These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: SEPTEMBER 2019

Do you remember… the 21st night of September? Well I’m not sure, but it seems that Earth, Wind and Fire do! How the heck is it October already?! We’re on the home stretch of the year, Christmas is right around the corner, and soon I’ll be trying to recap 2019, half way through 2020! Before it gets away from us, let’s take a look back on the month that was. This month I decided to do a dry month. Dry July just doesn’t suit my whole birthday schedule, so I opted for a sober September instead. A whole blog post will be coming on this topic, but upon reflection, maybe it meant I didn’t go out as much, but it gave me some much needed clarity and ‘me time’ to reflect on where I’m at, and where I’m going.

🏃 Blackmores Bridge Run

When was the last time you got to run across the Sydney Harbour Bridge? No not on the sidewalk for plebs… on the road, on the bridge? That’s right… probably never! That is by far the coolest thing about running 10km at 8am on a sunny weekend. Luckily I had the company of my sister as we ran, walked and talked our way through Sydney. It was an absolutely smashing day, and we enjoyed a well deserved pub feed at the end of it! I’ll definitely be signing up for this next year and I would totally recommend you do it too!

🏠 Home

Sometimes you just need a little trip back home to put everything in perspective. Whilst it was a whirlwind trip, and I managed to read a whole book on my epic train ride, it was totally worth it. Seeing friends and family is so important. I don’t do it enough but I soak up every second and am very grateful to have such supportive people around me. Oh and I saw my cute dogs… what else could you want?

💪Standing up for myself (without the guilt)

This month has been pretty hectic. More hectic than usual. I’ve been feeling stress and pressure in every avenue of my life. That feeling of being helpless in watching things around you collapse and bend under pressure is horrible. In times like this, I strip it back to basics. Back to my core values, respect and honesty. There have been several instances this month where flash decisions and things have been said without my consultation and in a brazen way. Well that just doesn’t fly with me. So, I took a deep breath, I took a moment, and I summoned up the courage to speak up and say that I’m hurt and don’t feel respected. Wow. By setting those clear boundaries, and summoning the courage to speak up about it, invited a conversation about best practices and how we can respect one another more often.

So even when it’s scary, and even when it might be easier to not say anything, I’d really encourage you to stand up and speak up for yourself. In any aspect of your life, it’s important to draw the line, and then call someone out when they overstep that boundary. I am so here for this! So here’s a nice little quote that really resonated with me.

🎥 Flicks

The Big Short
Yes it has taken me until now to watch this movie… and wow! And if you, like me, have been putting it off, well there’s no better time than the present! This movie is amazing and I can’t believe it took me this long to watch it! Dad, you’ll really enjoy this one!

📚 Books

Mama Mia
My love for reading is back thanks to Mia Freedman! WOW! Once I picked this book up, I seriously could not put it down. I think I mistakenly judged Mia Freedman too early, it’s funny how other people’s opinions can tint your perspective of someone. But this book smashed down all of my preconceived ideas of Mia and gave me a beautiful insight into her world. I was enthralled reading her chapter about emotionally abusive relationships and heartbroken reading about her challenge to fall pregnant and her experience with miscarriage. Plus it was a bonus that she is all things communications and media (right up my alley). I seriously adore this book and can’t wait to check out her other books!

Image result for mama mia by mia freedman book

📷 Bloggers, vloggers and podders

Eva zu Beck
If you love YouTube and travel vloggers, you haven’t seen anything until you check out Eva zu Beck. She travels to all the places that you ‘shouldn’t travel.’ I’ve been watching her videos in Syria, Pakistan and Yemen and all I can say is WOW! Watching her videos makes me want to pack up my suitcase and book a flight to Yemen – who would’ve thought?! This is what travel is about. Breaking down barriers, meeting locals, trying new food, getting out there and exploring undiscovered lands. Not about Instagram pictures. I’m in absolute awe with her content and could not recommend her enough.

