists around with there screaming kids. I did a trek where I literally saw about 3 people. It was stunning and easily one of the favourite places I’ve visited. As the crowds arrived I took that as my que to set off to my final destination and the place you find me now. San Francisco!

I was really looking forward to getting here and it has been a city I’ve always wanted to visit. It really is a cool city. I’ve spent the past couple of days exploring and I do love it here. It is very different to LA and New York. Even the most normal residential streets are interesting and it’s an awesome place to take pictures. I just wish I had more time.
Yesterday I visited the world’s windiest street and looked around Fisherman’s Wharf. It was then time to have a look round ‘The Rock’ or Alcatraz as you may know it. The tour was top draw and gave a really good sense of what it would have been like to be locked up there.
Today I hired a bike and cycled across the Golden Gate bridge before doing some last minute shopping and trying some world famous Cheese Cake. A nice way to spend the last day of my trip. I’m just about to take myself out for a final meal in North Beach, which is the Italian district and maybe see what mischief I can get myself into in my final 12 hours…

So, here I am at the end of the road. A journey that has lasted 9 and half months and taken me to 8 countries across 3 continents. From elephant trekking in North Thailand, Hiking on a glacier in New Zealand to the Las Vegas strip. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting some of the most amazing places and had some truly unforgettable experiences.
You tend to get used to seeing places of absolute beauty and every now and then need to remind yourself how lucky you are to be there. At times on this trip I’ve had an enormous sense of gratitude and to anyone with even the tinniest spark of interest in travelling I say to you – Just go! You will never regret it.

It’s not all about the places I’ve visited though. The people you meet and share it with are just as important. I have been lucky enough to have those in abundance. In particular I’d like to thank again a few young ladies who have now become great friends. Kate, Becki, Anne, Kim and Linda and of course one very special lady - Miss Sarah Bates.
I of course cannot forget my two intrepid traveling companions. The original Ross Bird, two words Mr Bird ‘Mushroom Mountain’. And the one and only Bernard, Aka Danny Byrne. To quote your self Mr Byrne, ”it’s been emotional”

I guess that just leaves me to say thank you very much to everyone who has taken the time to read my entries and look at my photos. I hope I’ve not bored you too much and did the places I was writing about and photographing the justice they deserved.

So, for the very last time…

Take care and see you soon

Thursday, 03 August 2006

Location: Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Hello again,

We arrived in Nadi, Fiji around 6pm to be greeted by a band singing traditional songs in the terminal. The nicest arrival I've ever had in an airport! We made our way to our resort, had a bite and got ourselves to bed as we had and early bus and boat to catch.
Our next destination was Beachcomber Island which is known as the 'Party' island. First impressions were pretty good and it didn't resemble a 18-30's resort which we were relieved about. It did have the largest dorm I've ever stayed in though with 110 beds!! No wonder we made friends pretty quickly!
We spent the day sunbathing and generally adjusting to the Fijian life style which moves pretty slowly. I have to say I was loving it after the busyness of NZ. That night we ate dinner and proceeded to get drunk with all of the people we'd met that day. We also had our first taste of 'Cava'. A traditional beverage made from the root of a pepper plant and if drunk in excess can cause hallucinations. I had 5 bowls, Dan had 6 but I think we were already to drunk to notice and effect. A bit of limbo dancing, some falling over and we were done. A very good night!

The following day we went on a 'Seafari' (Not my word) to a native island which was excellent. We visited a local village where we were given a welcoming Cava ceremony (just the one bowl this time). We then visited the local school where we were introduced to the head master who spoke to us about the school, the village and the education system in Fiji. It was a really worth while experience and put alot of things into perspective about the value of material things. I've never seen a happier bunch of kids and they had so little. A particularly poignant moment was when I showed them a picture of them selves on my camera. There excitement was amazing and will stay with me forever.
We finished the trip off with a visit to the island where the film 'Cast Away" was shot. It is uninhabited so gave you a real sense of isolation.
The next two days were spent on an Island further north called Naviti. If I thought Beachcomber was chilled nothing prepared me for the peace and tranquillity of our next resort. We were welcomed from our boat by all of the staff singing to us as we walked up the stunning beach. They handed us a coconut with a straw and we said "Bula" (Welcome) to our host's for the next two days. Another day of sunbathing and generally doing nothing and it was time for dinner. Myself, Dan, Baz and Jamie (two Geordie lads we met on Beachcomber) decided to have a game of poker. Not having any chips we thought we'd use shells instead. So off we went to find as many shells as we could. I'm sure at this point you're probably reading this thinking 'what on earth is he talking about' but there really is nothing do so you have to find ways to amuse your selves. We enjoyed a few beers and a game of shell poker, which I believe I won and went to bed at the crazy time of 10pm!
The following day we went on a snorkeling trip and had a BBQ on on a deserted beach, eating fish that had been caught moments before. Heaven!
All to soon it was time to catch our boat back to Nadi where we met up with Baz and Jamie again. Had a few beers and said our goodbyes.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Fiji, far more than I thought I would. It's an intriguing country with a rich culture and great people.

