Why You Should LIVE ABROAD At Least Once In Your Life

Every second person these days are posting their travel pictures or posting about their plans for up coming travel. Travelling is AMAZING and I love it, but when you’re living out of a suitcase, it’s difficult to genuinely embrace a new culture and way of life. In 2013 I lived in London for the year, this July I lived in La Rochelle, France and now I’ve just moved to Montréal for an exchange at university. Whilst I’m still adjusting to my new life here, it’s really made me appreciate my previous opportunities of living abroad. So this post is dedicated to those of you who have ever thought about living abroad and I’m here to tell you why you should do it and do it now.

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It’s one thing to move, it’s another to move to another country

Sure – you may just think that if you want change, you can just move houses in your town or city, or maybe even move interstate. Sure, that’s a big thing. But at the end of the day, you have a common language, culture, and have your support network not far away.

Moving to another country, even if they speak English, is overwhelming in every sense because literally everything is new and foreign. From big things like adjusting to a new culture, way of life or new language, to the little things that we take for granted like knowing where to do grocery shopping, what phone provider to go with, how to take out the garbage or finding the best cafe on your street.

Now is this exciting or scary? I’ll leave that up to you to find out.

Nothing is familiar and you’ll look like a lost puppy

Like I said… everything is new! Back in your home city/town, you know exactly what you’re doing and where you’re going… all the time. You walk through the streets without even thinking twice about crossing the road. But in a new place, you’re constantly looking at street signs, hesitating about crossing the road, walking for 10minutes up the street only to realise you’re going the wrong way and having to turn around and go back.

For me this is a really big adjustment. Is admitting that I have no idea what’s going on – but that’s ok because you’re not expected to magically know everything about a new city. I guess the transition from being so sure and confident walking down the street, to literally feeling like a lost puppy looking up at street signs, is a hard one to make.

Sure it’s damn hard, but when you start to familiarise yourself with your area and begin to figure it all out, it’s such a rewarding feeling.

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Your support network is 14hours ahead of you

Sure it’s beyond easy to keep in touch with people back home these days with the internet. But one thing the internet can’t change is time zones. Sydney is 14hours ahead of Montréal. 14 HOURS! Sydney is in the future! It’s always ‘tomorrow’ in Sydney. It’s not impossible, it’s just more difficult when you need to talk to someone.

I think this is one of the hardest things about living abroad, is that the life you had is 14 hours away. And when you don’t have someone to talk to, you have to learn to deal with your thoughts in a positive way yourself, which can at times be challenging. It gives you a unique opportunity to get to know yourself on a very personal, different and deep level. To understand your strengths and also acknowledge your weaknesses.

A new city, a new country, a new start

How often do you get to move somewhere and have a completely fresh start? You’re free to reinvent yourself in whatever way you choose! Usually when you move abroad, you don’t know many people in that city… moving to Montréal I knew of 3 people that lived here (when I moved to London, I knew 1 – my cousin). When you don’t know many people, you need to put yourself out there and say yes. By doing this, you’ll be surprised by how many people you’ll meet.

I’ve been in Montréal for just over a week now and by going out to drinks with my housemate and his friends, meeting up with girls from Facebook, or meeting some locals to take you to the best cafes in your area… I feel that I’m steadily building an awesome network of friends which I’m extremely grateful for.

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It will challenge you to your core

So thankfully in the few days I’ve been in Montréal this hasn’t happened yet (but I know it will come)… there will be times when everything seems too hard. When things go wrong, you don’t get paid right, you lose something important, you miss out on an important celebration back home, you spend a rainy day in your room, and get a bit lonely or homesick.

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” These things are hard enough when they happen at home. Add the complexities of living in another country and it can sometimes become a lot to deal with. But it’s all of these little experiences, good and bad, that help you to become a better and stronger person. To be resilient, motivated, dedicated, strong and accepting or yourself and others around you. There’s not too many times in your life that you get to experience something like this.

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You never know what’s around the corner…

But why should you do it now?

