Uni’s over, now what? GAP year 2.0

Two years ago, I was on exchange in Montréal. Upon the depressing thought that I would be returning back to Australia, I had a lot of people ask me what I wanted to do with my life when I finished uni. And I reflected upon this so much that I even wrote a blog post about it. Fast forward to today and I am (again) finished uni forever! I have submitted my 17,777 word thesis (yes that’s really how many words it was) and I am hanging up my student hat (well at least for the time being).

IMG_7281.JPG

Upon the submission of my thesis, all I wanted to do was settle in, celebrate with a few beers (which I did), focus on my work and actually have no plans (for the first time in a long time). Well, that didn’t last too long before the classic, ‘so what’s next?’ 

Does there have to be a next? Can I just focus on the now? I’ve spent the last 5 years of my uni life thinking about my next assignment, next deadline, next date, next time I’ll see my family, next pay check, next next next, go go go…. I just needed to take a want to be grateful for what I have right now.

I’m sure anyone who’s recently graduated from uni knows the feeling – you submit your last project and you suddenly stand taller, feel lighter and see the world differently. There are endless possibilities. I genuinely can take my career path in any direction I please. Which is terrifying but bloody exciting. There’s only a limited window in your life where you get the opportunity to be selfish, to pack up and go, to work casually, take risks, backpack the world before you have commitments and other priorities.

I know people and have many friends who know what they want to do. Who aren’t even finished yet and have a full-time job lined up for them. Which is awesome because who knew there were permanent full-time jobs still available (#casualizationoftheworkforce). And it’s awesome because they’ve worked so hard and made so many sacrifices to get that job. But for me, right now, the only job in the world that would make me want to sacrifice so much would be a full-time travel blogger (which 1- sadly, people don’t apply for, you gotta make that happen yourself, and 2- now that I’m free I can commit more time to making that happen which I’ll jump into now).

IMG_5279.JPG

BLOG, VLOG AND CREATE

Speaking of making things happen, one thing I do generally respond to the what next question, is that I’m going to focus on my blog, YouTube channel, photography and editing skills. I love what I’ve created on this platform. I love that I can sit in my room and type what my brain thinks, and that other people take time out of their day to read it and connect with it. It’s incredibly powerful and I think I’ve somewhat forgotten the magic of blogging.

IMG_9093

TRAVEL

Another response to the what next question, and really, I think this answer is to be expected from me… is TRAVEL! As if I’m not going to galavant around the world?! I’m heading to Bali in November with my girlfriend, Soph and am so freakin excited! It’s a place I’ve never been and a place that I’ve recently become fascinated with. With beautiful hiking, volcanos, islands, beaches and cheap alcohol, I cannot wait.

Then, at the end of the year I’m heading to Japan with my Dad and family. Dad and I are flying out in December and will be on the ski slopes on Christmas Day. Then my brother Isaac and sister Elizabeth, will join us as we venture around Japan. It’s definitely going to be a spectacular Christmas and wonderful New Years Eve.

GAP YEAR 2019?!

And then bam! Hello 2019! I think I’ve decided to call 2019 my GAP year. GAP year 2.0. Wow! I’m excited, filled with hope, options and possibilities, and I really can’t wait to jump into it all! I plan on filling it with weekends away, planning some overseas adventures, getting back into what I love and committing to making the most out of this special time. So, to anyone else out there thinking, ‘what next,’ take a deep breath and say ‘whatever the fuck I want!’

IMG_5361.JPG

A beautiful weekend in the Northern Beaches

This weekend, I was lucky enough to visit one of my friends houses on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. Nature treated us to a stunning performance, as the sun dipped below the ocean, beautiful ombres of pinks, purples, golds and blues lit up the sky, I was reminded of the simple beauties of everyday life! So I thought I’d share some of these pictures with you, as a reminder that beauty is all around, and sometimes if you’ve got a friend to share the special moments with, that’s all you really need in life.

IMG_3730

IMG_3774

IMG_3768

IMG_3757

IMG_3732

IMG_3715

IMG_3742

IMG_3789

As the day ends to rest
The sunset does its best
Setting on fire the lively waves
Colouring orange the nature he saves
its pure ancient glorious perfection.

The great ocean will receive
The burning sun who’s going to leave.
Slowly comes the night
Devouring that magic light:
we are still suspended in a great delight.

