Talkin’ Shit

Important note: This post contains a huge amount of poo talk, shit loads of it actually. It’s not for the faint hearted. If you’re someone that dry retches at the thought of someone else taking a dump, or prefers to keep your poo stories between you and your loo, then now might be a good time to stop reading.  

When was the last time you had a good old chat about poo? Does the word ‘poo’ make you squirm? Does it make you giggle? Does it make your stomach churn? Or does it make you yearn for a nice long, peaceful poo? I’ve recently been in Mexico, so poo has been somewhat of a hot topic for me, as I’m sure you can imagine (don’t imagine too hard now). 

Getting gastro/food poisoning/a sombrero wearing, maraca shaking parasite in Mexico, sure helps you break down any reservations that you might have on the topic but it’s not always easy to, pardon the pun, talk shit, especially with new people that you’re meeting along your travels. 

As someone who’s lived to tell the tale (JUST), here’s my guide to talkin shit.   

Humour is essential   

Talking about shit is probably the most real and hilarious thing you could possibly talk about with another person (IMO), especially if you’ve had a bad experience with your bowels– ahem, Bali Belly anyone? Talkin’ shit shows that you’re the type of person that doesn’t take themselves too seriously, just make sure you pick you target wisely because there are a few humans out there that could be utterly offended by your potty humour.  

It’s an easy and fun way to get to know someone very quickly indeed. Get a load of this… 

I was sitting on the toilet in Mexico, my arse on fire, sweat rolling down my…everywhere, with knife stabbing stomach cramps twisting into my gut, thinking, ‘this is how I die.’ I don’t know why everyone doubted Elvis dying on the toilet because I definitely came within inches of my own death. I can confirm it would be the most horrific and smelly death possible. A combination of anti-diarrhoea pills, electrolytes, sleep, lemonade and plain white rice, and one week later I was finally strong enough to add veggies to that plain rice. 

What the doctor didn’t prescribe was a decent dose of laughter. At the end of the day, your body has been through unimaginable pain, all you really need is someone to talk to about your poo problems with and just laugh it out. At least it will cover the tears.   

See…after learning that about me we’re basically Hamish and Andy level best friends now. If you’re still in doubt, I present to you, exhibit B…  

 

   

Judgement Free Zone  

I had a conversation that changed my life. I met a girl, who had actually shit her pants and lived to tell the tale. I sat there mesmerized. I didn’t think that life after SYP (shitting your pants) existed. But there she was, in the flesh, alive and well to share her story with others desperately seeking hope. Now I wouldn’t go as far to say that she’s a saint, but she sure did save me from my toilet of despair.   

When discussing the deeply painful personal stories of poo tragedies, it’s important to understand that person is entrusting you with their deepest darkest shittiest secrets. So hold their hand, hold back that laugh and simply say ‘I’m sorry that happened to you.’ Then you can proceed to burst into laughter and write about them on the internet. 

 

Normalise it  

Have you ever woken up, hungover as hell and had the overwhelming need to take a good long shit? Of course you have, it’s called an after grog bog and we all know it’s an essential (and amazing) part of the hangover experience. But how many of you have endured this pain because you’ve got a stranger in the bed next to you, or your housemates are making brekky in the kitchen, devastatingly located next to the toilet, and the thought of the regrets echoing from the toilet bowel is just too cringe worthy to deal with?  

We know it’s in the natural order, so why do so many of us get scared shitless? Embrace it, announce it to the world! I’m hungover and I need to get rid of this grog bog! It’s all in the discussion, let it out, verbally and physically and we can free ourselves from this toilet shame.   

Now that I’ve overcome my ‘incident’, I feel that I’m a much stronger person, emotionally and physically. I may never be the same again, my stomach might and my butt is permanently haunted, but it’s something I’ve been able to overcome and grow from. I, and I hope you have too, have come to appreciate the fact that poo is a natural part of our lives that we should all be able to talk about. Not all the time, but just now and then. 

