So somehow time has flown so quickly that it’s been 3 months since I had to say au revoir to Montreal and finish up my exchange (if you missed what I got up to – you can check it out here). So now uni has started (we’re somehow in Week 4?!), life back in Wollongong is in full motion and exchange feels somewhat of a dream.
Everyone always talks about how amazing exchange is. How it’s the best time of their life. How you’re going to make friends for life, drink too much, see wonders of the world, get your Instagram popping and how it’s going to change your freakin life! And all of this is true, and these are just some of the many reasons that I encourage everyone to seek the opportunity to study abroad and travel.
But in all honesty, I wasn’t prepared for the complete confusion, doubt and insecurity I faced at home and within myself when I returned to Australia. I’ve heard about reverse culture shock before, and I’ve lived away from home before and I knew something like this was coming… but it still smacked me in the face.
Whilst I know the following thoughts are natural and silly, at the time I was dealing with these thoughts, the stress and anxiety was real. My biggest fear was surround my friends.
Was I going to lose my friends that I’d just made in Montreal? Would they still be interested in my life back in Australia? Would they make time to talk to me? Would I make time to talk to them? Would my friends back home accept the new me? Would they even notice that I’ve changed? Would I even have my old friends back home?
These (thankfully) were all dealt with and overcome when I saw my friends back in Australia again and I was overcome with happiness, gratitude and joy. Plus, being able to FaceTime and Snapchat my friends back in Montreal, it reassured me that these friendships are strong and real. And it actually made me appreciate them even more – the fact that they care about my life over here and they’re willing to put in the effort to keep in touch and keep the friendship alive.
My other concern was about my identity and personality, leaving me asking ‘who am I?’ I slowly saw myself, my ideas and my values change over the course of the time that I was away. I was exposed to problems and issues I’d never heard of, listened to stories of strength, injustice and survival, changed my core values, altered my ideas… all that cheesy stuff associated with going through a life changing experience. And you’re determined to hold on to it all, bring it all to your life back home and just be a freakin awesome changed woman.
But the reality is that you start to adjust back to your old life, old routine and old ways, and you can’t help but let some of those ideas go. You almost get trapped in between 2 versions of yourself, and you’re not really sure which one is the real you, or the one you want to move forward it. I guess everyone has these types of identity crises throughout their lives, but it’s especially apparent when you return from an adventure overseas.
So how do I move forward? Where do we go from here?
I think I’ll continue to romanticise my exchange, always giving me fun, beautiful and exciting memories to look back on. But my goal is to channel that feeling. The feeling that anything is possible, that anyone can be a friend, that your day could take you anywhere and that life is freakin beautiful. And I just need to accept that not everyone shares these ideas, but I can’t hold back who I am or what I want. I’ve got to remember to be fierce and do what sets my soul and heart on fire… chase and create that feeling.
Ok, so I get that February’s a weird little month. 28 days, 4 weeks, 672 hours, and damn have they disappeared. My first full month back in Australia and in Wollongong. And it’s been a freakin amazing. Let’s get to it!
Let’s be honest, I have one of the best jobs on earth! And the best time to work as a student ambassador is definitely the annual Discovery Days. Not only is it a heaps of fun for the kids, but it’s fun overload for us as well. And this year was no exception, pouring rain and sweltering heat… nothing could stop us from having an incredible time. I’m so lucky to work with such an awesome team of inspiring people.
My Montréal Video
So I FINALLY put together my Montreal video. It took hours of gathering footage, editing and then re editing (because my original upload got muted due to copyright – oops) but it’s finally alive and chillin out there on the internet! I’m so proud of this video. It makes me so freaking happy to watch!
[If you haven’t yet subscribed, click here to subscribe so you don’t miss a thing! I’m nearly at 100 subscribers and I’ll have to do something epically awesome when I reach 100]
Finding a new HOUSE
If anyone knew me during the beginning of the month, they would’ve known how freakin stressed I was looking for a place to live. Khal, Rhys (my two amazing friends) and I were searching for a house to rent in Wollongong and damn is that market competitive. However, this goes to show how far positive thinking can go. I told the universe that I would have a house by Sunday the 5th Feb, and on Friday the 3rd Feb we got a very exciting phone call confirming this!
80s Prom Party
It was one of my beautiful friend’s 21st Birthday party and she decided to have it as an 80’s Prom Theme. OMG. First of all – why can’t I wear puffy pastel dresses around all day every day?! Secondly, damn it was so much fun! It’s always so nice going to a good house party, catching up with people you haven’t seen in forever and meeting new people. The night ended with a swim in the pool, me ripping the petticoat out from under my dress because I could barely breathe, and then crashing in an awesome van for the night. Top night!
Speaking at Orientation Week
I know I’ve included a few little speech related moments through these posts, but every now and then, you gotta show yourself some love and be proud of what you’ve achieved. I was asked last minute to give a 10 minute presentation of a ‘Uni Survival Guide.’ I had prepared my slides but hadn’t really prepared much else. Yet I was able to get up there, smash out a great speech and speak confidently and calmly. I’m super proud of yet another speech I’ve made at UOW. It was even better when a student approached me afterwards asking me about my degree and uni experience, saying that I inspired her to look into doing exchange. (Awww).
Maître Gims. Yep, this whole French major thing has really got my head because now suddenly everything is in French. Regardless of whether you’re into French music, this song is actually freakin awesome!
