Did I Achieve My New Years Resolutions for 2016?

For anyone that knows me, I love making lists, writing my goals down and using it as inspiration to work towards achieving them. That’s why I always make New Years Resolutions and set myself goals for the year. And as 2016 sadly comes to an end, and I start trying to make sense of and work out the complications I’ve already got of 2017, it’s led me to wonder what’s in store for me. But I don’t just believe in letting fate happen. I believe in encountering fate, then telling it exactly what you want to do so you can achieve your goals. So, here were my goals and my New Years Resolutions for 2016 and my thoughts and reactions on some of the challenges I set myself.

You can see my original post of 16 Things I Want To Achieve in 2016 HERE

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1. Watch less TV shows, read more books

I’d say this one is somewhat accomplished. I don’t think I necessarily stopped watching TV shows. I just found more time to read and instead of watching TV shows, I made the transition to the wide world of YouTube.

2. Limit my coffee spending.

DID NOT HAPPEN AT ALL… maybe I need to buy a coffee machine?

3. Buy my lunch a max of once a week.

ALSO DID NO HAPPEN! In Australia I was good.

And this is probably the point where I should address that this year was split into two parts… Australia and exchange life. Obviously exchange life isn’t ‘reality’ where I have a job and responsibilities so it therefore impacted my ability to achieve these goals. None the less… I ended up buying food out a lot… oops.

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4. Be a vegetarian. 

I did this in Australia. I quickly discovered that when travelling and staying with friends and family overseas, it’s very difficult to maintain this diet. So I just decided that whilst travelling, I’d ditch the veggo diet. However, the only time I eat meat is when I eat out. I eat vegetarian at home and buy tofu as a source of protein over meat.

5. Ride my bike more often.

Yes in Australia. Yes in France. No in Canada. Sadly I didn’t have access to a bike in Montreal… and to be honest, I think I’d be a bit scared to ride my bike around the streets of Montreal. Drivers here are kinda mental. But I’m soooo looking forward to going home so I can ride my beautiful bike absolutely everywhere.

6. Maintain and improve my French.

Oui, absolutement. After a month of intensive French study in La Rochelle, and 6 months in Quebec, I think I’ve managed to improve my French skills.

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7. TRAVEL! 

This one was kind of cheating because I knew I’d be doing a lot of this on exchange. I’ve been lucky enough to travel around France, Spain, Iceland, Canada (Montreal, Quebec, Toronto, Kingston, Niagara Falls) and the US (DC, Boston, New York – and soon to be California) and I’m so freakin grateful and happy that I had the opportunity to do so much travel during this time.

8. Volunteer.

I did volunteer at the beginning of this year but as soon as I started travelling and moved to Montreal that totally died off. Definitely something that I want to get involved with in 2017.

9. You can’t play hard until you’ve worked harder.

This was all about doing well at uni and I think I managed to do this in Australia and in Montreal. With 2 Distinctions and a HD at UOW for Autumn, and getting the top mark in my mid term for one of my classes at Concordia. I think I’ve deserved those beers.

10. Try something new

I experienced lots of new things, but I don’t think I really tried something new. I guess my intention with this goal was to really put myself out there and try a pole dancing class, learn to play a song on piano, a skill or something just completely out of the ordinary. I did try a lot of new things, but I’m all about pushing myself so I’m going to leave this unachieved and I’ll definitely be carrying this with me into the new year.

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11. Say Yes!

Absolutely smashed this one. There’d be nights where I’d be in bed, winding down for the evening, and then suddenly get a message from a friend inviting me out. It’s really easy to make excuses. In fact I think I realised just how hesitant I can be to making plans. Exchange definitely encouraged me to put myself out there and say yes to opportunities and I’m so grateful for that experience.

12. Be thankful, and show it.

One of the biggest things I learnt this year was just how privileged I am and I never want to take this privilege for granted. I want people to know how much I appreciate their friendship, their kindness and love. Actually, I don’t want them to know it, I want them to feel it. That I’m completely grateful for everything that has happened this year and nothing has passed by unnoticed.

13. Couchsurf.

Maybe next year.

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14. Eat. Sleep. Blog. Repeat. 

Mmmm kind of. Whilst I may not have been blogging as much as I would have liked, I launched my YouTube channel and have been making videos every week. I’ve also written content for Twenty Something Humans and Thought Catalog which has been an incredible experience and something I definitely want to continue into the future.