I feel that the older you get, the more commitments you have, and the harder it is for you to uproot your life and move to another country. I’ve already found it significantly more challenging this time around. I think because I was so comfortable in my routine back in Wollongong. And I’m only 22! I barely have any responsibilities! Imagine when I’m 25, 28, 30, 30+… I would imagine it would only become harder with age and responsibilities.

Sure – the list above may not be all that encouraging… there’s definitely huge challenges you’ll need to overcome, there’ll be moments when you’re lonely, lost and just have no idea what’s going on. But for every challenge and difficulty there is… there’s about 50 positives. Like making lifelong friends, immersing yourself in a new culture, (sometimes) learning a new language, getting to discover new neighbourhoods, towns, cities and countries nearby… the list is endless.

So… the only real question left to ask is… where to?!

LONDON // LEEDS // YARM

OK so this vlog is super random because I kept forgetting to vlog! But I really wanted to make it because it showcases some truly amazing people I’m lucky to have in my life.

I want to give a massive shout out to everyone who put me up in the UK. Your hospitality, tour guide skills, food and company was so special. You know that when you’re in Australia next, you have somewhere to go.

You can check out my YOUTUBE CHANNEL HERE

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: JUNE

Well June you’ve been well and truly CRAZY! Finishing up with uni, finishing up at work, moving out of college, packing my life into a bag and heading off to LONDON! June has absolutely flown by, and as I sit on a bus heading up north to Leeds, it feels like a perfect time to reflect on the month that’s been.

(If you haven’t read about my awesome plans for the next few months, read here so you know what I’m talking about)

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Finishing uni for Autumn session

Damn, what a session! I can’t believe that session has already come and gone! It’s actually mind blowing! This session has probably been my best session yet. Whilst my results aren’t released for another week, I’m feeling pretty confident. I felt really engaged with all of my material, pushed myself to try new things, and made awesome friends in my classes. I’d call that a pretty successful session if you ask me! (I got my results the other day… 2xD’s and 1xHD!!!)

KB End of Session Formal

One of the best things about finishing uni for the session, is having a massive party to celebrate! And what better way to do that, than with your bestest friends that you’ve called family for the past few months. We had our KB formal which consists of a three course meal and an open bar. Yes, that’s right… an open bar. For uni students…. If that isn’t a recipe for disaster I don’t know what is. But it’s amazing. Everyone gets super messy and you drink and dance the night away with everyone you love! Plus you get to dress up all fancy and just have a fab time!

Finishing up with work

It was quite bittersweet finishing up at work really. Whilst I was stoked when 5pm on that Friday afternoon finally rolled around, I was also quite sad. I’ve become really close with my work colleague and saw her basically every day for the past year. I feel that I’ve grown a lot in that position which has not only been personally rewarding, but I feel that the work I was doing was contributing towards a positive work environment. Hopefully when I return from my travels, I can get my job back, or get another great job with the uni! Fingers crossed!

Moving out of college

That was a sad day indeed. Not only was I leaving but my other housemate was venturing off to Italy for a month and at least 4 of my close friends are also going on exchange for second session all around the world. I moved out on the Monday of the Queens Birthday long weekend and had the biggest weekend! 21st parties, picnics, clubs, bars, drinks, drinks and more drinks. You could imagine I was not in tip top condition on that Monday. Plus, through in the emotions of leaving, it was a pretty rough day. Thank you to everyone who made that last weekend in the gong so special.

Spending time at home

I don’t get to make it home often, so getting to spend 10 whole days at home was absolutely delightful! The weather was superb and I got to spend quality time with my family and my two cute little dogs. It really was so lovely and I’m so grateful for everyone showing me so much love and kindness before I head off on my big adventure!

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A beautiful Sydney sesh

It’s kind of a tradition in my family that the night before you fly out, you spend the night in Sydney and  go out for a special dinner and drinks. I spent the day in Bondi with my Mum and sister. It was an absolutely stunning day and it was so lovely to spend quality time with my family. For dinner, my best friend Tishia and her bf Mark joined my Mum and I for a cute little pub feed. Again, I’m so grateful to these people for making me feel so loved and special. You definitely made leaving Australia much more difficult.