[This post was initially written for Twenty Something Humans]

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These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: JULY 2017

What a freakin whirlwind! I spent most of July in Mexico City for my program with AIM Overseas (if you’ve missed what’s been going on, you can check it out here). Retuning to Australia, starting back at uni and being able to drink the tap water has been a bit of a change (an extremely grateful change). But July has been a truly incredible month. I not only had my eyes ripped open to the reality that refugees and migrants live through in Mexico, but I discovered what really set my heart on fire, plus I turned 23, the dreaded age of being somewhat an adult. But before we jump too far ahead of ourselves, let’s look back on the month of July!

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🇲🇽  Mexico City

What a crazy city? Over 22million people, an altitude of 2500m and a city of extremes. The rich, glamorous, hipster and the poor, dirty and poverty somehow live together in this city. Mexico City is A LOT. You can catch up here for specifics of what we got up to on our program here. My program in Mexico was honestly one of the craziest, most educational, inspiring, challenging, overwhelming and incredible experiences I’ve ever had. I’ll truly cherish the time I spent there and the people I met. I don’t think I can ever forget the feeling of doing something I’m truly passionate about. It helped me realise my passions, my goals and how I really want to make a change and help share the stories of some of the bravest people I’ve ever met.

🎶 Catfish and The Bottlemen

When I found out that one of my absolute favourite bands were playing in Wollongong the day before I was due to land back in Australia, I looked into changing my flights. After serious consideration, I realised ‘wtf I’m 23, my fave band is playing at home, that’s it I’m changing my flight!’ And I can honestly say that it’s one of the most spontaneous, crazy and freakin awesome things that I’ve done. I went with my friend and we had such a good night! Considering I managed to sleep for about 9 hours on the flight, the beers went down an absolute treat and my ears were treated to the sweet sounds of Catfish!

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Catfish and the Bottlemen at UOW

📷 THIS PHOTO

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❤️ Home

One of the best things about spending time away from home, is returning back. I was so excited to see my friends and family again. And lucky for me, semester 2 was just starting back so everyone was down for a beer or three!

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My sister and I at home in Port Stephens
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My brother, sister and I out in Newcastle

🎶 Tunes

HAIM. These lovely ladies just released their new album and GOD DAMN IT’S AMAZEBALLS! I’ve honestly had it on repeat and I’ve been singing along like there’s no tomorrow.

The XX. Another great band, another great album. Holy shit am I thankful to have new music from these guys grace my ears.

Bob Marley. OK maybe a bit random but after being in Belize and embracing those Caribbean vibes, Bob Marley just makes me feel freakin good. If you’re feeling stressed of anxious, simply play some of his music and I promise you’ll instantly feel happier.

🎥 Flicks

Frida.  I was lucky enough to visit the house of Frida Kahlo whilst in Mexico City. And before going I watched this film to get some background info on her life. And damn I would honestly recommend this to anyone. She had such an interesting, painful and flamboyant life and it was even more incredible getting to visit the house she grew up in and went through so much in.

Gangs of El Salvador – VICE. If anyone knows me, they know that working for VICE would be the ultimate kick ass job. And after spending time in Mexico and learning about the extremely violent gangs that govern Honduras and El Salvador, watching this documentary was incredibly educational and informative. An absolute must if, like me, you had no idea about gangs in El Salvador, or even where El Salvador is!

📷 Bloggers and Vloggers

Flying the Nest. I’ve only just stumbled across this cute Aussie couple and I’m slowing falling for their chemistry and excitement. They just got married in Greece so if you’re into that you’ll be obsessed. Me – I’m just really into all of the coffee they drink!

📗Book

T2 Trainspotting. This is definitely not for the faint hearted. It’s difficult to read (mostly because it’s written in a Scottish accent) and it’s all about porn, sex and drugs. Now I just can’t wait to watch the movie!

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📝 Quote

I have to admit, going to Mexico was definitely one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. Not because I thought something bad would happen to me or go wrong, but because I’d never travelled anywhere like it before. Everything was new, scary, overwhelming and exciting. It was both terrifying and amazing and one of the most defining experiences I think I’ve ever had. And I think in life, when you’re faced with experiences that are both terrifying, scaring, exciting and amazing, then what do you have to lose by pursuing it? Sometimes you just have to take risks, and I’d hate to live a life thinking ‘what if?’ So dive in, be brave and embrace it.

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What a freakin amazing month! I learnt and discovered more about our beautifully complicated world, I turned 23 and apparently people still like me, and I’m back into semester 2 ready to smash out my last semester at uni! Things are looking up!!