Source:
Family Friend Poems

xxx A

Have We Lost Our Ability to Talk to Strangers?

Yesterday, whilst waiting for my mum to pick me up from the train station, I took a seat on a 4 person bench where a guy was seated at the other side. He had his earphones plugged in and nervously looked at me once or twice. I was struggling with eating an icy-pole given that it was so hot outside, and trying to keep my cool as my frosty fruit dribbled down my arm. A few times I almost went to start a conversation, but I didn’t… I held back and focused all my attention to slurping at my icy pole, that thinking back on it, even if I did start a conversation, he would’ve thought I was strange and completely incompetent of eating an ice cream.

Which led me to thinking… have I lost my ability to talk to strangers? By the time his mate came and picked him up and Mr (pretty cute) bench guy was driving away, I felt like I had lost more by not starting a conversation, than if I had talked to him and made a fool of myself.

A group of people I met in a bar in Edinburgh, Scotland
A group of people I met in a bar in Edinburgh, Scotland

I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t. I’m not exactly a shy person, and when I was overseas travelling, I would talk to anyone and everyone. My conscience tells me it was because I was too focused on eating my ice cream, but I think deep down, it was because I was slipping into my ‘routine’ life where I stay neatly in my comfort zone and can sit at a bench with strangers in silence and be OK with that. I also think another part of me was nervous. I remember a thought crossing my mind ‘what if he thinks I’m strange/boring/weird/any adjective.’ He had his earphones in, and his head buried in his phone, where I then reached for my phone and started aimlessly scrolling through my newsfeed so that the silence wouldn’t be awkward. We automatically created a barrier (being on another planet with our phones) that we completely blocked the potential of engaging in simple conversation.

By the time my mum had picked me up, I had already began to beat my self up for not starting a conversation with him, or even just saying hello. Because at the end of the day, the odds are we were never going to see eachother again, he wouldn’t think I was crazy or a psycho, and who knows, we could’ve had a really lovely conversation… (and then added eachother on Facebook, see eachother at the same station a week later, exchanged numbers, had a dinner date, get married, have kids and live happily ever after….) Haha OK so that only happens in movies.

2 English girls I met in Versailles, France
2 English girls I met in Versailles, France

Regardless, striking up a conversation with a stranger was something that I really liked about myself when I was travelling the world. And I met the most incredible people because of it. But I feel like I’ve fallen back into that state of mind where ‘all strangers are serial killers, trying to rob you or rape you.’ And the truth is that there are some truly remarkable people in our every day lives that we just haven’t had the opportunity of meeting yet. And starting off with a simple ‘hello, how are you?’ is a way of doing that.

This random bench guy probably hasn’t given this whole slightly awkward encounter another thought, but my not talking regret has sparked something in me that I’m determined to change. I don’t want to miss any opportunity in life. Whether it be the chance to travel someplace new, go camping, learn an instrument or even talk to a guy on a bench, and I feel that starting with a small ‘hello’ can lead to bigger and better things.

Challenge – So for the next month, I’m going to break my cosy little comfort zone and meet someone new/new people. Why? Because even if they turn out to be a bit psycho… I’ll know that I’m not crazy for not starting a little conversation.

xxx

A

ABOUT-US-NICE-TO-MEET-YOU-PIC

 

The Hardest Things About Packing (and Moving on in Life)

As the year draws to a close, so does this chapter of my life; living at a university residence. Whilst I’ve met some incredible people, done some awesome things and drank and awful amount of goon, I’m glad to move onto the next and currently unknown chapter. As I lay on my bed, walls cast with the shadow of my travel photos that lined them, bags, clothes and mess everywhere… this is not the first time I’ve packed my life into bags. Yet the same questions, uncertainties and feelings overcome me. So here’s the hardest things I’m confronted with whilst packing up my life yet again.

Create the most beautiful life you can imagine! ~ photo from http://dearcrissy.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/quote-about-the-future.jpg
Create the most beautiful life you can imagine! ~
photo from http://dearcrissy.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/quote-about-the-future.jpg

What does the future hold?

Whilst not even tarot cards can accurately tell me this, it’s a bit unsettling having so many options and decisions to make for my immediate and distant future. Where will I live? Who with? Do I need to start looking for a house now? Or maybe just a room? What about my job? How am I going to afford Christmas presents? Can I go to this party? Or will I be working? What do I want to achieve? Countless questions flood my mind. The thing that gives me hope is that I’ve experienced this before (when I was leaving London) and I know that if you make the most of every opportunity, learn and grow from every experience and refuse to give up, then wonderful things will happen. You just need to first believe and then do it. The present and future is in our hands.

