These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: SEPTEMBER 2019

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

🏃 Blackmores Bridge Run

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

🏠 Home

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

💪Standing up for myself (without the guilt)

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

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

🎥 Flicks

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

📚 Books

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

Image result for mama mia by mia freedman book

📷 Bloggers, vloggers and podders

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

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

🎵Tunes

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

❤️ Product

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

📝 Quote

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

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

My New Favourite Country? Travelling Guatemala With G ADVENTURES

Ever since watching Fun For Louis’ ‘Best Coffee in Guatemala’ vlog, Guatemala has been on my radar. And it wasn’t just because of the amazing coffee (yet it was a very big part of my obsession), but the people, the culture and the landscapes seemed incredible. Plus – what did I actually even know about Guatemala? I didn’t even really know where it was! So when I heard my study program in Mexico City didn’t start until the 1st of July, and realising I had three weeks completely free, this was my time to finally go to Guatemala.

Screenshot 2017-04-04 10.54.21

I found an awesome G Adventures tour that spent a week in Guatemala before making it’s way up to Belize and then Mexico. And before I knew it I was landing in Guatemala City.

IMG_0233

ANTIGUA

The first stop was Antigua, where I met my awesome G Adventures Group. There were people from all over the world, Germany (Luisa, my amazing room mate for the trip), Ireland, another fellow Aussie and lots of people from England. Our tour guide was from Costa Rica, thankfully, because it’s quite essential to know some Spanish when travelling in Central America.

As you can tell from the photos below – Antigua is very colourful and extremely beautiful. It is a UNESCO world heritage site for its outstanding universal value and is a backpackers paradise. With an abundance of hotels, hostels, bars, clubs, restaurants, markets and plazas, Antigua will surely steal your heart, just like it did mine.

I must admit, I was completely unprepared for the weather we faced in Guatemala. In my mind I thought ‘ooh Central America… hot.’ But boy was I wrong. A lot of the time it was actually quite cold and it rained a lot, because guess what… it’s their rainy season. So, note to self, always research the weather of the place you’re going before you go there! Lucky for me, this meant I got to buy the coolest purple jacket which you’ll see shortly in some pictures below.

IMG_5730

IMG_59746241777040_IMG_0980IMG_6936

Screenshot 2017-07-04 20.51.09IMG_5893IMG_58846174666736_IMG_1000

Lake Atitlán – San Juan and Panajachel

From Antigua, we drove a few hours to Lake Atitlán, this time, prepared for the rain. We shuffled our bags around and packed an overnight bag for our adventures across the lake to San Juan. Here, we were introduced to some local Mayan families, and we were introduced to Marcos and Juana, the family that Luisa and I would stay with for the night. We caught a tuk tuk through the torrential rain to their house with a view that looked up at the giant mountains surrounding the lake.

In Guatemala, there are over 23 different Mayan languages spoken, and Mayan is completely different to Spanish. And nor Luisa or I spoke any Spanish. Yet we did manage to communicate, in very broken English, Spanish and way too many hand gestures, we learnt a lot about life in Guatemala, the Mayan culture and history, and my favourite part, how to make tortillas. Mayan recognition, acceptance and equality has been a struggle for a long time in many Central American countries. For instance, neither X or X went to school and therefore cannot read and write. They work in intense labour jobs to provide for their family. Yet because of their hard work and changing economic and social patterns in Guatemala, all three of their sons attended and completed high school, with one studying at university to become a teacher and the other, a local artist. I will never forget the kindness and generosity that this family showed to Luisa and I. This unique experience of a homestay is unique to G Adventures to their sustainability program ‘Planeterra.’ I was so overwhelmed by the whole experience that I had to leave the table for a minute to shed a tear. It really put my life, values and experiences into perspective and I felt so lucky to be able to learn from one of the worlds oldest civilisations.

After our homestay, we headed back to Panajachel where we spent our last night on the lake.

6174633456_IMG_1167
Luisa and I enjoying the view

IMG_5882
That volcano!

6174666736_IMG_1138
The view from San Juan over the lake

6174666736_IMG_1094
Making Tortillas the traditional Mayan way

IMG_5894
Luisa, Juana and I

Rio Dulce

This was by far one of our longest travel days. It took us approximately 9-10hours by bus to reach Rio Dulce. The roads in Guatemala are windy, prone to landslides, narrow and honestly make no sense. So I chucked some music in and watched the beautiful countryside roll by. Our tour guide Brayan actually managed to buy some DVD’s from the side of the road (I tell you, these people have everything!) so that definitely helped pass the time.