 

Walking in the Shoes of a Refugee: MEXICO Week 2

Hola chicas! Cómo estás? As you can tell, my Spanish is going quite well! My stomach on the other hand, not quite. Our 2nd week in Mexico City has been equally full on as our first week (if you missed what happened, you can catch up here). We’ve learnt a lot, visited numerous museums and cultural sites and had one of the scariest nights of my life. Let’s have a look at what we got up to this week!

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Free Day

Woo! We finally got a day off which meant an epic sleep in. Most of us used this day to relax and reset ourselves in preparation for the crazy week ahead of us. I used this day to remember my time in Mexico City forever! I got a TATTOO! Victoria and I headed to ‘Soul Flower’ in La Condesa to get some ink. The guy who gave us our tattoo was so awesome! His name was Jorge and he was from Honduras. He owns his own tattoo shop in Costa Rica where he now lives, and is currently travelling around to tattoo conventions in Mexico and Guatemala. After everything I’ve learnt about Honduras, I was really glad to have a part of his story with me.

 

 

There seems to be a fair few birthdays this month! And this week we celebrated two! One Monday night we went out for tapas and lots of wine, making it the perfect way to wind down after our hectic first week.

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Cultural Visits

This week we experienced A LOT of Mexican culture! Our first visit was on Tuesday afternoon to the Blue House (also known as the house of Friday Kahlo and Diego Rivera – two of the most renowned Mexican artists). If you haven’t already – watch the movie Frida on Netflix. It’s pretty much where I learnt the most about Frida and her life. Then getting to wander the corridors where she lived, see her artwork, her garden and bedroom was absolutely incredible!

After the Blue House, we went around the corner to visit the house where Leon Trotsky lived and was killed. For those of you who don’t know (don’t worry, I learnt this information at the house itself), Trotsky was a part of the Russian opposition government during the time of Stalin. When Stalin took power, it made Trotsky an enemy of the state so him and his wife fled to Mexico. They moved to Mexico because Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo supported the Mexican Communist party and thus their connection. After Kahlo and Trotsky had an affair, Trotsky moved to a different house. There was an attempted murder where one of Stalin’s guys stabbed him with an ice pick but he survived. He then appointed guards to his house and basically lived in a fortress. Yet that was no stopping Stalin as he was later killed by gunshot which sprayed his entire room. You can still see those bullet marks in the wall today. And there you go, some Russian history in the streets of Mexico City.

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Tula

On Saturday we visited the archeological site of Tula. It’s funny because you almost get used to thinking ‘oh, another ancient pyramid.’ Nonetheless, we explored, climbed it and learnt about how in Tula, they forbid human sacrifice to the Gods, so it seems it was quite a progressive society.

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Ballet

On Sunday night we were treated to a night at the ballet! A group of us, along with our professional tour guide, Arnaldo, headed downtown to the Opera House. This is an ABSOLUTE MUST for anyone going to Mexico City. It’s a mix of ballet and Mexican folk dance and it was simply stunning – we couldn’t wipe the smile off of our face!

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Floating Markets

Sunday we went to the incredible Floating Markets. Think Venetian gondola meets Mexican fiesta! We all boarded the little boat with a few beers in hand and we floated through the canals and around markets. In all honesty, it’s a bit difficult to describe, so I made this vlog instead!

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Class

Class this week was equally as intensive. One of my favourite days was taught by an incredible woman, Frida Espinosa who spoke to us about gender, health and migration. I could really feel my previous thoughts and ideas being challenged, evolving and honestly learning a lot. It was such a great class because it’s a perspective that is not often taken in the discussion of migration.

Next week we also have presentations so we started working out what groups we wanted to be in and brainstorming some ideas.

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Professional Site Visits

The site visit on Friday to the Transit Migrant Shelter called Casa del Samaritano in Hidalgo, was definitely a group highlight. This shelter is located on the train line for migrants taking ‘La Bestia’ (The Beast – the notorious train that migrants are known for climbing onto). It is a safe place for them to have a warm meal, call their loved ones, get new clothing if needed, and then head back off on their journey.

