An Open Letter to My Friends

The past few months have been pretty challenging. A bit of a bumpy ride with some ups and downs and what can we say… such is life. I like to think I’m pretty strong and resilient, but I think I’ve come to realise that this strength is ignited by the people around me I’m lucky enough to call my friends. It’s funny when you move out of home, away from your family, that you strive to create a ‘family’ of your own. To surround yourself with people that push you, inspire you, lookout for you and cuddle you.

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You’re so passionate and interesting.

Like seriously, you guys are doing such incredibly awesome things! Whether it’s planning to work at a summer camp in Canada, babysit your niece, learn Spanish, learn to surf, experimenting with photography, rock climb, secretly talented at karaoke, volunteer with a community organisation, teach dancing, make rings from old spoons, volunteer in Nepal, know how to twerk, road trip around Australia in a van, doing your thesis, intern in the Netherlands… you are all involved in such interesting projects that continuously inspire me. I always want to hear about everything you’re doing because it pushes me to be a better person, to try new things and just get involved to make the most out of life!

You listen to me rant and preach.

Whether I’m happy or sad, angry or passionate, you nod your head and listen to my thoughts and feelings. I generally don’t filter anything I say, it goes straight from my brain to my mouth. Talking things through is how I try and make sense of my feelings and the world around me. The fact that you want to listen and make sense of this nonsense with me, makes me feel so accepted and wanted. It’s completely amazing!

You’re always down to get a coffee or a beer.

We all know that friendship is built on a foundation of coffee or beer (or tea, or juice, or cider, or vodka for my friends that don’t like coffee or beer – side note, you still cannot be trusted). There’s nothing like pressing pause on life and taking a few minutes to sit back and sit across from someone you care about to talk shit.

Time is unstoppable and so is true friendship.

Whether it’s been an hour or a year, you know that you can kick off right where you started. This is especially a shout out for those friends I only get to see a few times a year… or even once a year (Jess… why do you have to live the dream in Europe?!). It’s so crazy that throughout all of these years our friendship has not only survived but strengthened, and after everything we go through in a year, you still make time for me once a year to spend time together and catch up. Even the people I live around the corner from, you understand that I’m busy and have commitments and sometimes need to spend some time alone or focusing on some other priorities, and the fact that you are so supportive of that is so incredible.

You live in the coolest places (which I will one day come and visit).

Somehow some of my best friends live on the other side of the world. When I stop to think about where they all are I get so excited that I know people from the most incredible parts of the world; Canada, America, Mexico, England, France, Italy, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Poland, Switzerland, Germany, New Zealand, Brazil, Columbia, Albania, Nepal, Morocco, Hong Kong… honestly I love meeting people from all over the world and the fact that I get to call you my friend is so freakin aweseome.

Work friends understand each other on a next level.

This is a shout out to all of my work friends. The people I see every day and are there to complain to, talk to and grab coffee with. We problem solve, deal with workplace politics together and keep each other updated on one another’s lives. I never thought I’d be so lucky to work with such kind, caring and considerate people. The fact that these people make going to work exciting is pretty damn amazing and I want you to know what a positive impact you make on people’s work lives (which is really important).

You intervene and pull me up for my wrongdoings.

I know I’m not perfect and that I make mistakes. But having friends who love you so much and are brave enough to sit you down and have an honest, genuine discussion about things you’re doing that may not be quite right, is the definition of consideration and respect. It’s not an easy conversation but the fact that you’re putting my wellbeing above any awkward thoughts of feelings you may have is ridiculously generous. I can say that in these moments I’ve had overwhelming gratitude for these people and their words and kindness that I’ll never forget.

You stick your hands down my throat when I need to throw up.

OK so that’s only happened once, and that friend knows that she’s the ultimate human because I don’t know anyone else who would sacrifice a night of dancing for drunk, can’t navigate us home, Adelaide (thanks girl).

