Content, Growth and Inspiration: BCM240 Reflection

“There is nothing gutsier to me than a person announcing that their story is one that deserves to be told” – Lena Dunham

The above quote from one of my idols, Lena Dunham, is so deeply motivating in my blogging career, because it gives me purpose and pride that I’m sharing my voice on my small blog, in the big wide world of the blogosphere. Prior to taking BCM240: Media Audience and Place, I had been blogging for approximately 1.5years and have been attempting to steadily grown my readership. Blogging is something I find relaxing, entertaining, challenging and exciting all at the same time and that’s why I’ve been attempting to grow beyond blogging as a Communications student, to, well… a blogger. I feel that whilst this subject required me to be blogging as a student, considering various perspectives and values placed on the complex relationships between media and audience, it also really pushed me to think of life beyond university and how I want to be perceived in the blogosphere. So I really focused on three areas, content, growth and inspiration. Through workshops, class discussions and countless hours trying to get that Twitter widget to work, I feel like I’m at a place with my blog that I’m not only happy with it, but maybe even a little bit proud.

My amazing Grandma and Grandad
My amazing Grandma and Grandad

Content. The most enjoyable part of blogging for BCM240 were the connections I made and strengthened, allowing me to produce some of my most valuable content. For my first several posts, I worked closely with my Grandad, as he told me beautiful stories from his childhood and memories when he was my age. As we explored the difference between collaborative and reciprocal ethnographic research, I attempted to engage in a collaborative approach. Whilst collaborative research requires a lot of time and attention, I feel that Grandad and I definitely worked together to explore various issues regarding the media and audience. I personally feel that senior citizens are generally overlooked in media research and deemed as people who are technologically handicapped. However I feel that there’s people out there like my Grandad who’s smashing this stereotype. Not only is this group of people, well connected technologically, but they’re also very aware and have genuine concerns regarding the role that technology and the media have in our lives. (To read a guest post by my Grandad, click here).

The Bloglovin widget
The Bloglovin widget. Source 

Growth. A way that I’ve found brings a lot of traffic to my site is to read and comment on other people’s blogs. Some of the spikes in views I’ve had were on days that I didn’t even post anything, but spent time commenting on blogs (and always including a URL to my blog at the end). I’ve found that by doing this I’m engaging much more with the blogging community and other like-minded bloggers. Also by doing this with other BCM240 blogs and students, it forms a great sense of community in the subject.

One of the toughest things that I had to overcome with my blog was its layout and design. However, A Beautiful Mess definitely offered some inspiration and thoughtful suggestions regarding layout and design. I absolutely loved the theme I previously had, however its primary focus was on my photographs and not my content or plugins I’ve embedded in my blog (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Bloglovin etc). After some umming and ahhing I decided to bite the bullet and endeavour on a near impossible journey to find the perfect theme. Whilst it’s still not perfect, I’m so much happier with the light colours, the side-bars which encourage interaction and the ease of navigation. I hope this will assist in the growth of my blog by being more interactive and engaging to readers.

Social media is a great way to connect with people all across the world with the click of a button. I’ve read countless articles about blog growth, however Heidi Cohen offers great advice on how to utilise social media for your blog. In June I created a Facebook page for my blog that has been steadily growing. I felt that this was a better way to share A Worldly Addiction, rather than constantly making status’ on my own personal profile. Through analysing my statistics, Facebook is my primary contributor to traffic. I also have an Instagram account for A Worldly Addiction (@aworldlyaddiction) that I’ve really enjoyed growing. At the moment, it’s very small and I’m still learning all the tricks to Instagram but it’s incredibly enjoyable and rewarding. I currently just have my personal Twitter account linked with A Worldly Addiction because I have to purposely and actively remember to use Twitter, so whilst I’m getting in the habit of doing so, I’ll just stick with my personal Twitter account (@missaaadelaide). great platform that I also use to share my blog and discovers others is Bloglovin.

The following link also gave me 101 Ideas on how to generate traffic to your blog.

That time I got to meet Brooke Saward, the genuis behind World of Wanderlust! Inspiration overload
That time I got to meet Brooke Saward, the genuis behind World of Wanderlust! Inspiration overload

Inspiration. Inspiration is all around us, especially in the Blogosphere. There are a few blogs in particular that I’ve been particularly inspired by and look to for guidance and how to’s. Firstly, my favourite, World of Wanderlust. You only need to look here to find how much I absolutely love her blog. And then there’s Secret Bloggers Business, who’s free ebooks are filled with useful blogging tips and tricks. I feel that once I am inspired, I’m more driven and focused. Kaufman also argues that ‘inspiration is the springboard for creativity and can increase wellbeing’ (Kaufman, 2011).