The general consensus of our group was that we felt that we actually did something productive and useful to help these people. People helped in the kitchen, helped clean our some of the shelter and I was on phone duty. Helping the migrants dial their respective countries, where they could make a 3minute phone call. Despite the language barrier, we were still able to converse quite well and find out information about their lives and reasons why they were migrating. All of the migrants were males from Honduras, aged between 17 and 64. One young man, aged 22, had actually been living in Utah with his wife and two children when he was caught without documents and deported back to Honduras. So it was his second time attempting to cross the border.

As we were leaving so were the migrants as they headed along the train tracks. A train ripped by our bus and the migrants, when they started running. We saw one young man grab a ladder of a carriage and get pulled along until he could finally jump onto the carriage, leaving his new found friends behind and taking his chances on The Beast. The rest of the group continued walking along the train tracks. That is an image that is etched into my mind and I don’t think I could ever forget those brave young men.

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That evening we did one of the craziest things I’ve ever done in my entire life. At the Alberto Eco Park, they run simulation border crossings and we were signed up. We were forewarned to wear clothes that we didn’t mind getting dirty and sturdy shoes. At approximately 9:30pm, when it was pitch black, a man in a balaclava pulled up in his ute and started screaming at us to gather together. He called our names and we were led into the bush. And thus began the next 3.5hours of running, hiding from ‘border force,’ bandits, drug dealers, crossing swinging bridges, climbing through dark tunnels, trudging through thick mud, hiding in a group on the ground, accidentally falling into cacti, and worst of all, having blanks being shot at us. It was terrifying, thrilling, exciting, scary and an experience we’ll never forget.

We finished at about 1am where a man talked to us about why he decided to create this experience. He said he wanted people to physically attempt to walk a mile in a migrants shoes and at the end of the day, you know it’s not real and you can go back to your comfortable bed and sleep peacefully. These migrants and refugees do not have such privilege and there’s no escaping the reality of violence and fear. It was extremely touching and incredibly motivating to each of us. It reminded us why we were here studying immigration and made us all the more passionate and motivated to make a difference.

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Week 2 was quite crazy indeed, but it was nothing short of incredible! I can’t believe we’re heading into our last week this week! I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us!

Tacos & Tequila: Week 1 In MEXICO CITY

Mexico, that country that speaks Spanish, is renowned for its tacos and tequila and apparently Trump doesn’t like people from there. That’s about the extent of my knowledge of Mexico before arriving and commencing my studies in its capital, Mexico City. So how did I end up here? Well you may recall that around this time last year, I was completing a short course in La Rochelle, France, with a company called AIM Overseas (you can read about my experiences in France here). And after having such a life changing and incredible experience in France, I looked into their programs to see how I can escape another Australian Winter.

That’s when I came across their program taught at the University of La Salle in Mexico City titled ‘Immigrants, Human Rights & Mexican Society.’ Damn what a mouthful hey! Since I’m studying International Studies with Communications & Media Studies, I’ve always been fascinated, concerned and frustrated with current social and political perspectives towards migration, especially of refugees desperately trying to reach Australia. After finding out that I could receive a second OS Help Loan, I found myself being accepted into the program and on my way to Mexico City to study something that I’m deeply passionate about.

So here’s a look into what happened in our first week in Mexico City!

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Taking in the view of a city of 22million

Arriving

Arriving in a new destination, particularly one you’ve never been to before and don’t speak the language, can be extremely daunting. Luckily, La Salle organises an airport pick up. So there was someone at the airport to greet me with a friendly ‘Hola!’ From there, I joined a crew of other students in my program and in the Public Health Program (another AIM Overseas program offered at La Salle), and we filed onto the bus to take us to our new homes. Our ‘Immigrants’ group is staying at a lovely hotel in the funky, safe and colourful neighbourhood called La Condesa. I met my roomie, Rosie from the University of Melbourne. She’s a red head too, so we came to the understanding that they matched us based on our hair colour – but we get along really well so AIM definitely did a great job.

Across our arrival weekend, I met the other students in the program from all different degrees and from universities all across Australia. This diversity, I could tell, would be extremely valuable when it comes to discussing such a complex topic of migration. And to top it off, everyone is like minded and passionate about the same thing as you, so it’s safe to say that everyone is pretty damn cool.

