Valentines Day? Newly Single? Take Yourself Out!

Valentine’s Day sucks. Especially if you’re newly single and trying to piece back together the fragments of your heart and remember who you are without a man in your life (woah dramatic right?). But this isn’t a depressing post. This is a fucking happy post. Life has been crazy recently and I’m sure yours has been too (I’m suspecting there’s something in the air). I feel like maybe it’s February, just as you’re getting settled into 2018, February comes to slap you in the face and say ‘wake up bitch, don’t you dare get comfortable!’

Well after my ‘Me Day’ I am wide awake and refreshed, in love with myself and proud of who I am.

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I thought there might be a few others out there who may be having a rough time at the moment, and I get it, it sucks. But it’s not going to last forever, and it certainly isn’t the end of the world. So I wanted to tell you about my day and hopefully inspire you to do the same, and love yourself that little bit harder in your time of need.

“Hi, you’ve reached Adelaide. Sorry I can’t take your call right now. It’s ADELAIDE DAY today and I’m out taking care of myself. Leave a message and I’ll get back to you whenever I feel like it.”

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Cancel Work

I work casually, however lately, work has consumed my life. It’s good though, with so much craziness in my life it’s been a great distraction. I love my work and my work mates. But my Adelaide Day meant not coming in to work. I emailed my boss and was completely honest. Hey, I know I’m supposed to work tomorrow, but my life has been a bit crazy lately and I really just need a day to gather my thoughts and look after myself. Do you mind if I have an Adelaide Day? Because I work with such amazing and supportive people, she said yes and just like that, my day was free.

Sleep In

I’ve recently been converted to a morning person which means that if I wake up after 7am I feel like I’ve wasted my day. I love waking up early, watching the sunrise and getting a head start on my day. But this is Adelaide Day, and Adelaide required a sleep in. I slept until 9:30am and honestly, felt so rested. It was simply glorious waking up without an alarm, with sunlight shining through my window.

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Beach & Sunshine

There’s nothing that says ‘I love you Adelaide’ like a dip in the ocean and a nap on the beach. I headed down to soak up some rays with Dylan. There’s something so medicating about the ocean that instantly washes away your problems and invigorates you with energy and life. I laid in the sun just a little longer than I normally would and felt so relaxed. When I got home and looked in the mirror, I felt like I’d been at a spa treatment all day. I felt sleepy, relaxed, smelled of coconut and my hair was a mess.

A Bite To Eat

I love going out for lunch and I love going out solo. I went to one of my favourite cafe’s, ordered my favourite meal, with my favourite coffee and wrote in my journal. You’ve gotta look after your taste-buds and caffeinate.

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Retail Therapy

Nothing says treat yourself like a new outfit or two. Even if it’s just trying on clothes to get some ideas, I love a little window shopping. And I love it even more when I find gorgeous clothes that make me feel like the Queen I am (or think I am – depends if you get me on a confident day or not). I bought some gorgeous flowy pants, some crop tops and some sparkly underwear for Mardi Gras (which I’m way too excited about). Sometimes you just have to tap your card and not look at the total – that’s future you’s problem.

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Cooking

A little known fact about me is that I absolutely love cooking, I just rarely find the time or inspiration. But on my Me Day, there was no excuse. I made some delicious burritos for Tiger and Chloe. Plus we had an extravagant cheese board with a few too many beers. Cutting, chopping and creating something delicious and nutritious for your body and tastebuds sure is rewarding.

Sex & The City Marathon

Did you know that Sex & The City can cure anything? Yep. Fact. By chance, a SATC marathon was on TV. Naturally, we stayed up til midnight watching it. One beer per episode. By the time it reached midnight, I was pretty tipsy and feeling pretty damn amazing.

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I know it’s not always possible to have an extraordinary Me Day. There’s work, prior commitments, homework…. the thing is that in our crazy lives, these things will always be there. Sometimes you just have to cancel your day and show yourself a little love. Maybe I just didn’t do this enough when I was in a relationship. Take some time for me. But hey, at least I won’t forget it any time soon. And I think it’s something we have to do every now and again. Plus, who doesn’t love a SATC marathon?!

Be strong. Be kind. Be kind to yourself. And have a break. You deserve it. 

18 Things I Want To Achieve in 2018

It’s that time of year again… New Years Resolution time! Last year I must’ve been super pumped for 2017 because I set 52 goals for 2017. And after recently reflecting on my achievements (or lack thereof), I thought it might be a better idea to consolidate that number right back down and set some meaningful goals.