Next Stop - Rarotonga which is the largest of 15 islands in the Cook collection.

You know I try to stay positive about places and find the good in any situation. I'll be honest, I'm struggling with our first three days in the Cook Islands.
It started as I sat on the plane in Nadi. An announcement was made they had removed some baggage to allow for more fuel. Great! We thought. I even said to Dan. "I bet yours is still on here and mines been taken off." Low and be hold, I was right. Yep, my backpack jetted back to NZ as I headed for Raro. 24 hours with no clean clothes... Spiffing! We then arrived at our accommodation to find we'd been put in the wrong room. As I was to hacked off and tired to complain we went to bed. I've slept on more comfortable night club speakers than the bed I had that night. To make matters worse I got lost after trying to use the Internet (which was also broken). And to make matters even worse, it was the second time I'd lived that day!! We crossed the international date line on the flight so I got to live the 29th July twice! The first was much better than the second.

The next morning I woke up to the beautiful sound of torrential rain! Luckily I had packed my board shorts in my ruck sack which I sported for the rest of that day. We had nothing to eat, no currency and had no idea where we were. Eventually after getting soaked we found our way into town and a shop. We also found a travel agent to get us the hell out of there.
They checked availability on a flight two days earlier than we were due to leave and it looked promising.
After a couple of days of doing nothing and getting bit by every mosquito on the island we headed to the airport to change our flights. Surprise surprise, there was no room on the earlier flight. That was the final straw! We were moving.
We moved to a much nicer place right on the beach with some cool people staying there. The sun even came out and the day was suddenly getting a lot better. I went out with the guys from our hostel that night. Unfortunately Dan wasn't well so didn't make it. I did however manage to take a dog with me though (too long a story to explain here) It was an interesting night!
Our final couple of days were spent enjoying the sun which had blessed us with it's presence. We also hired bikes and cycled the 32km around the island which was good fun.
When the sun is shining and you have all your luggage Rarotonga is stunning. When it's not you might as well be in Minehead!

At 11.15pm tonight we fly to LA to find our fame and fortune... or maybe just eat fast food. I've been waiting 9 months for a subway (another long story)

So, just one more country to go and it's a pretty big one... It's gonna be a busy 10 days.

Take care

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Recent Messages

From KC
Photos are amazing. Hurry up home and get that barnet cut, hippy.

Travel safe love.

KC xxx
Response: One step a head of you young un. Had a trim earlier.

See ya soon
From sis
Well little bro you are nearly at the end of your journey, and I have to say I'm glad! he he though sad for you I'm sure.. have a safe journey back to blighty..see yo monday!! yippee!! xxx
Response: Hello Sis,
Thank you and don't worry I'm not that sad. Cannot wait to see you and I don't have to wait that long now.
Take care and see ya Monday.
From Jon (Brian's Son)
Hey Dude, Sounds like you've had an absolute corker. Enjoy LA...and if you can, take a trip out to LV; it's totally bonkers. Have fun! West-side! Peace.
Response: Hey Jon,

Thanks for dropping the message. Just got in from a excellent night out in Hollywood. Even managed to have a conversation with an ex-gang member from Compton!! Heading to Vegas on sunday. Looking forward to it.
Take care and see you soon.
From Cherry
Hello there, your pictures are amazing Matt and your tales always bring laughter to all the girls in work who egerly await the next installment even tho they dont know you, however they feel they know you now!! ( i have explained it would take a lifetime to understand you ha ha) can't believe you will be back in a few short weeks it feels like its been forever, can't wait to squeeze your cheeks and check your in one piece. The spare room awaits if its needed. x x x
Response: Hey there Cher,

Thanks for the message. Glad you like the photos and glad I can amuse your colleagues with my tales of stupidity. You know I'm a simple soul really :)
Yep, two weeks and it's all over. Back to reality and all that. Hope the sun is still shining cause it's not on the cook Islands!!
Looking forward to seeing you too and will let you know about the spare room.
Take care.
From Brian
To answer your question - hydrogen sulphide has the aroma of bad eggs!
Take care.............
Response: Cheers Brian. Can always rely on your vast knowledge.
See you in a couple of weeks

From KC
Yeah yeah yeah, your photos are awesome, but hang on - how long is your hair??? You knows you loves it...

Not saying a word about the pink helmet, speaks for itself!

Enjoy the chill out in Fiji boyo and come home safe.