Bottom line is that I honestly don’t know where I would be without each and every one of you. I feel like that sentence doesn’t even begin to grasp just how much you all mean to me. I mean it in the sincerest way possible, that you have all helped shape me to be the person I am. It’s incredible to know such inspiring, positive, kick ass people from all around the world and I feel so honoured to have such beautiful relationships with each and every one of you. I want you to know that I am here for you, I love you and let’s take this world by storm.

 

 

 

Why ROAD TRIPS Will Always Be The Best Type of Travel

I was lucky enough to recently be sent on an epic road trip for work (I know… what a job?!). Whilst we did work really hard during the days, leaving me absolutely exhausted by the end of my trip, it was also a great experience to see some pretty epic places. My little road trip took me to Tamworth, Newcastle, Maitland, Port Stephens (home), Port Macquarie & Coffs Harbour. I was lucky enough to travel with two awesome guys that I also work with, along with eating amazing food at amazing places, belt out some great songs and take some awesome pictures. This little adventure reminded me of why road trips will always be the best type of travel!

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Abdul and I on the first leg of our road trip. Wollongong –> Tamworth.

You get to see all of the sites

You can just see so much more by road! Sure – highways aren’t that exciting, but as soon as you take an exit, you drive through towns you’ve never heard of and see the landscape change as you rack up the kilometres.

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Seeing the sites of the Golden Guitar at Tamworth.

There’s nothing holding you back

Unlike travelling by plane, train or bus, you don’t have to worry about timetables or schedules, worrying about where or when your stop is or making sure you arrive early…. not with a car! It’s as simple as grabbing the keys and hitting the gas!

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Not holding back those yoga skills 

You choose the music, and you choose the decibel you want it at!

By far the best thing about road tripping is the music you choose as the soundtrack to your adventures! Whilst Triple J will get you a long way, it’s one of the commandments of road tripping – ‘thou must provide solid beats.’ There’s nothing better than cruising down the highway and belting out some bangers!

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Attempting to surf in Coffs Harbour. 

You can alternate drivers 

If you love a good nap but don’t want to fall victim to prying, judgemental eyes when you fall asleep in public, then snoozing off in the car is perfect for you! You can put the seat back, cuddle up to a pillow and have the snooze of a lifetime. Or, if you’ve got stuff to do (hello uni work!) you can sit back and get your reading/essay/blogs done!

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Friends you make whilst on the road! Enjoying lunch in Maitland.

Road trips make the ultimate friends

At the end of the day, the people you road trip with become pretty awesome friends! You have to put up with each other’s bad singing, confusing directions, snoring in the car and downing take away coffees on the go – that’s a recipe for some ultimate friendship bonding right there!

Road trips will always inspire spontaneity, motivate you to get up early and just go! I can’t wait to have many more road trip adventures to come.

You can check out the highlights to my road trip here! 

 

When It’s OK To Say No

Whilst one of my New Years Resolutions for 2016 was to say YES to more things, I’ve come to realise the power and importance of doing the opposite and actually saying NO. Now before you brush this off as a close minded perspective, hear me out.We live in a day and age where all we’re trying to do is schedule people into a busy lives, but at what cost? Of course I’m open to new experiences, being spontaneous and making the most of every day, but some days, you can’t do everything. It’s not humanly possible. At the end of the day, all we have is ourselves and it’s important to listen to our minds and bodies to ensure that when we say YES, we can make the most of it.

So in my books, it’s totally OK to say NO when…

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My idea of a lazy Sunday. Source. 

You’re low on money

Sure, we all love going out for dinner and drinks. But these days, a dinner and drinks combo will cost you a minimum of $30 (and let’s be honest, as if you’re only going to have 1 drink). Whilst it’s nice to do it every now and again for special occasions, if you’re on a tight budget like me, it’s not a feasible option to always be going out for dinner and drinks. It’s definitely OK to say no.

Alternative…

Of course you don’t want to miss out on friend bonding time. Instead, you could suggest buying a cheap bottle of wine and making some delicious home made food and going for a picnic. Or you could suggest going out for coffee instead. Because money spent on coffee is money well spent.

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Coffee with friends is always a good time! Source. 