15. Stop comparing myself/Stop with the negative thoughts.

Everyone has insecurities and has periods where they feel down about themselves. This is something that I’ve wanted to combat this year because being negative is not productive or helpful to anyone, in any situation. So I’ve really been focusing on loving myself and owning my flaws. This has pushed me in a really positive direction and I feel that I’ve grown so much as a person because of it. YAY progress!

16. Own It!

Hells yea I ‘owned it.’ I feel that this carries on from my last point, to love myself, accept myself with my flaws and strengths. I’m really proud of everything that I’ve achieve this year. From improving my French, moving to Canada and putting myself out there to make such amazing friendships and connections with incredible people! I feel like I’ve been able to re-evaluate my values, goals and ambitions to work towards what I really want to achieve and who I want to be in life.

So… do New Years Resolutions work? I achieved 9 of 16 goals so yep – I think that counts as mission accomplished! I’m already thinking about things I want to achieve next year so stay tuned for more!

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Sunshine Blogger Award

One of my favourite things about blogging is the community it creates. You find yourself reading, befriending and caring about the blogs you read and the people behind them. And then every now and again you’re rewarded with a kind praise and ‘keep it up’ with a blogging award. Now these things are super informal and don’t have much significance in the traditional sense of an award. But DAMN do these mean so much to people (like me) who blog for the love of blogging and feel that their words have impacted someone’s life in a positive way #thedream. 

The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to “bloggers who are positive and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere”

So more of less, the lovely Little Sunshine, nominated me (you can check out her awesome blog here). She’s asked me 10 questions which I’ll answer below. Then I need to nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 10 questions as well. It’s a great way to get to know a little more about me and continue contributing to the amazing blogging community I’m a part of.

Ready? Let’s Do It!

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Some bright sunshine-ness quote to get this post started

1. What is your biggest dream?

Admitting to your biggest dream is scary, because it means putting it out into the world. Which means you’re somewhat accountable. But honestly, one of my deepest, biggest dreams is to write a book and have it published. That would honestly be unreal and a dream come true!

2. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Ooooh this is a tough one! There’s sooooo many places such little time. At the moment I’m going to say EGYPT, my best friend is there at the moment and she’s making me incredibly jealous! But it’s somewhere I’ve always been fascinated with. I want to learn about their history and their present. It’s a country with so energy and creativity that I really want to experience first hand.

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My beautiful best friend living life to the fullest and exploring Egypt

3. Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?

Extrovert all the way. I have introvert tendancies because give me a book and a cup of tea any night and I won’t leave my room, but damn I’m pretty outgoing and I’m quite proud of it.

4. Is what you’re doing now what you always wanted to do growing up?

Well at the moment I’m studying in Montreal on exchange. I don’t think that idea ever crossed my mind but I sure am happy here. For me going to university was something I always wanted to do. Not only to further my education but to grow, learn and meet people who will challenge and encourage me. And so far, that’s exactly what university has provided me.

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Some of my amazing friends I’ve been lucky enough to meet through university

5. Do you usually follow your heart or your head?

I’m a low key hopeless romantic and always follow my heart. Sometimes I have to follow my head, but for big decisions, I’m going to follow that crazy thing pumping away in my chest.

6. What are you most thankful for?

The opportunities and experiences I’ve been blessed with. Words really can’t describe how grateful I am for the people who have guided and encouraged me to bravely pursue my dreams.

7. What’s on your bucket list this year?

Well considering that the year’s nearly over, I think I might change this one to next year. I think I want to do the City2Surf again next year and I really want to learn how to surf!

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Attempting to surf in San Sebastian, Spain

8. What´s your favourite food ever?

I love Japanese food! Hit me with that salmon sashimi, ramen and dumplings any day and you’ll find a very happy Adelaide.

9. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

I’ve received a lot of good advice lately, but I think the thing that stands out the most at the moment was said to me by Ben Brown, when we met at Buffer Festival. He said that we’re all just trying to figure out what we’re doing. That we make mistakes, we learn, we improve and life goes on. That we shouldn’t stress over the little stuff because it’s the big stuff we should focus on and go after.