Eat. Sleep. Blog. Repeat. I know I have a long way to go in my blogging career, however it’s something I’m passionate about and absolutely love doing so I’m prepared to put in the hard yards to make that happen. I feel that BCM240 has contributed the greatest amount of practical advice, guidance and encouragement with my blog and also helped my professional networking ability. I have also explored various aspects of the intricately complex relationship between the media and us as the audience. And this is all so relevant to myself as a blogger. I don’t just jump onto WordPress and write a blog in one hit. I have 10 other tabs open, I’ve always got my phone within reach and sometimes even have the TV on. And this situation would resonate with many people reading this. The Centre for Media Literacy says that ‘studying the media helps us understand ourselves and other,’ and I feel this is the epicentre of BCM240 and the key to a successful blog.

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And before I go… Here’s some of my fave BCM240 blogs that I’ve stumbled across this past session.

The Blogger Life, What Happened to the family? by Eloise Neto looks at the role that parents play in influencing their child’s media behaviour, and that to avoid isolation and relationship issues, they must decide on a common ground for technology use.

Madeline Burkitt, by (you guessed it) Madeline Burkitt, is filled with not only media related ideas, but also various others, making it a great place to explore some of the thoughts and perspectives she has. I especially liked her post, The NBN in the home: an opportunity for some, as she highlights that this type of media research is crucial because it is so embedded in our lives, we must understand it!

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References

A Beautiful Mess, 2012, Blog Layout: 10 Simple Tips, A Beautiful Mess, 3 July, http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2012/07/10-blog-layout-tips.html

Cohen, H 2013, 25 Tactics to promote your blog via Facebook and Twitter, Heidi Cohen, 14 April, http://heidicohen.com/25-tactics-to-promote-your-blog-via-facebook-and-twitter/

Ewer, T n.d, 101 Simple Ways to Increase Website Traffic, Graph Paper Press, https://graphpaperpress.com/blog/101-simple-tips-increase-website-traffic/

Kaufman, S 2011, Why Inspiration Matters, Harvard Business Review, 8 November, https://hbr.org/2011/11/why-inspiration-matters

Worsnop, C n.d, 20 Important Reasons to Study the Media, The Centre for Media Literacy, http://www.medialit.org/reading-room/20-important-reasons-study-media

Where do I belong in the Media Space?

“Getting lost is a good way to find yourself” – Anonymous

Well then I guess I’m happy that I’m a little lost in life and especially the blogosphere. I’m one person, behind one laptop, my blog, with a coffee in hand, with a whole bunch of ideas that I happen to share with my friends and family and anyone (un)lucky enough to stumble across my blog. And after our first BCM240 lecture and asking myself the questions ‘where do I belong in this space called, the media?’ I was left feeling a little lost, confused and contemplating my life. And I’ve been reflecting on this and come to some interesting conclusions on finding yourself and your space in the blogosphere.

Source
Source

1. Stay true to your voice. Everyone has a unique voice and it’s important to stick to yours. Like I said, there’s milions of blogs out there, but people want to read something fresh, offering them new perspectives and insights to things they wouldn’t normally experience.

2. Stick to your motives. Ask yourself why you’re blogging, what you’re hoping to achieve, who your audience is, what goals do you have and what’s your dream? You can never go wrong it you abide by your values.

3. Network, network, network. I always say that blogging is 50% writing and the other 50% is liking, reading, commenting and exploring other people’s blogs and posts. You need to establish a network in the blogging community… and then this can lead to…

4. Opportunities! I was lucky enough to meet an established travel blogger, World of Wanderlust last month. She’s one of my personal idols, especially when it comes to blogging. From that meeting, she instagrammed photos of us, shared a link to my blog, and I got thousands of views and a few extra followers overnight. It was such an incredible opportunity to meet someone as successful in the blogosphere as Brooke, and it was definitely one of the highlights of my blogging ‘career.’ (You can read about my experience meeting World of Wanderlust here).

5. Eat. Sleep. Blog. Repeat. The key to success (especially in the blogosphere) is persistance and determination.  I love blogging. It’s as simple as that. I’m not expecting to make millions of dollars or get paid to travel the world from it (but if anyone out there is willing to pay me for that I’m available). I’m doing it because it’s something I’m proud of and thouroughly enjoy.