You’ve got a deadline

Whether it’s work, assignments, study, blogging… they don’t call it a deadline for nothing. You’ve got to get it done. Sure you’d love to stay out for that extra hour, have that extra glass of wine or watch that extra episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians (don’t judge me, it’s the best thing ever!), but at the end of the day, you need to get your work done.

Alternative…

Prioritize your work and as soon as it’s done, you’ll be ready to go out! Just get in and get it done, no one wants deadlines hanging over their shoulders. Just think of how much better that glass of wine is going to taste knowing that you’ve got everything up to date?! AMAZING!

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If this doesn’t motivate you, I don’t know what will?! Source. 

You’re feeling under the weather

You know that feeling when you’re not sick, but your nose is a bit stuffy, you’ve had to take a few Panadol that day and your bodies a bit sore? Being under the weather or run down sucks. The last thing you need to do is push yourself! When you start to feel this way, this is your body’s way of saying ‘hello, up there… your brain is working overtime and I need a break!’ To prevent it getting any worse, make sure you tuck yourself into bed nice and early, drink lots of water and eat some fruit.

Alternative…

Fulfil 12 year old you’s dreams and deck your lounge room out with mattresses, blankies and pillows and have a Harry Potter marathon. Spend a night in sipping on tea and your body will thank you for giving it a bit of a rest. And the best thing is, if you’re too sleepy, you can just fall asleep. Just make sure you remove all permanent markers from the house to avoid becoming a canvas at midnight!

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Blanket fort goals! Source

When you just don’t feel like it

Let’s be honest, sometimes you just don’t feel like doing anything at all. You don’t need to justify yourself, or make up a lame excuse. Just say you don’t want to and leave it at that. Everyone needs time to themselves so be brave enough to say ‘No, tonight I’m doing whatever the hell I want to do.’

Alternative…

None. Because you do you!

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Love yourself. Source

I’m definitely not suggesting you should never go out, never spend money, or never spend time with your friends. These are some of my favourite things to do! But I think sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in going places, seeing people, catching up, being places and getting stuff done. Sometimes, we just need to take some times to ourself and say “nope, I’m going to sit this one out.” As the quote above says “happiness is an inside job,” so it’s ok to take time to ourselves. Because that means that when we say yes to awesome adventures coming our way, it’ll all be worth it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

So… You’ve Had A Bad Week?

We all have bad days. It’s just a fact of life. And sometimes those bad days turn into a bad week. It’s not like anything in particularly bad happens, but in general you just feel a bit flat. Now I’m definitely not complaining, I am absolutely blessed and appreciate everything I have. But there’s no denying that sometimes, it can all build up and you just end up having a bad week. And I’m not one for bad weeks at all. So after a hectic few weeks of work, uni and more work, I had my plate pretty damn full.

And last week, I was just completely… flat. And it sucks when you have a bad week or two. And having finally kicked my slump, I thought that I would share this with you guys. I think it’s important to share those tough times as well. Life isn’t exactly smooth sailing. But by writing it down not only means I can share my thoughts and experiences with you, but also means I can take a chance to reflect and work on myself.

So, here is how I got out of my bad week and a reminder as to why we should always take some time to ourselves.

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Feel the emotions

When you try to suppress feelings of sadness or anger, it only makes it ten time worse! Of course you don’t want to take it out on your friends or family, but you certainly don’t want to explode into a puddle of emotions. If you feel like crying, cry. If you feel like punching something, punch your pillow. Or better yet, exert that energy into something productive. There’s no way we can overcome our emotions until we have firstly accepted them.

Take some time out

When I’m feeling this way, I really can’t stand being around people. Mostly because I just don’t have the energy or motivation to engage in discussion or activities. But I also don’t want to bring them down or give off bad vibes. I also don’t want to accidentally take my issues out on them. I guess maybe a part of me also doesn’t want them to see me in this kind of state (when I’m definitely not ‘me’ or at my best). If you feel any of these things, taking some serious ‘me’ time will help you re-touch base with yourself. If you’re all up in your head with your worries, it definitely doesn’t help to have other people’s voices in your head confusing you.