2018 I’m coming for you!

  1. Explore a new state. I’m thinking South Australia, Tasmania or Northern Territory. After such a great year of discovering different parts of Australia, I’ve fallen in love with the idea of exploring your own backyard. Australia is so diverse and freakin huge and I want to see as much of it as possible.
  2. City2Surf. You’ve heard it here first… I’m going to sign up for the City2Surf again! But this time, I want to actually train for it! Dicko – get your shoes ready…. it’s race time!
  3. Graduate with 1st Class Honours. Ah OK that’s a big, scary one. But you have to put these big and scary goals out in to the universe and truly believe you can do it. Honours (I’m sure) will be hectic, but I would absolutely love to make it to the end with 1st class. If I don’t, I’m sure I will have still worked hard and tried my best. But let’s dream big, and work hard for a 1st! (eek).
  4. YOGA. This was on my list for 2017 and I really didn’t do it anywhere near as much as I would have liked. Yoga always leaves me feeling recharged, re-centred, healthy and flexible so I just have to bring it into 2018 more. Under this goal also comes: healthy eating, meditation, taking time for myself and all that other basic yet important stuff!
  5. Try something new. When was the last time you did something for the first time? I’m thinking along the lines of a dance class, sailing… something a bit random and different to push myself out of my comfort zone.
  6. Discover a new country. Again, putting it out there, I don’t know how, when, with who, why but travel and adventure is so important to me and at the end of next year I want to be able to say I’ve been to another country. The real question is which one?
  7. Save some adult money. So I’m not going to say how much but I want to have some actual proper money behind me for all of those adult things that are sure to come my way sooner or later. Of course I want money to travel and see and do all of these wonderful things but I think it’s time for some serious saving!!
  8. Show gratitude. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the people around me. My friends, family, colleagues, soul mate friends and boyfriend… are all so supportive and encouraging of me. Your support network, your squad, your gang, they’re the people who make and shape you and I can never express how grateful I am for these people. Whether it’s a note, a coffee date, a conversation, a check in, a movie date… it’s always important to say thank you to those people who are there to support you.
  9. Write write write. When I look back at my blog and diary, I’m so proud that I’ve written so much. Whether it’s advice, thoughts, opinions or ‘my favourite things’ (thanks Chantelle for keeping me on my toes with that one), I love expressing myself through writing. Along with my blog (of course) and Twenty Something Humans, I want to also submit my work elsewhere… a magazine, a site, a newspaper, a blog… Getting my work published is an absolute dream. But dreams don’t get handed to you, you gotta work for them.
  10. Spend less time on my phone. OK I know this is a pretty common goal, but I think it’s a pretty necessary one. Over the past few months I’ve felt glued to my phone, anxious when I don’t know where it is, when I don’t have reception or not checking my emails. And it’s absolutely draining. Sure, phones are extremely handy and I couldn’t live without it, but I should be able to live a few hours or even a few days without it.
  11. Twerk it. So maybe not actually twerk, but I definitely wanna get the heart pumping, sweat dripping and booty twerking. Whether it’s riding my bike, going for a run (haha what?), playing netball, going swimming… being fit and healthy is so important for your body and mind. Plus it’ll keep the booty in fine shape hehe.
  12. Podcast, video and content creation. If you’ve been following my blog for the past few months, you would know that I have been creating content for Twenty Something Humans. It’s an amazing website dedicated to us millennials. Writing for them has been amazing because it’s something I really believe in, relate to and find comes naturally (Kate – you’re absolutely killing it!). A few months ago I mentioned maybe making a video for them but I never got around to it. So this year I would love to get more involved and more creative with not only Twenty Something Humans, but also my blog!
  13. Attend a conference. To be honest, I have no idea what conference, where, when, how, but I feel like attending a big event where I can learn, network and be inspired would be super cool. Why not?!
  14. Volunteer and get involved. Volunteering and being involved in the local community is one of the things that keeps me going, fills my heart and makes me feel like I’m doing something meaningful. I often find that I learn more than I teach and grow more than I thought imaginable. It makes me feel a part of something bigger than my own little world and it feels amazing.
  15. Meet new people. I’m pretty proud to say that I am completely a people person. I love meeting new people, hearing about their lives, their stories and experiences. I feel that it’s very important to always keep on your toes and meet new people to challenge yourself and also make new friends. This means saying yes to events and putting myself out there to meet these people and expand that friendship group.
  16. Read read read. The past few months I’ve been smashing out the books and there is absolutely no better feeling than finishing a good book. I want to read fiction, non-fiction, about history, people, nature and science. So if you have any recommendations, throw them this way.
  17. Believe in myself as much as I believe in others. I generally think of myself as the best co-pilot around. I don’t really enjoy being the pilot, the one taking control and charging ahead. I prefer to be the co-pilot, the supportive, ready to go person who believes in the pilot’s ability to do the job. Whilst I don’t think this characteristic is going to change, I think it’s time I start believing in myself as much as I believe in others, and as much as others believe in me “She believed she could, so she did.” Part 1 is believe, part 2 is do.
  18. Be fierce. Yes this was a goal from last year, but it worked out pretty damn well. So 2018, I will be fierce again. I will be stronger, braver, kinder, unstoppable and unapologetically myself. Being fierce gives me strength, keeps me humble and keeps me motivated. Maybe if I’m fierce this year and next, and maybe the one after that, I will live a strongly fierce life with kindness, love and passion – all I could ever ask for.