Being pleasantly surprised by Manila

On the 24th of June, I heard the best words I think I’ve ever heard come out of an air hostesses mouth… ‘you’ve been upgraded!’ Not only was I going to the Philippines, but I was going to the Philippines in style and comfort! You can watch the experience of my flight and my stopover here.

Re-falling in love with London.

London was my home for 12 months in 2013, so it was beautifully surreal going back. There’s really not many words at all to describe how it felt being back. But you can check out some of the videos I’ve made about my time in London. 

Visiting old friends

Again, it’s difficult to describe how amazing it was to see some friends that I haven’t seen for nearly 3 years! And it’s even better when it feels like no time has passed at all! I’m so so so grateful for everyone who made my time in the UK so special and who went above and beyond to show me a good time.

Tunes

BASTILLE

They’re back!!! Thank god! I’ve waited way too long to hear Dan’s beautiful voice! Such a catchy and just damn awesome song!!! Now I just need to patiently wait for their album!

MUMFORD & SONS

Holy sh*t I’m absolutely in love with this song! It’s full of soul, it’s uplifting and it’s just AMAZING!!!! I used it this month as my ‘take off song’ (a song you play when your plane takes off and you feel an overwhelming feeling of ecstasy).

Quotes

This quote says so much to me. This month I’ve been so blessed to be surrounded by people who love me and who are there to encourage me to pursue my dreams. I really and sincerely grateful for every act of kindness. It is these people around me that inspire me to be the best I can be and spread this kindness around the world. Especially in a world where love, kindness and acceptance seem to be fleeting, it is now more than ever that we need to stand together, to support one another, in solidarity and strength. Love is love is love is love is love…

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July – you better watch out… because I’m coming for you!

My 5 GOLDEN RULES for travelling on the London Underground

London is a big one on a lot of people’s bucket lists. And I must admit, there’s nothing quite like descending over the city and being able to spot buildings from your window seat. You’re not sure if it’s because you’ve been seated for 14+ hours or your excitement, and your legs are shaking away. You may have heard about Heathrow’s long queues to get through customs, but you may not of heard of another very important aspect of landing at Heathrow, and that’s getting the tube to your destination.

Ah the tube. At first it’s comically exciting. And then you realise you need to manoeuvre your suitcase up and down stairs, on and off trains and in between thousands of people.

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Make sure you can carry your stuff

There’s nothing worse than literally not being able to carry your belongings. You’re trying to wheel your suitcase, your’ve got your backpack on your bag, handbag over your shoulder, shopping bag in one hand, reaching for your Oyster card in the other… It’s a nightmare. If it helps, have a little practice at home before you tackle the tube. What’s easiest and most comfortable for you? Figure it out as soon as possible so you can get your sh*t together and get from A to B easily.

Take your time

Sure the tube makes you feel like life is moving at hyper speed… but there’s no need to rush. When there’s so many people rushing around you, it’s easy to feel like you’re being the biggest pain ever and in everyone’s way. But everyone’s been there. They probably feel sorry for you that you have to lift that huge thing. around everywhere. In fact, a lot of people will offer to help carry your bag up stairs. Just take a deep breath and take your time. You’ll get there. Everyone else can just shover around you. After all, you’re the one with the massive suitcase, no one’s going to mess with that!

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Try to avoid peak hours

Peak hours on the tube vary between 6:30am-9:30am and 4:30pm-7:30pm. If at all possible, I would strongly recommend avoiding travelling with lots of luggage during these times. It’s hard enough with a small handbag, let alone everything you belong. However, if you unfortunately find yourself in that position, just make sure to take extra care so you don’t hurt yourself or someone else.

Stand up

It’s going to be much easier for you and other passengers if you put your luggage against the tube doors once they close, or against the panel. This will firstly make sure you’re not taking up too much room, it will secure your luggage, and you can lean against it for comfort and security. Trust me on this one, there’s nothing worse than someone sitting down on one of the seats, with their bag stopping someone else from sitting down. You will receive the death stare from many people.

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Smile and apologise

If you do find yourself in someone’s way (which is most definitely going to happen) just smile and say sorry. They’ll appreciate the notion and be on their way. If you get frustrated, flustered or rude, there’s no way someone’s going to offer to help you and again, the death stares will occur.