Benjamin Clementine. I’ve only just discovered this guy and I’ve been listening on repeat. His music is so unique, the piano is enchanting and his vocal range is huge! Plus this video clip is just so stunning, I had to include it in my faves for this month.
Childish Gambino. So somehow last year I lived under a freakin rock and missed his amazing album that came out! Urgh it’s soooooooo good I’ve had this on repeat all month!
Call My Agent. Netflix, you’ve done it again. This is a brilliantly dramatic yet light hearted TV show about agents and their crazy actors that they manage. It’s in French and I’ve been opting to have the French subtitles on to work on my French. It’s soooo worth the subtitles though! C’etait magnifique.
La La Land. Ooooh la la I’m in love. Emma Stone has been my ultimate girl crush since Easy A when I could finally relate to an awesome red head on screen being awkward and somewhat cool (at least, that’s what I thought I was). The soundtrack is amazing, it’s simple, beautiful and just so damn lovely to watch. Though I would recommend letting your friends know that it’s a musical before going. I somehow failed to mention that and they weren’t too happy! haha
RayaWasHere. I’ve been following Raya as long as I’ve been following Louis, but it’s not until recently that she’s really won me over. I think it was the video below, that really pulled me in. I feel that she has a very genuine and beautiful way of capturing her friendships and connections with people and I’d love to see more content like the one below! You go girl!
A Worldly Addiction.
I’m going to give myself a little plug here but I feel like this month I’ve really produced some great content. One of my favourite videos I’ve ever made is absolutely killing it and it’s received over 1300 views so far! WHAT?! I’ve been feeling super proud of myself and my drive to put myself out there, live life to the fullest and create beautiful moments, so why not do yourself a favour and chuck us a subscribe. If you go to my channel from here make sure to comment “Shameless Plug” on one of my videos. OK let the blog continue as per usual.
I haven’t technically finished it (I kinda got caught up in Season 3 of How To Get Away With Murder ((OMG))! But it’s so so good! ‘I wouldn’t start from here’ by Andrew Mueller is a reflection on his career and experiences as a war and conflict correspondent. I love in each chapter you’re taken somewhere completely different and never quite sure where he’s going with it. From Kosovo, to Palestine, London to Lichtenstein, it’s a fascinating take on ‘the 21st Century and where it all went wrong.’
The quote below has really helped me through this crazy month. It reassures me that if we want something, if we want to be something, then we must accept the change that inevitably comes with growing, learning and evolving. It reminds me to let go of things that are no longer important and embrace the new, the scary and the exciting.
Well those 4 weeks just absolutely flew by! March is going to be absolutely hectic. I’m organising another overseas trip (can you guess where?!), uni will hit with it’s full blow, my little sister is turning 21 (HOW?!) and the adventures will continue as always! I hope March treats you well and you treat life even better! xxx
They say the hardest thing about travelling is coming back home…
It’s been exactly 1 month since leaving Montreal – how the hell has that happened? If you speak to Time, please tell him he’s working a bit too quickly lately, because damn has time absolutely escaped me. I guess travelling around the States for 2 weeks helped (if you missed it you can check out my videos from America here). Upon being back in Australia I’ve been equally busy. Seeing friends, family, getting back to work, finding a house, and finally sleeping in my own bed (luxury!), I’ve been busy enough to distract me from the void in my stomach. But now that routine is finally starting to kick in, I’m slowly but surely hitting that inevitable wall of post travel depression.
Post Travel Depression, I argue, is a real and genuine thing that overcomes you a few weeks after returning from overseas. And the worst thing is, that you’re never really prepared for it. No matter if you’re a seasoned traveller or a first timer, I promise that it will still hit you as hard every time. You come back from your holiday (or in my case, exchange) and you’re like a minor celebrity. You walk around, see everyone you know, everyone’s asking about your trip, your pictures, if you met any cute boys… and you’re ecstatic.
Did That Really Happen?
But then a week passes by, you start working again, then another week passes by, and you’re hanging out at your old bar, then a few more days pass by and it’s honestly like you’ve never left. Everything you’ve experienced, just feels like a dream. But how could it be a dream? It was one of the best experiences of your life! And slowly but surely, you slip right back into your old life, and you start sinking.
I think the worst part is when you feel that you’ve changed, grown and had your mind and eyes well and truly blown. You’ve basically created a new version of you whilst on your travels, but the people you know and love back home, can’t see it. Sure they may notice little things, that you’ve put on some weight from all those baguettes, or picked up a weird accent, but at the end of the day, they’ll never truly understand. And that contributes towards the ‘dreamlike’ feeling of your experience, it kind of leaves you questioning if it really happened, and you feel yourself loosing a part of person you created overseas. And that feeling…. it’s incredibly horrible.
It’s even worse when some sort of major event or occasion happens where you were living or travelling, and you get an overwhelming feeling of missing out. For example, not long after I left Montreal, there was a festival called IglooFest. And if the name itself isn’t enough to sell you, all of my friends went. OK, so that wasn’t the end of the world, missing an awesome festival. But what really hit me in the feels, was when it was my best friends 22nd birthday. You see snapchats, Instagrams, Facebook posts and you just know, deep in your heart, that everyone is having an amazing time, and that you’re really missing out on something special.