What are your New Years resolutions? Let me know! I hope 2018 is wonderful and filled with love, peace and a lot of booty shaking!

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Did I Achieve My 2017 New Years Resolutions?

At the beginning of each year, I like to set out some goals that I’d like to achieve. I think they call them New Years resolutions… At the start of this year, damn I must’ve been incredibly ambitious because I wrote a list of 52 things I want to achieve in 2017 (you can read it here).

So before I write a list of things I want to achieve in 2018 (I definitely won’t be setting a goal of 52!! What was I thinking?) I want to look back at the year that was and assess whether I met my goals or not, and how I can maybe check them off next year and what I need to do to turn these goals into actions.

  1. Play netball
  2. Do yoga – every week –  I need to bring yoga into 2018 for sure!
  3. Meditate – outside in fresh air for replenishment
  4. Get flexible – being flexible makes you sexible (Thanks Logan Paul)
  5. Don’t eat shit – steer clear of fried food, fast food and cakes (birthday cakes and pizza are allowed) (birthday pizza is allowed and also encouraged) – yes if home made pizza is acceptable
  6. Eat mostly vegetarian – buy and cook vegetarian, if you see something tasty on the menu like some chicken, treat yo self
  7. Compost
  8. Learn how to compost- fail
  9. Buy an awesome coffee mug and bring it everywhere (no more takeaway cups)
  10. Buy an awesome French Press coffee maker to put awesome coffee in my awesome coffee mug
  11. Make my lunch the night before
  12. Make an entire meal for my friends and family
  13. Learn how to cook an impressive meal. E.g bake a fish, lasagne, brownies, pad thai
  14. Go to a new country  – went to 4 (Thailand, Mexico, Belize and Guatemala)
  15. Learn Spanish – on the list for 2018 for sure!
  16. Visit Tasmania – points for a camper van, extra points for hitch hiking or bike riding – no but I did camper van explore around Western Australia so I’ll count this on. Tasmania I’m coming for you next year!
  17. Visit home more often – sorry mum. I’ll make that a goal for 2018
  18. Have coffee and cake with my Grandma & Grandad, Nan & Pop – 2018 is going to be very family oriented!
  19. Send letters
  20. FaceTime my friends overseas – yes but I need to do this more
  21. Experiment with video styles
  22. Make a video once a week
  23. Blog once a week – it hasn’t been once a week but between writing for Twenty Something Humans, making videos and doing uni work, I think I’ve been going pretty well.
  24. Make some money from said videos and blogs
  25. Graduate (with distinction) WOOOOOO
  26. Watch 12 sunrises (once a month)
  27. Learn to surf
  28. Try Bollywood/Pole Dancing
  29. Volunteer at uni
  30. Make a killer CV #employable
  31. Go on a roadtrip Hello Byron Bay
  32. Have lunch at the grounds of Alexandria
  33. Work hard at uni. HD’s come at me.
  34. Enquire about honours/masters (overseas)
  35. Go to careers central and plan my future career path
  36. Go to a trampoline park and learn how to do a back flip
  37. Read, read, read – bulk books have been read this year!
  38. Go in the City2Surf
  39. Work hard at work
  40. Practice my French by watching French films, French YouTubers and as part of the French Society – Salut French Major!
  41. Don’t buy things for the sake of it. How many more clothes do you really need?
  42. Complete the waste challenge
  43. Have at least 1 make up free day a week – Fuck make up! I’ve started going fresh face every where and my skin is loving it!
  44. Make people birthday gifts
  45. Make a vision board and decorate it with fairy lights – did the vision board (turned into being a vision wall) but no lights.
  46. Learn how to edit videos – I think I’m getting better but I’d love to upgrade from iMovie to Adobe or Premier Pro. 
  47. Make a snapchat filter
  48. Meet new people and put myself out there
  49. Go to a festival/concert I’ve been to so many gigs this year I wish I could cross this one out twice!
  50. Stress less
  51. Promote peace and understanding. Try not to be as critical of others and myself. Believe in myself, my values, decisions and choices. Don’t drink as much as I did in Montreal (sorry liver). Look for the joy in life. Be accepting of others.
  52. Be FIERCEYAS QUEEN!