When we finally made it to Rio Dulce, we were welcomed by a to die for pool. After shrivelling up into prunes we settled in for a quiet night.

The next day we did a day trip to the Caribbean seaside town of Livingston, about an hour away from Rio Dulce by boat. We stopped off at some thermal hot springs, lily pad fields and really just enjoyed the stunning view on the incredible Lake De Izabal. Livingston is a really interesting town full of wonderful history and a unique culture. It was actually founded by an escaped African slave, descendants of the Garifuna. Today, there are special programs in place to ensure the preservation of the Garifuna culture and language, which is still widely spoken in Livingston.

Our last morning we went kayaking around the lake to find Howler Monkeys. We unfortunately didn’t see any but we sure did hear them. We did however see a manatee in the river, plus a beautiful sunrise. It was definitely one of the best mornings I’ve ever had.

IMG_5939IMG_59216176656288_IMG_13046176656288_IMG_1315IMG_61316176656288_IMG_12916176656288_IMG_12616176656288_IMG_1226IMG_0525

Flores

After our kayak, we were off to Flores. But first, an amazing waterfall and thermal hot spring. Paying just 100 Quetzales, let us cross a farmers field and walk the 5 minutes to one of the most incredible waterfalls I’ve ever been to. The water is a nice temperature and very deep – meaning ultimate jumping time! We climbed the rocks to the top of the waterfall where the pools of water at the top are actually a thermal hot spring. The water was so hot it felt like a bath. Once we enjoyed our spa treatment, we took it in turns of jumping from the top. Like any kind of jump rock, it was awesome fun. The best part was you could swim up and under the waterfall and the water that fell on you was super warm – like you were taking a shower. Honestly one of the best waterfalls I’ve ever been to.

Once we arrived in Flores, we jumped straight onto our party boat to start our booze cruise. Considering we had a 5am start the next day, we partied way too hard. Flores looked like such a beautiful town. We cruised around the lake and went to a platform that we could jump off into the lake. There was also a rope swing – which I may have nearly died by using. We would be drinking on the boat, diving off the boat, floating on our backs under the nights sky. It truly was a fabulous night!

19989089_1748168625198145_1290619650_n19987411_1748168568531484_1273001311_n19989080_1748168611864813_1714730313_n20046224_1748168585198149_1395534723_n20030708_1748168598531481_58563403_n

IMG_6543
Luisa and I partying on our sunset cruise in Flores

Tikal

After a big night of partying, we somehow managed to get up at 5am to arrive at Tikal by 7am to avoid tourists and the heat. Despite our efforts, we were dripping with sweat at 7:30 so sunscreen and hats were of the upmost importance. We had an extremely knowledgable guide who showed us around the ancient city of Tikal, which used to be one of the epicentres of Mayan culture and civilisations. The pictures really speak for itself!

 

IMG_6594IMG_6592IMG_65916174607856_IMG_15206174607856_IMG_14776174607856_IMG_14476174607856_IMG_14146174607856_IMG_1389IMG_6873

After being taken back in time to 200AD, were headed off to explore a new country and get some ink in our passport to go to Belize!

Looking back on my time in Guatemala, I really can’t believe all of the incredible places we managed to go in such a short period of time. The diversity of such a small country and the kindness of the people I met will never be forgotten.

This being said, I’m not ignorant of the deep seeded issues faced by this country and it was unfortunately something we saw and experienced.  Gangs and violence are still an extremely prevalent threat to the safety of Guatemalans, economic inequality sees the rich thrive off of the vulnerable and poor and Mayans often face discrimination informally and through formal institutions such as education and work rights.

Throughout travelling this magnificent country, I’ve been able to learn, question and challenge myself and the ideas that I had. Guatemala is a resilient country and through growing popularity in tourism, perhaps this new found income will be able to counter some of these issues. This experience has epitomised the concept that travel is the best form of education and I’m so incredibly grateful and privileged that I’ve been able to explore and learn from such a beautiful country.

IMG_58916174666736_IMG_1060

 

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: MAY 2017

The end of this month pretty much signals the end of my semester at uni. With the submission of one more assignment due this Friday 2nd June, I’m out for Summer!!! Yes I know it’s actually winter here in Australia but nuh ahhhh – I’m off to a Mexican Summer next month and I cannot freakin wait. But before I get too ahead of myself and get all caught up with the month that will be, let’s look back on the month that came and went all too quickly.