Is this the end?

The end of some things… yes. And thankfully, goodbye single bed, see ya later noise/alcohol bans, adios cookie thieves and au revoir to the thousands of lizards! The hardest thing, particularly leaving London, is imagining your life without certain people, places and the little things you’re used to, and the saddening fact that you don’t know when you’ll see them again. A big thing that I dealt with leaving London was the fear of losing the new London Adelaide. I was proud of everything I achieved and had become and was scared that it would disappear when I moved back to Australia. Sometimes I still feel like I’m dealing with an identity crises, however over time, you adjust. It’s almost like you get to recreate yourself again. The picture below shows how much I changed last year and even comparing myself to the photo from last year, I’ve changed a lot from that girl too. We have to create the life we want and inevitably we’ll change. Yet some things will never end, the unique and special friendships (especially those that cross borders), the memories, the lessons learnt and the feeling of creating a home.  With every ending, comes a new beginning, and they are always exciting (and your friends will want to hear all about it).

February 2013 & December 2013 (St. Andrews, Scotland) More than just my clothes changed
February 2013 & December 2013 (St. Andrews, Scotland)
More than just my clothes changed

How am I going to move all of this stuff?

I don’t know how, but I just accumulate so much stuff! It’s not until you start packing and thinking about transporting everything you own, you truly realise it. Luckily, my parents are helping me do this (thank god). When I moved back to Australia from London, I had to fit my life into 30kgs! (miraculously I did it). And with all the of the stuff you accumulated over your time somewhere, attached to each thing is a specific memory that you just have to hold on to!

My best friend trying to pack all of her stuff. Proved to be challenging yet possible.
My best friend trying to pack all of her stuff. Proved to be challenging yet possible.

Reflection, reflection, reflection 

Maybe it’s just me, but I take forever to pack because I look through things, I reminisce, I decide if I want to keep it or not, I organise things, toss thing and look at things a bit more. While I pack, I can’t help but reflect on the year that has been, how I’ve changed, grown and learned. I then listen to sad and soppy music and look at photos, thinking back to all the good times. And once I’m done reflecting (and sobbing), I think forward to next year and how I want to change, what I want to achieve, fix, excel at, get involved in. Once I do this, I get a buzz of excitement and just want to get it all started!

What gets me through?

Even though packing up your life and moving on can be difficult (and you will no doubt need an adjustment period), the thing that gets me through is hop for the future, that I can make each year, month, day, bigger and better than the last. Knowing that my friends and family love and support me (and will even help me move all of my stuff). Knowing that I have goals and dreams to aspire to, and that the actions I take now are a step towards those dreams. Knowing that each night the sun will set and each morning the sun will rise, shining new light on a new day. I know it’s incredibly clichéd, but it’s true.

xxx

A

After each sunset, there will be a sunrise
After each sunset, there will be a sunrise

Dangerous Words

‘No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.’ – Dead Poets Society

Whilst sipping my coffee and exchanging gossip with a friend at uni today, we stumbled across two words which can destroy dreams.

SHOULD and CAN’T

Should – used to indicate obligation, duty or correctness

Can’t (Cannot/Can not) – not able

In life, we are constantly told to dream big, follow our dreams, be true to ourselves, discover who we really are and want to be etc. But not many people warn us of the little insecurities that creep into our minds and eat away at our seemingly untouchable dreams. Many times in my life, I’ve found my self saying ‘I can’t’ or ‘I should/shouldn’t do that.’ But why? I know that I should do the dishes when I go home, I should be nice and respectful, should work hard and should spend less time on Facebook. These are things I think I should do because they are things that I truly value (and I don’t think Mum would be too happy with a sink full of dirty dishes).

Life seems to throw a lot of should’s around. You should finish high school. Get a high ATAR. Go to university. Get HD’s. Study hard. Balance a healthy social, physical, work life. Eat healthy. Graduate. Get a job. Get some life experience for that job. Get married. Have children. Get a promotion to pay for your kids…. the list goes on (refer to clichéd Hollywood films for more should’s).

