Au Revoir, Adios, Ciao, Arrivederci, Sayōnara…

Goodbyes are never easy. Everything about that horrible little word suggests the end, a heart sinking finality that we can never quite bring ourselves to accept. I’ve had my fair share of goodbyes. Travelling around the world, moving houses, new experiences, each brings with it the excitement of meeting incredible new people. Some people pass through your life, others might remain friends for a lifetime. Regardless of who it is, time and distance urge you to say goodbye to those special people you meet along the way, just in case it really is final.

Personally, goodbyes are just too hard. Instead, I opt for a much more promising, naively optimistic ‘see you later.’ Sometimes I genuinely mean, ‘see you later.’ Even if you’re from the other side of the planet, you just never know where you’ll end up in life, and if I find myself in a city in Sweden, or Italy, or America, it’s reassuring to know that there’s someone very special that’s reserved a spot for me on their lounge.

Maybe I’m just trying to trick my tear ducts into thinking that there will be a next time (though I usually cry anyway), maybe I know within my heart that I will see them again somewhere and someday, or maybe I just know that I’m not quite ready to say a final goodbye yet. A little piece of them and me, that I try to hold on to with every wave, every text and every email, that little piece of love and friendship that I want to hold onto forever.

A Bit of Wisdom from Winnie the Pooh - http://theologigal.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/how-lucky-i-am-to-have-something-that-makes-saying-goodbye-so-hard-winnie-the-pooh.jpg
A Bit of Wisdom from Winnie the Pooh
http://theologigal.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/how-lucky-i-am-to-have-something-that-makes-saying-goodbye-so-hard-winnie-the-pooh.jpg

My Secrets to Confidence

Confidence comes in all shapes and sizes. Hopeful of joining a gym, courageous to apply for that job, brave to deliver a speech, bold in your outfit and fearless in life! Confidence is a key element that we’re all expected to have, yet why is it that we talk ourselves down and doubting our ability? We all have insecurities, we all have weaknesses, yet it’s how we accept them, deal with them and conquer them so that nothing, especially yourself stands in your way.

I would describe myself as a confident person, yet from time to time I give in to those dark uncertainties and it can all get a bit overwhelming really. However, I have found some ways to help me be more confident in my thoughts and actions.

Slow down every now and again to embrace beauty around you
Slow down every now and again to embrace beauty around you – Rome

Smile – It instantly makes you feel a little bit better I promise! Also laughing or singing helps break down those nerves and negative thoughts circling your mind. It will also make people around you feel more comfortable and relaxed. A smile really can go a long way!

Think about your strengths and skills – Take a moment to think about all the wonderful and exquisite things you can do. Maybe you can play all of Ed Sheeran’s album on guitar, a really fast reader/typer, good at remembering people’s names, keeping things tidy/clean, taking initiative or responsibility… the options are endless! If you’re ever in doubt, focus on your skills and strengths and how you can use them to your advantage to help you achieve what you want.

Embrace what you love – Personally, I love writing, listening to music, going to the beach, going on coffee dates with my friends, travelling… the list goes on. It’s important to take time out and focus on yourself, what you want and what you love. Engaging with these activities will also give you that motivation and self-confidence that will automatically make you happy and feel better about yourself and your capabilities.

Surround yourself with positivity
Surround yourself with positivity

Accept and grow from your weaknesses – We all have them, I’m not the most committed student when it comes to exams, I try and take on too many tasks at once and cannot for the life of me keep my room clean! (that, I can’t change). The first thing is to be aware of aspects of your life you can improve on and how you can do that. For example, trying to go to sleep before midnight, having a diary to write all of your due dates in and focusing on things your truly passionate about. Even if you take baby steps, at least you’re closer to growing and moving on.

Think Positively! – Whilst it might be hard to stay positive sometimes, I strongly believe that positive people attract positive energy.

‘Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong.’ ~Peter T. McIntyre

Set Goals (and make them BIG) – I find it helpful to set goals to work towards. All throughout high school, I just wanted to go to Paris, and I made that happen by getting a job, planning, investigating and being absolutely determined to make it happen! Like the quote above says, be fearless! Go out and grab life! Like the classic cheesy quote ‘if you miss reaching for the moon, at least you’ll be among the stars.’ Opportunities are everywhere if you have the courage to seek them.