10. Which of the places you’ve traveled to inspired you the most, and why?

Oh damn this is a tough one! Edinburgh really inspired my creative spirit and it’s a feeling that I carry with me to this day. I have to admit that Paris is eternally inspiring. There really is something magical about that city that makes me want to be the best I can be and soak up all the beauty that city has to offer.

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Jardin de Tuilleries, Paris

OK so here’s some bloggers that I’m absolutely loving. To all of you, please keep up the amazing work! Your posts inspire me and many other in more ways than you’d know. The world (and the internet) need your voices so keep on spreading your sunshine.

  1. The Nigerian Nomad
  2. Journal By Assia
  3. Me Myself and Everything Else
  4. Expand the Horizon
  5. Evelina
  6. Samantha In Transit
  7. Roving Lioness
  8. What Makes Mary
  9. Sweet Jini
  10. Ella Sykes Blog
  11. Anges Voyage

Alright… so now… my questions are below. Hopefully they provoke thought and you enjoy answering them.

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Sending some love to you all
  1. What’s your ideal Saturday night consist of?
  2. Where would you love to live in the world?
  3. Where do you think is the most peaceful place you’ve visited and why?
  4. Mountains or ocean?
  5. If you could have any superpower what would it be?
  6. What advice would you give to yourself at age 16?
  7. Where’s your happy place?
  8. What’s one thing you can’t leave your house without?
  9. What’s the best book you’ve read recently?
  10. If you could be president or prime minister of your country for one day, what would you do?

[If you’re not sure what to do, read below]

  1. Thank the person who nominated you
  2. Answer the questions from the person who has nominated you
  3. Nominate 11 other bloggers for this award
  4. Write the same amount of questions for the bloggers you have nominated
  5. Notify the bloggers you nominated

Bienvenue à La Rochelle

The time is finally here! I’m fulfilling a life long dream of spending Summer in France! So let’s rewind a tiny bit… I just finished my French minor at university, and whilst studying French for two years was of course useful, I found it really difficult when it came to speaking with French people. After talking to some friends and doing my research, I realised that the only way to really improve my French skills is to go to France myself and fully immerse myself in the language, culture and lifestyle.

And that’s where AIM Overseas comes in. They are an organisation that provide unique study abroad opportunities for students to gain academic credit in their field of study in amazing parts of the world. And whilst scrolling away, I came across an intensive French program in a seaside town in La Rochelle. I first thought, where the heck is La Rochelle? And secondly, where do I sign up? This all happened in December, 2015. Fast forward to the 3rd of July 2016 and I was touching down in the beautiful town of La Rochelle. 

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Le port de La Rochelle

ARRIVING

I managed to get a super cheap flight from London to La Rochelle and it was a huge piece of mind knowing that my host-mother would be there to pick me up. Through this program, we have the unique experience of living with a host family (a way to really put our French skills to the test). My host family consists of Delphine, my host mother, and Laura (but more about her later). There was absolutely no messing around when it came to speaking French. I could basically hear the cogs in my brain frantically churn as I tried to remember conjugation, vocab and expressions. Ooh la la…

We threw my huge suitcase in the car and were off to her apartment, located in the centre of La Rochelle. I have my own beautiful room, in a beautiful apartment, with beautiful flowers, beautiful photos and two beautiful cats. Basically, I spent the whole evening saying ‘c’est beau!’ Delphine and I get along really well! Not only has she lived an extremely interesting life, but she’s super helpful, patient and encouraging when it comes to my French. That evening she showed me where to catch the bus from and around the port. I’m so grateful that Delphine showed me around and made me feel so welcome on my first day because the first day is hard, I’m not going to lie. There’s so many words and thoughts running around your head, but it’s reassuring to know that your host family is there for you!

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Le pain et un grand sourire

CLASSES

Before you start classes, we took a little test so that we were put in the class that corresponded with our level of French. I’m glad we did have that exam because I was worried I would struggle with the content. In my class, there are students from Virginia and Washington DC, China and Oklahoma. I’m the only Australian, but it’s great because I get to meet people from all over! Classes start at 8:30am and go until 12:45pm (with a 20 minute coffee break in the middle). Our teacher is also very patient and supportive. In class the activities we do vary from grammar, reading, listening, watching news clips, doing small presentations or playing hangman.