But the thing is, no one should do anything. The things that I have done in my life so far have been a mixture of should’s and want’s… and I think want is a much more powerful world than should. I want to travel the world. I want to be at university. I want to have a thriving social life. I want to do well. I want to graduate. I want to travel the world some more. I want to learn a language. I want to fall in love. I want to always be happy and free, and the only way to do that is to believe you can!

There’s only a few things that I can’t do on this earth. Fly (though there’s ways to come close that), walk through walls, keep my room clean (I’ve tried and that is something I physically cannot do), understand hatred, ever love stingrays or breathe underwater (though there’s ways to achieve that too). The point is, even the most out of this world, insane, crazy, ridiculous idea can be made possible.

You want to read every book on earth? Start reading. You want to be a musician? Start playing. You want to go to the moon? Study and work really hard and become an astronaut (or if you’re really lucky, win a trip there… thank you Richard Branson). And me… what am I doing to overcome these insecurities that sometimes shadow my dreams? Firstly, I write them down and accept them. Then I develop a way in which I can make it happen… and do it. Right now, my big goal is to go on exchange in 2016. I remember thinking ‘ooh no I can’t, I won’t have enough money.’ Well, now I have a job and plan to work my ass off over Christmas to save save save so that I CAN achieve my goal.

The only things that you should do is tell yourself that you can achieve anything your heart desires, if you have the courage to pursue it!

x

A

Starry Starry Night HD Desktop Background

 

 

 

 

Getting My Fix

Sourced from http://piccsy.com/2013/07/one-ocean-one-breath
Sourced from http://piccsy.com/2013/07/one-ocean-one-breath

I find it ever so empowering to believe in the power, strength and never ending ocean.

Its chameleon colours stimulate our eyes.

The sweet smell of salt tickles our taste buds.

Its silky waters glide over our skin invigorating us with life and meaning.

It sings to us a symphony of sounds from the highest wave to the lowest crevasse.

You never fail to ignite a fire within me. As I submerge myself into your cool waters, my body becomes numb. Such an exhilarating feeling… not to feel. I am vulnerable and lost. I come to you with my questions, my worries, my dreams… hoping you can help me make sense of it all.  The world sometimes blurs past me. I may nod politely and listen intently, trying ever so hard to pay attention. But there’s something else that grasps my spirit. It may be the glorious warmth of the sun or the encouraging breezes of the wind… I hear waves crashing as a reminder than when I am lost, you will be there to guide my way. My lungs burn as sea water drips down my throat, your magic creating the sparks deep within my heart that sometimes dim in this dark world. I am weightless. In these moments, I am invincible. My mind is clear. I am free.

I emerge from your sanctuary and inhale your fresh salty air. I can’ t help but smile as you push me towards the shore.

The sunshine kisses my skin and my spirit. Your song twirls around in my mind as I trudge back to life. You energize me, your name tattooed across my heart reminding me that happiness is never too far away.

x

Backpack or Suitcase?

Backpack or Suitcase?

The age old question. Do you want to rock out the backpacker look or stroll elegantly and easily with a suitcase? Both have their advantages and disadvantages, and as someone who’s experienced both, I feel that I’ve got it down pat.

I initially went over to London with a big suitcase. Suitcases are good because you can squeeze a lot of stuff in there, so when you’re moving overseas to establish a new life, it’s quite convenient. Also, pulling it along behind you in easy and pretty much effortless. However, when you’re tired and it’s late at night and you’re changing trains, trying to heave 30kg of luggage up the station’s stairs… you start to question life as you know it! In my experience, there will usually be a few people who will offer to help you out, generally men, trying to do a good deed, but also assert their strength. And then they go to pick it up and you see them channel every depth of strength contained in their body to lift it up those stairs. Their eyes, filled with regret yet determination. I truly do admire these people, however, it just adds to me feeling useless and sometimes I just can’t help but laugh.

Backpacks are cool. Full stop.

After struggling around trains and public transport for about a month in the UK, I was fed up. My little beauty is a 66L TRESPASS, which I got on sale for about £30. And it was the best decision I’ve made. It does limit your luggage (mine usually weighed between 10-15kgs) but that’s generally a good thing. Because really, how many pairs of jeans do you need? (the answer is 1 by the way).