Take the plunge – Yes it might be scary, seem impossible, be overwhelming etc. etc. etc… but what if… it works? What if you accomplish your dreams? And what if you take the world by storm? You cannot truly gain without a little risk. Put yourself out there and just do it!

xxx A

Take the plunge!
Take the plunge! – Greek Islands

The Things You REALLY Learn at University

University. That big scary thing that you’re expected to go to once you finish school and you want a good job. After deferring my university offer for my amazing Gap year in London, I was really torn between returning to Oz to go to that big scary place or stay in London. And tah-dah, I was university bound. This has honestly been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! I had my time in London, and now it was time for something equally new and exciting. I’m nearly finished my first year of International Studies/Communication and Media Studies at the incredible University of Wollongong. This year I lived at a college, International House (iHouse) and learnt a lot more than just course content. So these are some of the things to expect when moving into a university college.

University of Wollongong!
University of Wollongong!

You’ll Learn to Love Goon (for those of you not in Australia, goon= cheap, cask wine) – Let’s get the alcoholic part get out of the way first. Us cheap uni students love a good bargain. And with a First Choice Liquor store about 500m away from your doorstep, cradling $12, 36 standard drinks goon… what choice do we really have? Unless you peaked on your eurotrip, then the hangovers just get worse and you start thinking ‘i’m getting too old for this shit.’ (How I Met Your Mother Reference).

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You learn your limits – O Week anyone? You go out a few times a week, spend a few too many days at the beach to suddenly realise that you’re absolutely hammered. And after a few too many hangovers you realise that maybe you should steer clear of tequila. Learning my limits is something I’ve been working on throughout the past two years, and regardless of how many times others tell you ‘don’t do that’ you will never really learn until you experience them for yourself. Which leads into my next point…

You learn about yourself – I know this is incredibly cheesy but hey, who doesn’t love a bit of cheese? You try new things like going to the gym, you learn new things like how to navigate around building 19, you meet new people from across the globe… you put all these pieces together like a jigsaw puzzle, hoping they’ll fit together into the person you want to be. I’m always growing and learning, trying to become a better person and uni definitely helps you put the pieces together.

You can get involved in some pretty awesome stuff – This year, along with some friends of mine, we created the UOW Skydiving Club (I have some other posts here about it). There’s countless opportunities to volunteer, become an activist, help, donate, support towards everything! It’s a great way to meet new and like minded people but also work on things your passionate about and help create positive change in the world.

Singing petitions at uni - Don't Risk the Reef
Singing petitions at uni – Don’t Risk the Reef

You learn how to balance – Literally! I’ve been going to yoga classes regularly for about 3 months and it’s INCREDIBLE!!! I walk out feeling rejuvenated, relaxed, free and like I can accomplish anything. Definitely the best stress relief! And also figuratively balance. At uni you’ve got so many things going on; actual uni work, social life, keeping fit and healthy, watching latest episodes of Walking Dead, sleeping, relaxing, beaching… sometimes it can be a challenge to manage it all. I must admit, sometimes I spend too much time doing all of my assignments being a good uni student and not enough time outside at the beach (OK you got me, I’m always at the beach), but if you surround yourself with like minded people who are as determined to succeed in many aspects like you, you can do it! Making timetables, reducing time on Facebook and monitoring how much time you spend streaming can help you stay organised.

You learn how to become an owl – Literally. You become a little bit older, a little bit wiser and if you go to sleep before midnight and wake up in time for breakfast at 10am… it’s officially a miracle.

You suddenly acquire some really nice clothes – At college this year we’ve had 6 formal-ish events involving open bars and getting dressed up. And of course it calls for a new outfit each time right! And open bar!!! No more goon for a night!

Friends and I on the iHouse Sydney Harbour Cruise!
Friends and I (the far left) on the iHouse Sydney Harbour Cruise!