I guess the thing to take away from this is that it’s OK not to achieve all of the things you set out to do (especially if you set 52 goals!). New Years Resolutions are about setting a list of goals and dreaming big. About trying, failing and trying again. They act as a reminder to what you want, what you wanted and may even help reassess where you’re at. I may not have achieved all of my goals for 2017, but I’m pretty damn proud of what I have achieved!

Stay tuned for my 2018 goals! Coming soon….

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Share House Survival Guide 

Are you really a millennial if you haven’t lived in a share house? Living in an overpriced, slightly run down, house/apartment/garage/box, with a few of your mates is a rite of passage. It’s the first time we taste freedom and test our limits after flying the nest. Most people will be able to tell you of rosy, lovely times they had back in their day in their shared house. But for every one of these people, there’s 10 others just waiting to tell you a horror story or go on a 20 minute rant about their share house experience.  

So to avoid this tension and bring a little peace back into our tumultuous lives, here is my survival guide to living in a share house.  

 Establish House Rules 

OK so you’re supposed to be adults now with all this new freedom. But little did you know that the bubble you’ve been living in (your family home), is a bubble and it is about to be burst. People live very different lifestyles with different expectations and realities of cleanliness, what can and can’t be shared, how loud you can listen to your music, when people need to pee and you’ve been in the bathroom for 40minutes. You want to get off on the right foot and taking an hour at the beginning of your lease to talk about these things will save you a lot of frustration, confusion and bursting bladders.  

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Have a joint account  

If you’re that sort of household that smokes a lot of weed, then a joint account is a good idea (haha get it) . And if you’re not, a joint account is still a good idea. It makes the complex adult world of ‘paying bills,’ much less stressful and much easier to handle. Transfer your rent plus a little extra every week to go towards bills, cleaning products and beer. A house that drinks and/or smokes together, stays together. 

The Facebook Chat is the DEVIL – try a real conversation 

You may be tempted to create a Facebook chat with a catchy, punny title dedicated to house updates. Whilst it’s a good idea for little things like yo we’re out of toilet paper,’ it is not the place for ‘ok so our gas got cut off and we have no hot water’ crisis’. No joke – our gas got cut off and it truly did test our friendship (and strength to have cold showers in winter). We all know that sarcasm and Facebook rarely works, so why would we think that talking about serious house issues in the group chat would be any different. Call a house meeting or give them a call and talk about it. Talking about any issues is the best way to resolve it.  

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Don’t be a tight ass, share your milk, bread, oil….  

Living in a share house implies sharing things. So don’t be that person who writes their name on the milk bottle… it’s just milk. Sharing is caring, plus there’s no point crying over shared milk.  

However… label your hummus. That shits precious. 

Sharing is caring, but sharing your hummus is for your soul mate.  

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The kitchen….. 

I wish I had the answer to keeping a kitchen tidy. I really wish I did. What I find most effective is if you pile up all their dirty dishes into a neat corner of the kitchen and clean around it. I think the communal kitchen is a global unsolvable problem.  Just like the chicken or the egg… whose dirty dish came first? (not mine).

Play music when having that special friend over 

Most share houses that us twenty something humans can afford are pretty shit (I call it character building). But that means that they have pretty thin walls. One of the perks of living in a share house is that you can bring whoever you want back to your place without sneaking around. But living in a share house is all about respect, so if you like to get your groove on, um, loudly… play some music.  

 

Living in a share house really is the epitome of being a twenty something human. As dirty, stressful, drunk or noisy it may be, your housemates become your family and your share house a home. Over the years you’ll live with good housemate, bad housemates, terrible housemates, and housemates that turn into your best friends. No matter what happens, at least you’ll get some good stories and character building out of it.  

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[This post was written for Twenty Something Humans]

My Favourite Australian Bands & Singers: ADD THEM TO YOUR SPOTIFY PLAYLIST NOW

I LOVE AUSTRALIAN MUSIC! Whenever I travel abroad or meet people from other countries, I feel personally obligated to share with them our amazing Aussie talent. We’re unique, we’re badass and we honestly kill it in the music world. So I thought I’d finally make my go to list of favourite Aussie artists.