In my happy place
In my happy place

So… where does that lead me in the media space? I’m surrounded by all forms of media in my life, but I’d say the most influential and valued is my blog. And as the quote at the beginning of this post says ‘getting lost is a good way to find yourself.’ And that’s why I’m incredibly excited to be taking BCM240: Media, Audience and Place, to find myself a little more in this crazy space that we call, the media.

xxx A

The Not So Secret Diary of My Dry July (In March)

Dry July is something I’ve always wanted to do, but can never really do because my birthday is in July and birthday beers are always in order. So, I decided to set myself a personal challenge. Not because I’m an alcoholic, though living on campus can definitely fuel that. But because I wanted to have a bit of a break from drinking and prove to myself that I can have fun and socialise without drinking. The whole experience turned out to be quite interesting and these are my main findings from my little personal/social experiment!

No stranger to a nice cocktail
No stranger to a nice cocktail, but not this month

DAY 1 – What have I done?!

DAY 4 – Wednesday night = STUDENT NIGHT! Oh wow everyone is drunk. Not just drunk… ridiculously drunk. Woah! I’m still keen on a dance and a bit of socialising. We held pre’s and there were so many people in and around our house. Music blaring, King’s Cup kicking off and people dancing.

It’s quite a funny thing, to go clubbing sober. I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I have these sort of life epiphanies. Where I come to a strange realisation about all the things I want in my life and the person I want to be. It’s weird I know but between all the sweaty bodies and awkward grinding, I figure out what I need to do to be happy.

DAY 7 – Mardi Gras, everyone’s so happy and I’m high on life. Definitely don’t need anything to lift my spirits.

DAY 11 – Wednesday night, Student Night, again… everyone’s so drunk and I just want to snuggle up in bed and watch Sex and the City.

DAY 14 – How can people go out on Wednesday, Thursday AND Saturday night?!

DAY 15 – Pub Crawl. People can’t seem to figure out if I’m sane or not for not going.

DAY 18 – Uni night, again… to be honest I’m actually quite impressed that people can go out week after week like they do.

One thing I have noticed is that if people are aware that you are sober and have no intention of drinking, they treat you differently. I guess it could always be that they’re pretty drunk and therefore have no control over what they say or do. However, my assumption is that they don’t fully engage with you because they might have a fear of being judged by someone who is sober and aware. Honestly, I’m always keen to socialise and have some fun, drunk or not. It was a little upsetting to feel un-welcomed in my own house but I just had to make my own fun elsewhere.

Day 24 – The house is a bloody mess and the recycling bin is full of bottles.

Day 26- Ed Sheeran concert. Could probably do with a beer but only a few days left!

Day 28- Another pub crawl. Better hit the library up!

Day 31- I DID IT! Better celebrate with a beer.

Despite the mess and slight exclusion, doing this challenge was so beneficial for me mentally and physically. Not only am I feeling healthier but I feel focused and clear. I’ve discovered to accept myself and my decisions, even if it might confuse or not be widely accepted by others. I know a month of being sober isn’t much, but when it’s the beginning of a university session, it might as well be New Years Eve in 1999.

xxx A

Maps and Political Propaganda

Now that we’re challenging out preconceived ideas of a world map and the world itself, let’s shake it up further with this image.

McArthur's Universal Corrective Map http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/2/maps-cartographycolonialismnortheurocentricglobe.html
McArthur’s Universal Corrective Map of the World
http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/2/maps-cartographycolonialismnortheurocentricglobe.html

One glance at this image our brain registers it is a world map, but why does it leave us with an uneasy and unsatisfied feeling? A simple act of flipping the world Mercator map that we’re all familiar with, not only makes us look twice but also challenges our perception of the world and  why we’ve come to accept a world map the way it is. I’m completely guilty of naively staring and accepting a world map as truth (Monmonier, 2014), studying borders, cities and routes, planning epic adventures… However, recently I’ve come to question if a seemingly innocent map of the world is really that innocent.

Maps are ‘used by powerful elites to satisfy their agenda’ (Evans, 2015),  and these agendas can influence ‘national pride, borders, conquests’ (Monmonier, 2014) and much more. Criticisms of the Mercator world map include its Eurocentrism and disproportionality of countries, which both contribute to a skewed vision of the world. It presents some countries like the United Kingdom and the United State of America as large, dominant and important as they are positioned the top left and middle of the map whereas other countries like Indonesia, Japan and even continental Africa as smaller and less significant due to their positioning underneath America and Europe.

University of Wollongong, biased?
University of Wollongong, biased?

Even a simple case study using the University of Wollongong as seen on Google Maps, demonstrates the relationship between wealth, power and dominance. This is the University where I study and I encourage you to search your university or home town to see which features are most prominent and question why that is so. Why is Panizzi and Out for Lunch but not the Yard or Rush? Why is the Materials Engineering, building 4 shown but not the Communications Centre or the Law Humanities and Arts building not? ‘We map what we want to see, not what is there’ (Evans, 2015).