You’re going to meet people from across the globe – Literally from EVERYWHERE! We even had an Icelandic exchange student here! You learn so much about different cultures and might even find a French boyfriend to help you with your French grammar 😉

You make some pretty amazing friendships – And this is where I get all sentimental but everyone I’ve met at college/uni this year are truly inspiring, unique and driven people. I’m so glad to have you in my life, if we stay friends for this year, the next 3 years or the next 20 years, you’re each as special and dear to me.

So…. first year (nearly) down, 3.5 to go. It’s been a pretty exciting and crazy ride however if this year is anything to go by, I eagerly look forward to it!

xxx A

Some more friends at another fancy event (I'm in the pink dress)
Some more friends at another fancy event (I’m in the pink dress)

A smile is a smile by any other name

It doesn’t take much to make me smile

Oh no, not much at all

For a smile should cross your lips as quickly and as easy as remembering the tune to your favourite song.

And a smile can stretch from ear to ear or perhaps just quiver above your chin.

Maybe you hide your teeth behind your lips to try and hold the excitement in,

But for me, my crocodile smile is always on show, creeping across the bridge of my nose so that my eyes squint and my cheeks ache.

 

It doesn’t take much to make me smile,

Oh no, not much at all

A simple hello, a fluffy white puppy, a blueberry muffin or a warm and sweet coffee.

A kiss on the cheek from the ones that I love, a hug, a handshake and sunshine above.

Painting your nails a bright, bold colour, getting to the train station one minute before departure, a text from your friend to say g’day, being woken up early on Christmas Day.

Finishing a book, cooking dinner, submitting an assignment, and getting a distinction.

When my favourite song plays on Triple J, when I arrive back home and look out over the Bay, going to sleep before midnight, and knowing that when I wake up… everything will be alright.

 

Sometimes I smile when I’m happy, even when I’m nervous or trying to be brave. Some days I don’t know if I can smile because the sunshine is gone and the clouds are grey.

But I now know a secret, something that will break a frown, when someone smiles at you, don’t look at the ground.

Look them in the eye and let that smile infect you, until you hear your favourite song ring through your mind and a smile sweeps across your face.

Then pass that smile on, you never know how much someone will need it.

xxx

A

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Re-inventing the stigma of Travelling Solo

Travelling alone. When you say it, alarm bells seem to sound in peoples minds thinking ‘haven’t you seen Taken?’ Yes I have seen Taken. Great movie. Other things that I get asked about are ‘aren’t you worried you’ll get pick-pocketed/raped/kidnapped/sold/murdered?’ Obviously yes, though not because I’m travelling alone. Just because there’s some messed up people out there, yes, even in Australia. Horrible things can happen to anyone in the world, and I want to make sure I’m out there, living my dream and enjoying myself whilst I can.

So, this is why I think travelling alone is great, and why it’s time to reinvent the stereotypes of young people (especially women) travelling alone.

You have to think for yourself.

I know it seems obvious, but when you’re used to asking your family/friends/google for help or directions, you can find yourself in some interesting situations. The most important thing when making decisions in foreign countries is, trusting your gut instinct, because more often than not, that’s the decision you should go with. Also thinking, would I tell my mum that? For the most part its probably no, and fair enough, we don’t want our mother’s to know every single thing about what we do. Maybe, would my future self/partner/significant other/best friend approve of this? I think this is an important question to ask because travelling alone can be associated with YOLO or living in the moment. And that’s fine, as long as you don’t wake up to find your passport, phone, money stolen and no recollection of the night before. Thinking for yourself is about making smart choices. You can still have exciting and memorable experiences from making smart decisions, you’re just eliminating unnecessary risk, and your safety overseas is definitely a priority.

Navigating foreign cities can be confusing, but when you nail it... it's an awesome feeling! http://www.chamberofcommerce.pl/map-of-krakow/map-of-krakow.jpg
Navigating foreign cities can be confusing, but when you nail it… it’s an awesome feeling!
http://www.chamberofcommerce.pl/map-of-krakow/map-of-krakow.jpg

 You have heaps of time to yourself.

Obviously. You’re travelling alone. On those 9 hour bus rides through the EuroTunnel, things can get a bit boring, however, I’ve had some of the best times on long bus and train rides. I remember being on a 5 hour bus ride from Galway to Derry/Londonderry in Ireland. I had my earphones in and my journal out. As I was reflecting on my adventures and staring out the window at the luscious green countryside, I was hit with this overwhelming internal feeling. It’s difficult to explain but everything just makes sense and you feel completely focused on who you are and what you want in life.