Lots of love, KC xxx
Response: Hair is boardering on ridiculous. Will have a trim before the return. I actually requested the full pink outfit but that was being dry cleaned. See you soon KC. x
From Rob
Hi Matty

You`ve taken some amazing pic-achoos...

It`s Ashton Court 2nite! I remember that fateful day last year when u kicked arse against the other crew with yr crazy legs...Take care you
Response: Hello mate,
Jees you're up early. Getting some rehearsal time in eh? I certainly do remember it. A great night. Wish I was dancing tonight if I'm honest. Miss the classes big time, not too long and I can get going again. Thanks for getting in touch. See you soon and best of luck for tonight.
From Rohan & Jo
Hello mate, dont know if you remember us. We were friends of Westy and Shimmy and met you in Sydney in Xmas and new years. Just stumbled across your page as you have a photo on the front page of this website. Glad your having a quality time, we loved NZ. Have a brilliant time wherever you go next. Take Care, Rohan and Jo
Response: Hey Guys,
Really good to hear from you and of course I remember you. How could you forget the people you spent the weirdest Xmas day of your life with. Hope you're both well and thanks again for getting in touch. Matt
From Bex in Auckland, NZ
Here is a message from a complete stranger! What fantastic photos you have taken! I have only seen the NZ ones so far, after seeing one of your pics on the planetranger homepage - must be someone's fave pic! I will keep reading now
Response: Hi Bex,
Thank you for the message and glad you liked the pictures. I'll try to keep them clean now I have strangers reading the site :) Matt
From The Johnny Steele
Yo Matt,

Here's your favorite super hero

Just stop to say hi (and also continue to spread the coq all over the world by taking the control of this site.) I still hope to see you at quebec city this summer.

The Johnny Steele
Response: Hey Johnny Steele you crazy French Canadian!! Good to hear from you mate. Not sure I'll be making it to Quebec this time round but I assure when I do we'll spread the Coq big time. Take it easy mate. Matt
From renne
hey Matty J hope you're alright, sorry haven't been in touch for ages. looked at all your pictures an u look like you're having wicked fun, we've has lush hot weather over here back in bristol so ha ha, anyway I'm proud that you've conquered so much on your trips, take care of yourself. renne x
Response: Hey Renne,
Sorry I've not been in touch much recently. Obviously having way to much fun :) Been hearing all about the hot weather at home which I must say am slightly jealous of as sit here in my layers. Off to Fiji on Sunday so that should do the trick. Speak soon. Matt x
From CC
Man that is soo cool that u got on the home page of planet ranger! Sounds like new zealand is proving to be as awesome for u as it was for me. Hows the funds goin? I came home about 4K in debt not to mention the 10k student debt! So all in all I'm poorer than a tramp on the street! Might go out a play a few tunes later down the tube stations, see if anyone will put money in my hat!
Response: Hello Mate,
Good to hear from. Thanks and yeah wil admit I'm pretty chuffed. Been looking at it for the past 8 months thinking 'I wonder if any of my shots will be put on' Just in time I guess as not to long before 'home time' for me as well. Funds??? Probably a subject best avoided...lets just say Vegas seems a long way off right now. Let me know how the busking goes and I may come join up.. I could be your dancer :) Take it steady mate.
From Chimpo
cant believe you went to first aid and admitted to everybody!! By the time you read this i take it you will be an airborne warrior...well, airborne anyway...chimpo x x
Response: Sorry mate. Can't all be as heroic as your good self. Thanks for the phots by the way. Do you actually do any thing at work ? Sky dive tomorrow chap. x
From Sharon
Hey Matt,
Hope you didn't dirty your pants too much on the bungy jump!!!! Keep up the good work on the website, how can you and Dan be bothered doing all of this I find it hard enough to email folk! Say hi to Dan! Anyway take care my buddies! Luv ya, Sharon xxxx
Response: Hey Sharon, Thanks for the message. I guess me and Dan really are getting old and spend way too much of our time in internet cafe's , who knows! Bungy was... (still trying to think of ways to explain it) Unreal. Will get the pics out soon and I think Dan is gonna put the video's on his site. Take care. Matt x
From KC
Different leeeeeague on the bar & grill although "KC's ice cream & malteser parlour" might've been more appropriate...

Good on ya boyo, still living the dream...Mucho jealous, as always, but loving the running commentary! All's fine here. Enjoying a bit of peace after the last few months and in preparation for the birthday-week :)

Take care darling and put on some piccies of the big jumps (plural, Matthew!) when you get the chance.