Searching 'Israel' into Google Maps
Searching ‘Israel’ into Google Maps 2015
PalestineIsraelMap580
Israel/Palestine land from 1946-2000

On a more political note, the conflict between Israel and Palestine clearly demonstrates the use of maps to not only own and control land, but also relates to culture, history and it’s people being erased as well. The decrease of Palestinian land and growth of Israeli land is not purely about land ownership but is directly related colonial issues and political control when the British handed the land to Israel (M.S, 2010).

ass
‘Palestine’ according to Google Maps

In 2013, Google Maps changed ‘Palestinian territories’ to ‘Palestine,’ however, when typing ‘Palestine’ into Google Maps in 2015, this is the image produced. There is no distinct area that is labelled as ‘Palestine,’ which raises the question of political power and influence a company like Google Maps has over political control (Groll, 2013).

It is important to be aware of maps ability to lie to us and distort our image of the world, countries, ethnicities, nature and people and it is up to us to be vigilant in seeking answers.

Further Readings

http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/2/maps-cartographycolonialismnortheurocentricglobe.html

References

Evans, N. 2015, Mapping the planet, BCM232, University of Wollongong, delivered 17 March 2015

Groll, E. 2013, ‘Israel isn’t happy about Google’s decision to recognise Palestine’, Foreign Policy: Passport, 3 May, accessed 18 March 2015, http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/05/03/israel-isnt-happy-about-googles-decision-to-recognize-palestine/?wp_login_redirect=0

Monmonier, M. 2014, ‘Maps for political propaganda’, How to lie with maps, University of Chicago Press, 10 December

M.S. 2010, ‘The map is not the territories’, The Economist, 14 March, accessed 18 March 2015, http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2010/03/israel_and_palestine_0

Hide and Seek: Media Research

“Chercher” the French word meaning ‘to seek’ or better well known by all university students across the globe as… research. That thing you do when you’re wanting to buy a new iPhone 6 only to find out that they bend. Or trying to plan your mid session break to Melbourne enticed by art and coffee to discover that there’s no cheap flights during that time. Or even trying to find out what sort of things your crush is into so you can casually bring them up in conversation. Whether it’s asking your friends or Google questions, if you’re trying to ‘find out more information’ (Berger, 2014) about something chances are you’re researching.

sourced from: http://meetville.com/images/quotes/Quotation-Zora-Neale-Hurston-curiosity-research-Meetville-Quotes-95733.jpg
sourced from: http://meetville.com/images/quotes/Quotation-Zora-Neale-Hurston-curiosity-research-Meetville-Quotes-95733.jpg

However, asking if your crush likes watching Walking Dead’ isn’t at all scholarly research.  Scholarly research is a very ‘systematic and objective’ type of poking and prying, which revolves around correctness and truthfulness’ (Berger, 2014). Ultimately uncovering the truth. Something we can hope to obtain through media research, which is all of the above, applied to aspects of the media, covering mass media, social media, print media, radio, cinema, comics etc, and research into these areas can help us identify links between media, culture, society and individuals.

As identified by Strasburger, there is currently not enough media research, meaning that the problem is ‘important enough to bother with’ (Berger, 2014) and with the ‘effects of the media on children and adolescents’ (Strasburger, 2013) more or less unknown, it provides a space where media research can help fill in the blanks and hopefully minimise risk to those who are vulnerable targets of the media.

Sourced from: http://www.uow.edu.au/research/priorities/index.html
Universities like the University of Wollongong put a lot of emphasis on research. Sourced from: http://www.uow.edu.au/research/priorities/index.html

Trying to decide on what area of media research I’d like to participate in is more difficult than deciding which Johnny Depp film is the best… basically impossible. The media broadcasts an amplitude of messages through diverse mediums, from individuals to multinational companies, reaching people and places across the globe and are uniquely interpreted.

I’m increasingly fascinated by social media and its power and influence on individuals. An area in which I’d like to explore further is the role of the media influencing personal relationships, for example meeting people on Tinder and the medium’s effect on the audience’s view of hook-up culture.

Sourced from: http://www.glasbergen.com/wp-content/gallery/marriage/mar82.gif
Sourced from: http://www.glasbergen.com/wp-content/gallery/marriage/mar82.gif

Something else that I am passionate about is equality and feminism. With the Emma Watson speech on feminism last year, it’s a hot topic which has swept the media and I would be interested exploring various aspects of how it’s influenced people. I believe that all of these fields have the potential to be explored on a deeper level because they are increasingly relevant to our society.