Rewilding, by Ella Grace Denton
So I’ll firstly admit that I basically love this podcast because I’m in love with Ella’s beautiful voice, but once you move past that I love the open and honest conversations she has. She recently posted an episode with her now ex-boyfriend about their breakup and how they’re moving on and what it all means to them. I found it honestly so compelling to listen. It was intimate, raw and open, and I fell in love with her authenticity. I would strongly recommend checking out her podcast for some positive female energy and to connect to people spiritually, sexually and emotionally. Ella, please write a book and make it an e-book, your voice is angelic!

🎵Tunes

I’ve been throwing it back and had Nao on repeat this past month! There’s nothing that makes me more chill than her sexy beautiful voice, and it’s put me in a good mood each morning before work. Nothing like some smooth rnb to get you in the right headspace.

❤️ Product

Mecca Cosmetic, To Save Face Supersunscreen SPF50+
I have a life saying… ‘sun safety is sexy.’ And nothing is better than an oily, grease free SPF moisturizer that you can use EVERYDAY! Shout out to my sister Elly for recommending it, and accompanying me into the store to buy it (makeup stores terrify me). This is seriously the best $40 I’ve spent on skincare. I apply it to my face, ears and neck everyday, and can’t believe I wasn’t using it earlier!

📝 Quote

Ok so this isn’t technically a quote, but it sure is some good advice to listen to and protect your vibe. Sometimes setting strong boundaries is the best way to show yourself and others what you’re willing to accept and the lengths you’re willing to go to to stay true to yourself.

So I may be writing this post when it’s mid-October…. oops. Time gets away. But September, you were great. Thank you for giving me clarity, space and challenges that are attempting to strengthen me. Life doesn’t always make sense, but when you have a sense of purpose, it doesn’t really matter.

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: APRIL 2019

See ya later April! You were pretty awesome if I do say so myself! With some epic strings of public holidays, I was able to take my first even paid leave (wow the perks of job security) and have a little holiday. With work swinging into full force (and absolutely loving it) things are going really well. I’ve started back at yoga and taking some time to reflect and reset towards focusing on my health and wellbeing. With the weather cooling down, I’m determined to keep things active and interesting! Before we jump into May, let’s take a look back on the month that was!

🎈Soph’s Birthday

I love birthdays and I love it even more when I get to help celebrate other people’s birthdays. Especially when it’s your girlfriend’s birthday, well it kinda feels like Christmas. I seriously had THE BEST weekend with Soph! On Friday night we went to see Cub Sport at the Enmore in Sydney. We went with Jayno and CMO and boogied the night away. On Saturday, we went on an adventure down to Berry to hike the Drawing Room Rocks track. After a little smokey car incident, we decided to hike the track while we waited for the NRMA. On our run up the mountain, we stumbled across a snake, which completely highlighted my paranoia of snakes apparently. We got to the top, took it all in, then ran back down just in time to meet the NRMA. We topped it all off by enjoying a burger at the Hungry Monkey in Kiama. After a night of bar hopping all over Wollongong and ending up the Harp, even backing it up with a Sunday sesh at North Gong, I think you could call Soph’s birthday weekend a huge success! I love you Soph!

🏖️Byron Bay

Just in case I didn’t get enough Summer, Mum, Elly and I headed to Byron Bay over the Easter break to soak up the last of the beautiful rays of sunshine. I’ve been lucky enough to visit Byron Bay several times before and absolutely loved it. Though I must admit, something felt a little different this time. It’s very busy with lots of tourists (us being some of them). A holiday to me is chillin, eating icecream, going for brunch and drinking all the coffee and beers you want. I didn’t exactly feel those relaxed vibes in Byron, but we had an amazing time around it. On the beach in the sun, relaxed. Swimming in a waterfall, relaxed. Sinking beers at Brunswick Heads, relaxed. Eating fish and chips in Lennox Heads, relaxed. Waiting 45 minutes in traffic driving down the main street of Byron, not relaxing. But thankyou to Mum and Elly for putting up with me and encouraging me to eat ice cream!