Don’t be alone

Now I know this directly contradicts what I just said, but I mean, don’t go through rough times alone. Of course, take your ‘me’ time, but let your friend (someone you love and trust) know that you’re just dealing with some stuff at the moment and are choosing to take some time out. They’ll most likely just hug you and say ‘I’m here whenever you need me.’ This is not only reassuring, knowing that once you’ve processed your emotions, you’ve got someone to talk to, but it’s also good to communicate your feelings and just let someone else know. Plus, your friend was probably already about to throw you an intervention to find out what’s going on because after all, best friends know what you’re thinking before you even think it. There’s always someone out there to listen, hug, support and be there for you and that’s the most important thing to know!

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Get some fresh air

I find great happiness in the ocean, but at times when I get stressed out, I forget how much it makes me happy. Especially if you’re taking some time out to yourself, it’s easy to just settle for Netflix alone in your room. And whilst that’s totally fine, it’s not a cycle you want to get into. Instead, put on your running shoes and go for a walk around the block, run as fast as you can, ride to town, walk to the beach, walk to a park… just get outside. I promise you’ll instantly feel better just by getting some sunshine and some fresh air.

Get to the root of the problem

If you’re still feeling a bit weighed down, write a list of the things that are stressing you out. Do you have an assignment to do? Working too many shifts? Concerned about a friend? Whatever it is, no matter how big or how small, write it down. Then brainstorm how you can alleviate these stresses. Obviously there’s some things in life we can’t control. But something like getting an assignment done or being worried about a friend is achievable. Take some time out and get that essay done.  Call your friend and arrange a coffee date. Take proactive steps to getting rid of these worries.

Seek Help

Asking for help isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s a sign of how strong you are to stand up and admit that you need some assistance or guidance. There are so many people out there to offer a helping hand. You don’t need to struggle or suffer in the shadows of your room.

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If you or anyone you know needs assistance you can refer to the following sites

Beyond Blue

Are You OK?

Or… prescribe a coffee, a dose of sunshine and a best friend hug!

This one goes out to all of my friends and family who have had to put up with me this past week and helped put a smile on my face! Love you guys.

 

 

 

 

5 Reasons I’ve Started Keeping a Journal, Again

“[Journaling] is like whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time” – Mina Murray – Dracula 

Ever since I was in fourth grade, I’ve kept a journal. Now let me tell you, these fourth grade journal entries weren’t exactly sonnet worthy pieces of work. It usually went a little like ‘omg, my sister is soooooooo annoying,’that cool boy at school talked to me today!,‘ ‘my sister is my best friend,’ ‘ah, my sister is so weird.‘ (Sorry sis). On Christmas, I would always look forward to unwrapping a journal so I could welcome the new year with a fresh start. Keeping a journal is just something I’ve always done. At my parents house, I have a collection of about 10 old journals and that collection is one of my most prized possessions.

Last year though, I just stopped. It had been months since I’d written anything and I kept thinking, I’ll do it later, until I stopped writing altogether. I thought ‘ok, it’s just something I’ve grown out of’ and didnt’ think much of it. Then last month, as I was doing some shopping, I saw a journal at a store and thought about how much I used to love keeping a journal. There was no hesitation, I bought it and wrote in it that night.

I may not write in my journal every night, but I’ve started writing again, and it’s something I didn’t realise how much I’ve missed. I feel like we all need a little journal by our bed to write in. I’m sure the world would be a much better place if we did. So if you’re thinking about starting a journal or keep one yourself, here are my 5 reasons why I love keeping a journal and why I wish I never stopped.

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My journal for 2016. 

1. You can express your true feelings

One of my justifications for quitting my journal writing, was the fact that I planned on blogging more, and blogging more real experiences and emotions. And whilst I believe I’ve done this to some degree, there’s some things that you just don’t want the world to know. And no matter how close you are to your best friend and while you might tell them everything, sometimes it’s nice to have private thoughts that you keep to yourself. You can express your deepest anger or frustration, sadness or joy and the pages will soak it all up. It doesn’t have to make sense and it doesn’t have to be sophisticated. It just need to come from you.