 You meet sooooo many people!

Because you are by yourself, you’re more likely to put yourself out there and start a conversation in a hostel room (because too much alone time can be, well, lonely). It just starts with a smile a ‘hello’ and ‘where are you from?’ The conversation just roles on from there. You begin to develop your own travelling ‘speech’ as I call it (but I’ll talk about that later).

The best thing about meeting other travellers is that they’re here to explore, just like you. Together, you might go grocery shopping together, on a day trip together or our to a bar together.

I remember on a pub crawl in Dublin (a lot of great things happened in Ireland) I met a great American guy who introduced me to his Danish friends. We partied all night long, explored Dublin the next day, exchanged details and a few months later, visited him in Paris!

I also remember on a walking tour of Budapest, I met three people from Romania but lived in Germany, but were visiting Budapest because the man and woman just got married and the other girl was the maid of honour who was doing her PhD in Budapest. You just meet some really interesting people. You may forget their names, but you’ll always have that one photo of them immortalized in your photo album, reminding you of how awesome some people are.

And the best part is… you don’t need to take any more awkward selfies, you have a new friend to help you out!

My Romanian/German friends overlooking the Danube River - Budapest, Hungary
My Romanian/German friends overlooking the Danube River – Budapest, Hungary

 You can go where you want to go.

When travelling in a group, with limited time in a city, different people want to see different sights or monuments, which can cause a bit of unnecessary conflict. But when you’re solo, you can hike up the top of Mt. Arthur in Edinburgh, or go to Musée D’Orsay instead of the Lourve in Paris or spend the morning at the Blue Lagoon in Iceland, or you can chose to sleep in and catch up on sleep. It’s entirely up to you!

You tend not to spend as much money. (Yay saving money)

When you’re travelling by yourself, you’re completely OK with having 2minute noodles for lunch, dinner and maybe even breakfast sometimes. More money for those art galleries or pub crawls!

 You get an awesome workout!

Whether you’ve got a backpack or suitcase, you’re going to have a lot of luggage. Whilst you may be getting callouses on your hands and you feel like you can’t take one more step up those long cobblestone paths, think of the awesome workout you’re getting! You don’t need to spend any money on a gym because you’ve got no one to help you out with your luggage. However, when dealing with train station steps, it can be quite difficult. When I was carrying suitcases through on the Tube, people always offer to help with your luggage. Poor things. Don’t know what they’re getting themselves in for when they pick it up. Or if you’re tank enough by now, you can carry it yourself.

And not to forget all the walking you do over cities! I wish I carried a pedometer with me sometimes because cities like London and Paris which are HUGE… you would definitely rack up heaps of kilometres.

Conquering Arthur's Seat
Conquering Arthur’s Seat – Edinburgh, Scotland

 Your confidence and ‘I can do anything’ attitude multiplies by a million.

You can navigate through London’s Tube system and order food in French and can understand what the waiter says (in French), you feel on top of the world! And rightfully so, all the skills you’ve learnt over your travels are paying off and things are running smoothly.

I think we should carry this awesome mindset beyond our travels and into our everyday lives. Imagine if you’re swamped by uni work (OK I don’t have to imagine it, that’s my reality right now), and you just think, ‘pft, if I can navigate the streets of Amsterdam at night, I can do this 2000 word essay.’ Yes, being in Amsterdam is way cooler than writing an essay on globalization, but that mindset can help you achieve anything you want! Take advantage of it!

 Not convinced yet?

I’ve had some amazing holidays with my friends and they’ve been absolutely incredible! However, when you’re new to a country or your friend is saving their money, I totally encourage you to jet set alone!

I promise it will be one of the most scary, exciting, nerve racking, limit pushing, incredible experiences of your life!

Any questions/comments/queries please let me know!

xxx

A

 

 

How I did my GAP Year in style (London)

I’ve been asked quite a lot recently about the nitty gritty facts about having my GAP year living and working in London. So, here’s the sacred ‘how-to’ guide for those thinking about having a GAP year in the UK, or just looking for a break.