🏘️Home for Easter

There’s no place like home. For the Easter long weekend I headed home to Port Stephens. Not only was the weather amazing, but my amazing girlfriend came with me and we got to enjoy some sunshine together. We went to the beach, went walking, grabbing coffee, caught up with my amazing cousin Mel and found some cute but embarrassing photos in old photo albums. It’s nice to smell the familiar scent of home and go to your favourite cafes, and waking up in your very own bed. I may not go home near enough, but I love every second of it when I do.

🎶 Tunes

Slowly Slowly
Aw damn I have been loving these guys! Their Like A Version was incredible and I’ve since been digging deeper into their album! Damn it brings back all my teenage angst by rocking out to this grungy sound. Love love love!

Beyonce and Beychella
Ok so this one straddles music and film. Call it what you want but wow! Really, what a goddess! I seriously got emotional during parts of her performance. Especially during ‘Flawless.’ You don’t have to be the biggest Beyonce fan to recognise the immense impact she’s made on the music industry, in popular culture, and especially for young women of colour. I feel so strong and empowered listening to her music but I know that what she represents is not targeted at me. I can’t even begin to imagine the impact Beyonce has made on the lives of people of colour in Australia and across the world. I am in absolute awe and I think this is an incredible work of art.

🎥Flicks

Made In Dagenham
I absolutely loved this film! Based on a true story of the fight for equal pay during the 60s in England, this film is a great reminder of the fight for gender equality and the struggle to have women’s work recognised as skilled work deserving of equal pay. A part of the film that particularly stood out to me was when a woman who held a First Class Honours Degree from Cambridge in History and Political Science, was only respected by her husband when she was cooking and cleaning.

The Green Book (March)
So I forgot to add this to my March Favourite Things, but I actually went to the cinema to watch this film (yes cinemas actually exist). OMG I absolutely loved it! And it wasn’t because of the fact that I got the popcorn all to myself. It won the Oscar for best picture yet received a lot of criticism for ‘white saviourism.’ Whilst there’s no denying the complexities of race in this film, taking it at face value, it was brilliant. On a deeper, more critical level, I think the ‘Western white’ gaze is used to portray the South and Dr Shirley, but nonetheless, I would strongly recommend this flick.

📚 Books

No Friend But The Mountain, by Behrouz Boochani
Wow. This book is absolutely incredible and when you find out how it was written, curated and leaked from Manus, you will find it even more incredible. I am a passionate advocate for refugees and asylum seekers. It is not illegal to seek asylum. But it is illegal to detain these people indefinitely. Due to the secrecy of the offshore detention centres run by the Australian government, receiving information about what actually happens in these prisons has been very limited. Behrouz’s story is important. It is the story of many and it is a story that should never be allowed to happen again.

The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
This book is so powerful. Whilst it claims to be a fictional book, it is too close to reality for too many people. It tells the story of Starr who is the only witness to the murder of her friend by a white police officer. After being disgusted with the treatment of people of colour around the world by police, this book is aggravating, frustrating but reality. I smashed this one out in a few days because it’s very visual, easy to read and in the end, you just want the justice that the main character wants.

Any Ordinary Day, by Leigh Sales
I’m pretty skeptical when a book becomes ‘mainstream.’ Are we all just reading the same thing, forming the same opinions and becoming a herd of the same people? It took me a while to jump on board with Leigh Sales’ new book, but I am so grateful that I did. I smashed this one out in three days because I was absolutely hooked by the stories she was sharing and the message she had to convey. I really do believe the universe has our backs and has a plan for us, but at the end of the day, we are stupid to think we are special in being spared the pain, suffering and tragedy we see on the news every night. The one certainty we have in life is that we will die. My mission is to make sure it’s all for a reason.