As you can see, I’m constantly engaged and interested by many aspects of the media, society, cultures and people. But before I can decide on a topic of interest, I must first do a hell of a lot of research.

xxx A

References

Berger, Arthur A. 2014, ‘What is research?’, in Media and communication research methods : an introduction to qualitative and quantitative approaches, 3rd ed., SAGE, Los Angeles, pp. 13-32

Strasburger, V.C. 2013, “Spinal Column: Why Isn’t There More Media Research?”, Clinical Pediatrics, vol. 52, no. 7, pp. 587-588

Liebster Award 2.0

liebster-blog-award

And this is why I love blogging. Because of the supportive, talented, exciting and beautiful people you’re connected to in such a tight knit community. This is the 2nd time I’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award (read more about the award here). I was nominated by Ailene Rhea, the woman behind Incurable Wanderlust. I’ve often found myself getting lost through the Rhea Collections, and admire her honesty when sharing stories about unique experiences (my favourite, things to really expect whilst hiking the Inca Trail). She’s been everywhere so if you’re looking for reliable tips for unique travel experiences, Ailene’s got you covered!

So here are the Liebster Award Rules:

  • Thank and link the person who nominated you.
  • Answer the questions given by the nominator.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers, who have X (or less than 200) followers and link them.
  • Create 11 new questions for the nominees to answer.
  • Notify all nominees via social media/blogs.
In the zone at my favourite café in Newcastle
In the zone at my favourite café in Newcastle

And without further ado, here are the questions that Ailene has asked me;

Apart from travel tales, what else can we read about on your blog?

My blog is kind of like my slightly censored journal. Where I write anything and everything I’m passionate about. Because travel is something that has completely taken over my heart like a Ryan Gosling movie, it tends to be something that I write frequently about (it’s also a good excuse to relive a travel experience through photos). Another thing I find myself writing about is motivational pieces which are usually coherent with things I’m dealing with in my life. A part from that, you’ll find bits and pieces of poetry, motivational quotes and opinion pieces on current issues.

Your most memorable travel story so far

My Euro Gap Year Living in London (read all about it here).

What made you/got you travelling in the first place?

When I was little, my family and I travelled around Australia for 12 months in a caravan, a great introduction to life on the road with adventure literally at your doorstep. Also anything and everything Paris! My room is completely overdecorated with Paris this and Paris that. I remember when I started high school, I made it my mission to get to Paris as soon as I was finished with school. And now I’ve been 3 times.

How many countries, continents and cities have you set foot in?

Read about everywhere I’ve been here.

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 4.15.50 pm

What’s the longest time you’ve been away from home?

12 months in 2013 when I lived in London.

What’s the one souvenir you just had to have?

I’m not a very good souvenir collector. I more or less crumble under the pressure of cheap I ❤ (city name here) shops and buy a fridge magnet. But when I saw a little snow globe of Paris – now that I HAD to have!

My Muse
My Muse

Have you ever lost your luggage/backpack? When? Where?

Thankfully no. However I did lose my wallet in Rome for an hour. One of the scariest experiences of my life however, long story short, I managed to find it completely untouched with nothing missing. Earlier that day I visited Vatican City so I feel that someone up there was watching over me!

What are 5 items you always take with you travelling?

  1. Journal to write everything down in
  2. Paw Paw Ointment – a lifesaver on dry lips and many other practical uses such as keeping zippers running smoothly
  3. A bottle of water for long days exploring new places. I also hate paying for water so prefer to reuse a plastic one until it’s basically unusable.
  4. My phone for obvious reasons. It doubles as a camera, map, translator… EVERYTHING!
  5. My Doc Martens. Trustiest pair of shoes I own.

Are you an over packer or under packer?

I tend to overpack for small trips and under pack for big ones. Maybe one day I’ll hit a lovely middle ground.

About to jet off to Iceland
About to jet off to Iceland. I probably over packed for 3 nights but I was scared about how cold I was going to be!

What type of camera (model, brand) do you take with you when travelling?

My IPhone5. It currently has a chip in the lens and I need to edit a pesky little black dot out of all my photos. Hopefully upgrading soon!

If given the chance, where would you like to settle?

At the moment, I could totally see myself settling down in Edinburgh, Scotland. I definitely left a big piece of my heart there and will go back one day to claim it back.

So now you know a bit more about me, now I want to know a bit more about you. Here are some blogs and bloggers that I’m absolutely loving at the moment along with your questions and I pass this nomination on to you.

