Go on a solo trip, thank me later

We all know that 2020 has been a pretty tumultuous year. Things have been moving so quickly yet painstakingly slow. Everyone and everything is uncertain, and the world has changed in ways we didn’t see coming. So when it came to taking a week off work, the only thing that could possibly be nearly as enticing as an overseas holiday, is the thought of spending a few nights, by myself.

Since my return and my attempt to remain in the hazy, daydream of a cloud I felt I was floating on, lots of people have asked me about my time away. The overwhelming majority of people were shook that I would book an airbnb to myself, quickly followed by, ‘wow that sounds serene.’ I’m here to tell you – it was serene and these are the reasons you should book a little getaway for yourself as soon as possible.

When was the last time you did nothing?

Seriously, think about it. When was the last time you didn’t have somewhere to be, someone to meet, some timeline or deadline? When you can do what you want, when you want. When was the last time you laid on a pool chair and gazed up at the clouds floating overhead? Where you watched how the light turned from orange to pink? When you felt the cool change wash over you body as the sun set? When was the last time you just let time pass? No podcasts, no music, no phone calls, no pressure?

Daring to be present

There’s a lot of talk about being present and gratitude. Which can often take the back seat when we are stressed at work and in life. Being truly present can be scary, especially if you’re on your own. Sitting with and facing all the thoughts and feelings that you had pushed away, or weren’t quite ready to confront. It’s emotional, it take courage and it’s truly transformative.

What kind of cult did I sign up to where I thought that work was the be all and end all of everything?

Life is more important than work

What kind of cult did I sign up to where I thought that work was the be all and end all of everything? Having worked from home since March, there’s been a blurring of professional and personal life. Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful for my job, for the people I work with and the fact that I’m able to work from home. But in 2020, work has become stressful, tiring, exhausting and taken over (it’s literally taken over my dining room). Why is the thought of turning on ‘out of office’ emails for a few days so radical?

By stepping away and taking a deep breath, I’ve realised the crazy idea that life is fucking important. Put yourself first. In 10 years time will your boss remember the time you stayed back an extra hour? Unlikely. Get your work done, work hard, make yourself proud, then log the fuck off and get outside to enjoy your life.

If you need a day off, take it. If you need to take an extra long lunch, do it. Work-life balance is supposed to be give and take, but work is greedy. Take time back for yourself.

Do what’s important to you

The best thing about a solo trip away, is that you don’t need to think about what anyone else wants to do. No compromising on whether you want Italian or Japanese, no having to wait around or rush along, no having to consider anyone but yourself. In life we’re always juggling what we want along with what other people want. What makes other people happy. Well forget about it darling, this trip is all about you and making yourself happy. Want to sleep in til 10am and get a bacon and egg roll for brekky? Do it! Want to go for a 10km walk? Do it! The moral of the story is that you get to do whatever you want to do. You’ll be surprised at how foreign and good it feels.

Let your mind run wild

I realised that I didn’t speak to anyone except the person I ordered coffee from, for 3 days. How did I fill the time you ask? How did I not go crazy? I let my mind run wild. I felt like a kid again, someone who was coming up with crazy, big ideas, who was looking at things with a fresh perspective, someone who was curious and driven. In everyday life, we’re so bound by time, deadlines an commitments… suddenly having none of those meant that my mind could explore thoughts and ideas I hadn’t had the chance. And not just explore but actually change the way in which I fundamentally think about things (like why do I try so hard for everyone to like me?).

The most important thing…

Now that I’ve convinced you that you need to book a solo trip away, let me just say this. Look after yourself. Stay safe and prioritise yourself. It’s not often we’re given permission to do so, but sometimes you just have to give yourself permission to take deep, true care of yourself. 3 nights away was perfect, I think if I spent an additional 3 nights away, I would have got even more clarity from my past and directing me in the right direction for the future.

Do yourself a favour, book a solo trip. You’re welcome.

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: NOVEMBER 2017

Oh damn time is flying by too quickly! The other day I found a white hair on my head (red heads go white not grey just FYI), and I’m sure before I know it, it’ll be 2018. It’s already a week into December and I haven’t even published this post! Many apologies, life has been pretty hectic as you’re about to see. So without further ado, my fave things from November!