And I guess that’s something that we just have to come to accept and deal with. You can’t be everywhere at the same time (unless we make MAJOR advancements in technology asap). And we can’t always do everything we want to do. Reality strikes, your visas up, your exchange is over, your return flight is booked and you’ve got things to do. This doesn’t mean you have to be boring, but it does mean that physical barriers exist and at the end of the day, if you can’t be there in person, I’m sure you’re there in spirit (drinking all the spirits at the party whilst killing it at beer pong).
Expression and Communication
The best way to deal with these feelings, is to get it out there. Society almost expects people who return from travel, to always be happy and rejuvenated. But by talking about how you’re feeling, and spreading the word of the honestly shit feelings you experience when returning, then you’ll get a lot more support, love and kindness.
And keep in contact with your friends you’ve met overseas. Give them a random FaceTime, send them a card, Snapchat them your day, write them a message and tell them that you’re having a rough time and that you miss them. I assure you that your friends will be missing you too. The most important thing to remember is that the friends you meet whilst on exchange or travelling aren’t just going to disappear. In fact, I think you’ll cross paths sooner than you expect.
Your Next Adventure
Whilst everyone will experience this post travel depression differently and adjust at different rates and in different ways, I promise you, you’ll get through it. Soon enough you’ll be planning your next trip and starting your next adventure. The most important thing to remember is that travel and adventure is not just an action, it’s a mindset. So keep positive, live with purpose and accept and respect your feelings. You’ve gotta look after yourself, so that you can adjust to life back home, whilst planning your next adventure so you can do it all again.
So you’re going to Montreal? LUCKY YOU! Is there room in your suitcase? Can I come? On the off chance that you said no, and you’re going without me (rude), here’s my ultimate list of thing to do, see and drink in Montreal.
Like all good things in life, Montreal is full of extremes and the unexpected. Summer is hot hot hot. Humidity central. And Winter… Ice Ice Baby. It’s so cold that your nose hairs freeze outside. And fall is simply splendid. The trees explode with colour and make for some pretty popping Instagram pics. Regardless of when you visit, keep in mind that this will ultimately determine what you do and when you do it. Because you ain’t going to be walking the streets of Montreal for hours on end in freezing rain (I know this because we tried and I swear our veins were starting to freeze up). OK – so now I’m done being weather woman, here’s my ultimate list of things to do in Montreal!
This is my number 1 thing to do in Montreal, and once you do it you’ll see why. There’s not many cities in the world where you can feel like you’re lost in the woods when you’re actually just on a mountain in the middle of the city. You can do this in all seasons and it’s still just as magical. Mont-Royal was designed by the same guy that designed New York’s Central Park (that dude knew his parks). Not only is the walk up easy and beautiful, but the top hosts some of the best views in all of Montreal (plus it’s FREE). If you’ve got a few hours, definitely explore the rest of the mountain. There’s a beautiful old cemetery, L’Oratoire Saint-Joseph and Beaver Lake (which you can go ice skating on in Winter).
2. Vieux-Port (Old Port).
This is the heart of culture in Montreal. Home to Basilica Notre Dame (Paris’ Notre-Dame’s little sister), Rue Saint-Paul (Montreal’s oldest street), and access to the Saint Laurence River, this is a place you simply cannot miss. In Summer there are markets, stalls and lots of street performers and buskers to keep you entertained whilst you soak up some sunshine on a Terrace. Exploring old port, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were lost in a little European town.
3. Le Plateau.
This is for all you coffee lover, hipsters out there. The Plateau is an area of Montreal, kinda the equivalent of Newtown in Sydney, but French. Yea – I’ll let that sink in. And this is where I used to live so I think I’ve earned the right to say I know the Plateau pretty well. You can get off at metro station Mont Royal and explore Avenue Mont-Royal. You’ll find some beautiful little cafes, thrift stores, restaurants and houses. The architecture in the Plateau is really something special and you can feel the buzz and vibe in the air. You haven’t been to Montreal unless you dip your toes in the hipster hood of the Plateau.
4. Parc La Fontaine.
This is one of my favourite parks in Montreal. There’s squirrels galore and you’ll see dogs running about like crazy. Summer is beautiful as you can sit under a tree and watch the fountain bubble over the pond. Winter is extra special because it honestly looks like something from a fairytale. If you can get your hands on a toboggan, you won’t regret unleashing your inner child and slipping and sliding down the hills. It’s located on Rue Rachel near Mont Royal Metro.
5. La Banquise.
The best thing about travelling is trying new food, we all know this. And if you go to Quebec, especially Montreal, you need to try their specialty, Poutine. La Banquaise definitely has some of the cities best poutine. Whilst people will tell you poutine is just chips, gravy and cheese… it’s so much more than that. My favourite is called La Boogooloo, fries, gravy, cheese, pulled port, sour cream and cabbage… OMG, it’s bringing tears to my eyes just thinking about it. It’s right around the corner from Parc La Fontaine on Rue Rachel, so once you’ve finished exploring, you can stuff your face with Poutine. Make sure you look after your food baby accordingly.
Speaking of food babies… make sure you go to this renowned brunch restaurant on an empty stomach. Wait times, similarly to La Banquise can reach 45 minutes, but I assure you it’s worth it. After taking 15 minutes looking through the menu and finally deciding what to devour, make sure you check out the bathroom. Just do it. Again, I assure you you’ll leave that place waddling down the street.