2. There’s no judgement

A journal is a friend. There’s no evil eye staring back at you as you write. Like I said, its pages will listen politely to you. Sometimes it’s just nice to express how you truly feel about something and knowing that you’re not going to be criticized or judged for it. It gives us the freedom to be ourselves and explore ourselves a bit more, which is a pretty exciting thing.

3. Disconnect from technology

Think about it… how often do you write with a pen and paper? Personally, I work in an office and spend 9-5 at a computer. When I take notes for uni… I do it on my laptop. And when I write/blog… again, on my laptop. The only things I usually write with a pen and paper is a shopping list or a reminded note on my hand. It’s so relaxing and unwinding to sit down with a journal, a pen and your thoughts and just write for ten or fifteen minutes before you go to bed. There’s no notifications to distract you, or likes to evaluate your work. Just put some calming music on in the background and let your words carry you away.

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Some cute little tips I’m trying to adopt. Source

4. Reflection

Let’s be honest, in our busy lives, how often do we get to take 15 minutes to ourselves and really reflect on what we’ve been doing, how we’ve been feeling and how we can improve ourselves? I believe the answer might be along the lines of ‘what, you get time to yourself?’ I really value my ‘me’ time and writing in my journal is a way I talk to myself and listen to myself at the same time. It’s like the quote above ‘whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time.’  And I truly believe that by taking the time out to be alone with our thoughts, to take a moment to ourselves and reflect is a great way to move forward in a focused and re-energized way.

5. Future is looking bright

By writing down where we’ve been, naturally we’re prompted to write about where we’re going. By physically writing down our goals, our hopes, our dreams, we’re sharing it. And once you share it, it only encourages us to keep on going. Checking in with these goals and values every now and again, is a great way to ‘stay on track.’ And even if we veer off track, we might even create a new path, with new goals and new ideas. Our journals don’t dictate our path or tell us where to go, they simply show us that we have the potential to go wherever we can dream.

Do you keep a journal? Is it something you would like to do? Let me know in the comments below!

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: JANUARY

A new year, a new adventure and a whole heap of new things that I’m absolutely in love with. So if you’ve been as busy as I have, then you’d agree that January has been an absolute blur! But it’s been pretty damn incredible! So here are a few of my favourite things for January!

Fun For Louis

I don’t know what rock I’ve been hiding under but O M G! This guy is awesome and absolutely living the dream! I’ve nearly made it my daily ritual of watching his videos every morning for inspiration. I can’t imagine the time and effort that goes into making a travel vlog each and every day and I have sooooo much respect for him! And I love watching his vlogs about Youtube and business. It’s so interesting to learn so much about someone living the ultimate adventure!

Home Sweet Home

It was so good to get home for a weekend! And even better to enjoy some sunshine with my family!

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Soaking up some sun in beautiful Port Stephens.

Australia Day Shenanigans

What more could you ask for? A pool, beers, friends and Triple J? I had such a fantastic day getting a bit too much sun, and drinking a bit too much beer. I must admit that this year, the awareness of what Australia Day means to our First Australian people has been incredibly disturbing. It’s something that I believe needs to be addressed seriously and not just a ‘trend’ on social media. We can do so much more as a nation to improve equality between people in our nation and it’s time that it happens.

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Adventuring around the countryside

I did get a fair bit of road tripping done. I was lucky enough to borrow my family’s land cruiser for a month so I just had to take advantage of this! I made it down to Canberra, Broulee/Bateman’s Bay, out to Bowral and back up to Port Stephens.

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My awesome car for the Summer at Minamurra Rainforest
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Beautiful Broulee
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Reunited with my bestie in Canberra.
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Soaking up the sun at Bald Hill.
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Getting lost in the clouds at Tomaree Mountain, Port Stephens

21st Party

It seems to be the year for it all! And what a banger to start it all off with! One of my best friends 21st birthday parties. And with plenty more to come, the parties won’t stop there.

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Tunes

I am absolutely obsessed with this song! I’ve been listening to it on repeat and this has definitely been the sound of my January.