Meg Mac

Violent Soho

Camp Cope

Tired Lion

Missy Higgins

Creatures At Leisure

Vera Blue

Powderfinger

Dune Rats

Gang of Youths

San Cisco

Angus and Julia Stone

Confidence Man

Boy and Bear

Alex Lahey

The Jezabels

British India

Amy Shark

SAFIA

Flume

Chet Faker

Jet

Across the Ditch

Broods

Lorde

2018 Plans & Dreams: PhD and a New Country?

2017 is wrapping up. How do I know that? Christmas carols are sneaking their way into our shopping centres and it’s not even December! Which means that 2018 will come around faster than I’m ready for it. So whilst I’ve found a moment to catch my breath after graduating (you can read about it here), I’ve turned my hungry eyes to 2018. What’s on the cards hey? Well you’re in for a treat and I’m excited as hell because I’ve got some real exciting and scary plans, plus some options and decisions I have to make. 2018… damn it makes me feel old….

My Little Brother is Turning 18!!!

Speaking of feeling old, nothing will make you feel that way like knowing your little, baby, innocent brother is turning 18. Oh. My. God. Honestly – I cannot freakin wait! So Isaac, start preparing your liver. Haha just kidding Mum!

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PhD?

Ok not quite, but what I am doing is the quickest way to a PhD which is pretty cool. Next year (hopefully) I’ll be doing my Honours/Thesis/Dissertation/Whateverthehellyouwannacallit. Basically I’ll be writing 18000 words on a topic I’ve researched all year. At the moment, and this is subject to change, but I’m planning on exploring gender inequality amongst migrant women working in the United States. Skilled and unskilled workers who may or may not be documented and therefore impact their quality of life, jobs, education and services they can access. #nerdalert But seriously this is an area I’m super interested in, particularly after travelling to Central America in July (you can read about that here). A PhD isn’t entirely out of the question later on (what am I thinking?!), so this isn’t entirely clickbait. Maybe that’s a 2020 goal?

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Study study study

Moving

Woo another year another move! Fresh place means fresh start. Ideally somewhere near the beach where I plan to spend the rest of my 2018!

Learn Spanish

Just in case I won’t be studying enough, learning Spanish is on the cards! After travelling Central America I realised the importance of knowing the local language. I already speak French so hopefully (fingers crossed) it will be easyish. Learning languages are so underrated and one of the most valuable skills you can learn. We in the West have this naive belief that everyone speaks English. Well they don’t and we suck for only knowing one language. So, challenge accepted amigos!

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New Country….

I think I’ll go crazy with all of this study, work and serious business without a trip booked to motivate me through it. But where to go?! I’m open to suggestions so let me know in the comments where you’d recommend! I’ll probably only have the funds and time to be able to go away for 7-10 days. I’m thinking New Caledonia, Bali, Tahiti, Fiji vibes? Basically coconut trees and beaches.

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Maybe I’ll just live here instead? Source

 

This list is obviously not exhaustive but there’s just some really exciting things I’ve got planned for 2018. Of course I’ll be writing my ‘2018 Things I Want To Achieve This Year’ but sometimes it’s just nice to put your goals, plans and dreams out into the Universe. Or in this case the blogosphere for the blog fairy godmother to make come true.

GRADUATING: The Tears & Beers

On the 27th October, I submitted my final assignment of my undergraduate degree (woah!). As I pressed the submit button, my eyes nervously scanned the room for the little guy about to pop confetti all over me and carry me out of the library on a throne. I received my email receipt saying my assignment had been successfully submitted, yet the confetti and throne didn’t come. #confused. So I walked home, texted my Dad saying I’d finished and listened to the mysteriously good Demi Lovato album. I got home, got changed and sat on my bed… now what?

Naturally, I needed a beer. I hopped on my bike and rode the Dan Murphy’s, treated myself to a 6-pack of craft beer (I’m officially not a poor uni student anymore), and went home. I cracked open a beer, flung open my laptop, and chucked on some documentaries about gun violence in America (cheerful right?).

After about 3 beers, my Dad called me to congratulate me. It was then that I began to feel pretty stoked. I felt this overwhelming feeling that I’d actually made my Dad proud. He asked me what I was doing and I told him abut my depressing gun violence documentary. He then replied with ‘Adelaide, you’ve finished studying, you don’t need to pretend to be smart anymore.’ Haha thanks Dad… I’m just actually this much of a nerd that I celebrate not studying, with watching some intense docos but not feeling guilty about it.