Check out Ben Brown’s vlog from when he was in Montreal and go to experience the extravagance of L’avenue.
7. The Gay Village.
One of the best things about Montreal is it’s liberal thinking, love and acceptance. They have an amazing gay village, right near Berri UQAM Metro. In Summer there were beautiful decorations lining the street that was closed off for pedestrians to stroll along. If you’re looking for some gay nightclubs, then this place has you sorted!
8. Jean-Talon Markets.
Fresh food and produce your thing? Make sure you don’t miss these incredible markets! Again, ensure you’re got an empty stomach and follow your noses. Are you noticing a trend here? Yes, I love food. Yes, Montreal has f*cking good food!
9. Boulevard Saint Laurent.
Think murals, street art, thrift shops, clubs, restaurants… the hub of nightlife in Montreal. Any good night out in Montreal starts and ends here. You’ll want to make sure you’re looking pretty flashy and jump in line pretty early for a lot of clubs, or you may find yourself just partying in the street. When you’re stumbling from the club at 4am, make sure you stumble by ‘Two Chow’ or ‘Toodles,’ $2 noodles. You’ll be devouring them in seconds and it will make the walk home much more entertaining.
Sundays in Montreal are honestly perfection. Especially in Summer. To enjoy your Sunday afternoon you can either go to Picnique Electronique or Tam Tams. The Jean Drapeau park with the theme park. Sadly I didn’t make it to this place, but hey, you’ve gotta have something to go back for. You take the yellow line from Berri UQAM and jump off on the island. My friend told me they built this island from all of the dirt from building the metro (thanks Rosa), and decided to put a theme park on it. In Summer it hosts an EDM event every Sunday afternoon called Picnique-Eletronique. And if you go in Winter, you can go to check out the view of the city, I’m told it’s pretty spectacular.
And to shake things up, you can spend your Sunday afternoon at this free unofficial community event called Tam Tams. Held in Mont Royal Parc near the big statue, every Sunday afternoon whilst it’s warm, you’ll see hundreds of people playing drums, Frisbee, hacky sac, and smoking weed. Montreal is pretty relaxed on smoking weed, especially at this event. Whether you smoke or not, it’s an incredible sight to see, people coming together to celebrate music, their community, friendship and good times.
So they’re my top 10 things to do in Montreal. There are sooooo many more, but that should keep you busy for now. Two pieces of advice, brush up on your French, and engage with locals. The locals of Montreal are so lovely and kind (and know how to drink), so to get the full Montreal experience, make sure you have a chat with some locals at a bar.
Well, get on out there! Montreal is waiting for you. Wait, I still need to get in your suitcase!!!!
Oh damn it’s all becoming a bit too real. November is over which means only a few more weeks until Christmas, then after that I’ll be packing up my life here in Montreal and travelling around the West coast of America, before heading back home in January. I’m not sure I’m ready for it yet! But before I get ahead of myself…. let’s recap on the amazing month that was November!
This month was the month to really embrace the beauty of Montreal. And with my dear friends, I think I’ve accomplished that. I was lucky enough to have one of my best friends to come and visit for a few nights. You can check out what we got up to below!
A Night Out At Reggies
OK so this isn’t exactly something new (I kinda go to Reggies every week). But this time I happened to bring my camera. Despite the fact that we’re missing my girl EVA (next time) – these photos are of beautiful people that I’m lucky enough to call my friends here in Montreal.
I was lucky enough to go the the States again this month, and this time it was Boston! What an awesome city! I honestly had such an amazing time with amazing people – check out the video to see Boston in it’s full glory.
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of a good documentary. And Netflix has been DELIVERING! The Hunting Ground is a must watch for everyone, particularly university students. It sadly reflects deep seeded issues with the university as an institution and the unequal treatment of men and women.
13thabsolutely blew my mind! I think this is compulsory viewing for every single human being. It shines a very ugly light on the American ‘justice’ system whilst highlighting the huge issues of racism, inequality and corrupt institutions that plague America. I was in tears by the end of the film, and after the election of Donald Trump, who’s racist words echo throughout a very powerful section of the film, I’m scared and fearful for those who are already subject to such inequality. #blacklivesmatter
Yep – I’ve done another binge watch of a Netflix series but this one has left me feeling love, loved and…. lovesick. It’s light hearted, classic British romantic humour and it just made me so happy to watch. 10/10 would recommend.
This song! I don’t know how I missed this when it was released but damn this song get’s me so pumped and makes me so happy! It makes me incredibly excited to be back in the sunshine, at the beach with some great friends!
Tom Odell, I will forever love you. I’ve been listening to all of his music lately, but this is just a great cover that I’ve had on repeat for the past few weeks. As someone in the comments described, Matt Healy (the lead singer of the 1975) is like a cigarette and Tom Odell, he’s like a smooth whisky with a vintage cigar.
This channel is INCREDIBLE! It’s soooo inspiring and has definitely given me direction and motivation of where I would want to take my channel, career and life. I love them because they combine creative and quality content with a meaningful message and for that, I absolutley applaud them!