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The colours of La Condesa, our funky neighbourhood

Classes

On Monday morning we were escorted to the university so we could take notes on directions. Luckily La Salle is a quick 10-15minute walk away from the hotel. Monday was our Orientation day where we were given a tour of the university and neighbourhood, we discussed our schedule for the three weeks, took our photos for our student ID’s and had an awesome welcome lunch.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were quite intense days of classes. We covered everything from Contemporary Mexican Society, Mexico-US Migration Management and Human Rights and Legal Issues surrounding Migration. Tuesday and Thursday afternoon we had our crucial ‘Survival Spanish’ classes where we covered important topics like how to order a beer and make sure you don’t order the super spicy tacos! All of our classes have been taught by extremely passionate and inspiring professor’s making the long days of class very engaging, interesting and informative.

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Some of the sites and colours you can expect to find downtown

Professional Site Visits

As much as this course is academic, it is equally practical where we get to immerse ourselves in the realities for many migrants and refugees arriving to Mexico. On Friday, we visited ‘Casa de los Amigos’ and ‘Casa Tochan’, both are houses providing support and accommodation for newly arrived migrants and refugees. At Casa de los Amigos, we were given a tour of their facilities and a presentation going through some of the services they provide these people. They receive migrants and refugees mostly from Central American countries like Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, however when we visited they had several refugees from Somalia and Cameroon. It just goes to show that as long as there is conflict and danger, people will go to all lengths to find somewhere safe for themselves and their families.

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Outside Casa de Los Amigos
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Kindness is a universal language
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After our presentation from Casa de los Amigos

After Casa de los Amigos, we headed to Casa Tochan, a much smaller house, yet doing some pretty incredible things and making a real difference to those looking for support, shelter, food, services and kindness. At Casa Tochan, I met three Honduran refugees, aged 17, 19 and 22. They told us their stories (with the help from a translator) and it was an incredibly powerful, emotional and confronting experience. One of the young boys entire family had been murdered in Honduras and therefore, he was escaping out of fear of being next. It was all very raw and emotional, yet the part that I’ll never forget was when another girl on the program asked how they felt with us coming to visit Casa Tochan. They responded that they were so grateful because it makes them feel like there’s people out there that actually care about them and the situation they’re in. I must admit, I spent a lot of the afternoon wiping away tears from my eyes because I was so overwhelmed with their kindness, hope and strength. The reality of looking someone directly in the eye and creating a bond that transcends language, culture or class is an experience that can never be taken away and to those young boys that I had the absolute honour of meeting, I will never forget their bravery.

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The mural painted in the common area at Casa Tochan
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Our group and awesome tour guides
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A mural on the street near Casa Touchan painted by migrants. This bird is the national bird of Honduras and it represents the freedom they’ve gained from spreading their wings.

Other Events

Friday afternoon we were treated to a salsa class, a fun way to lift spirits and get in a good work out. For anyone thinking that salsa is all about the skirts, you’re wrong. Be prepared to sweat!

This weekend was a hectic weekend of soaking up a lot of culture and history. On Saturday we headed to the famous Pyramids! Walking among thousands of years of history sure was memorable. On the way back to the city, we stopped at the Basilica de Guadalupe, the second most important Catholic religious site, the first being the Vatican.

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Rosie and I conquering the Sun Pyramid
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The Immigration group & Public Health group after galavanting all around the Pyramids.
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The 1st and 2nd Basilica de Guadalupe. Because of the ground it’s built on, the buildings are actually sinking, meaning that not many buildings are straight. But it sure adds character.

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On Sunday we were completely immersed in the hustle and bustle of Mexico City and given a tour of downtown. We visited the Cathedral, the old palace with murals by Diego Rivera (OMG fan girl!) and Templo Mayor. To add to the craziness of downtown, there was also a really popular football match on where they had big screens everywhere!

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One of my very good friends actually lives in Mexico City. His name is Victor and we met when he came to Wollongong on exchange in my first year. 3.5years later, he was showing me around his home town, complete with tacos, tequila and pulques. Being reunited with old friends is definitely one of the best things about travel and I’m so grateful that he’s been able to show me around such an incredible city.