How About Booking Tickets? –  I was completing my HSC when I was planning my trip, therefore I didn’t have a lot of time to commit to my planning. Therefore, a travel agent was perfect for me. I used Student Flights because of their cheap flights and outstanding customer service. My travel agent was very friendly and easy to contact via email. I ended up booking a one-way flight to London (via Shanghai). My first piece of advice is to book an open ended ticket. Whilst it might be more expensive, it’s not nearly as expensive as paying 900pounds coming from London back to Sydney (yes that’s what I did and there were tears from my bank account).

What About Those Stopovers? – Take advantage of them! I got to explore Shanghai, an amazing city which I’d never considered visiting (yet would love to revisit). My travel agent hooked me up with a really good deal for a great hotel in central Shanghai and also a taxi service to and from the hotel. So definitely ask if there’s any deals going at the place of your stopover. 3 nights is more than enough to get a taste of a new city and culture (also helps with the jet-lag and acclimatisation).

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The Bund, Shanghai (the epitome of futuristic architecture).

Don’t you need a Visa? – Yes you do need a visa. For most people on their GAP year, you’ll be applying for a Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa. They last for 2 years and allow you to live and work in the UK. There are a few travel restrictions like, you can’t spend more than 90/180 days out of the UK etc but it’s best looking up the details to be sure you’re not detained for violating your visa requirements. I never had a problem because I was too busy working and saving money though I have heard some interesting stories.

How do I live and work in the UK/London?- One company – The Working Holiday Club. This great company was a life saver when it came to reassurance that I would have a job and somewhere to live when I made the move to London. I paid about $900 for the Jumpstart Premium which included them organising your Visa (awesome when you have no time during your HSC), 3 nights stay at a hostel whilst you get over the jet-lag, access to a job, access to cheap accommodation, support and also social meet ups. In hindsight, I probably didn’t need to pay that much money for this, however, I couldn’t imagine my life without it.

The Job – With TWHC, you work for an agency called Elements where you do temporary hotel work. You do a few days of training, you need to buy your own uniform, and it pretty much works off of your availability. A hotel will host an event, they’ll contact Elements saying they need 20 staff members, Elements sends out a text/email asking who’s available and first in best dressed. You work at 5 star hotels in central London and jobs range from waitressing, cloak room, room service, concierge, setting up, packing down – pretty much whatever the manager asks you to do. Whilst the job itself is tedious, it does offer one of the better rates for hospitality (around 6.94 pounds p/hr) and also allows you to meet other Australians with TWHC. I became really great friends with a lot of the people I worked with and it’s a great way to meet other people in London.

If hospitality isn’t your cup of tea (I got pretty sick of it after about 4 months), then you can get a job the old fashioned way. Go to a million shops/cafes/restaurants/hotels/offices/ANYWHERE and hand out a million resumes! I went to a big Westfield that I lived near and handed out about 50 resumes. I scored a job in a lovely clothing store and ended up working full time (on better rates and better clothes!). If you move to London around October then many stores will be hiring Christmas temps and usually keep them on throughout the year if you do a good job.

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The House – TWHC has access to a company who owns properties across London, Egoli. I ended up living in a shared house in Leytonstone (East London, Zone 3) with 9 other people (mostly Australians, and our lovely Brazilian, Canadian and Kiwi). You might think ‘10 people in one house! What?’ But actually it was a big house with a nice back yard, big kitchen, big loungeroom and 6 bedrooms (it’s common to share a room in London, however I needed my own space and got a single room). My room was a very decent size, complete with a double bed, wardrobe, chest of drawers, a heater and glow in the dark stars on the roof (what a nice surprise). I paid 90pounds a week for rent (including all bills and unlimited internet – pretty good deal!). The people I lived with became my family and we had a great time exploring London and also Europe together.

Parts of my room in London
Parts of my room in London

What About the little things?- Ok, I know there’s more to living in London than a job and a house. For example, the Tube. I swear I could write a short novel about my adventures on the tube but I swear, it becomes your life. Public transport in London is quite expensive (accept it now). When I was working for Elements (and working 5+ days a week) I bought a weekly Oyster Card pass which is 35pounds from zone 1-3. However, once I found a job which was closer to home, I was spending about 25pounds a week on transport.