📸 Bloggers, Vloggers and Podders

Sexism and the City
I absolutely love Jan Fran and am literally obsessed with everything she produces. When I found out she had this podcast, I absolutely binged it. WOW. I have the biggest crush on Jan Fran and it’s so inspiring to deep dive into the ways in which gender inequality affects women around the world. If you’re interested in travel, pop culture, politics and feminism, this is for you!

Roeqie
I absolutely love following this account! Her artwork is so bright, colourful and joyful. I love seeing when it pops up on my feed and I feel instantly brighter and lighter. I need more of this on my Insta feed and in my life!

Chessiekingg
Speaking of brighter and lighter, I am loving Chessie King’s Instagram account. I just stumbled across it and love the positive body vibes! Her videos are fantastic and I know it may sound superficial but it’s so nice seeing a real body with rolls, flabby bits, curves and cellulite. We put so much pressure on ourselves based on the ‘perfect’ bodies we see on Instagram, but they’re not so real afterall. Chessie is sweet, fun, sexy and a great addition to my Insta feed ‘sparking joy’ all over my life!

📝 Quote

Given the book I just finished I guess this quote has just really resonated with me. Like I said, there’s no guarantee for tomorrow. And life is one big crazy rollercoaster. My main mission in life is to firstly enjoy it, and secondly, make it matter. Be grateful for what I have and continue to grow to be the person I want to be. Whether that’s meeting new people, trying new things, pushing my boundaries, travelling or simply taking in a sunrise, I want to keep growing and enjoying the ride.

April, wow. What a whirlwind. I am so grateful for the amazing times I’ve had with some amazing people. May, bring it on!

Arriving in MONTRÉAL: First Impressions

The time has arrived! I’ve finally made it to Montréal! It’s so surreal being here! After months and months and months of planning, emailing, organising, getting excited and nervous…. I’m here! Inspired by one of my blogger friends, Assia from Journal by Assia, I thought I would share my first impressions on this incredible place!

Screenshot 2016-08-21 14.17.27

 

The Architecture

The first thing that really struck me was the incredibly unique architecture! It’s a fusion of classic American red brick buildings, with cute French stair cases, balconies, pot plants and terraces. I really haven’t seen anything like it before and it’s quite amazing just wondering around and being constantly surprised.

Screenshot 2016-08-21 14.18.17

The French-ness & THAT accent

A lot of people told me that it will be useful knowing French in Montréal but no one ever said just how useful it would be! Literally everything is in French! Especially the area I’m living in – near the Mont-Royal metro – called The Plateau – it’s super French! It’s great because it means I get to practice my French on a daily basis!

I was also ‘warned’ about the Quebecois accent. But again – no one warned me enough! The first time I heard it I just assumed they were speaking a completely different language and were from out of town. Then I understood a word or two – then a phrase… and then it clicked that ‘oh my god… that’s French!’ It’s quite difficult to understand because they speak really fast and the accent is quite thick but I’m getting by!

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EVERYTHING is in French

It’s a good place to be creative

Even the streets of Montréal ooze creativity and artistry! There’s murals everywhere and they’re absolutely spectacular! On my first day here I went to a cafe to get some much needed coffee and read a book. In the cafe there were people filming a video clip for a song they were about to release! I said that I could leave so I wouldn’t disturb them, but they insisted I stay. It was pretty cool just chilling in this hipster cafe with such cool art everywhere, watching the making of a video clip! Definitely feeling the inspiration!

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Just a causal mural off of the main street

My apartment is simply gorgeous

It’s all well and good to see pictures of where you’re going to be living and thinking it looks nice. But it’s such an amazing feeling when you arrive to find it is even more beautiful than in the pictures! My room is ENORMOUS! I don’t even know what to do with all of the space! It’s got beautiful wooden floor boards, the wifi is fast, the shower is hot, and it’s in the perfect location! Literally 2 minutes to the metro and there’s coffee shops, restaurants and boutiques on each corner.