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Victor and I

Well I honestly don’t know where times gone. 1 week down, 2 more to go. One thing I’m really realising is just how fortunate I am to be given such a unique opportunity of studying one of our century’s most complex and urgent movement of people, in a country that is so heavily involved in the process, whether it be sending, receiving or simply a transit for people, Mexico and immigration go hand in hand. In the 1 week I’ve been here, I’ve learnt more about Mexico City and Mexican Society than I have in my whole life and I’m quickly learning that there’s much more to this incredible place than tacos and tequila (yet still very important).

[You can follow my adventures on Instagram @aworldlyaddiction]

 

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: JUNE 2017

What a freakin whirlwind of a month! I started stressed out of my mind about submitting my final project for the semester at uni, and now I’m en route to Mexico City. And the craziest thing is that this time last year, June was the epic month where I jet setted across to Europe about to commence my French program in La Rochelle. I remember feeling super excited but equally nervous. And I think that’s how I’m feeling right about now, sitting in Cancun airport with an overpriced salad and burnt coffee. But before I get too ahead of myself, let’s throwback to the epic adventures had this month!

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💕 Friends

What’s a month without some epic memories with some amazing friends of mine. Everything from house parties, gigs, dinners, library study seshes, and even my friend Max visiting all the way from Montreal! I especially loved going to my friend Pete’s gig at Rad bar (plz don’t forget me when you’re famous) and going out in Sydney with my besties and family before jetting off. I’m so lucky to have such amazing friends who show me such kindness and support and I’m always grateful to have them in my life so huge shout out to y’all.

❤️Family

Mum you get a special shout out here because I’ll always be grateful that you come to the airport with me at 6am just to make sure I’m all checked in and to give me one last hug and kiss goodbye. It’s probably the sweetest thing ever and one of the many reasons I love you.

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🎆 VIVID

My favourite time of year in Sydney! Winter’s finally kicked in which means boots, coats, scarves and the need to galavant around Sydney Harbour. I actually didn’t take my camera so you’ll have to settle for this iPhone shot of the Opera House, but I had such an amazing time taking in all of the beautiful lights of this city.

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🇺🇸LA

Woo! Back in LA baby! Words really can’t describe how happy I was to be back in LA. Despite horrible jet lag and forgetting my PJ’s (how do I always forget my pyjamas!?), it was amazing to be back in some sunshine and back in Santa Monica. I went into full holiday mode – taking myself out to lunch, long walks on the beach, shopping at Brandy Melville (yay!) and catching up with friends, it’s easy to see how this place is loved by so many.

🇬🇹 🇧🇿 🇲🇽 Central America

Now this is where the whirlwind starts… 17 days of exploring, drinking, hiking, jumping off of waterfalls, 10 hour long travel days, going to a rave in an empty swimming pool, sailing in the Carribean sea, swimming with sharks, countless boats, eating so many tacos, getting sick, staying with a Mayan family, learning Spanish, meeting the most amazing people, swimming with turtles (I’m in love with those turtles), and getting the most sunburnt ass I’ve ever had….. doing the Mayan Sun tour with G Adventures from Guatemala, through Belize and to Mexico has definitely been one of the best experiences of my life. I felt challenged, inspired, motivated, educated and a little slimmer because of getting sick, but I honestly wouldn’t change a thing about it (except maybe the sickness part). Watch this space for more posts about the specifics of the trip!

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My amazing German roomie on the G Adventures trip! #iminlovewiththoseturtles
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Our awesome G Adventures crew in Antigua

🎥 Flicks

Moonlight. The best thing about long plane rides, is that you get to watch a fair few movies. And when I saw this on the list I couldn’t press play fast enough. After winning best picture, damn I was so intrigued. It’s an absolutely beautiful film with some honest, raw and incredible scenes that really stick.

Lion. Note to self – when watching this on the plane – prepare the tissues! Dev Patel is absolutely outstanding and this incredible true story will have you in tears and filled with love. Honestly can’t recommend enough!

What If. Daniel Radcliff is slowly stripping away his Harry Potter label and I’m loving it! This film literally had me laughing out loud, cringing and just really enjoying this cute, artistic and creative film.

🎶 Tunes

MØ – Nights With You. Ah I’ve literally had this on repeat and I’m addicted. It’s just so damn catchy and I can never get it out of my head!

Chronixx – Here Comes Trouble. This song just takes me right back to Belize…. enough said.