Screenshot 2017-05-30 22.09.53.png

🏠 Home

I spontaneously decided to go home for a weekend and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I may not have made it back home until late on the Friday night, but when welcomed by my two beautiful and excited dogs and a piping hot bath, it was easy to see why. I loved spending quality time with my Mum, brother and grandparents, all whilst taking a deep breath and trying to reset some of the stresses that were getting to me in life.

☮️ Volunteering

This month, I was quite involved with some awesome organisations and I’m trying to commit more of my time and energy into these. I was a mentor at AIME (Aboriginal and Indigenous Mentoring Experience) where I worked with several awesome year 12 students. We talked about school, goal setting, aboriginality, hopes, inequality and practical tips and tricks for job applications and interviews. In all honesty, I think the girls inspired me more than I inspired them.

I’ve also completed and induction and basic training for some volunteering I’m hoping to do in the very near future with SCARF (Strategic Community Assistance to Refugee Families). From what I can already tell – they are an incredible organisation who makes a real difference to community members from refugee backgrounds and I can’t wait to get involved.

📚 Uni Final Project (DIGC335)

It’s not often that you get to say you’re super proud of a uni assignment, but this semester I am! I just uploaded my mini talk show, chat, investigation (thing – whatever we want to call it) onto YouTube. I’ve just about finished my website as well. It’s titled The Secret Life of Travel Vloggers and I uncover some of the misconceptions about what it means to be a travel vlogger and some of the behind the scenes stuff that goes on. So I’d really appreciate it if you checked it out and let me know what you think.

You can find my website here

💪 Rock Climbing

So I thought I’d try something new this month, and I’ve tried out rock climbing with my awesome friend Dylan (you may remember him from last months post). So I’m definitely not at the stage where I’ve taken photos yet – in fact, I’ve only been several times and I consider getting to the top the biggest achievement of my week, but it’s sooooo awesome and I already feel stronger! It’s such a great activity and it’s something I want to do more frequently once I’m back from Mexico. So until I get a picture of me doing it, here’s some rock climbing inspo.

0be5a2c09adf704023d911a19d7d894c.jpg

📚 Books

The Martian, by Andy Weir. Ok so I haven’t actually finished it yet (uh I know… LAME!). But I had to include it in my favourite things because this is SUCH A GOOD BOOK! My little brother recommended it to me and I’m so glad he’s a book worm. It’s funny, entertaining and gets you thinking about the ultimate question of what it means to exist in this world. You know – real chill stuff.

The_Martian_2014.jpg

🎥 Flicks

Dear White People. This is an absolute must for all of us privileged white folk out here. Some call it controversial, others call it reality, but one things for certain, we need to educate ourselves about the injustices that affect people of colour every single day and show solidarity, speak up and make change.

🎶 Tunes

Lauv. AHHHHHHHH YES! So I low key fell in love with this band last year when I discovered their song ‘The Other.’ And they’ve finally released an EP (hopefully with an album to come).

Gang of Youths. Let’s be honest, there’s no reason why these guys shouldn’t be on this list. I’ve had this on repeat, plus been addicted to their old stuff as well. I just honestly can’t get enough of them.

Despacito. And thanks to Justin Beiber, I discovered this sexy as song and it makes me so excited to be in a latin country in a few weeks salsa dancing (hopefully with sexy men like this).

📷 Bloggers & Vloggers

Danielle Carolan. This girl is positivity galore! She’s so bright, bubbly, motivated and go getting I love it. She’s just finished school and I can’t believe someone so young is already making such a mark in the YouTube world. She’s recently started daily uploading (not exactly daily vlogging) but damn am I happy I finally have someone I can watch and follow every day!

ME. This month I wrote one of my favourite articles I’ve ever written. I wrote it for Twenty Something Humans and you can see the original here. Y’all know that I’m passionate about being a red head. And it was so much fun to put into words so many thoughts, feelings and experiences I’ve had over the past 22 years of my life.

img_1819

📝 Quote

When I saw this quote I smacked my friend on the shoulder and said… this is me! A wise guy once told me that I’m a Queen, and that Queen’s deserve to be treated with respect and kindness. However, Queen’s too treat others with the upmost respect, understanding and kindness. And I realise that it may sound a bit self centred… but I’m a freakin Queen! Oh yea – and plus the bit of savagery… you know, necessary.

a50cb5d278c488df013b17275dfdb568

So holy shit guys – next month is JUNE!!! And I’m finally off to Mexico! I cannot freakin wait! Make sure to subscribe to all of my socials, especially my YouTube channel for regular updates for all my stories from Central America! Woo

The Future Of Vlogging: NEISTAT QUITS THE VLOG

On November 19, iconic daily vlogger Casey Neistat announced the retirement of his vlog. At first I was in disbelief. I thought it was just another clickbait video, and after 2 minutes in, I’d realise he was joking and we’d all go back to our lives knowing that Casey was out there on his boosted board capturing his day for us to see. But after watching the death of his vlog (video below), questions began to surface that I’d been thinking about for a long time, but the biggest

What is the future of Daily Vlogging?