Flicks

So over Summer I’ve actually been studying an Australian film class at uni. And what better excuse do you have than to watch films as study?! And I decided to watch as many Australian films as possible and I came across Tracks. It’s based on a real story and it’s one of the best films I’ve seen in a long time. And if you’re interested in films about travel, adventure and self discovery – you will LOVE this film.

Blogs

Journal By Assia. A travel and lifestyle blog written by Assia. Her photos are absolutely beautiful and she frequently posts about her new favourite book or her latest weekend adventures, which makes her blog fresh and exciting. I love following her journey and always look forward to reading what she’s up to next. If you’re after some inspiration and motivation – then look no further!

Simplicity Relished.  I’ve only recently come across this blog and I’m absolutely in love. It’s all about living simply and minimalistic lifestyle. Her photos are gorgeous and with a touch of travel in there – it provides for hours of light reading.

Books

Escape From Camp 14. So I actually haven’t finished this book – I’m really close I promise! But it’s so dark, depressing and insightful that I find it difficult to pick up but impossible to put down. I don’t know much about North Korea and the camps there, so reading this personal book about what happens there is pretty confronting but extremely important to learn about.

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Quote

“If you’re dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.”

This quote has really pushed me this month. To think and act bigger, take a risk and be daring with the decisions I make and the dreams and goals that I set. I wouldn’t say I’m scared by them, but I’m definitely taking a deep breath before attempting to tackle them! Let’s do it!

 

Well that just about sums up my January. Sorry this post is late again. As you can see I’ve had a pretty crazy month! But I’m keen for even bigger and better adventures to come my way and share them with you guys much more frequently!

 

Do New Years Resolutions Work?

This time last year, I wrote a blog post 15 Things I Want to Achieve in 2015 (read here). I’ve always been a big believer in goal setting, but it’s one thing to write it in the back of your diary, another to publish it on your blog. Reflecting on my post and my year that has been 2015, I feel like I’ve done a pretty damn good job. But, there’s areas that I epically failed. I’m a big believer in self reflection and taking the time out to think and rethink, evaluate what’s important, how to overcome and to move forward. So here were my New Years Resolutions for 2015 and my reflections and how they all turned out.

1- Read everyday

OK so that one definitely didn’t happen. As much as I love reading books, being bogged down with study and work, I just didn’t get the time. In saying that I did read some pretty amazing books – with my favourite being Lena Dunhams Not That Kind of Girl. I also managed to (mostly) keep on top of my uni readings and study aswell. I think this is something I can definitely work on for 2016.

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Get it and get it now

2 – Write in my journal everyday

Well that lasted a whole 3 months or so. I meant to, but like the reading goal above – I just didn’t have the time! I know, pathetic excuse, but I feel like my blogging has become a form of diary.

3 – Spend less time scrolling

I feel this is half achieved. I feel like I realised just how much I rely on my computer and the internet. I feel like I’ve spent less time aimlessly scrolling, but more time scrolling to achieve great things

4 – Renew my gym membership

Done!

5 – Do yoga at least once a week

Close, but not quite. Sometimes I did it three times a week, other times I’d go three weeks without going. Again, I think it was because I was so busy. Definitely something to continue for 2016.

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Yoga fuels the mind.

6 – Reduce the amount of alcohol I drink

Done! Firstly, I really couldn’t afford to drink a lot this year, but I’ve also made more of an effort to look after myself and my liver. Whilst I like going out, I’m really not the biggest fan of going out to the same places, with the same people listening to the same music over and over again. Instead, this year I found myself in cool bars with even cooler people. I’d prefer to build connections with people over conversation and intellect rather then slut dropping over the dance floor.

7 – Save Save Save!

Done! And to be continued into 2016. You can read more about my money saving tips here.

8 – Be productive and prepared for uni classes

Done! I think that my C, 2xD’s and HD speak for themselves.

9 – Hike Mount Kiera

Done!

