Dark Tourism: The Tower of London, United Kingdom

“Tower of London” by Daniel Gillaspia. Image via Flickr Creative Commons.

Dark tourism is sparking the interest of travelers around the world. Let’s explore the Tower of London and it’s dark past. Discover what awaits at this historic site in London, England.

Elizabeth Cunningham

Many people around the world have a fascination with the darker side of humanity, which could account for the rise in tourist numbers scouting out infamous historical landmarks. Whether it’s bloody battles or disasters of epic proportions, crowds are drawn in and encouraged to explore where it all happened. The Tower of London in the United Kingdom is no different, and with almost three million visitors a year stepping over the threshold, this place is a mecca for the dark tourist. It’s time to let the imagination run wild, as we look at what to expect when exploring the Tower of London.

Beheadings Galore

Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived goes the adage of Henry III’s wives, and this is where the story of his second, and perhaps most infamous, wife, Anne Boylen, ended.  It was here, in the Tower of London, Anne literally lost her head after displeasing her husband, King Henry VIII. Unfortunately, she was one of the beheaded wives in King Henry’s past.  Visit Anne’s final resting place by stopping by at the Chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula at the Tower of London.

Princes in the Towers

A long, horrible history of death and destruction is associated with this landmark. The story of the Princes in the Towers is sure to interest the curious dark adventurer. It begins with the death of King Edward IV.  His heir and spare, Edward aged 12 and Richard aged 9, waited in the tower, ready to fulfill their royal duties, under the protection of their Uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester. Shortly before Edward was crowned, both brothers were declared illegitimate, and dear old uncle Richard took the throne; however, the story did not end there. The last sighting of the Princes in the tower was shortly after their father’s death in 1483. To this day, there are several theories about what—or who—happened to them.  In 1674, workers found a box containing two small human skeletons, which were rumored to be the bones of the two Princes in the Towers. 

The Yeoman Warder

Walking over these cobbled, centuries-old stones of the Tower of London creates an eerie sense of wonder. This wonder can be shared by the Yeoman Warders, who are no ordinary tour guides. They have worked hard to earn the privilege of showing guests around this dark tourism hotspot by serving at least 22 years in the armed forces. They’ve also worked as warrant officers or non-commissioned officers and hold the Long Service and Good Conduct Medals. Now that’s something of a feat! 

The Tower’s Guardians

Meet all seven of the tower’s guardians; the ravens. It is said that the Kingdom and the Tower will fall if any of the six ravens leave their fortress, so you will always—hopefully—find the ravens in residence. They even have a spare should one decide to flee the nest. 

The Crown Jewels

For a little light relief from the history of murder and mayhem, take a peek at the crown jewels. Located in the Tower of London, ticket holders get to have a gander at bling as they’ve never seen it before. With hundreds of years worth of jewelry on display, it can be hard to avert your gaze. 

After hundreds of years of history, The Tower of London is not without its dark past. Whether it’s the cries of prisoners in years gone by ringing in the night or the thought of a headless Queen meeting her maker, this dark tourism location is not for the faint of heart. Be prepared for a day of countless dark tales and an unnaturally high level of deathly stories.

A Romantic Nantucket Getaway for Two

Image by Maria Gilbert via Flickr Creative Commons.

Nantucket is a popular island getaway destination off the coast of Massachusetts. With diverse Nantucket vacation rentals available, couples can choose from cottages within walking distance to the beach or scenic homes with recent renovations overlooking the village marketplace. Nantucket Island is a romantic place for couples who enjoy beautiful scenery, history, relaxation, and culture.

Quality Time

Nantucket vacation rentals offer couples a chance to reconnect with each other without interruptions from other people or the annoyance of cramped quarters. Rental cottages on Nantucket island have space and privacy not found at a bed and breakfast or a hotel. Multiple bedrooms and bathrooms allow vacationing couples to spend time alone together without the awkwardness of sharing a bedroom and bathroom. Unlike hotels, they have space to move about without always being in the bedroom. A house has a kitchen which is easily stocked with favorite foods from the local market for quick snacks and leisurely meals. While dining at the local restaurants is a treat, vacationers dining at the house can eat what they want when they want without getting dressed up or adhering to special hours.