LUNCH

Probably the most important part of the day is LUNCH! This week varied from buying crepes by the port, to making sandwiches at home, to hitting up the supermarchés and buying food for a little picnic. We get about 2 hours for lunch which is a perfect amount of time to enjoy some to die for food and soak up some sun.

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Les autres étudientes australiennes 

ACTIVITIES

The best thing (so far) about this program is that it’s not just all about learning the language. It’s about the culture, history, food and people as well. On our first afternoon, we toured the university to get our bearings. Then we had an early mark and went on a mission to find ice cream! (The ice cream here is amazing!)

On day two we had a guided tour of La Rochelle – all in French. The best part is when you actually understand what the guide is saying… it’s how you know that you’re already starting to get the hang of it. It was great to learn about this complicated and fascinating history of this place! And even better to snap lots of photos!

Throughout the week I also watched France beat Germany in the Euro 16 and saw just how much France LOVE their football, spent every afternoon at the beach, ate at least 3 baguettes, hired a bike for the month, ate 1 more baguette, went exploring the town and improved my French tenfold!

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Mon vélo pour le mois

GASTRONOMY

So when I said this program is also about the culture, history, food and people…. I mainly meant food. Another girl in the AIM program and I are taking the ‘gastronomy’ course, where we learn about the art of French cuisine, wine, cognac, cooking….. do I need to say more? It’s all centred around food. We had a bit of an introduction to our Gastronomy class this week where we talked about ‘the art of setting a table’ and also discussed various regions in France and their famous products. We then got to taste Galette, which is a simple yet delicious cake like dessert which is special to the region of La Rochelle! If I return to Australia 10kgs heavier, I will have no regrets because everything here is DELICIEUX!

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Le centre ville

OTHER EVENTS

On Sunday, Delphine took me on a cute little picnic to Île de Ré, a quaint island about 20 minutes from La Rochelle, connected to the mainland by a huge bridge! We went swimming at two beautiful beaches, went exploring a little village called Ars-en-Ré, and the markets there. We then had a magnificent picnic on the beach complete with 2 different types of baguettes, 2 types of cheese, melon and hot coffee.

That evening Laura arrived, (remember the girl I was talking about earlier?). She’s from Columbia and she’s studying French at another place in La Rochelle. She will be living with Delphine for 2 months so I’m excited to get to know her over the next month while I’m still here! And maybe learn some Spanish!

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Delphine et moi allons mangé une pique-nique

This first week has absolutely flown by! My mind is exploding with French but I feel myself improving bit by bit and day by day. I make lots of mistakes but my confidence is growing and that’s the most important thing! Can’t wait to see what this week holds!

Why I’m Dreaming of Greenland

Lately I’ve been dreaming of this magical place I’ve only seen in pictures. Nestled neatly between Iceland and Canada is Greenland. Despite it’s name, it’s mostly covered in snow and ice. It has a population of 56 000 and it’s capital city is Nuuk. With town names which are unpronoucable and filled with coulourful little buildings, it’s somewhere I’m dreaming of! So here are some of the reasons why I want to go to that magical country in the Arctic circle.

Greenland! Source
Greenland! Source
  • You can go dog sledding
  • There’s whales everywhere
  • They speak Greenlandic, Danish and English
  • You can disconnect from reality for a while
  • And reconnect with nature (85% of Greenland is covered in ice)
  • Football is the national sport of Greenland (source)
  • Greenland is known as Kalaallit Nunaat’ meaning land of people (source)
  • Greenland’s national day is the 21st of June
  • They celebrate the return of the sun because they can spend weeks in darkness
  • You can see the Northern Lights 
  • Eat some of the freshest fish in the world
  • Experience 24 hour day light or darkness
  • Go hiking 
  • Learn about the inuit culture and history

But just in case these fun facts and reasons aren’t good enough, maybe the photos below will convince you!

Have you been to Greenland or know someone who has? Let me know about it in the comments below!

Whales!! Whales everywhere! Source
Whales!! Whales everywhere! Source

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The Greenlandic National Dress. Source
The Greenlandic National Dress. Source
The mystical and magical Northern Lights. Source
The mystical and magical Northern Lights. Source
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New Years in Greenland. Source
New Years in Greenland. Source

A Love Letter to Paris and a Few Tips on How To Be Parisian

So there’s this book. A beautiful little book, that sits neatly on my bookshelf. The thing about this beautiful little book, is that you cannot simply ‘read’ this book. No, you believe this book. Live it. Breathe it. Know it, with every inch of your body, and by the time you turn to the final page…. you know exactly ‘How To Be Parisian, Wherever You Are.’ This charming little book is written by four very beautiful, and very French women; Sophie Mas, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret and Anne Berest. They share their secrets to the world about How to be Parisian. 