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Hiking Mount Kiera, Wollongong

10 – Launch my new section of A Worldly Addiction

OK well kind of. I changed my mind about reviewing cafes etc. I figured I could just do that through Instagram. Instead, my blog has definitely grown beyond my expectation. I’ve launched a Facebook Page (here) and Instagram account (@aworldlyaddiction). My friend also created a promo video that I’ll be launching next year. And… I got to meet my blogging idol Brooke Saward which you can read about here. Overall it was a big year for my blog!

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Brooke and some very inspiring readers

11 – Be an avid environmentalist

Done! This year I’ve been involved with the AYCC and Oxfam combatting Climate Change and took part in the People’s Climate March in Sydney. Definitely something I will be continuing into 2016.

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12 – Continue having coffee dates with my family and friends

Done! In fact, I don’t really think I need anymore encouraging with this one but yep I definitely nailed it.

13 – Go camping

OK so we actually went Glamping – we were meant to go camping but it was forecast for rain so we went to our friends holiday home down south. We still spent the whole time at the beach and just chilling out. There was also no water so I guess it was kind of like camping.

14 – Have a weekend away

Check check and check! I spent 5 days in Melbourne  (you can read about it here). It was so amazing… I’m heading back there for New Years. I also managed to make it to Port Macquarie, Sydney a million times, Newcastle and back to Port Stephens.

15 – Share something with you guys at least once a week

I’ve definitely been blogging A LOT this year and with all of my exciting plans for next year, I’m not planning on stopping anytime soon!

Plus my added resolution of being happy. I’m pretty damn happy with how this year turned out. Sure it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. In fact, some pretty shit stuff happened along the way. But as I say, everything happens for a reason. Set backs make you stronger and the hard times only make the good times even better.

So to answer my question – do New Years Resolutions work? 11/15 ain’t so bad. And the other things I didn’t achieve, I’ll be striving to keep up. So watch this space for some more New Years Resolutions for 2016!

What’s your New Years Resolution? Did you achieve yours this year? Let me know in the comments below!

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

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Sculptures by the Sea

You know when you have those weekends when you know you just need a change of scenery? Well what better scenery to immerse yourself in, than Bondi Beach’s Sculptures by the Sea. This is a beautifully unique ‘art gallery’ which has gorgeous sculptures dotted along the coastal walk from Bondi to Tamarama. Even without the gorgeous sculptures, the coastal walk is stunning, but the way of incorporating art into this magnificent landscape is purely stunning.

I already CANNOT wait until it’s back in 2016!

Have you been to Sculptures by the Sea? What was your favourite sculpture? Let me know in the comments below!

3am Conversations

Do you ever find yourself engaged in an amazingly hearfelt, inspiring, personal or just damn real conversation at 3am? If you’ve ever pulled an all nighter and partied until the sun rises, then I’m going to assume that yes you have. On the weekend, I found myself sitting in the middle of a roundabout with a friend of mine and a skateboard at 3am. There were a few street lights on, and we just sat staring down the middle of the road getting lost in conversation. We talked about what inspires us, what scares us and our grand plans in life. And then I kind of learnt how to skate. I’m not sure why it happens at night, but something magical hits the air after midnight and you just seem to get lost in each others words. It was such a great and refreshing experience that I just had to share it with you! So here’s why 3am conversations are the best conversations and why you should have more of them. 

Add tea and you're ready for a greta chat. Source
Add tea and you’re ready for a greta chat. Source

Darkness offers a refuge. There’s no bright lights around, everything is cast in shadows and there’s no judgement or reason for insecurity. Darkness takes all of those away in the most comforting way. I think it also offers a small sense of rebellion. You sit there and through your peripheral vision you catch a glimpse of the time and think to yourself ‘man it’s late but I don’t even care.’ There’s something exciting about being up at 3am and it’s even better if you have someone to share that with.

Alcohol may or may not play a part. It’s no lie that alcohol helps you loosen up a bit. And it’s usually at a house party or after a night out that these conversations usually happen. You definitely don’t need alcohol to have these chats, but let’s just say as a university student, it’s quite common.

Openness. A combination of the above two things lead to you and the people you’re talking to being open, vulnerable, trusting and honest. You seem willing to share things with people that you wouldn’t normally share. More willing to delve deeper, self reflect, ask questions that you wouldn’t normally ask and know that you’re accepted for who you are. With this incredible sense of openness, you can just unleash anything onto the world.