A few beers later, I had some flowers delivered to my house. My Mum is pretty talented at getting flowers delivered (she somehow even managed to be able to deliver flowers to my hotel room when I was in Mexico!). They were stunning and made me well up. Even though my parents weren’t there with me, I could feel their pride and hugs from miles away.

My phone was inundated with messages from friends and family, congratulating me on my achievement. I was so overwhelmed with love and support, that it suddenly felt real.

I had finally finished my Bachelor of Communications & Media Studies – Bachelor of International Studies (Deans Scholar) Majoring in French & Global Media, Minoring in Global Sustainable Development and the Environment – phew that’s a mouth full!

That evening Mitch came over and we went out to dinner at the ultimate place to celebrate anything…. His Boy Elroy. Some burgers and espresso martini later, it was the perfect ending to an amazing and emotional day.

Does it feel real? Nope. Do I know what I’m doing next? Hell no. Do I care? Absolutely not. For the time being, I’m going to jet off to Thailand to my sister (who also graduated – congrats girl) to eat, drink and soak up some sunshine to fully embrace our graduation success.

This post is dedicated to my friends and family who have unconditionally supported me throughout my epic university journey. Without you guys, I really don’t know where I’d be. They say it’s not about the destination, but the journey. And I’ve had one heck of a ride.

To all of you out there about to graduate, studying for final exams, or have still got a few years left… you can do it. One step at a time. It’s not easy, no one ever said it would be. But I promise you that those celebratory beers will go down even easier once you finish. Work hard, party harder and make sure to take a break, relax your mind and remember it’s all going to be OK. You got this!

🎓🎓🎓

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WTF is Leadership?

Leadership. It’s this complex buzz word that’s thrown around in business meetings, job applications and by motivational speakers. But what does it really mean? Surely it’s more than some confusing words on a resume?

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Yes Mr. Trump, “leadership” is a real thing, and it’s a really freakin awesome and empowering thing. Being a leader or having leadership qualities isn’t a finished product or end result. I guess that’s what I used to think. Growing up, I’d draw inspiration from people I admired and wanted to be like. Looking at their success as a polished, final piece of art. Motivational speakers will always talk about their ‘journey’ their ‘failures’ and ‘setbacks.’ Sure, these mistakes are all part of the journey, but they’ll always finish with a classic one liner of ‘and you can do this too.’ And I’d be sitting there thinking… how?! Tell me how!

I think the concept of being a leader needs to change. Being a leader doesn’t inherently mean you’ve ‘made it.’ But instead it means your figuring it out and making it work for you. There’s no secret formula, no ‘how to’, no road map… the best place to begin is way out of your comfort zone, without a road map.

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One thing I’m extremely passionate about is travel. Not only is it incredible to see the sites of the world, but I get such a buzz out of meeting new people from all walks of life with all kinds of incredibly unique experiences. I love trying new food, wandering new streets, learning new languages, listening to stories and relishing in history. I’m extremely lucky to have been able to travel quite extensively around the world. France, England, Poland, China, Italy, Germany, Spain, Iceland, Canada and America to name a few. But the place that challenged me the most was my recent trip to Mexico (you can read more about my trip to Mexico here).

It was the first time I’d ever been somewhere with such poverty and inequality. Mexico has the highs of the highs and the lowest of lows, which in itself is such a hard task being somewhere with such contrast and flavour. I was there studying immigration and had the incredible experience of meeting refugees, asylum seekers and migrants from all over Central America. Listening to their stories was incredibly heart breaking. But instead of feeling pity for these people, I felt motivated. I had just formed a genuine connection with these people who opened up and shared with me some of the hardest struggles of their life. I was so inspired by what they had overcome, the immense strength they possessed and beautiful way they looked at life.

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These people are in no way close to the standard definition of successful, or the definition of a leader. And I’m sure they wouldn’t accept that title anyway. But that’s who true leaders are. They are people who are humble, determined, driven, considerate, thoughtful, have integrity, humility and courage. True leaders inspire others to self reflect and challenge them to make life better. After my encounter with these people, I’ve never felt more out of my comfort zone, lost and confused but I’ve also never felt more motivated to make a difference and pursue my goals and dreams.

To me, leadership means being unapologetically yourself. Possessing self confidence, backing yourself and being your own biggest fan. How can you expect others to believe in you if you don’t? Leadership means networking and teamwork. No great leader ever made it to where they were without the epic behind the scenes work of their network of people that believed in them and helped them out along the way. It means taking risks and learning from your mistakes when those risks don’t turn out. To me, leadership is about taking control of your life, what you want to get out of it and making a positive difference.