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My room slowly coming together with some photos, pillows and plants

Greenery is a must

Right outside of my metro is this cute plant store (picture below). And wondering around, the streets are lined with gorgeous trees, there’s pot plants and flowers on balconies they’re just absolutely adorable. Naturally, I had to get my hands on some!

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Flowers, pots, herbs and succulents galore!

So for just $3 each, I managed to get a cactus, a succulent and a purple thing (I forgot the name). They just make my room feel like home. Along with my cute candle, I also bought some incense too which is so soothing and relaxing! Positive vibes all around!

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So it’s only been 2.5 days here but I think I’m in love already! My housemate arrives on Monday (tomorrow) and I’m excited to meet him! It’s been good having these first few days to figure things out for myself. To speak franglais, to find cafes, supermarkets and my way around.

It’s scary and exciting at the same time! This place is going to be home for the next few months and I’m just so relieved I’m living in a nice place in an awesome part of the city! These are just my first impressions and I’m sure as time goes by, and I meet more people and get started at uni, my thoughts will continue to change and evolve!

 

Home & Away: Placelessness and Home

Meet my friend Charline. We met when I moved into a shared house in London in 2013. She had been living there for a few months before I moved in and already had well established friendships with the other housemates. I think our friendship really began when I would go and sit on the end of her bed in the morning whilst eating my breakfast and making her some tea. Charline is a pretty incredible person. Originally from Brazil, Charline has spent years between Australia, London and her home city Porto Alegre learning English and working in hospitality. She is now living in Brisbane with her boyfriend and their family while she waits for a partnership visa.

Charline and I on our adventures in Rome.
Charline and I on our adventures in Rome.

It’s nearly been two years since Charline has been back to Brazil, and with her family being such an important part of her life, she engages in some interesteing home balancing acts. She juggles Facebook, Whatsapp, Skype and Facetime, to keep in touch with her family despite there being a 13hour time difference. She’ll often find herself chatting to them very early in the morning (6am) in Australia or late at night (when it’s morning in Brazil). Unlike me, she’s unable to call her parents at 5pm when she finishes work, because they’ll be sound asleep. And then, she needs to combat poor internet connection, which lets face it, is everyone’s nightmare. Whether she’s skyping her brother in Dublin, Facebooking her father in Brazil or calling me in Wollongong, it’s evident that Charline is able to occupy several continents at the same time.

Charline managing her homes around the world.
Charline managing her spaces and relationships around the world.

So, as Charline balances her home life in Brazil, whilst living in a new home in Brisbane, the relationship between communication and home begin to evolve. I often come across the saying ‘home is not a place, it’s a feeling.’ This coincides with Meyroitz’s theory of placelessness where ‘people aren’t defined by physical boundaries, but rather networks of information and knowledge faciliated by new media technologies’ (Laughey, pp. 85, 2007). Whilst it’s easy to see how Charline is not restricted by physical boundaries anymore, she does continue to create a new sense of place. It is apparent that in today’s society, modern technology actually allows us to occupy multiple places at the same time and create new senses of place (Moores, 2012), however we cannot undermine the significance of a physical place to people, especially home.

Despite the forces of globalization and the break down of physical barriers through media technologies like skype, one cannot be placeless, because place plays an integral role in communication.  Internet access, time differences and language all influence the way in which we communicate, especially the way in which Charline keeps in touch with her family.

The term placelessness, implies ‘without a place,’ where in fact Charline has created many places and ways of life around the world. To Charline, home is a place, Brazil. Her family, culture and language all contribute to her sense of home being in Brazil. Whilst she is still able to create a sense of place, it will never replace home. Charline continues to ‘create a sense of place despite the disruptive and chaotic experience of mobility’ (Dassopoulos, 2013) and the challenge will lie in balancing multiple places, however no sense of place will replace a sense of home. And to Charline, home will always be Brazil.