📷 Bloggers & Vloggers

I really haven’t been watching many vloggers lately! GASP! But the one guy that I keep going back to, and keep absolutely freakin loving… is my man, Logan Paul. So here’s a cute photo of him that I’m in love with…. ah.

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@LoganPaul

📝 Quote

Again, because this month has been so hectic and so fast paced, I haven’t exactly had a quote or motto to get me through. I was just taking it one day at a time and doing the best I could with it. When we were travelling around Central America, a lot of the time we didn’t have access to wifi, or functional wifi so I never took my phone out with me. And as ridiculous as it sounds, it was so refreshing turning off.

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So… that’s done. I can’t believe how quickly this month flew by. And I’m afraid July is going to do the exact same thing! I’m so incredibly grateful for the incredible experiences I’ve had, especially in Central America with the special memories created. This July, I’ll be spending 4 weeks in Mexico City studying Immigration, Human Rights and Mexican Society. It’s an AIM Overseas course (and if you remember correctly, I studied in La Rochelle with AIM – so you already know how amazing their programs are and you can certainly expect lots of blogs and posts from Cuidad de México!

Upcoming Travel Plans (3 NEW COUNTRIES)

You know me, a few months at home and my feet are already itching for a new adventure. But how, when, where? After returning from my epic trip to Europe and North America, I’m pretty broke and most people assume I’m going to quietly finish my degree and prepare for adult life. HELL NO! When have I ever done anything quietly, or done what is expected of me? OK, enough foreplay, let’s jump straight into the juicy details of my epic travel plans.

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Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

Where: USA, Guatemala, Belize & Mexico

Flying into Los Angeles, I’ll be spending a few nights adjusting to jetlag and just embracing being back in that fabulous city again. Then I’ll be flying to Antigua (Guatemela) to start a 16 day G Adventures tour called the Mayan Sun (click here for more tour info).

From Cancun, I’ll be flying to Mexico City where I’ll spend 3 weeks, before returning to LA and then back to Sydney for the start of Spring semester (and my last semester at university).

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What: G Adventures Tour & AIM Overseas Short Course

Mayan Sun: 16 days exploring the best of Central America! And it looks pretty freakin epic. Through Guatemala, Belize and ending up in Playa del Carmen in Mexico, it’s definitely going to be 2 and a half hectic, crazy and amazing weeks of adventure. Between Mayan ruins, pyramids, islands, rainforests, beaches and jungles…. I’m not sure if anything can really prepare me for this adventure. The map of the itinerary is below.

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Mayan Sun (Northbound)

AIM Overseas: If you’ve been following my journey for a while now, you would have known that last year I did an AIM Overseas short course in La Rochelle, France (if you missed it, you can catch up here). I’m back and doing another one. I’ll be studying Immigration, Human Rights & Mexican Society for 3 weeks in Mexico City. Over th course of 3 weeks, we’ll be exploring and learning about the history of migration patters and relations between USA and Mexico, different push and pull factors and looking at who are migrants (women, children, illegal immigrants, workers, care takers etc). I know this experience will be hugely confrontation, but I believe what I will learn and gain from this experience will shape and influence my career objectives and motivate me even more to change the world. Program info is here if you want to find out more.

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Mexico City. 

How: Government Funding and Graduation

I know that I’m super lucky to live and study in Australia, a country that supports my tertiary education and experience. I will receive an OS-Help Loan (a loan of $6500) that goes onto my HECS, along with the rest of my education fees and I only start paying off my student debt once I start earning over $50000 a year (freakin amazing system and I’m so grateful). This loan is designed to assist students with the costs of studying overseas (flights, program fees etc). If it wasn’t for this loan, I would not be able to afford to participate.

The degree I’m studying is International Studies/Communications, and as part of my degree, the university encourages us to travel and study abroad. Therefore, I’m able to receive credit towards my degree to help me graduate (pretty cool hey?!).

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Tikal, Guatemala

Over to you

So now I’ve told you my plans, now I need your advice, input and expertise. Have you been to any of these places? Do you have any tips, advice, words of wisdom? Any must see places? Must eat, drink, buy? Please let me know because I’d love to hear from you!

Well – there you go, my epic travel plans for July. I know it’s going to come around in the blink of an eye so watch this space!

Peace!