Lots of love, Matty J.
KFC xxxxxxxx
Response: Hello there Missy C, No worries. Couldn't let it go without a mention. So, I imagine the whole of England is in mourning today. Stayed up til 6 this morning to watch us lose on penalties AGAIN!!! What a bag of balls! Anyho, flipping cold over here and yes, been jumping off stuff, snowboarding and in a jet boat today. There is so many ways to kill yourself here, it's great!. Will update very soon. Take care KC. Matt x
From blenda
hey the website is SAVAGE!!! rock on d-force.... enjoy new zealand and keep in touch. xx
hi to dan xx
Response: Hello there Blenda,
Gald you like site. Was wicked meeting you lot and will certainly never forget D-force. Dan says Hi! Take it steady. Matt
From Your sis
Hello Bro,
Great talking to you sunday, Fin loved his birthday card from you! Although he said he would have liked a present! ha ha Be great to see you in August.. counting down the days! Have a great time in Kiwi land! The great outdoors eh.. actually second thoughts be careful! god I sound like mother! take care little brov, lots of love xxxx
Response: Hello Sam,
Great speaking to you 2 as usual. Missing you both loads at the moment. Probably that I missed Fin's and Lucy's birthdays. Tell him he'll get a wicked present from San Fran before I fly home. Take care and will speak to you soon. Brov x
From Chimpo
Just gonna pick you up on "passed" when it should be "past" (3rd para of mon 12th june). laughed when dean said your sister was hot! i dont think he realises she will probably read it!! hello sam. Come on Engerland
Response: Thanks for the spelling pull mate. It has now been amended. What do you expect?... it's Dean! I'm English til I die, English til I die....
From Big man CC
Yes matty!
Bringing back gd memories for me those photos! That's the exact boat we sailed-Apollo! Life seems so boring to be home! Enjoy New Zealand mate-prob my fav place of all. Make sure u jump of lots of structures from great heights!
Response: CC, Apollo was excellent mate. The crew were top draw aswell. Sorry to here the bordem has set in. I'm worrying about it already! In Queenstown now and yes, jmping from a great height tomorrow with some elastic thing around my feet... 143 metres apparently, is that high? Take care bud and speak soon. Matt
From Pickers
Hey there Maffy

Just wanted to say a big thank you for being such a good laugh in sydney! You can always made me laugh even if i was in a bit of a mood! I enjoyed dancing with you and giving me hugs!

Much love to my new family member!!

Speak to you soon and miss you lots

Response: Hello there Pickers, Lovely to hear from you as always. We had some top times in Sydney my dear and they will never be forgotten. Carrots and mint sauce along with you unhealthy vinegar addiction are but two. You are one weird beard, but I love you. Take care and see you soon. x
From Shelain
Hello mate! Thought I`d say hello. My sister`s in Oz at the minute-think she`s been where you`re about to go..she`s done Sydney, Cape Trib, the Reef, rainforest, Magnetic Island, Rockhampton and will be on her way to Brisbane over the next days or so, then off to Hong Kong! You travellers! So jealous! Take care xxx
Response: Hi Shelain,
Good to hear from you again. Currently in Hervey Bay and just about to embark on a nice 13 hour bus ride to Airlie beach !! Great. Yep, us travellers eh? Don't be too jealous. At least you aren't sharing a room with 9 other people :) Take care and say 'Hi' to everyone for me. x
From Geordo
hoy ye
Just wanted to say hello and let you know how great it was to meet ya in Sydney. It made me trip, cheers mate for takin care of me when the girls left.
Cannit wait for Byron like.... Bring it on!!!
Love Linda ,Mug of Beans, best Geordie eva!
Response: Cheers Geordo,
You are the original Geordie! Well, maybe after Jimmy Nail.
Enjoy the big rock and see ya in Byron x
From Some Girl!
Well Matthew our time in Sydney is over but we know there are many more memories to make in good old Bristol!

I just want to thank you for the amazing memories. I will never forget the last 6 months.

Enjoy the rest of your trip, keep in touch and I will see you in 4 months.

Your Sarah J x
Response: There she is. I think you pretty much covered it so, for once I will keep it brief. Thank you Sarah, and never forget it's 'just for fun'. See you soon xxx
From I don't kiss boys Cu
Hello Matthew "I think we need to have a chat" Willis. Gonna miss you, Dan and all of our other family members muchly. I'm so glad we met up with you all as it's made the memories in Sydney unforgettable. You guys have been awesome. It won't be the same without you both. Can't wait to see you in Bryon.

Love ya loads

Becks x
Response: Miss Cunningham, If you're gonna make these bold staetments and not back them up then you're gonna get pulled up on them :) Missing you already my dear. It truly has been awesome. You're a quick witted star !! Take care. x
From Rob
Love the pics and the stories Matty. You should become a writer!!

when u have a mo, check out this link

recognise any1???

All the best Buddy, keep breakin
Response: Hey Bud. Thanks but not sure there's much call for drunken antic writing in the industry!! Will check out the site when I have a spare 5. Currently trying to sort out travel to Melbourne. Take care mate.