Half the World Away – Life since Graduation, Living with Asperger’s and My New Year Goals

This is the time of year where the majority of people begin unveiling the annual ‘new year, new me’ statuses which are practically inescapable on my news feed, and most I know are probably once again setting out resolutions which are perhaps slightly unrealistic and end up being abandoned by the first week of January. I have to admit to probably being one of them in the past and setting out goals I can never achieve, which is why I have stopped bothering with them in recent years.

However, 2014 has been different for me. At the start of the year, I was still a university student and my only wish, more than anything, was to graduate with the best possible grade. That is probably a slightly meagre resolution to make, but graduating with a university degree seemed for me unrealistic in itself so many years ago due to having a form of autism called Asperger’s Syndrome. The thought of me even getting into university was, just a few years ago, a source of humour perhaps. It was the general assumption I would fail to get into university by my former school and many other people that drove me on to prove them wrong, and I like to think I finally have. Most of the things I set myself out to achieve this year I have mostly succeeded in doing, including the proud achievement of graduating with a degree. On top of that, I feel I have gained a newfound confidence which I have lacked in everything for so many years and which has held me back, but not anymore. With that, I go into 2015 with new goals and milestones I want to accomplish, and plenty of renewed positivity and confidence that I can do exactly that. Continue reading

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New in town: The Safehouse – Cardiff’s first ‘five-star’ hostel

Published on Cardiff AfterDark (7th Jan 2015)

AfterDark’s Dean Hodge gets an exclusive tour of the Safehouse Hostel due to open next year, and an interview with co-creator and owner Dan Wimpelberg. (All photography by Henry Bird. Courtesy of Cover the Cake Productions.)

Safehouse - DanNext year sees an exciting new addition to the city of Cardiff when The Safehouse Hostel officially opens its doors to the public for the first time. The project is the brainchild of the glorious creative minds of Daniel Wimpelberg and Tom Hughes, who have decided to channel their travelling experiences into setting up their own boutique hostel.

What was once a disused Grade II-listed building will soon complete a remarkable transformation into a luxury hostel situated in the city centre which will soon be brimming with people from all corners of the world, and the soon-to-be-finished building is the result of months of hard work, dedication, lack of sleep and excessive consumption of American coffee courtesy of American-born Daniel.

Above left: Daniel outside the hostel.

The Safehouse Hostel will open its doors for the first time on 4 January with an ‘open house’ event, and will welcome its first ever guest this spring – thanks in large part to a TravelStarter campaign, through which the public have donated towards funding the opening of the hostel. Despite his heavy workload leading up to the Safehouse Hostel’s grand opening, Daniel somehow found time to give AfterDark’s Dean Hodge a tour of the place and an exclusive chat over coffee. Check out the full interview here first at AfterDark, in which Daniel talks about when he first came up with the idea to open The Safehouse Hostel, how he came to move from the US to Cardiff, and his newfound love of rugby. Continue reading