FINAL NOTES

At the end of the day, the tube is a very strange type of ecosystem with it’s own rules and laws. You never quite know if it’s safe to look someone in the eye or smile at someone… but hey, you’ll be getting off in a few stops and most likely never see them again.

Travel Anxiety #KeepingItReal

Travel is scary, nerve racking and gives you ridiculous amounts of anxiety. These are probably not the first thoughts that come to mind when you think of travelling the world. We are completely saturated by images of beautiful people standing in front of beautiful sites in beautiful places. Despite the carefree looks on their faces, I can assure you each and every person who’s journeyed overseas has felt some sort of travel anxiety.

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I consider myself pretty adventurous and I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel before. Despite this, as I was in the uber on the way to the airport with my Mum this morning, I didn’t quite know if I needed to sing with joy or vomit. It’s a fine line really and I’m still not quite sure what I needed to do, but I’m glad I didn’t throw up in the taxi.

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I think it’s only natural to feel this way. I’m heading off on a 6+ month adventure. Goodbye friends, family and the familiar. It’s even harder when the past few weeks with your friends and family have been among the most exciting and fun weeks you’ve had in a long time. I guess this is what travel is all about, creating new memories and forever expanding your ‘familiar’

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Plus, the date completely crept up on me. How the hell is it actually the end of June?! I booked my adventure at the end of January. Way back when June felt like a life time away. I guess I’ve always had something to distract me and keep me busy. Uni does a pretty good job at that. I finished uni at the beginning of June and suddenly, I’m packing my bag and heading to the airport about to vomit in an uber.

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That anxiety is kind of put to rest when your Mum is snapping photos of you on her phone as you wave goodbye in departures…. (I love it). But then you’re wacked in the face with passport checks and security screenings. Next thing you know you’re barefoot and trying not to look suspicious so you end up looking suspicious af. Then you need to find your gate and my god it’s easy to get lost in an airport!

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That anxiety is then put to rest again when you see two of your friends at the airport both embarking on their own adventures as well. Both equally as nervous, excited and ahhhhhhhh as you.

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Then there’s the added anxiety of landing somewhere completely unknown… somewhere like Manila for example. Having no idea how to get to your hotel, how much money you should be spending on taxis plus the added nerves of reading horror stories of tourists experiences in Manila… it’s pretty damn overwhelming.

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Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not complaining. I’m just sharing that feeling of butterflies/needing to throw up that we all experience at some point in our travel journeys. It’s totally normal and totally real. Just remember to take a deep breath, have a drink of water and think about all the amazing things you’re about to experience. It will totally be worth it. That travel anxiety will quickly be replaced with travel excitement and adventure. 

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When you get upgraded to Business Class, it definitely helps with those pre flight nerves!

My Epic Travel Plans: JUNE – AUGUST

“I’m in love with cities I’ve never been to and people I’ve never met.”

After putting some plans into action, I can finally reveal to you my incredibly exciting plans for the next few months! One of the best things about travel is planning. And one of the other good things is actually making these plans come to life! Now, it’s just a matter of time.

24th June: Sydney -> Manila (one night stopover)

25th June: Manila -> London (I’m back baby!)

26th June – 3rd July: LONDON! I’m talking visiting old friends, visiting my old house, my old local pub and my old stomping ground which is East London. I’m also talking visiting friends that I haven’t seen for years, and visiting places I didn’t get to go when I was there in 2013.

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Hamstead Heath, London. One of my favourite places. Source

3rd July – 29th July – La Rochelle, France. So I’m spending a month in France doing an AIM Overseas Short Course. For 4 weeks I’ll be living, learning and breathing everything French. I’ll be studying French language every morning, and be doing cultural activities like tasting wine and cheese in the afternoon. This is where I’ll be for Bastille Day and my birthday! I’m a little nervous because I haven’t studied French for the past 6 months but I think there’s only one way to learn… and that’s do as the French do.