I'd rather have a memory full of amazing moments than a house full of things. Source
I’d rather have a memory full of amazing moments than a house full of things. Source

Connection. With openness, comes connection. Whatever it is you talk about… travelling, studying, family, money, life or chocolate, talking about an issue openly creates a sense of connection with the other person. You get excited and inspired by what the other person is saying. And when you share your experiences, you see the other persons face light up with agreement. It’s such a powerful thing and this is why we must never underestimate the power of our words.

Long lasting friendship. The amount of genuinely amazing people I’ve befriended from one of these rogue 3am conversations can’t be counted. And it’s a special kind of friendship, because you’ll always look back on that one night, at 3am, when you were locked into conversation, as the moment you became friends.

Time escapes us all. You look at your watch again and suddenly its 4am, you’ve got to get up in a few hours to go to work or study and you wonder where the nights gone. The thing is, time escapes us all. In the end, we all just want a little more time. And don’t you think that time spent being open, honest and real is time well spent?

Bring 3am to 3pm… Just because these conversations happen at 3am, doesn’t mean they’re restricted to happening only at 3am. Bring a sense of openness, honesty and curiosity into every conversation you have. Be a little vulnerable and ask meaningful questions. Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.” These are the ones that people will remember you for.

When was the last time you had a 3am conversation?

How to deal with conflict

I used to hate conflict. Try to avoid it at all costs until I went quiet and just had to leave the room. Sometimes, these urges and old habits come back and I just want to run and hide under a rock. But I think as we grow and learn more and more about ourselves and our values, you don’t want to do this. Instead, you want to stand up for yourself and deal with it in a healthy and productive way. This is something I’m still learning and trying to master, but conflict and awkward moments are just something we all have to deal with. So here are my ways to deal with it effectively and with as little drama as possible like this guy below.

What you want to avoid. Source
What you want to avoid. Source

Respect. It’s important to respect the other person you’re talking to. Yes they may have different opinions or perspectives on things but that’s OK. It would be boring if we were all the same. You want your opinion to be respected to it’s vital that you acknowledge their point of view.

Understanding. Along with respect is understanding. You need to understand that everyone comes from a different family, background and way of life. By understanding and trying to put yourself in their shoes, you’ll ensure that you’re not attacking them.

Confidence. Speak with confidence and conviction. If you believe that LGBT people have a right to marriage, then say it loud and proud. If you’re interested in a particular issue, you’ll arleady know a lot of information about it (a recent protest or march, a celebrity that advocates for it, the positive effects it will have on society…).

It's OK to express yourself. Source
It’s OK to express yourself. Source

Educate. If you’ve already done the above things, try and educate the other person about why Viola Davis winning an emmy is such a significant thing. If the other person is respecting you and trying to understand where you’re coming from, they’ll be more than happy to listen and learn from you. As long as it’s reciprocated.

Stick to your beliefs. Of course it’s difficult when someone is questioning and criticising what you believe in. However that doesn’t make it any less valuable. If it’s something you truly believe in and advocate for, then one persons criticism really wan’t effect that.

Walk away. If you’ve covered all of the above, and the person you’re talking with is still attacking your words, questioning and criticising what you’re saying, then just leave that conversation alone. You don’t need to make everyone believe what you believe and think what you think. You’re just trying to share some light on why you’re passionate about feminism or One Direction, you’re not trying to brainwash them. But if the other person isn’t respecting or trying to understand you, then maybe they’re not worth talking to.

Don’t hold grudges. Holding grudges doesn’t get anyone anywhere. There’s no use resenting someone becuase they said they hated French movies that one time. Just accept that everyone is different and will have different opinions on which colour jelly bean is the best.

So remember, it’s totally fine to have heated or intense discussions. They’re stimulating, interesting and allow you to express how passionate or concerned about something you are. These are just some of my little tips to do so in a productive and respectful way.

Do you have any tips of tricks that I’ve missed? Share them in the comments below!