My favourite French things; Coco Chanel Mademoiselle, red and black nailpolish and my gold plated Pierre Laniere watch I bought in Paris for my 19th birthday.
My favourite French things; Coco Chanel Mademoiselle, red and black nailpolish and my gold plated Pierre Laniere watch I bought in Paris for my 19th birthday.

A must read for those of you who have ever day dreamed their way to Paris. Ever since I was little, I remember being captivated by the City of Lights. And as soon as I made it through high school and ventured on my GAP year, I went to Paris not once, not twice, but three times.

Those who say they ‘didn’t like Paris’ or ‘thought it was dirty,’ then you obviously missed the whole point. Paris isn’t meant to be perfect. It is dirty, there’s gypsies everywhere and the Metro does stink like urine. But while you were so busy worried about a little dog poo on the sidewalk, you completely missed the beauty that lies in every street. Every arrondissement has a different story to tell. Your job is to listen and let the streets guide you along the way.

One of my favourite photos of Paris. Taken from the Sacre Coeur, this is Paris at dusk. Before she wakes up.
One of my favourite photos of Paris. Taken from the Sacre Coeur, this is Paris at dusk. Before she wakes up.

‘Parisian women never try to appear to be something other than what they are. They want above all to become the best possible version of themselves.’

The best version of themselves. Isn’t that what we should all strive for?

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‘The signature item is an attitude. It is the gun in your holster that makes you feel well dressed and invincible’ 

And personally, it’s my leather jacket (which is coincidentally pictured in the book). I bought my leather jacket in London. I saved up my money for it and may have even sacrificed some food for that week to purchase it, but now that it’s mine I couldn’t picture not having it in my life. It’s me. I feel fierce when I have it on. Not only because it looks great, but also because I’ve invested good money in something that is timeless. Now that’s smart investment.

And what about the French Language? C’est très beau. I’m currently studying it at uni, and despite how difficult the passé composé is, I will always love speaking it. For more reasons on why you should learn French, you can read more here.

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‘When it comes to kissing, the Parisienne does it the same way she does everything else: with cinematic flair. Preferably, all kissing should take play in the middle of the street. The city is after all her stage and she treats each kiss like a once-in-a-lifetime performance. She wants to be unforgettable- both to the man clinging to her lips and to the people passing by. Like any good actress, she immerses herslf completely in the role and amost expects a round of applause when the curtain falls and the end of her scene. Breathless, of course’ 

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“Always be fuckable: when standing in line at the bakery on a Sunday morning, buying champagne in the middle of the night, or even picking the kids up from school. You never know.”

You’ll constantly have ‘ah-ha’ moments which resonate with everyone’s unique experiences of Paris. I’ve seen Paris in many different lights. I’ve been there in Summer, Autumn and Winter, I’ve seen the touristy parts of the Lourve and the Eiffel Tower, gotten lost in the streets of Montmartre, been to Disneyland, ate excessible amounts of cheese and croissants, watched cabaret shows and delved through the flea markets. I love Paris, it’s people, history and culture, and I’m so glad I can have a little bit of it on my bookshelf.

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So you think the image of Paris and being Parisian is overrated. Well my friend, I’m not sure there’s anything else I can do to convince you. I say that there’s nothing wrong with a little daydreaming, and if you happen to daydream about Paris, the City of Lights, so be it.

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The Moulin Rouge. Haven’t been inside yet, but it’s on my list.
Bringing my ballet shoes with me to Paris. Dream come true
Bringing my ballet shoes with me to Paris. Dream come true.
Being fancy at the Palace of Versailles.
Being fancy at the Palace of Versailles.

An Essential Guide To London

Lately I’ve been asked a lot from my lucky jet setter friends, ‘what are the essential things to do and see in London?’ I usually reply with ‘depends if you want to see the touristy London, or the real London?’ And whilst I only lived in London for a year and am still no expert on the real London, here’s my list of awesome things that you must see and do in the fabulous city of history and culture, LONDON!