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The beautiful streets of La Rochelle! Source

29th July – 12th August: Roadtrip/Epic Adventures! I don’t have any locked in plans as of yet, but that’s always fun, just to wing it a little and see where I end up. I may go north to Rennes, Mont St Michel or Dinan. I may go south to Toulouse, Bayonne and end up in Spain in San Sebastian. Or I may go south east and go to Nice, Cannes and through to Italy. Wherever I go and whoever I’m with, I know I’ll have an awesome time!

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San Sebastian, Spain… who knows where I’ll end up? Source

12th August – 18th August: ICELAND! I am beyond ridiculously excited to go back to Iceland! I was there in Winter of 2014 where I nearly froze to death. This year, I’ll be returning in Summer (where it’s still likely to be cold) but nonetheless… I’m determined to get out there and discover all that this unique country has to offer. I’m planning on visiting friends, chasing waterfalls and swimming in natural thermal hot springs! Watch out Iceland!

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Akureyri, Iceland. Source

18th August —- MONTREAL! As of the 18th of August, I’ll be in Montreal. I’ll be here until late December as an exchange student at the University of Concordia! A part from having to organise where I’m going to be living during this time, everything is coming together nicely and I freakin’ cannot wait!

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Cannot wait to explore French Canada! Source 

And from there, who knows? But hey, I think that’s the best part!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friends Across The Globe: Reunion

Me, Nicole, Charline and Mack
Me, Nicole, Charline and Mack

They say that the friends you make when you first move out of home are friends for life. And regardless of distance or time, or how long it’s been since you’ve talked you know that they’ll be there for you. I was fortunate enough last weekend to meet up with these beautiful (above), who were some of my housemates whilst I was living in London. Whilst some of you may think, what’s the big deal, well I’m not sure you could ever understand the incredible bond we created at Clarendon 9. I was 18 when I moved into that house and was just discovering myself and the world around me. I was always up for trying new things, going on adventures and making the most of every opportunity. My time in London wasn’t always smooth sailing and my housemates were by my side through thick and thin. Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 5.42.56 pm As I waited at Central Station, having not seen my London family for almost 18months, I was absolutely overwhelmed with anxiety and excitement. I scanned every face, my heart skipping a beat every time I saw someone resembling my friends. I had been lucky enough to see Nicole in February and seeing her face again was so exciting. When we (finally) saw Charline and Mack walking through the Central, I couldn’t contain my excitement. We crept up on them, swarming them with hugs and nearly giving Mack a heart attack. After smothering them both with hugs and covering Mack’s shirt with makeup (my bad) we headed off to have some lunch and coffee, just like London times. From then on, we did not stop talking. It was like no time had passed at all and hearing their voices and seeing their faces right in front of me was so special and heart warming.

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For a long time, I was always conscious of starting a story with ‘when I was in London…’ because I didn’t want to seem like I was bragging. But after reminiscing about all the crazy adventures we got up to, I really don’t care at all. Why? Because London was the best year of my life. It was much more than just me living it up in another city, but it was where I made incredible friends, learnt my limits, discovered new things and learnt more about myself and what I want in life. And my London family, my housemates helped me through all of it and I’ll make be eternally grateful for that.

At the Royal Ascot
At the Royal Ascot

So what now? Who knows when we’ll see each other next. In the next month, this year, or next? Regardless of when I see my London family next, I know that we’ll all continue to change. Whilst I may have grown up considerably and changed a lot, some might say even matured, but in some way, there’s an 18 year old me still looking optimistically out at the world that my London family know all too well.

Until next time!

xxx A

An Essential Guide To London

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

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

Photo Ops

1. Big Ben. Of course.

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

'Ello Govna
‘Ello Govna

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

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

996021_731518820196469_1823809950_n 5. Buckingham Palace. Obviously.

Culture

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

Camden with my girl
Camden with my girl

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

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

Food

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

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

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

Expensive but beautiful little cakes
Expensive but beautiful little cakes

Galleries and Museums

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

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

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

Chillin in Trafalgar Square
Chillin in Trafalgar Square

History

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

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

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

Swooning over Mr Keats
Swooning over Mr Keats

A Little Something Extra

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

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

Things to give a miss

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

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

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

Do you have any recommendations?

xxx A

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Trying to be a strong independent woman

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

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

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Welcoming new challenges and adventures

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

x A

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