Leytonstone - where Alfred Hitchcock lived! Also where David Beckham was born! (swoon)
Leytonstone – where Alfred Hitchcock lived!
Also where David Beckham was born! (swoon)
Tube and Bus Station - Leytonstone
Tube and Bus Station – Leytonstone

Groceries?- When I was on a tight budget, I could manage with about 20-25pounds a week spent on food but I couldn’t imagine needing more than 40pounds a week. This included home brand everything, and eating left overs from dinner for lunch. Then when you get a big pay check you can splurge a bit, but I generally kept my grocery spendings down so I could save money for travelling.

How much Traveling Will I do?- Depends on how hard you can save. I was lucky that I had my parents to help me out when the bank balance was looking a bit sad and depressing, however I did get a fair bit of travel done! I went to Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Greece, Italy, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and Iceland. Though I had friends who barely traveled at all and also had friends who were always galavanting somewhere new so I guess it depends what you’re in London for. To travel around Europe or live in London. I think I did both quite well.

europeans adventures 1193

Will I make friends?- You’ll not only meet some of the most incredible people you’ll meet in your life, but also make friendships that you’ll have for life. I know I’ve only been back for 10 months, but the friends that are still in London or somewhere else in the world, I know will be friends for a long time to come.

Housemates and Best Friends
Housemates and Best Friends

Any Last Words of Advice? – Yes. DO IT! There’s no better time than right now! Pack your life into a suitcase, book a ticket, put your walking shoes on and explore the world!

If you’ve got any other questions or comments please let me know!

xxx

A

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Skydiving Event 3 – My Experience

The worst thing about skydiving is coming down from an adrenaline high. And once you’ve completely crashed and falling asleep in the car on the way back home, you remember the thrill of falling from a plane and plummeting to the earth, and you get the urge to do it again.

However, that’s the only downside. The best part of it is easily when your legs are dangling outside the plane and you realize it’s too late to go back. That moment where your Dad screaming in the background fades away and everything else in the world disappears. You rock back and forth and then you’re falling through the air with the world screaming up at you.

That! That moment is where time stops. And it’s that moment which is the absolute high of skydiving.

The UOW Skydiving Club had our 3rd Tandem event today (1st October) and 11 people attended (including myself and my Dad). Strong winds caused long delays however we had our delicious BBQ and lazed around in the sun.

Today was a special event for me. I was supposed to go skydiving for my 17th birthday, however I ended up using that money towards my Euro-trip. Also, my Dad was meant to go skydiving 20 years ago for his 30th… so I can say this event was long overdue for both of us.

When the wind had finally settled down and we were called up…we (as Barney Stinson would say) suited up! And I can say that I don’t think skydiving jumpsuits were designed for attractiveness or hips. I now have a whole new appreciation for how ABBA pulled off their costumes.

Then I was partnered up with a jumper, strapped up in my harness, took some photos and were off to the plane! As the plane took off and we started climbing, my heart started racing and I realized exactly what I was about to do!

Which brings us to here. Legs dangling from the airplane, the world literally at your feet and then free falling. I had such a great day with my family and friends and I am thankful for Sydney Skydivers and the awesome experience I have to be apart of the UOW Skydiving Club!

Dad, me and the pro, Charles after our jump!
Dad, me and the pro, Charles after our jump!

Blue Skies!

xxx

A

Lethal Hands

How could you do this?

Who do you think you are?

Love me… then leave me

Escaping with a piece of my broken heart.

Like a shiny new watch

You parade me everyday,

Our hands and hearts in sync

Beating in harmony, even when you were away.

You showed me lust. You showed me passion

What a poisonous gift,

The venom spread to your heart

Then you snatched mine, lethally swift.

The second hand ticked out of time

The leather band bound tight,

You left with a soul-sucking kiss

My world swallowed by darkness, you took my heart and light.

Sometimes I look at that watch

Wrapped like a serpent around my wrist,

How could something so reliable and intimate

Inject toxins into my heart and now be finished?

