It pains me to say this, but unfortunately I am leaving Spotted by Locals. It took me a long time to come to terms with this and I know it will be a painful breakup.
I have been a Spotter for Spotted by Locals since March 2012. I was going on a trip to Amsterdam and a friend told me of this amazing website that gives you cool links to anything you want, but all the cool stuff that you can’t normally find on your own. He said it was like a little friendly local in your pocket. After half an hour I was totally hooked and it was exactly what I was looking for in my life. I love finding little bars and restaurants that are out of the way and have a character that you don’t get on the usual busy strips that people trudge down every of their lives.
After downloading the app for Amsterdam, I was so inspired by it I decided to apply to write for the site. I was in touch with Bart and Sanne quickly afterwards and very soon after they liked my writing style and let’s say, the rest is history.
I’ve always been an advocate of this fine city they call Manchester. I always have something positive to say and love taking people on wandering tours. I love pointing out the buildings and giving people snippets of history. I say snippets because I can’t be 100% sure of the information I give them. A lot of the history of Manchester is like a game of Chinese whispers sometimes. The truth gets stretched, but that is what I love. The hype of this town inspires and makes amazing characters.
I remember researching and writing my first batch of articles for the site very well. I wrote a massive list of my favourite places just by listening to my brain and writing the first thing that came in to me. Thankfully most of them weren’t already on the site. That is another thing that I love about Spotted by Locals. All the people who write have a different aspect and love of the city. I am a massive fan of the bars and historic side. Once I have a drink in me I will ramble on about the history until the cows come home. So, taking this list, me and my wife took a trip to the city and had to partake in a little more research. Let’s say this research gave us both a sore head in the morning, but what a great reason to go to all your favourite spots!
In my short tenure I have written around about 50 articles. Many have been constant stalwarts, but I am a massive fan of secret events, like street theatre and short running shows, so many of these featured in my history on the site.
I got an amazing opportunity to meet with a large portion of Spotters from all over Europe a few days after my 33rd birthday at the Spotters Weekend hosted in Amsterdam in early November 2012. We had drunken fun on a boat, ate snacks from a multitude of nations and wandered the fair city I can call one of my top three cities in the world. From that weekend I have gained many friends and we keep in touch as much as we can. They all are a smashing group of people.
My biggest achievement since writing for the site is being featured on a Canadian TV show by a wonderful woman called Tamy (@TamyEmmaPepin). She was making a show about travelling around the UK just by using social media. She had been told about Spotted by Locals and decided I was the right person to talk to about it. I took her to a Manchester United match, then a street food event, and in between I showed her many sites in the city. The show has recently aired in Canada and I have gained a few followers since. The magic of social media!
So, the reason I am writing this has faded away. It was supposed to be a question to myself on why am leaving, but it has moulded into a brief history of my days writing for Spotted. Let’s revert to why am leaving.
This was a hard thing to admit to people (especially Sanne and Bart), but I am not leaving because I am bored (and far from it). I am leaving as I am moving to pastures new. A new country is taking me in and unfortunately for now, it is a country that currently does not have Spotted by Locals. I am due to move to Melbourne in Australia mid July. This is the homeland of my wife. We met through social media and this is the next logical step in our life together. The world is too big to be in one place for the whole of your life. You need to discover new things and what better way than throw yourself in to a new beginning. It feels like starting at year zero again and this excites and scares me.
I have been in contact with Bart and Sanne recently about the move and it makes me tearful every time I mention that I won’t be writing for them anymore. It has been a great experience and it makes me look at my city in a totally different way. It makes me dig deeper and think hard on what I love about this rainy metropolis.
So, for now I bid you farewell. Hopefully some have you visited Manchester and taken my tips with you. Look after them in your minds like I have over the last 35 years. I hope you may see my writing in a Spotted by Locals somewhere on the opposite side of the planet sometime in the near future.