You shouldn’t aim to be a leader. Just aim to be yourself. You never know who you’ll inspire along the way.

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Travel Regrets Part 2 (Because The Regrets Keep On Comin’)

On any given day, you will find yourself scrolling through Instagram, and judging the photos of your friends galavanting around Europe on a Summer extravaganza, whilst you stuff your face with Doritos under the covers of the pillow fort that used to be your bed. You’ll see them with their ripped, tanned abs, low cut bikinis, coloured doors, stray cats and sailing boats that they’ve called home for the past week and what have you been doing? Watching Friends re-runs, that’s what.

In July this year I was lucky enough to leave the comfort of my pillow fort and travel around Central America for a month; Guatemala, Belize and Mexico. To the untrained eye, I too was living the dream (not going to lie it was pretty damn awesome). But little did those people at home in their pillow forts know that my trip was filled with regrets, mistakes, sickness and an overwhelming longing to curl up into the fetal position.

I wrote an article about my travel regrets a few months ago, and at that stage I didn’t think there was much more to regret or fuck up. How wrong I was because here, dear friends, is part two…

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Bringing a suitcase

 Who the fuck brings a suitcase on a G Adventures ‘YOLO’ style adventure tour? I was the only one in my group who had a suitcase and each time I had to push it up ridiculously steep hills, through mud, across cobblestone streets, up stairs, on boats and buses… I was constantly reminded of my naïve choice. What was I thinking?

Booking the cheapest flight (despite the layovers)

 In the moment you think “sure, I can wait in Mexico City airport for 9 hours before catching my connecting flight to Guatemala City,” but when that 9 hours is from 1am…things start feeling a little bleak. I might have saved myself a whole $50, but I paid for it in breakfast, lunch and my sanity.

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Not bringing a rain jacket

 Listen to what your grandma says…. ‘take a rain coat.’ I dismissed this advice thinking only of all the sunshine and warmth I was about to immerse myself in. Ah, Central America in Summer! No! Do your fucking research and you’ll realise it’s their rainy season and that Mexico City has an altitude of 2500m in the fucking mountains where it fucking rains all the fucking time! If you couldn’t tell, this was a rather sore spot for me after confidently rejecting the thought to take a rain coat.

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Hooking up with a Guatemalan guy named Alejandro

Actually, is that a regret? Hell no, we salsa danced all night, went to a rave, made out and danced until morning! Oh, I remember… it was the hangover the next day that was the regret, not Alejandro. I mean really? His name was Alejandro!!!

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Not reading my briefing instructions properly

When I was in Mexico I was studying at a Catholic university, and in the brief (which I only skim-read) it specifically states that you can’t wear thongs or singlets to uni. As an Aussie girl abroad, that was basically the entirety of my suitcase (for someone that’s travelled a lot, I really fucked up on this whole weather/climate thing). So off I went to buy some respectable length skirts and modest shirts that covered my scandalous shoulders.

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Not having a polaroid camera

 This one’s a bit of a meaningful regret. When reflecting on my time abroad I wish I could have made a more meaningful contribution to the lives of some people I met; two specific times in particular:

1- When we did a homestay with a traditional Mayan family in Guatemala. They lived a very simple life, roosters for alarm clocks, no TV, cooking over a fire, no hot water or internet, with only several photos on their family room wall. I wish I could’ve been able to whip out a polaroid camera and take a family photo for them for their wall.

2 – During my course in Mexico City, we often met with refugees. For their protection, we could not take digital photos. However, I wish I could’ve had a polaroid camera to take photos of the kids and give it to their mothers and fathers as keepsakes.

The idea of taking photos is so skewed for us living in developed, technology saturated countries. It’s a touch of a button on our phones and we share it to the world online. For people who don’t have this privilege, photos are all they have of their family. They can put it in their pocket and hold onto it forever. It means so much more than a piece of paper. It means they’re able to capture, remember and bring their loved ones with them on their journey.

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Eating those street tacos

OK I don’t think it was the street tacos, but something I ate over there made me sick. Very sick. Let’s just say the next two weeks whatever I put in my mouth, did not come out of my body in a nice way. You can read my shameful tell all here.

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Picking up hitchhikers

No not people… parasites! After my rather shitty experience with getting sick in Mexico, I came back to Australia still experiencing horrendous cramps. After a rather confronting experience of having to poo in a cup, it’s confirmed that I have two little parasite friends living in my stomach. Rest assured, I’m on some pretty serious pro-biotics, but in the meantime I named my new friends Pablo and Renee. Lucky me!