There's no place like home
There’s no place like home

*Thankyou to Charline for chatting to me about your travels, your frustrations at wifi and reception signals and your beautiful home, Brazil. 

*

References

Laughey, D 2007, Key Themes In Media Theory, Maidenhead, Open University Press, pp. 85, viewed 26 October 2015

Dassopolous, A 2013, ‘Book Review of Media, Place and Mobility by Shaun Moores’, International Journal of Communication, Universtiy of Nevada, Vol. 7, viewed 26 October 2015, http://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc/article/viewFile/2365/952

Moores, S 2012, Media, Place And Mobility, Basingstoke, Hampshire, Palgrave Macmillan,  viewed 26 October 2015, https://books.google.com.au/books?id=W7QcBQAAQBAJ&lpg=PR4&ots=g0SRb6nCRc&dq=Shaun%20Moores%2C%20Media%2C%20Place%20%26%20Mobility%2C%20New%20York%2C%20NY%3A%20Palgrave%20Macmillan%2C%202012%2C&pg=PA9#v=onepage&q=placeness%20&f=false

These Are A Few of My Favourite Things: JUNE

June where did you go? Please come back because you were one amazing month. Despite the depression associated with exams and the end of session, there’s nothing quite like walking out of an exam hall hearing ‘Eye of the Tiger’ flood through your mind and you feel like an absolute champion (unless you did a linguistics exam like me). Either way, Autumn session is done and the holidays are here! June has quite frankly been fabulous and I’d like to share it with all of you.

Our end of session college formal. Open bar, DJ, dancefloor and 200 of your closest friends. You’re definitely in for a good night.

My awesome housemate dressed to the nines
My awesome housemate dressed to the nines

The Northern Beaches. If you’re looking for a nice little weekend away, then get on a bus from Sydney and head up towards the Northern Beaches. I couldn’t believe how gorgeous it was! We were treated to a gorgeous sunset and wandered the streets and beaches… it was absolutely spectacular!

Venturing up to the beauitufl Northern Beaches with my best friend
Venturing up to the beauitufl Northern Beaches with my best friend

A PepTalk. Need some inspiration to make the most of life? To value your individuality and pursue your passions.

Finishing EXAMS. Need I say more?

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And if you need some more inspiration… World of Wanderlust. I’m constantly inspired and motivated to make the most out of life and spend hours gazing at beautiful travel pictures on pinterest! WARNING: this particular video will challenge you to reconsider your life.

And on that note… The day I got to meet Brooke Saward and have morning tea wanderlusting about the world. 

Brooke and some very inspiring readers
Brooke and some very inspiring readers

THIS SONG! 

Going home for the weekend. I don’t get home much lately because of uni and work, but whenever I do go home it’s always lovely. I’m constantly in awe of how beautiful nature is and how much I love just taking some time to unwind and relax. Oh, and it’s always great to have a roast dinner with my family.

Beautiful Port Stephens
Beautiful Port Stephens

And just another because it's just THAT pretty
And just another because it’s just THAT pretty

And finally, I joined the gym! After recently re-reading my post about all the things I’ve been hoping to achieve this year, it’s about time I did something on it and re-joining the gym was the easiest (and at the same time hardest) thing to do. Watch out City2Surf.

I hope you’ve all had a lovley month and hope that July is equally as awesome.

Peace and love

xxx A

21 Thoughts You Have On Your First Night In A New Place

A new year, a new place to live. On the weekend I moved onto a new university campus, one with a little more freedom and independence. So far I’ve only met two of my (awesome) housemates and am still learning my way around the house and surrounding area. And until you’re completely settled in to a place, there’s a few things that always seem to run through my mind for the first couple of nights. I’m sure others have experienced this too right?

A sneak peak of my new room
A sneak peak of my new room

1- Where are my pyjamas?

2- How do I use this shower/microwave/washing machine?