This girl is ridiculously talented! I was lucky enough to see her premiere her short film called ‘Smoke That Travels’ and is one of the most incredible films I’ve ever seen. She write and producers her own music, she’s an incredible story teller and again, creates extremely meaningful and important content. I’m incredibly inspired by her and she’s definitely someone the YouTube community should embrace and support.
After being lucky enough to see Chris Hadfield speak at Buffer Fest (you can see the video here), I was inspired to read his book. And it’s just as amazing as him! It’s interesting, light hearted, but filled with some very important life lessons that anyone can relate to and learn from. I can’t wait to give it to my brother, who’s fascinated with science and space!
This month, as you have already seen, I’ve been very grateful for the friendships I’ve made. I haven’t been worried about travel, boys, school… my main focus has been these friendships. Dedicating quality time, going out and doing something fun and different, and just appreciating every opportunity I have to spend time with them. Maybe it’s because I’m getting a little sentimental because I know I’m leaving soon (let’s not mention it just yet), but it’s such a rare time in my life where I have zero responsibilities and I get to dictate my days. And I guess despite all of the crazy times we’ve had, they’ve stood by me and made my experience here absolutely unforgettable. You know who you are…
OK so that wraps up November! There’s sooooooo much in store for December that I can’t even really think about it right now, but stay tuned because it’s going to be amazing!
This has got to have been one of the craziest months I’ve had! Literally every weekend I’ve travelled somewhere or had a major event on. The reality of living in Montreal has finally sunken in, I actually have to study (I did NOT sign up for this) and boy it’s getting cold outside! I’m so grateful for all of the incredible experiences I’ve had this month and intend to ride this wave of inspiration and happiness through til the end of the year. Donc, (probably one of my favourite French words around), here are my favourite things from October!
U.S of A
So I started October in the land of the free (or until Donald Trump came along), in Washington D.C. It was my first time in the states! And man could you smell the patriotism. I stayed with my amazing friends that I met in La Rochelle! It was so wonderful to see them again! I miss them all already and can’t wait to see where our paths cross again. Oh and yea, I guess I saw some cool things too – you can check it out below.
My friend Emma and I did a day trip to Quebec City and Montmorency Falls. Unfortunately it poured rain THE ENTIRE DAY! But the falls were truly incredible. It looks like I’ll have to come back for Quebec City another day!
TORONTO with CISA
This was a pretty hectic weekend! CISA is the Concordia International Student Association and a whole bus load of us went to Toronto for the weekend to set ourselves loose on the city. We were off to a rocky start because to get there, we caught an overnight bus. I may or may not have been (nope, definitely was) drunk. Whilst I got a good sleep, we arrived at 6:30am and couldn’t check in to the hotel until 4pm. Let’s just say the struggle was real. Our little squad consisted of Emma, Tim (Aussies as well) and Elena (this gorgeous girl from California). We explored Toronto together and made it up the CN Tower, and visited the St Lawrence Food Market. The next day we also went to Niagara Falls and tasted ice wine. On the way back to Montreal we stopped in Kingston (which I later learnt was the first capital of Canada) where we had THE BEST RAMEN EVER! It was a crazy weekend but I met some truly amazing people.
One of the best weekends I’ve had. Ever. Period! Not only did I get to meet some of my idols like Louis Cole, Ben Brown, Nicole Eddy, Tim Kellner, Raya Was Here, Steve Booker… but I was inspired beyond belief. I saw incredible performers and creators who live their lives so beautifully. They make the most of every day and try to capture the beauty of this world through a camera lens. Words really do fail me here so check out my video below.
OK so to some of you, it may be a surprise that Australia, doesn’t really celebrate Halloween… *gasp* I know right? But, it made me even more excited to be in Montreal for Halloween! It was – again – crazy fun. My friends and I went hard. We went out Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, which meant we needed 3 different costumes. And for those of you who know me – I LOVE dressing up! It was a pretty cool experience to go to house parties, clubs and bars, walking the streets with fake blood spilling out of my mouth and just having a great time with my friends!
[By the way if you couldn’t tell, I was Wednesday from the Addams family and a dead Breakfast at Tiffany’s Audrey Hepburn]
Kings of Leon cover Robyn’s Dancing on My Own
I’ve had this song ON REPEAT! I love K.O.L and this song just fits them sooooo perfectly!
I’m basically just loving everything from these guys. I love listening to them when I’m writing and have a cup of tea in hand. I don’t know, I guess perfection does exist!
Vloggers & Bloggers
Well after BufferFest I went on a YouTube BINGE and found some pretty awesome creators!
Damn guys get onto this! I was lucky enough to meet Dan at Buffer Fest and he’s a creator from Montreal. I love his style and his personality is so genuine! He’s definitely inspired me to be more comfortable and ‘myself’ in front of the camera! You can subscribe to his channel here!
OK so you know me, I’m always a little late to the party, but now that I’m here… OMG! This guy is the epitome of entertainment. He’s probably definitely slightly very crazy. But he’s 21 years old and is carving his way in the extremely competitive world of Hollywood and damn he works hard for it. This past weekend I’ve binge watched about 15 of his videos so if you’re in need of a laugh – be sure to check this guy out.
So this month I was on a bit of a streak with books (I’ve been actively trying to read more because damn isn’t that feeling of accomplishment amazing when you finish a book?!).
‘Modern Romance’ by Aziz Ansari.