A Nantucket cottage is as quiet as vacationers make it. Visitors to this New England island can wake up when they’re ready to start the day, rather than to the pounding of footsteps from the floor above or the sounds of running water from the room next door. Cooking a leisurely breakfast in the kitchen is one way for couples to spend quality time together. After breakfast, a leisurely walk in the fresh air along Nantucket’s cobblestone streets offers a chance to see quaint shops with local artists and crafters at work.

Absorbing Nantucket Culture

Visiting museums and other historic landmarks adds a quiet touch of relaxation and appreciation to a peaceful vacation. Visitors will find a handful of museums sharing Nantucket’s nautical history of shipwrecks, lighthouses, and floating lightships dating back to the early days of stargazing, fishing, and building.

The local library has a museum-like atmosphere. Couples can browse through more than 40,000 titles. Vacationers may find that reading borrowed books and watching classic movies are just two inviting ways to spend a rainy or windy afternoon in a Nantucket vacation rental after a visit to the library. Those interested in browsing the walls will find details of Nantucket’s early whalers with hanging artifacts, paintings, and pictures. The library’s grounds feature plants and flowers in a colorful display entwined in pathways with relaxing benches along the way. The occasional free concerts and poetry readings held there add unique culture to a getaway vacation for two. The library also has free wireless Internet access and laptop use on the premises for island guests and residents.

Nantucket island is an option for couples seeking a relaxing getaway, culture, fun, and quality time together. The escape is even more inviting with added amenities of Nantucket vacation rentals.

The Creative Professional’s Coronavirus Pandemic Preparedness Guide

“Corona-Pandemie” by Michael Gubi. Image via Flickr Creative Commons.

Disclaimer: As the threat of COVID-19 spreads across the globe, this blog strives to provide high-quality, freely-available, up-to-date, accurate, and verified information for self-described nomadic freelance creatives around the world. However, both of our writers have been reassigned to the U.S. since the end of 2018 due to increasing instability in East Asia as a result of international political tensions. Therefore, the majority of our resources are U.S.-centered, unless we can gather information from other countries. Please help us by participating in the conversation via the comment section of this post. We’d love to know what’s going on in your city and which resources are available for you.

Last updated April 17, 2020

Millions of people around the world have lost their incomes due to the coronavirus pandemic. With governments incredibly slow to act, more people will be scrambling for easy-to-obtain, temporary or gig work simply because that’s what’s available right now. Though freelance creative professionals are no stranger to potential employers low-balling us, it’s pretty much inevitable that they’ll increasingly take advantage of mass desperation by offering insultingly low wages for skilled freelance work. For example, the other day I was offered $10 to write three product description articles in the medical cannabis niche. We all know they’re making a lot more than that off of a single purchase. Basically, they’d have used my content to make continuous profits while denying me a chance at my fair share in lieu of adequate compensation. A less experienced or more desperate writer might have fallen for it, unfortunately. These are the times we live in.

No matter what stage you’re at in your creative career, I hope this list will prove valuable to you as a traveler and/or freelancer. Stay tuned for periodic updates.

Essential Industries

During a pandemic, central governments will attempt to avert the crisis by temporarily suspending all business activities that are deemed non-essential. On March 19, 2020 the U.S. Department of Homeland Security released a memorandum to specify the scope of essential services. This includes:

  1. Staffing operation centers
  2. Utility services such as waste management, water, gas, and electricity
  3. Essential Construction
  4. Grocery stores
  5. Medical/Healthcare
  6. Telecommunications (including call centers)
  7. Agriculture
  8. Transportation & Logistics (Limited public transportation available in many regions)
  9. Defense & Law Enforcement
  10. Public Works

Non-essential workers have been asked to work from home, but not everyone can. People who were chefs, entertainers, and bartenders for example, now have to quickly figure out what else they can do to pay their bills. While this is worrying for a variety of reasons, with the right strategy, resources, and community support, you can protect and grow your freelance career even in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

Additional Support for Gig Workers & Skilled Freelancers

With millions of Americans relying on the gig economy to pay their bills, protections for freelancers have never been greater.