3- Where are the light switches

4- INTERNET!!!

5- I have nothing to wear because all of my clothes are creased

6- Is it acceptable to run from the shower to my room in a towel?

7-  Where should I put my undies and bras?

8- What’s that (windows been closed for too long it’s kinda dusty and needs some life in it) smell?

9- What’s that sound?

10- I don’t have any moisturiser!

11- Does my poster look better above my bed or on my wardrobe?

12- I don’t have any blu tack for my poster!

13- How long does it take to defrost frozen chicken?

14- Where are the frying pans?

15- Should I turn the hall lights off at night?

16- I only have double A batteries and need triple A

17- My housemates seem cool… I hope I seem cool?

18- What’s that guys name again?

19- Do I have to wear a bra?

20- What’s my address again?

21- When’s it time for beers?

Let me know if these random thoughts aren’t so random when moving to a new place in the comments below!

xxx A

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

europeans adventures 1193
Welcoming new challenges and adventures

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

x A

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

5 Ways to Deal With Homesickness This Festive Season

Whilst I may be at home for Summer break, I still have this sick feeling at the bottom of my stomach, reminiscent of home sickness. Why you may ask? Well I’m a firm believer of the saying ‘home is where the heart is,’ and my heart is scattered across the globe. Whilst most of my time at the moment is spent at work, with my family or at the beach, there are times where that little sick feeling grows a little bit. So these are some tips I’ve come to use and facts I’ve had to acknowledge, to accept these feelings and embrace what I have here at home.

Christmas festivities in Sydney
Christmas festivities in Sydney

Boredom is your enemy – You’re up late at night, sleep in late, don’t go out much, watch TV episodes you’ve watched and rewatched… nothing really new or exciting is happening and you’re stuck in a bit of a rut. This bored routine is not good! AVOID THIS! Keep busy, get some sunshine, see an old friend, go for a walk, go and have lunch at your grandmas, go for a swim… ANYTHING!

Skype/Talk to your Family/Friends once a week – If you’re overseas/away from your home and missing it, it’s important to talk it through with your loved ones, but don’t overdo it. Talking to them multiple times a week when you’re feeling homesick is just going to make you miss them more and feel worse. Instead, try and talk it through with a friend you’re with in person and keep busy as well. Being homesick is a phase and you’ll get through it. Plus, if you’re with a good friend, they’ll be there to give you hugs and make you hot chocolate.

Being silly and having fun with my housemate in London. And it also leaves you some hilarious photos!
Being silly and having fun with my housemate in London. And it also leaves you some hilarious photos!

Talk to a close friend/Write it down – So yes, as mentioned above, talking to a friend is very important, one of the highlights is that you can be silly with them, laugh, smile and momentarily forget about your troubles. But if you’re travelling solo or find yourself being alone, you might find it helpful to write it down in a journal. When I’m internalising deep thoughts, I can’t live without writing them down. Expressing your thoughts and feelings is important and the best thing about a journal is that it won’t criticise or judge you… it’ll just always be there for you.

Make Plans – Go away for a weekend, see your extended family, friends, dogs… anything. Making plans gives your something to look forward to and something to be excited about. It definitely makes those long hard nights bearable when you’ve got something to look forward to!

Still not feeling better? Maybe you need a big and bold kickstart. Something to get you excited and appreciative about life again. And what better way to kickstart those sleepy cells in your body then by doing something out of your comfort zone? Go skydiving, buy a train ticket to somewhere you can’t pronounce the name of, go to a bar by yourself and meet some new people, do a cooking class, learn a new language… do something that will expand your knowledge and comfort zone. Then after that, you’ll feel re-energised and excited again about where you are and what you’ve achieved so far. And the best thing is, when you ring your family on Sunday night, you’ll have heaps to tell them!