OMG this book is way too real for anyone who has tried Tinder, waited a significant amount of time to text someone back or just caught in the delusional world of modern dating. What I love about this book is that it’s not just someone’s opinion – whilst he is absolutely hilarious! But he conducted a significant amount of research with sociologist, Eric Klinenberg. I flicked through this book in just three days and I’d highly recommend it to anyone.
‘You Can’t Touch My Hair’ by Phoebe Robinson
This is a great page turner. It’s light hearted yet addresses very serious issues of race. As someone who has benefitted immensely from white privilege, reading this book is extremely eye opening to the every day, casual racist behaviours inflicted on people of colour. At some points I wish that she had dug deeper and really hit the nail on the head, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be one of those books. This is her experience and thoughts on black culture and it was incredibly enlightening.
This one has really been resonating with me lately. I’m at this weird stage where I’ll be packing up and leaving this newly created life before I know it. But I feel like I haven’t exactly left my mark here yet. The friendships I’ve been lucky enough to create have meant so much to me and I’m incredibly grateful. And I guess I’ve been reflecting on past experiences (when I lived in London). Over time you forget the little details but you know how much people mean to you because that’s something truly unforgettable.
Well…. October. DAMN! November, you better be AMAZING because you’ve got a lot to live up to!
OMG It’s been nearly a month since I’ve blogged! What have I been doing?! Well I’m about to tell you exactly what I’ve been doing but damn I’ve been busy. September really was an interesting month. Starting my classes at university, feeling like I actually belong in Montréal, meeting some really awesome people, having friends coming to visit and just being busy not being busy. It’s always difficult when you’re trying to figure out a new city and way of life. But I feel like I’ve reached a point where I’m not so lost, and that’s a pretty big achievement in my books. OK, let’s throwback to September 1 and see what’s been going on.
Side note: because life has been pretty damn awesome as of late, you can keep up to date with my adventures by following me on Instagram [@aworldlyaddiction for the pretty stuff or @missadelaide_ for the behind the scenes stuff]
For everyone outside of Canada, Frosh = Freshman + Orientation, which therefore equals a week of being ridiculously drunk. Usually, Frosh is reserved for first years however when you’re an exchange student, you can kind of do whatever you want. Whilst it was pretty much just a week of going out and drinking copious amounts of beer, I made some really great friends that have helped me settle into life here in Montréal.
Working on my video taking and making
I really wanted to improve and explore my video editing whilst here in Montréal. So I’ve been busy making some videos. I’ve been trying to go out and do some interesting things with some interesting people. You can check out my channel here.
This month saw me adventuring mostly around Montreal. I had two friends, Abdul and Chloe come and visit (they’re my friends from back in Australia), I went hiking with the Geography association at Concordia, went out numerous times with friends, and I even went to a cat cafe!
So my boys are back with another AMAZING ALBUM! This is probably one of my favourite songs on there, it’s filled with bangers! Whilst nothing will ever compare to their first album (hello perfection), this one is still good enough to leave me swooning over Dan Smith and hoping that one day we’ll (not so secretly get married).
Another album I’ve been listening to on repeat is Benjamin Francis Leftwich’s After the Rain. It’s become my new ‘I’m having trouble sleeping because I just saw a mouse run across my floor I need to listen to something soothing and peaceful to help me drift off’ album.
Like usual, I haven’t had a chance to watch many movies, but one that really captured my heart, Amy. I absolutely love her music and found it incredibly sad when she died. I think it was the first time I’d seen someone die from drugs in the most tragic way, publicly. Seeing this movie showed me such a beautiful insight to her life before drugs and the sad decline of her career and personal life.
Noam Chomsky’s Who Rules the World?’ is a must for someone wanting a fresh perspective of historical and current issues regarding the power of the United States in other countries, particularly in the Middle East.
This month I bring to you two quotes/little mantras/things I’ve been telling myself that have been pushing me onward and forward.
The first is the following. I guess that when you’re trying to sort your life out, it’s hard to get a little bit lost along the way. I think it’s always nice to remind yourself that you are one of a kind and that you shouldn’t feel pressured to change who you are in order to fit in. So I’ve really been trying to embrace who I am and be my own biggest fan.
The following one here is just a bit of fun but damn is it accurate. It’s easy (well at least for me) to get caught up in the never ending story of looking for a soul mate, partner, friend, who even knows. Another thing that I need to keep reminding myself is that I’ve got plenty of other shit to do before I need to stress myself out about boys.
Things I Want To Improve On
This month, my laziness level has risen to an all time high and my sleep pattern is officially wack. Whilst I have been able to be somewhat productive, I know that I’ve wasted a lot of valuable time that I could’ve been doing something meaningful and creative. So next month, I’m really trying to be more self aware and try to get up early, stop lying around in bed for hours, stop binge watching netflix and get out and do something!
OK October, you’ve been warned. Adelaide is going to be productive, adventurous and creative af.
So I think I can officially say that August has literally been the craziest month ever! I’ve actually lost track of where I’ve been and what I’ve done – thank god for journal entries and Insta posts… But before I get stuck into it – August has been an absolute whirlwind. Something that I think I’m paying for now (I’m a bit run down and sick at the moment). So it’s always important to take care of yourself so you don’t burn out. OK – without further ado…. I present to you my incredible month of AUGUST!!!!