Don't be afraid to do some sight seeing at night! You get a beautiful different perspective on things minus all the tourists.
Don’t be afraid to do some sight seeing at night! You get a beautiful different perspective on things minus all the tourists.

Photo Ops

1. Big Ben. Of course.

2. The Red Telephone Box. Again. Of course. And don’t worry, they’re EVERYWHERE!

'Ello Govna
‘Ello Govna

3. Piccadilly Circus TDK neon signs. Kind of unmissable if you venture into the city.

4. Tower Bridge. So much history and beauty. Get a good shot from the Southbank.

996021_731518820196469_1823809950_n 5. Buckingham Palace. Obviously.

Culture

1. Camden (Markets). Pretty much one of my favourite parts of London. You can walk around aimlessly for hours and find a good feed and bargain along the way. With music, buskers and weird and wonderful things everywhere, it’s a must see. Plus an amazing music scene! Amy Winehouse ring any bells? This was her territory.

Camden with my girl
Camden with my girl

2. Brick Lane. Possibly one of the coolest places ever. Located in East London and just a short walk from Liverpool Street, Brick Lane is a hipsters paradise. Amazing pop up food stalls, underground vintage markets (I bought my pair of Converse from there for 20pounds), street performers and AMAZING Indian cuisine. If you want cheap and authentic Indian then this it the place to go. Hidden between the high rises of Liverpool Street, it really is a hidden gem.

3. Covent Garden. Beautiful restaurants and a few little markets hidden around, conveniently located right in the middle of the city.

Food

1. Carnaby Street. Lots of cute little restaurants and bars scattered along the street it’s a great find and a lot of fun.

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2. Any markets. Camden, Brick Lane, Southbank, Notting Hill, Borough Markets…

3. Browns for High Tea. If you’re in London then you must indulge and have a high tea experience. I was fortunate enough to go with some family members and it was a simply divine dining experience.

Expensive but beautiful little cakes
Expensive but beautiful little cakes

Galleries and Museums

1. The British Museum. I went here about 4 or 5 times and still didn’t see everything! Make sure you don’t miss Cleopatras Mummy or the Rosetta Stone.

2. The National Gallery. Prime location, overlooking Trafalgar Square. Again, a day simply is not enough but my (biased) recommendation is checking out the Romantic’s artwork.

3. The National Portrait Gallery. Adjacent to the National Gallery, it’s worth the detour to spend an hour or two here. When I visited, there was an exhibition on Miss Marilyn Monroe and I was in love.

Chillin in Trafalgar Square
Chillin in Trafalgar Square

History

1. The Tower of London. If you want to dive deep into 13th Century London, this is the place to do it!

2. Shakespeare’s Globe. If you’re a poetry/literature nut like me then you’ll probably swoon when you see it. If you’re not too keen on paying super high prices, every now and again they have deals on tickets.

3. John Keats House in Hamstead Heath. Again, if you’re an English Romantic Literature fan… you CANNOT miss this. I studied John Keats in English at high school and have since had a fascination of him and his work. Being at his actual house and in the surrounding neighbourhood was so inspiring and overwhelming, I may have shed a tear or two.

Swooning over Mr Keats
Swooning over Mr Keats

A Little Something Extra

1. The Heron Tower. Located just near Liverpool Street tube station is this fabulous 40 floor tower. If you dress up pretty nicely and say to the guy at the door ‘I’m just going up for drinks’ then he’ll let you past. Press number 38 and you’ll shoot up in a glass elevator. Up the top of the building is something spectacular. An amazing 5star bar, a sushi restaurant and a fantastic view (which is free). I’ve been up there a few time and not purchased anything, just to check out the view and it’s splendid every time. If you feel like splurging, why not enjoy a glass of wine whilst overlooking the spectacular city.

Some of the view from the Herron Tower
Some of the view from the Herron Tower

Things to give a miss

1. The Tate Modern. OK if you love modern art… go for it. Even with my open mind, I still didn’t get it. Any of it.

2. The London Eye. Look at it from a distance. It’s not worth wasting the time in the huge line or money.

3. Changing of the Guard. I never went and I’m glad I saved myself a few painful hours. There’s waaaaaay too many people, you can’t really see anything and it’s all rather uneventful.

Do you have any recommendations?

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!

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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