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Getting my fix

It never fails to give me the ultimate high.

As I submerge myself into the cool waters, my body becomes numb

Such an exhilarating feeling…

– Not to feel

I come to you from the darkest crevice

Vulnerable and lost

Hoping you can help heal my pain

The world sometimes blurs past me

No matter how long I stay clean

There’s something about you that pulls at my spirit

It may be the glorious warmth of the sun

Sending a light trickle of sweat down my neck

Or the gentle breezes

Tickling my skin so it tingles.

– God that feels good

Waves crash and my lungs burn with seawater

I am addicted to the taste

Its buzz lights up my spirit

That is sometimes swallowed by this dark world

And here it comes…

I am weightless

In this moment

I am invincible

My mind is clear

I am free.

– Ah

You leave me as quickly as you came

I can’t help but smile as you push me towards the shore.

You energize me

The sunshine kisses my skin and spirit

Your song whistles through my mind as I return to reality

Your legacy dotted upon my arm

Reminding me that happiness is never too far away

Landið sem andar – An Ode to Iceland

Ferðin byrjar hér[2]

 

Located sixty-six degrees north

Surrounded by the Atlantic and Artic waters,

Lies a small and forgotten Ísland

Where Mother Nature unleashes her great forces.

 

We dive through the clouds

And see her wild plains laced with ice,

Mountains stand tall like elders of the land

Watching us with dangerously beautiful eyes.

 

She balance life and death effortlessly

Winds ferociously howl during daylight,

Her flesh blanketed in white

Stars and auroras radiate through the night.

 

Air pierces my bones and blood

I stand atop a cliff, weightless,

Water roars towards the earth

And I feel a strange sense of clarity, even in this chaos.

 

You helped me rediscover your power, Mother

With your I spent three short days and three long nights,

She left your skin cold but my heart warm

Giving the gift of your story from your elders and enchanting lights.

 

Ferðalagið mun halda áfram[3]

 

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The extravagant countryside of Iceland

 

 

 

[1] (The country that breaths)

[2] (The journey starts here)

[3] (The journey will continue)

Adelaide Haynes. CACW100

Reaching New Heights – UOW Skydiving Club’s 2nd Tandem Event

On Friday the 12th of September, the UOW Skydiving Club held their second tandem skydiving event, with six brave individuals taking on the challenge. We met at 9:30am at Northfields Avenue where the Sydney Skydivers bus picked us up. Once we clarified numbers we were on our way. We chatted with students from across the globe, all with a nervous yet excited smile across their faces.

The girls all geared up
The girls all geared up

After filling out a few forms, the student were quickly suited up in the ever so glamorous jumpsuits! The boys jumped first with the rest of us searching up in the sky to see their parachutes emerge from the clouds.

The boys sailing down through the clouds
The boys sailing down through the clouds

Whilst visibility was quite low due to cloud coverage, they got to experience the wonder of falling through clouds. High above the clouds, they jumped from the plane, the sun shining and wind rushing up against their screaming faces, falling into what looks like an ocean of clouds. According to the UOW Skydiving Club’s President who has completed over 140 single jumps says ‘It’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced before.’

Adrenaline infused smiles
Adrenaline infused smiles
And the smiles and laughter continued
And the smiles and laughter continued

Once all the students were back down to earth, exchanging stories about flying through the clouds, we had a wonderful BBQ, included as part of the UOW Skydiving Club experience.

Can't beat a sausage sanga after a jump!
Can’t beat a sausage sanga after a jump!

After we filled our stomaches, our cheeks hurt from laughing and smiling, and we were coming down from the adrenaline rush, we were back on the bus and headed back to the university. It was a great day for everyone involved.

***

FOR FUTURE EVENTS AND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE UOW SKYDIVING CLUB, PLEASE CHECK OUT THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE https://www.facebook.com/UOWSkydive

AND CHECK OUT THIS EXCLUSIVE VIDEO OF WHAT IT’S LIKE TO FLY THROUGH CLOUDS!

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=681679941909858&set=vb.588704077874112&type=2&theater

Group 2 - 2nd Tandem Event
Group 2 – 2nd Tandem Event