Believe it or not I started this month in San Sebastian, Spain. It was the first time I’ve ever been and I was lucky enough to be travelling with my Dad at this point. San Sebastian was literally like a fairytale come to life. The most vividly blue water, crowded lively and buzzing tapas bars and the best sangria I’ve ever had! A highlight was probably SURFING! The beach we stayed near is famous for it’s surf so it was pretty cool to rent a board for an hour and paddle out without having to worry about sharks!
Another incredible city that I’d never been to! Barcelona was an absolute whirlwind! The architecture is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before! I felt like I was walking through a Tim Burton film most of the time!
After Barcelona we flew to my favourite city of all time… PARIS! There’s not enough words in the world to describe just how much I love this place! We stayed in an AirBnb in Abbesses (click here to see). It was in the best location, right under the Sacre Coeur, with bars, boulangeries, markets and restaurants surrounding us. I felt like an actual Parisienne living there, which is pretty much the dream!
For me- Paris isn’t about the museums, galleries, monuments etc (although they definitely do add to the experience). But it’s the atmosphere. That beautiful immersion in French culture, history and way of life. To me, that’s absolutely magical.
However, it was my Dad’s first time in Paris… so I got to play tour guide (and I think I did a pretty damn good job). We walked absolutely everywhere, ate baguettes with every meal and enjoyed incredible food.
Round 2 in Iceland and dayum this place knows how to make someone happy! We rented a car (which is an absolute must for Iceland) and drove around the Ring Road and just pulled over whenever we saw something awesome. I’m talking, waterfalls, plane wrecks, more waterfalls and glaciers.
The highlight of Iceland was probably Vestmannaeyjar. It’s an island about 30 minutes from the mainland and is probably one of the most wild places I’ve ever been. The hiking was incredible and the views were literally breathtaking!
The time finally came where I touched down in Montréal! Woo! It’s so surreal when something has been months in the making and then it finally happens. All that hard work pays off… and then you come to the realisation – shit. I’m in a new city, new country and don’t know anyone… You can read about my first impressions of Montréal here but after being here for a few weeks… this place is AMAZING!!!
My housemate is cool af, I’ve made countless friends, drank waaaaaay too much alcohol and just am all round having a great time.
This month it’s been kind of hard to keep on track with new music, but there’s no way in the world I would miss new music from BANKS! OMG finally! I’m absolutely in love and I’m just hanging out for the album to be released!
Just A Gent
I’ve been trying to keep on top of my Like A Versions but when I heard this my mind was blown!!! It’s so sick I really don’t have many more words….
Same as July, I haven’t really had the chance to watch many films… but I’ll get there. Instead, like always I’ve been binge watching Netflix, and this is definitely a huge advantage to being in Canada! The Canadian Netflix is awesome!
I smashed out Season 2 of How to Get Away With Murder in nearly a weekend and OMG if you can start this show without smashing it out in a weekend then I’m very impressed with your self control.
I think this one is extremely relevant to my life at the moment. I guess when you have a lot of spare time and find yourself chilling alone, it’s easy to forget what you’re passionate about. You kind of get caught up in other things. This quote has motivated me to get out there, introduce myself, make mistakes, make a fool of myself, make friends and get in there. When you do the things you love and are truly passionate about, your heart and soul will be absolutely raging… so do it.
OK – What a month! I can’t believe I somehow made it from Spain to Canada! I’m sooooo looking forward to September. For classes to start and meet even more people and have many more exciting, scary and daring adventures!
Yep – I’m calling it this early… I’ve been here for nearly 3 weeks and I’ve had plenty of time to explore my awesome, hipster, buzzing neighbourhood of the Mont-Royal Plateau. And I feel that by chance and a little bit of fate, I’ve managed to find the 3 BEST CAFES in the area. Maybe it was chance, but I think my classic Australian coffee-snobbery gift led me to find these little gems. Who knows, but damn I’m happy I’ve found these places.
To give you my first impression of the cafe – my first experience here went a little something like this. I walked in with my new book ‘The Danish Girl.’ I ordered my Americano (in French). He asked if I wanted milk or sugar and I said no. He looked at my book and said ‘forget the Danish girl, you’re a real girl.’ Apparently you’re tough af if you have your coffee black here. After paying, I grabbed my coffee and sat on a long bench where people were set up with laptops. I then looked around and saw a camera crew and two actors sitting at a table candidly sipping their coffee. I asked if they wanted me to leave – just in case I would be in their way and they insisted I stay. They were making a music clip for a song they were about to release.
So apart from this incredibly cool experience, the coffee was great- and absolutely huge. There’s artwork all over the walls from local artists and apparently they do pretty amazing cous cous. Yep, this cafe does just coffee and cous cous. What an amazing combination?!
Le Moineau Masqué
This gem is literally 2 mins from my house! *HALLELUJAH* It’s a cute little cafe with AMAZING coffee. The staff are also ridiculously lovely! I speak French with them- when in Montréal- and they always take the time to ask how I am.
The other morning I went down to get my morning coffee and I only took $5. Then I noticed that they had fresh croissants, aka, exactly what you need on a Sunday morning. I asked how much that would cost… $6. I said don’t worry about it because I only had $5. But the guy insisted I take it. I refused and said, no no no it’s fine. And he said please take it, you can make up for it next time. He recognized my face (because I’ve been there my fair share of times over the past few weeks) and I felt like I not only belonged in this cafe, but in this city.