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Dying on a public bus in Belize
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Luisa couldn’t quite make it to paradise

Don’t believe those beautifully crafted Instagram photos and witty captions, everyone has travel regrets, mistakes, fuck ups and maybe some parasites too. I just wanted to put mine on the internet to get down and real when talking about the joy of travelling. Oh and I guess I just wanted to brag about my hook up with Alejandro. No shame, he was hot.

[This article was originally written for TWENTY SOMETHING HUMANS]

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Talkin’ Shit

Important note: This post contains a huge amount of poo talk, shit loads of it actually. It’s not for the faint hearted. If you’re someone that dry retches at the thought of someone else taking a dump, or prefers to keep your poo stories between you and your loo, then now might be a good time to stop reading.  

When was the last time you had a good old chat about poo? Does the word ‘poo’ make you squirm? Does it make you giggle? Does it make your stomach churn? Or does it make you yearn for a nice long, peaceful poo? I’ve recently been in Mexico, so poo has been somewhat of a hot topic for me, as I’m sure you can imagine (don’t imagine too hard now). 

Getting gastro/food poisoning/a sombrero wearing, maraca shaking parasite in Mexico, sure helps you break down any reservations that you might have on the topic but it’s not always easy to, pardon the pun, talk shit, especially with new people that you’re meeting along your travels. 

As someone who’s lived to tell the tale (JUST), here’s my guide to talkin shit.   

Humour is essential   

Talking about shit is probably the most real and hilarious thing you could possibly talk about with another person (IMO), especially if you’ve had a bad experience with your bowels– ahem, Bali Belly anyone? Talkin’ shit shows that you’re the type of person that doesn’t take themselves too seriously, just make sure you pick you target wisely because there are a few humans out there that could be utterly offended by your potty humour.  

It’s an easy and fun way to get to know someone very quickly indeed. Get a load of this… 

I was sitting on the toilet in Mexico, my arse on fire, sweat rolling down my…everywhere, with knife stabbing stomach cramps twisting into my gut, thinking, ‘this is how I die.’ I don’t know why everyone doubted Elvis dying on the toilet because I definitely came within inches of my own death. I can confirm it would be the most horrific and smelly death possible. A combination of anti-diarrhoea pills, electrolytes, sleep, lemonade and plain white rice, and one week later I was finally strong enough to add veggies to that plain rice. 

What the doctor didn’t prescribe was a decent dose of laughter. At the end of the day, your body has been through unimaginable pain, all you really need is someone to talk to about your poo problems with and just laugh it out. At least it will cover the tears.   

See…after learning that about me we’re basically Hamish and Andy level best friends now. If you’re still in doubt, I present to you, exhibit B…  

 

   

Judgement Free Zone  

I had a conversation that changed my life. I met a girl, who had actually shit her pants and lived to tell the tale. I sat there mesmerized. I didn’t think that life after SYP (shitting your pants) existed. But there she was, in the flesh, alive and well to share her story with others desperately seeking hope. Now I wouldn’t go as far to say that she’s a saint, but she sure did save me from my toilet of despair.   

When discussing the deeply painful personal stories of poo tragedies, it’s important to understand that person is entrusting you with their deepest darkest shittiest secrets. So hold their hand, hold back that laugh and simply say ‘I’m sorry that happened to you.’ Then you can proceed to burst into laughter and write about them on the internet. 

 

Normalise it  

Have you ever woken up, hungover as hell and had the overwhelming need to take a good long shit? Of course you have, it’s called an after grog bog and we all know it’s an essential (and amazing) part of the hangover experience. But how many of you have endured this pain because you’ve got a stranger in the bed next to you, or your housemates are making brekky in the kitchen, devastatingly located next to the toilet, and the thought of the regrets echoing from the toilet bowel is just too cringe worthy to deal with?  

We know it’s in the natural order, so why do so many of us get scared shitless? Embrace it, announce it to the world! I’m hungover and I need to get rid of this grog bog! It’s all in the discussion, let it out, verbally and physically and we can free ourselves from this toilet shame.   

Now that I’ve overcome my ‘incident’, I feel that I’m a much stronger person, emotionally and physically. I may never be the same again, my stomach might and my butt is permanently haunted, but it’s something I’ve been able to overcome and grow from. I, and I hope you have too, have come to appreciate the fact that poo is a natural part of our lives that we should all be able to talk about. Not all the time, but just now and then. 

[This post was initially written for Twenty Something Humans]

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