  1. What’s one thing that your readers probably don’t know about you but should?
  2. What inspires you to write a new blog post?
  3. If you could have dinner with anyone (dead or alive) who would it be?
  4. If someone bought you a plane ticket to a city of your choice, departing tomorrow morning, where would you choose to go?
  5. What’s your dream job?
  6. Who’s your favourite singer/band?
  7. Is there a country/city in the world you wouldn’t go or wouldn’t go back to?
  8. Where’s your favourite cafe?
  9. Do you have a personal journal for your eyes only? (I genuine fear/dream of mine is when I die one day, mine are found and school children have to study me and our society based off of my journals).
  10. Where’s your dream destination?
  11. Would you rather have the power to teleport or fly?

I look forward to reading your responses. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the experience of the Liebster Award and I hope you enjoy reading it!

xxx

A

1 Year On: Returning ‘Home’ After A Year Abroad

Firstly, I’ll start by saying how extremely difficult it was for me to write this post. Not physically write it, but for me to actually accept the fact that this big journey that I’ve been living (my Eurotrip Gap Year) was a year ago and is officially over.

So this time 2 years ago (January of 2013) I got on a plane and headed off to London (you can read about my Gap Year here). One year later (a year ago nearly to the day) I said goodbye to London and G’Day to Australia. And as the months flew by, I got stuck in to my new uni life (read about my adventures of 2014 here) as my London life slowly slipped away. So what are the biggest changes readjusting to life back ‘home?’ How do I define home? What’s the hardest part of it all? Here it is.

About to jet off to Iceland
About to jet off to Iceland

Home isn’t quite the same – you’re stuck somewhere in between. For a few months you mistakingly refer to home as in London (after all, it was home sweet home), then you start calling your parents house home, then where you’re living home and then you just get confused. I believe home truly is where the heart is, and my heart seems to be scattered around the world.

You have an identity crisis – you get on the plane all strong minded like ‘yea I know who I am and I’m not gonna let anyone change me.’ Then you land in Sydney, see all your friends and family and suddenly have an identity crisis. WHO AM I? It’s a terrifying experience, thinking that the old you is slipping away, making way for the new you that you’re not quite sure you like. The thought that got me through this ‘transformation’ is that I’m growing and learning from every experience (good or bad) and at the end of the day, it will help make me stronger.

Conquering a hike through a valley
Trying to be a strong independent woman

People see you as the same little you that left – Not the strong independent traveller you now are. School friends see you as the nerd that studied too much, or too things too seriously, or partied too much… but little do they know how much you’ve changed. You feel so empowered, accomplished and strong until someone says ‘aw, you haven’t changed one bit,’ then all that confidence disappears like packets of Tim Tam’s on sale.

You can no longer say ‘This time last year’- For some reason, this was such a comforting statement. Comparing my life now to my adventures last year. But now I can say this time next year… who knows where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing!’ That is the most motivating thought I have. The thought of the unknown!

europeans adventures 1193
Welcoming new challenges and adventures

You can see people getting bored with your travelling stories but you’ll still tell them again – What do you mean you don’t want to hear about how I lost my purse in Rome and magically found it an hour later with all my money in it? Or the time I crashed the best house party in London? Or the time I got to march in the St. Pattys Day Parade in Dublin? Or the time… Ok I get it, you’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it a few more times yet so get comfortable.

You get a serious case of PTD (Post Travel Depression) – You have the highest high that travel offers and suddenly you stop and you’re back at home. Then you come crashing down with the realisation that it’s over. It’s real and it sucks.

You lose touch with your ‘lifelong friends’- At high school you have about 50 BFFL pink sparkly necklaces. And as soon as you jet off, the sparkles seem to magically disappear. This isn’t necessarily a sad part of leaving home, it’s just the inevitable change in life that takes some getting used to. Regardless of if you actually keep these friendships for life, you’ll always have the precious memories of friendships.

My (short) Christmas with my family 2014
You realise how important family is!

But you also find out who your real friends are – You might now have to message everyday. In fact, one of my best friends that was in Australia when I was overseas and I barely spoke. Not because we didn’t want to, but because we were so preoccupied with our busy lives. And the second one of us needed eachother, we’d be there. The minute I returned to Australia it was like I never left. It’s those sorts of friendships that will last for years and will be the most special. Best Friends For Life (for real).

You don’t settle for okay anymore – You’ve had a taste of the spicy, succulent, addictive flavours of the world and crave it everyday. Why would you then settle for a little salt and pepper seasoning? You won’t accept ordinary, or average, or okay… you try to make everything incredible!

You feel motivated to do it again – Was it all worth it? The love, the pain, the grief, homesickness, the ongoing identity crisis… (see image below)! So what am I doing about it now? I’m trying to live life to the fullest, to appreciate everything and everyone I have and bring on the adventures for 2015 and years to come!

x A

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If it’s on Sex and the City, it must be true

15 Things I Want to Achieve in 2015

So yes, this is a little New Years resolution and I figured if I put it down in writing and post it to my blog, then maybe I’ll feel obliged to actually stick to them (yay). For a long time now, I’ve always set goals (short and long term) and I find by making goals, I then develop plans to achieve them and actually do it. So this is my hit list for 2015!