It was at this moment I pledged my loyalty to this cute little cafe for making me feel like a local.
As you walk south along Mont-Royal, you may not even see this cute little cafe. The epitome of ‘hole in the wall,’ this little cafe provides the goods. My absolute fave is a latte glacé (iced latte!) It’s sweet and strong and perfect! Their espresso coffee is superb as well, so next time you find yourself on Mont-Royal, make sure you slow down a little bit so you don’t miss it!
Oh – and one of the barista’s there has red hair, and that’s how you tell if a place is good or not 😉
What are your favourite cafes in Montréal? Do you have any more recommendations? Let me know in the comments below!
Every second person these days are posting their travel pictures or posting about their plans for up coming travel. Travelling is AMAZING and I love it, but when you’re living out of a suitcase, it’s difficult to genuinely embrace a new culture and way of life. In 2013 I lived in London for the year, this July I lived in La Rochelle, France and now I’ve just moved to Montréal for an exchange at university. Whilst I’m still adjusting to my new life here, it’s really made me appreciate my previous opportunities of living abroad. So this post is dedicated to those of you who have ever thought about living abroad and I’m here to tell you why you should do it and do it now.
It’s one thing to move, it’s another to move to another country
Sure – you may just think that if you want change, you can just move houses in your town or city, or maybe even move interstate. Sure, that’s a big thing. But at the end of the day, you have a common language, culture, and have your support network not far away.
Moving to another country, even if they speak English, is overwhelming in every sense because literally everything is new and foreign. From big things like adjusting to a new culture, way of life or new language, to the little things that we take for granted like knowing where to do grocery shopping, what phone provider to go with, how to take out the garbage or finding the best cafe on your street.
Now is this exciting or scary? I’ll leave that up to you to find out.
Nothing is familiar and you’ll look like a lost puppy
Like I said… everything is new! Back in your home city/town, you know exactly what you’re doing and where you’re going… all the time. You walk through the streets without even thinking twice about crossing the road. But in a new place, you’re constantly looking at street signs, hesitating about crossing the road, walking for 10minutes up the street only to realise you’re going the wrong way and having to turn around and go back.
For me this is a really big adjustment. Is admitting that I have no idea what’s going on – but that’s ok because you’re not expected to magically know everything about a new city. I guess the transition from being so sure and confident walking down the street, to literally feeling like a lost puppy looking up at street signs, is a hard one to make.
Sure it’s damn hard, but when you start to familiarise yourself with your area and begin to figure it all out, it’s such a rewarding feeling.
Your support network is 14hours ahead of you
Sure it’s beyond easy to keep in touch with people back home these days with the internet. But one thing the internet can’t change is time zones. Sydney is 14hours ahead of Montréal. 14 HOURS! Sydney is in the future! It’s always ‘tomorrow’ in Sydney. It’s not impossible, it’s just more difficult when you need to talk to someone.
I think this is one of the hardest things about living abroad, is that the life you had is 14 hours away. And when you don’t have someone to talk to, you have to learn to deal with your thoughts in a positive way yourself, which can at times be challenging. It gives you a unique opportunity to get to know yourself on a very personal, different and deep level. To understand your strengths and also acknowledge your weaknesses.
A new city, a new country, a new start
How often do you get to move somewhere and have a completely fresh start? You’re free to reinvent yourself in whatever way you choose! Usually when you move abroad, you don’t know many people in that city… moving to Montréal I knew of 3 people that lived here (when I moved to London, I knew 1 – my cousin). When you don’t know many people, you need to put yourself out there and say yes. By doing this, you’ll be surprised by how many people you’ll meet.
I’ve been in Montréal for just over a week now and by going out to drinks with my housemate and his friends, meeting up with girls from Facebook, or meeting some locals to take you to the best cafes in your area… I feel that I’m steadily building an awesome network of friends which I’m extremely grateful for.
It will challenge you to your core
So thankfully in the few days I’ve been in Montréal this hasn’t happened yet (but I know it will come)… there will be times when everything seems too hard. When things go wrong, you don’t get paid right, you lose something important, you miss out on an important celebration back home, you spend a rainy day in your room, and get a bit lonely or homesick.
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” These things are hard enough when they happen at home. Add the complexities of living in another country and it can sometimes become a lot to deal with. But it’s all of these little experiences, good and bad, that help you to become a better and stronger person. To be resilient, motivated, dedicated, strong and accepting or yourself and others around you. There’s not too many times in your life that you get to experience something like this.
But why should you do it now?
I feel that the older you get, the more commitments you have, and the harder it is for you to uproot your life and move to another country. I’ve already found it significantly more challenging this time around. I think because I was so comfortable in my routine back in Wollongong. And I’m only 22! I barely have any responsibilities! Imagine when I’m 25, 28, 30, 30+… I would imagine it would only become harder with age and responsibilities.
Sure – the list above may not be all that encouraging… there’s definitely huge challenges you’ll need to overcome, there’ll be moments when you’re lonely, lost and just have no idea what’s going on. But for every challenge and difficulty there is… there’s about 50 positives. Like making lifelong friends, immersing yourself in a new culture, (sometimes) learning a new language, getting to discover new neighbourhoods, towns, cities and countries nearby… the list is endless.
So… the only real question left to ask is… where to?!