General Unemployment Resources

Coronavirus 2020 Unemployment Benefits

FEMA Disaster Unemployment Assistance

Relief Funds for Entrepreneurs

Alice (Grants for Startups)

SheaMoisture’s $1M Fund for WOC

Inc

Entrepreneur

Relief Funds for Professional Working Creatives

Disabled Creator and Activist Pandemic Relief Fund

Coronavirus 2020 Artist Relief Funds (Google Spreadsheet)

The Safety Net Fund

The Creator Fund

Freelance Co-op COVID-19 Emergency Fund

Freelancers Relief Fund

Writers

Emergency Funds for Writers

Social Media: Reddit

r/hireawriter

r/writing

r/writers

r/freelancewriters

r/writingprompts

r/writingcirclejerk (if you need a laugh)

Social Media: Twitter

#WritingCommunity

Visual Artists

Anonymous Was a Woman (Woman-Identifying Artists Only)

The Art Newspaper

Americans for the Arts

Musicians

Musicians Foundation Fund

Sweet Relief Musicians Fund

Online Conversations for Professionals

  1. Indeed
  2. NYS Writers’ Institute

If you have any resources to share, especially international ones, please list them in the comments. My team and I will keep adding whatever we find to this list. Good luck out there!

The Atlanta Panic

After losing my passport in China at the end of 2018 and resolving tons of personal matters in the year 2019, I felt pleased when my new 50-page passport book came in the mail in early February. Due to financial constraints brought about by the loss of my main source of income–talent acquisition and management for nightlife venues–I’d been unable to go anywhere except for Miami last year.

The Tempting Cheap Flight

I wanted to go to Atlanta so badly and with no work for me in my college town in Upstate New York, getting a cheap flight with JetBlue to one of the biggest party cities in The South to go hustle and make some fast money seemed like a solid way to finally resolve my debts, rebuild my cash savings, and get ready to buy an investment property in the area. Additionally, I had an idea for a pitch to Vice revolving around these clubs. As soon as I got off the plane, I knew that the universe didn’t want me to be down there just yet.

Whew Chile The Ghetto

WTF???

Not only was a train blocking my path to the AirBnb for close to 20 minutes while I stood out in the rain, but the neighborhood I’d chosen was scary AF. Unlike New York, if you’re a woman walking around on the sidewalks down South, they’ll assume you’re a street walker and start messing with you.

There were so many super aggressive homeless people all around me and I was alone, unarmed, and carrying thousands of dollars worth of equipment for a work trip.

I’d spent a week preparing but somehow forgotten to pack an iPhone charger. After self-checking into the bnb to drop off my suitcase, I walked back outside with my giant, over-the-ear, white-and-red Skull Candy headphones and blared Cardi B.

The rain had stopped and when I waltzed up to the first corner store, I stood behind an old lady with my pink face mask on and waited to ask the owner about an emergency bodega iPhone charger.

“I don’t like the way she’s breathing,” the old hag remarked.

I wanted to tell her I didn’t like the way she was still breathing, either, but after a 2.5 hour train ride to the LIRR to the AirTran to a 2 hour plane ride, I had zero energy to argue with ignorant rednecks.

When she stepped away from the counter, me and the Asian American shop owner played a fun game of charades until he realized I had a dead phone battery and handed me a $5 cord. I walked back to the bnb and plugged the cord in only to realize that it didn’t work.

Frustrated, yet determined to hit the ground running that evening, I went back outside to a gas station in the other direction. On my way there, I observed a burnt out bus in the middle of an arid field and a rundown discount furniture shop.

Hardly anyone I spoke to seemed friendly or helpful except for one burly Chevron worker, who tested different iPhone chargers for me behind the counter before making me a promise that I could bring the it back for a refund if it didn’t work.

I plugged my weary phone in as soon as I closed the door to my room. It charged to 13% before it started beeping as if it were being plugged in and unplugged simultaneously, over and over again until I pulled it out and chucked the second cord. Fortunately, the hostess, a svelte, bespectacled woman in her late forties loaned me a charger.

Instead of going out that night, I crashed immediately, even though my good friend Kam, a club promoter, really wanted to meet up for the first time since last summer.

Welcome to Atlanta, Baby

I set the borrowed iPhone charger on the kitchen table and made my way down to Buckhead by way of MARTA. With Pandora set to the Migos station and drops of sweat crowded under my Deadpool hoodie, I hopped off the train into the unknown.

The Apple store in Lenox Mall had what I needed to get me through the rest of the trip. Or so I thought.