Exploring Bondi Beach with my Dad
Exploring Bondi Beach with my Dad

1- Read everyday – I love reading a good book and feel accomplished and enlightened when I finish one. There’s a million amazing books out there that I can’t wait to get my hands on.

2 – Write in my journal everyday – For as long as I can remember I’ve kept a handwritten journal that I try to write in as often as possible. Throughout the past couple of months though it’s completely slipped my mind and now I don’t have any entries from October onwards. So I want to commit to writing everyday (minimum every week) so that when I’m old and grey, I can flick though the pages and think of the funny little things that happen everyday.

One of my favourite books I read this year! A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
One of my favourite books I read this year! A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

3 – Spend less time scrolling – When I’m bored or killing time, I always seem to find myself mindlessly scrolling down my Facebook Feed, Instagram, Buzzfeed etc and after an hour disappears, all I’ve learnt is that my friend got a new car and 10 inappropriate outfits of the week (thanks Buzzfeed). Instead, I can use this time more productively – i.e read, write, and I think I’ll be a lot happier if an hour slips away because I was reading Oscar Wilde.

4 – Renew my gym membership – In August I joined the gym at uni and believe it or not… I’m missing it! Never thought I’d say that about a gym! My goal is to go to the gym 3-4 times a week. I find that by going to the gym and being physically active, I am then more motivated to eat and cook healthier. It’s a win win situation really.

5 – Do yoga at least once a week – I LOVE YOGA! It keeps me balanced, relaxed and flexible. I walk out of class feeling like I can take on the world.

Having memorable times with my friends
Having memorable times with my friends

6 – Reduce the amount of alcohol I drink – Don’t get me wrong, over O Week next year, I’ll definitely indulge in a few beers, however throughout the year, I’d like to reduce the amount of alcohol I consume in one sitting and how often I drink. Because at the end of the day, it’s expensive and hangovers are not my friend!

7 – Save Save Save! – I’m currently saving my money to go on exchange in 2016 and that will be a very expensive adventure. Therefore, by cutting back on alcohol etc and being super strict and smart about my savings… I can make it happen!

8 – Be productive and prepared for uni classes – Much easier said than done, but this year I wish to maintain my high standard of work and keep up to date with assignments and essays. In the end, it will all pay off!

9 – Hike Mount Kiera – I’ve lived in Wollongong for a year now and I still haven’t hiked up Mount Kiera yet! Mainly because the days people seemed to go hiking were on extremely hot days, but this year… no excuses! It must be done!

10 – Launch my new section of A Worldly Addiction where I’ll be discovering new and wonderful local cafes and posting all the details and photos as often as possible. Watch this space for updates in 2015!

COFFEEEEEEE!
COFFEE!

11 – Be an avid environmentalist – Recycling paper and plastics, donating my old clothes, not using the clothes dryer, turn lights off… Anything I can do to help our planet out more!

12 – Continue having coffee dates with my family and friends – If I’m going to keep up to date with all my uni work, then I’m going to have to keep up with my coffee hits. And what better way to do that then keep catching up with all my coffee buddies at uni and exchanging gossip, troubles, concerns, advice and friendship!

13 – Go camping – I went on an awesome camping adventure this year and it was AWESOME! So, this year I definitely need to do it again! Preferably on a nice, hot, sunny weekend where we can camp near the beach or go hiking around waterfalls. Either way, an escape from reality and technology with some close friends and sleeping under the stars sounds awesome to me!

When I had a weekend away in Sydney with my boyfriend
When I had a weekend away in Sydney with my boyfriend

14 – Have a weekend away – I haven’t been on a plane all year and I’m craving the excitement of landing in a new and exciting place! I’m thinking of either spending a weekend in Melbourne or on the Gold Coast, with a close friend and just explore and have fun for a weekend!

15 – Share something with you guys at least once a week – 2015, expect to get lots of notifications saying that I’ve just added a new post! Whether it be more photos, quotes, attempted poetry, my opinion on something, a report, tips, memories… I’ll be sharing it with you! So be sure to subscribe, so you don’t miss out on a single post!

And one last big thing which will keep me going throughout the whole year… BE HAPPY! Be with my friends and family as much as possible and always with a smile on my face and warmth in my heart!

What are you hoping to achieve next year?

xxx A

The Liebster Award: Nominated!

A Worldly Addiction: Nominated!
A Worldly Addiction: Nominated!