Any other homesickness tips? Let me know in the comments below! And don’t forget to step back and appreciate everything you have in your life, how lucky you are and how fortunate you are to have someone to share your life with.

xxx A

Why It’s Not So Easy to Drop Everything to Travel the World

Lately I’ve seen a lot of blogs, posts, quotes, expressions and people saying, ‘just drop everything and go, travel the world!’ Whilst in theory I love the thought of this and wish I could, the bottom line is that there’s many of us squeezing in some time on Facebook before after we finish a double shift, or before a uni lecture to read these posts, and I can assure you that the majority of people would love to be sipping cocktails in Greece or exploring London, rather than do these things. So here’s why it’s not so easy to drop everything to book a one way flight to New York, Tokyo or Moscow.

*On a side note, if anyone out there would like to give me an all expenses holiday, please comment below* 😉

from- http://th02.deviantart.net/fs70/PRE/i/2013/324/4/f/wanderlust_by_apokalyxe-d6uy8j4.jpg
from- http://th02.deviantart.net/fs70/PRE/i/2013/324/4/f/wanderlust_by_apokalyxe-d6uy8j4.jpg

1- I’m Poor – The big factor here… no money. And when I say no money, when I find 20cents on the ground… I get pretty damn excited! Also, everything about international travel is expensive! Do you know how much a one way ticket to London costs? About $1000… and that’s just to get there!

2- I have a job (so that I’m not poor) – In order to fund my coffee addiction, pay for university textbooks and pay for internet, I need to work, and a lot! I really enjoy my job(s) as well, and if I even want to think about booking flights, I’m going to have to work 25 hours a day 8 days a week!

3 – I need to find myself – Whilst travelling the world is a good way to discover a lot about yourself, when you’re home with your family and friends is also a good time to grow as a person. It helps you re-evaluate your views, dreams and ambitions, and may differ from those of the traveller version of you. Also, travelling can be stressful and exhausting, and there really is no bed like YOUR bed.

4- It’s not the right time – Personally, right now would not be the right time to go overseas at all. I need to be here for my family, for my job, my boyfriend, my friends, my commitments, my degree… I have a lot of things going on at the moment. I know that there never seems to be a right time to go on a big overseas adventure, but there are definitely wrong times, and this is one of them.

5- I’m quite happy here for now – My home is pretty damn awesome! I like within a 10 minute drive to over 10 pristine beaches, close to the city, I have friends to go out with, family to have dinner with… AND the best part about having wanderlust at home is that you can discover some pretty incredible places in your own backyard!

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I think the most frustrating thing for me is a combination of these things. I do want to travel and live overseas, but I also have a lot of other goals and ambitions as well. And to work towards achieving those it requires me to have a job, go to university and save my money. I’m trying to keep the bigger picture in mind and work towards achieving all of my goals and not just my one desire of travelling the world. Yes, a part of this frustration is jealousy of my friends and family that seem to be travelling internationally every second month, but I know I’ll get there once I work hard for it.

So what do I do to settle nearly every atom which is jumping up and down with infectious wanderlust?

1- I make (realistic) goals – Making realistic goals is the most important first step towards reaching your desired outcome. For example, there’s only a certain amount of money I can earn in a year and therefore it might take me two years to save the money I need for a trip overseas. By being realistic, they’re actually achievable and you can work hard to reach them. There’s no point setting your goals too high and not achieving them.

2- I plan – Planning makes me feel like I am about to get on a plane in a months time. I read magazines, blogs, newspapers… anything with beautiful photos of cities, mountains and beaches around the world I want to go to.

3- I work (extremely) hard – If I set a goal, I will stick to it. I’ll pick up extra shifts, I might say no to a few nights out, I might cut back on buying my lunch… I do everything in my power to reach that goal and live my dream!

4 – I get there – It may take some time, but I’ll get there, and the gelato in Rome will taste even sweeter!

So internet… PLEASE STOP TELLING ME TO DROP EVERYTHING AND TRAVEL! I’m working on it!

xxx

A