That evening, I put on my glimmer eyeshadow, winter foundation, and fake eyelashes. I decided to try a mid-level club. When I got there, the male manager–a stout, bald, smily gentleman at the front of the house–told me they weren’t hiring for night shift.

“What’s a place that’s really easy to get in where I can work tonight?” I asked with a smile.

He put me on to a place not too far up the road and I hopped in another Lyft.

Um…Where’s the Nightlife?

When I got there, a pale-skinned hostess with a red-shirt and delicately plumped lips who looked a bit like an older, wiser, Kylie Jenner sat at the front. I asked for an application and with a smile she handed me one.

When the house manager came to the front, my heart sank. I knew I wouldn’t be getting in as soon as I saw her; an old, conservatively-dressed, bone-white bob-having, traditional Southern madame. As a New Yorker who’d traveled in the middle of a national emergency, I had regional bias and legit health concerns working against me.

I tried to chat her up but she grabbed the inner door and swung it open. “See? There’s no customers here and we’re normally packed on a Thursday night. I can’t take girls from out of state, especially New York. We might be under quarantine in two weeks.”

With no club to work in so that I could go undercover for my assignment, I broke down and called my boyfriend to get me an emergency, next-day flight out of Atlanta. I stayed up all night talking to my friends in various group chats. My bank account suffered an overdraft, but luckily, through the help of a friend, I found a temporary job I can start tomorrow in Albany while I continue to grow and develop my freelance writing business.

This post contains paid affiliate links. As an adventure blog, we are part of the travel industry and rely heavily on tourism to stay afloat. However, social responsibility is paramount and we feel a responsibility to advise our readers that the WHO and the CDC recommend social distancing and avoiding unnecessary travel at this time.

The Ready for Spring Sale

Hello, dear readers. Thanks so much for your support over the years. This year, as I continue building my professional writing and consulting career, I hope to be able to post more consistently.

In the meantime, the snow is melting, geese are honking, and the sun’s staying in the sky a little longer each day. The groundhog didn’t see his shadow, so let’s celebrate! I’m selling Kindle copies of my book for just 99 cents until March 5!

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Claim your copy starting at 8 AM PST tomorrow and be sure to keep an eye out for updates about the sequel, Open Borders, as well as my other work on the portfolio page. You guys are the best!

Thanks for the Post Block, Facebook

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Peace begins with a smile‘ by Neda Andel. Image via Flickr Creative Commons

Several days ago, I got banned from posting, commenting, or messaging anyone on FB because I made a snarky, tongue-in-cheek comment about the opposite gender to which some mal-adjusted individuals living in their mothers’ basements felt the need to report to the Big Zucc. Boom: 7 days in FB jail.

During this time, I’ve been withdrawing from a very dangerous social media addiction that has plagued my life for years. I finished reading Outliers, which one of my best friends let me borrow. I began re-reading The Great Gatsby, engaged more with my Snapchat friends and rapidly-growing Twitter following, and thought up this blog post.

Now that I’m allowed to post again, I’ve been keeping my time on the platform short. Facebook has become boring and Zuckerberg’s antics aren’t worth dealing with. Hordes of netizens have expressed discontent at his handling of Instagram since it was bought out by Facebook. The ongoing censorship issues and privacy issues have me siding with Gen Z on using Snap, Twitter, and TikTok more than other platforms.

I’m breathing. I’m learning. Most importantly, I’m not on Facebook right now.

To Miami ✈️

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Waking up bone ass early isn’t usually my jam. There’s a reason I’ve spent most of my 20s working the 2nd shift. I’m more creative and energetic at night. Anyway, my friend, Kay, posted about a last-minute trip on FB. As I felt the frosty rain pelt my flesh I thought: why the hell not? But, working my old job for less pay means taking the cheapest route from Albany to Miami.

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Image via Flickr. ‘Miami’ by Kent Wang

I’m looking at more than 12 hours of travel time. First, I gotta get up at 4am. Then I gotta get some cheap ass road food to eat on the Uber going to the Amtrak station in Rensselaer. After getting off at Penn Station, I gotta take the LIRR to Ronkonkoma then Uber to the airport.
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After I arrive in Florida, I’ll pick up my rental car in Fort Lauderdale and drive 45 minutes Southwest until I reach Miami Beach. It’ll all be worth it to travel with my #1 G. 👠✈️🌴👌💰💁‍♀️🍻🙏🧜‍♀️