Leibster Award? What is a Leibster Award?! That is exactly what I asked myself when I was nominated. After some research, I discovered that LEIBSTER is German for ‘beloved.’ It’s a way for bloggers (professional or amateur like myself) to discover new blogs, get involved in the blogging community and be discovered by more people. How sweet! So you can imagine my surprise and excitement when I was nominated by Danika Maia- http://danikamaia.com/. Thank you so much Danika and I hope you enjoy this post as much as I enjoyed writing it! If you wish to know more about me, check out my post here! 

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Danika has asked me these wonderful questions;

1. Why did you decide to start a blog?

I started blogging last year about my travel and daily adventures of living in London. It was a new and exciting way for me to write regularly and also keep my friends and family up to date with my life. When I started university this year, some of my Communications and Media subjects required blogging as part of the course. I learnt simple things about blogging and really loved the unique experience. I then decided to make this blog mine, incorporating my studies, thoughts, travels, adventures and a little bit about myself into my blog. My goal is to be a writer/journalist and I figured blogging is a good way to start that off!

2. Where did you have your first kiss?

A lady never kisses and tells 😉

3. How many languages can you speak?

Je parle un petit peu français. I’m currently studying French and planning on going on exchange to a French speaking country to further my language skills.

4. What’s your favourite app?

To be honest, I don’t use that many apps because my phone is filled with music! However I do love Instagram! Oh and I also recently downloaded Minesweeper, remember the really old default game on PC’s? Yea, that’s occupied a lot of my time!

5. If your life was a movie who do you think would play the main characters?

I have an unhealthy obsession with Johnny Depp so he’d have to be in there somewhere (swoon). My brother would have to be played by the actor who plays Luke Dunphy from Modern Family. My sister, maybe Anne Hathaway because she has perfect teeth and is stunning. I don’t know if anyone else could play my parents, I’m sure that’d be a very demanding role. I think they’re the only ones who can pull of parenting me. And I think I’d like to have Emma Stone around for some laughs, Eddie Redmayne for some eye candy and Emma Watson for some motivation to change the world!

6. What do you want to accomplish with your blog?

I really admire World of Wanderlust and have been taking her tips for some time now. My ultimate dream would be to travel and live around the world, writing about my experiences and inspiring people to fulfil their dreams.

7. Are you in a relationship?

Like I said I don’t kiss and tell, however there is a very special and handsome French man in my life

8. What is your favourite thing to eat after a night out?

KEBABS!

9. What’s your favourite cocktail?

Strawberry Daiquiri! Anything that has pretty fruit on top of it!

10. How many countries have you visited and what’s the next one you need to see?

I’ve been everywhere man! (not really) But one day I want to say it and mean it! Here’s a list of the 16 countries I’ve been to. My favourites would have to be Scotland, Iceland and France!

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Alright, so here’s the rules for the Leibster Award!

1. thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.

2. display the award on your blog.

3. answer as many questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.

4. nominate 10 blogs that you feel deserve the award.

6. create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.

7. list these rules in your post.

8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated them.

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So here’s my top 10 favourite blogs at the moment! And on a personal note… thank you for inspiring me each in your own lovely way x

1. Travel Chick Diaries – http://travelchickdiaries.com/

2. Dating Dilema- http://datingdilemma1.com/

3. Everyday Adventures – http://everydayadventures365.com/

4. Have You Heard the Latest – http://haveyouheardthelatest.com/

5. The Bella Travelista – http://thebellatravelista.com/

6. Hannah Gale – http://hannahgale.co.uk/

7. Erik Conover – http://erikconover.com/

8. Ali Does it Herself – http://alidoesit.wordpress.com/

9. Lady Lauren Hutch – http://ladylaurenhutch.wordpress.com/

10. World of Wanderlust – http://www.worldofwanderlust.com/ (A BIG inspiration of mine)

11. (I know you’re only supposed to do 10 but who ever follows the rules) Nat’s Nutritious Delicious- http://www.natsnutritiousdelicious.com/

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If you accept and follow the rules, here are my questions to you!

1. Rock of Pop music? Favourite musician?

2. Favourite place you’ve ever been?

3. Coffee or Tea?

4. If you could have any animal as a pet, what would you want?

5. Why do you blog?

6. If you had one wish, what would it be? (you can’t wish for more wishes)

7. If you could have dinner with one famous person, who would it be?

8. What are you addicted to?

9. Chocolate cake or ice cream cake?

10. If you could become fluent in a language, what would it be?

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I hope you accept my nomination and enjoy this post as much as I did whilst writing it!

Peace and Love to everyone

xxx

A

A WORLDLY ADDICTION