After attending Buffer Festival, I was inspired by vloggers and YouTubers that I’d seen on my screen most mornings of this year. ‘Inspired, motivated, living life to the fullest, experience, risk and dedication’ were all words you could associate with that weekend. And nothing will ever take away from how amazing that experience was.

But I couldn’t help but wonder… how sustainable is vlogging, in particular, daily vlogging? When do they get to put their cameras down? How do they relax? What’s unique? Has this story been told before? What’s the point? What’s the goal? What if everyone starts daily vlogging, will it ever be interesting?

All of these thoughts had been circulating through my mind for a few weeks. I’ve had lengthy discussions with a lot of my friends about vlogging and where the line is between the fragile relationship of work/life, public/private, content/creativity. And then Casey made his announcement… So this post is about my thoughts of the future of daily vlogging. These are some of my questions and concerns for the people , the vloggers, out idols, who capture their daily lives, edit and post it online for the world to see.

ben-brown
Ben Brown, one of my favourite vloggers, vlogging away. Source

Sustainability

As Casey states, ‘are you really going to be vlogging your life into your 40’s?’ He responds with a definite no. Not discrediting middle-aged vloggers, I think their voices are incredibly value. But how long are people going to keep it up? 5 years? 10 years? 30 years? As we’ve already seen from numerous vloggers, life changes and not always for the best. Relationships end and when you’ve got the entirety of that relationship documented, will they be able to deal with their life changes and be able to move on?

Daily vlogging is a full-time job, so when do they get a holiday? I know it’s a bit of a ridiculous question given that many travel vloggers are ALWAYS on holidays. But a holiday to me is disconnecting with your work life and responsibilities and enjoying time to yourself and with your friends or family.

Privacy

I know that if you willingly put your life online, then a lot of people might think you’re not entitled to privacy. But let’s be honest, whether you live your life through a camera and on social media or not, everyone values, loves and desires privacy. Those little intimate moments you share with someone you love, do they just need to accept that those intimate moments also include millions of subscribers?

vlogging-e1451432136969
Alfie vlogging away. Source

Creativity

The more vloggers I seem to watch, who are a part of the ‘vlogger elite,‘ the more I come to realise how similar they are. Many of them travel together, shoot with similar cameras, travel to similar places, use similar shots, music and edits… more or less, many vlogs are exactly the same! Just replace the person holding the camera with your favourite personality and you’ve got a new vlog.

The video below is a recent favourite of mine. He touches on how vlogging, particularly Casey, has inspired people to be creating, but not necessarily creative.

Solutions

So I don’t believe vlogging is dead. AT ALL. Vlogging is an extremely revolutionary medium and YouTube is a powerful platform, that should be respected and understood. YouTubers are influential and can encourage, inspire, educate, motivate and connect with people all across the globe. And I particularly think that travel vloggers have a very important responsibility of educating people of other cultures, countries and ways of life. So here are some possible outcomes and solutions for the future of daily vlogging.

Move from daily to weekly

I think that by moving from daily vlogging to weekly or at least every other day would improve the quality of the content, and the quality of the vloggers life. No more late nights up editing and filming every single day.

Diversifying voices

I know that YouTube is a platform that gives everyone a voice and that it’s definitely partially my fault for not looking hard enough… but I seem to be seeing the same type of personality daily vlogging. White, males from America, the UK or Australia. And whilst they create amazing content, I haven’t yet stumbled across daily vloggers from other parts of the world with a diversity. Women, people of colour, disabilities… I think I would be ten times more engaged if I was seeing the same type of content (travel) produced by these voices. On that note, if you have any recommendations for YouTubers with a unique and diverse voice – let me know!

Meaningful Content

I recently stumbled across JacksGap channel and I’m in absolute awe. They’re using their creative talent to produce quality content, with an important message (you can see the video below). I think this is where the future of vlogging and YouTube is going (well, at least the next phase). Short, quality videos that entwine a ‘vlogging’ style with traditional ‘documentary’ style. Just check out Ben Brown and Steve Booker’s collaboration with the BBC for their mini-series ‘Mission Selfie.’ 

Vlogging is not dead. Casey is going to go on to do bigger and better things. And I think eventually, other YouTubers will come to the same realisation and conclusion.