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

Backpacks generally don’t get in people’s way too, making you feel like less of a nuisance. It’s easy to carry, there’s lots of straps that you can tie around your waist to take the strain off of your back, however I must say that after about half an hour of wondering around with that thing on my back, lost somewhere in Budapest, I need a coffee break. Also, at airports, they always make you drop your bag off at the oversized baggage drop. Just in case they felt you needed the extra walk with it. But it gives you the greatest workout ever! Works your back, arm, stomach and leg muscles so if you don’t eat too many Yorkshire puddings or drink too much beer (which you will), you might actually keep in shape!

Then there’s also the overnight bag. A crucial thing you need, especially when you’re settling down somewhere. Perfect for those weekend trips away to avoid paying Ryanair’s baggage fees (10kg and that’s it).

Also a must need for the ladies is a little handbag. Trust me… it’s a lifesaver! Because you will go out and party, and have a great time, and you don’t want to be shoving everything down your bra. I bought a little shoulder bag from Primark for £2. And that thing was my saving grace. Somewhere safe to stash your phone, wallet, lippy, whatever you need, whilst you’re out to avoid the prying hands of pick pocketers.

Obviously you can tell I’m definitely pro-backpacks. They’re convenient, easy to carry, give you a work out and they look damn cool!

Ciao

Looking Back to Move Forward

“The Media”

These two simplistic yet extravagant words, evoke diverse emotions and reactions within individuals across the world. The denotations of the media are relatively basic –the means of communication, such as radio and television, newspapers, andmagazines, that reach or influence people widely.” However the connotations of the media are exponential. From political corruption, sexualisation of children, a mediated public sphere, mass communication, controversy, exploitation, heroes, the list goes on. 

MEDIA - generated on Wordle by Adelaide Haynes
MEDIA – generated on Wordle by Adelaide Haynes
Social Media Logotype Background
Sourced from http://www.australianchurchrecord.net/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/social_media_0.jpg

I always thought that my knowledge on the media was current and knowledgable. That is until the #BCM110 took over my spare time and I was exposed to the big wide work of the media. Extending far beyond celebrity hot gossip, sport highlights and natural disasters… it is the unheard stories on unheard mediums, addressing unheard concepts which captured my attention and heart.

Some of these new concepts were difficult to initially understand, helping me criticise, debate, comment and re-evaluate certain aspects of my knowledge. The concept of “Media Ownership” challenged the way I viewed everyday ‘news.’ Was I hearing biased, personal, edited stories from the likes of Rupert Murdoch or Gina Rineheart?  By figuring out the small network of people who own various aspects of the media, it allows myself and others to critically assess the validity and integrity of specific media platforms.

Sourced from http://mediasmarts.ca/sites/default/files/images/eroticization-girls.jpg
Sourced from http://mediasmarts.ca/sites/default/files/images/eroticization-girls.jpg

The discussion of ‘corporate paedophilia’ regarding the sexualization of children in the media and moral panic, is a very controversial topic, one in which I am interested in investigating further. “Children’s general sexual and emotional development is affected by exposure to advertising and marketing that is saturated with sexualised images and themes,” (Rush and La Nauze, 2006) highlights the impending issues regarding such a sensitive topic and its importance to address it. We all treasure our childhood and children should be innocent and carefree as long as they can, before the pressures of growing up/adolescence/adulthood kick in. I don’t believe it’s a cause of ‘moral panic’ due to the long term effects it has on each individuals sexual and emotional development.

Sourced from http://oreowriter.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/dove-campaign-real-beauty-women.jpg
Sourced from http://oreowriter.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/dove-campaign-real-beauty-women.jpg

Being a woman in today’s society, I am very passionate about equal opportunity for everyone on this earth and unfortunately, the media is blamed for its misrepresentation of women, which can limit these opportunities. It is a renowned fact that ‘sex sells’ and from a young age, we are told that beauty is a primary concern, other than intellect or personality. The media is both the solution and the problem and a path I would like to further develop is working towards positive representation of women in the media.

Throughout this journey of awareness, understanding and evaluating the media on a local and global context, I have learnt many things about the world and myself. It has reinforced my passion for exploring and learning about places, events, people and concepts which ultimately shape who we are.

References

Emma Rush and Andrea La Nauze, Corporate Paedophilia, The Sexualisation of Children in Australia, http://www.tai.org.au/documents/dp_fulltext/DP90.pdf, October 2006, accessed 9/04/14

Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Miss Representation, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZkC_fNxmQk, 2011, accessed 9/04/14