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✈️ 🇹🇭 Travelling around Thailand with my sister

How else do you celebrate finishing your undergrad than by galavanting off to Thailand with your best friend? That’s exactly what my sister and I did. We did a 9 day G Adventures tour (which you can check out here), which took us around stunning Southern Thailand. We ate, drank, swam and ate some more. It’s the first time I’ve properly explored an Asian country and I was definitely impressed. Bangkok was insane and the countryside was beautiful! It’s definitely somewhere I’d love to go back and it really was the perfect way to celebrate finishing my degree.

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🎉 One Day Sundays

For those of you who don’t know, One Day Sunday’s is originally a Sydney mini festival with rnb/dance music. This weekend they brought it to Wollongong so naturally, my friends and I got down and funky.

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I love you Tishia! Even when you’re hungover (I promise to stop feeding you alcohol when we go out).

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🎶 Tunes

Louane. Louane is a French artist and regardless of whether you speak the language or not, everyone can appreciate her soul, energy and talent. This song particularly is super sweet and lovely and I’ve had it on repeat lately. For those of you who do speak French, I find that listening to music is a fantastic way to practice your vocab and embrace everything French!

Tiny Little Houses. If you’re after some grunge garage rock, these guys are for you. Really loving their stuff at the moment and I can’t wait to hear more.

 📗Books

I think that possibly the best thing about finishing uni is all the spare time I have to read! And this month I’ve read some fantastic books that have really made me fall back in love with reading!

Adventures of a Young Naturalist – David Attenborough

Um hello it’s David Attenborough?! But seriously this book is amazing and suitable for anyone who finds him an absolute legend. It’s about his expeditions during the 50’s to Guyana, Indonesia and Paraguay. It’s absolutely fascinating and when you imagine him reading the words to you, it’s even better.

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Trafficked – Sophie Hayes

I literally read this book in 1 day. It is such a page turner for all of the wrong reasons as the story is absolutely horrific. It’s about a British girl who is trafficked into sex work in Italy. For anyone remotely interested in the topic it is a must. For everyone else, it is incredibly eye opening to this huge hidden problem that affects millions across the globe in modern slavery.

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The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

WHY HAVEN’T I BEEN TOLD TO READ THIS BEFORE?! This book is absolutely incredible! It’s almost like the female equivalent to 1984. Again, I really couldn’t put this book down. It’s intelligent and incredibly relevant. Now I have to binge watch the TV show!

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For One More Day – Mitch Albom

Mitch Albom is one of my favourite authors (my fave book every is Tuesday’s With Morrie). I read this in 2 days so it’s an easy read, but a really enjoyable one. It’s focused around family and relationships and I feel I really got something out of this book. Extremely lovely!

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🎥 Flicks

Ali’s Wedding

A 2017 Australian film about love, friendship, faith and family, this film really does have it all. It offers a unique and much needed voice from Muslim Australian’s living in a tense yet multicultural Australia. It’s really enjoyable and I absolutely loved it.

📷 Bloggers and Vloggers

Danielle Carolan

This girl has been slaying lately! I admire her so much! She’s so young, talented and successful. She’s been smashing out videos and her beautiful personality really shines and is incredibly inspirational. Love her work!

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📝 Quote

This month I feel that I’ve really been trying to embrace myself completely. Sometimes I can be weird, crazy, sad, emotional, ecstatic and excited and I’m trying to learn to stop apologising for that. To be myself and be unapologetically myself.

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Wow what a month! December has already been hectic (like I said, we’re already a week in and I can’t believe what I’ve done already). Plus, there’s only a few weeks until Christmas and 2018! How flipping exciting! I hope the end of 2017 is fabulous for you!

❤️ Keep up with me on Instagram @aworldlyaddiction ❤️

WTF is Leadership?

Leadership. It’s this complex buzz word that’s thrown around in business meetings, job applications and by motivational speakers. But what does it really mean? Surely it’s more than some confusing words on a resume?

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Yes Mr. Trump, “leadership” is a real thing, and it’s a really freakin awesome and empowering thing. Being a leader or having leadership qualities isn’t a finished product or end result. I guess that’s what I used to think. Growing up, I’d draw inspiration from people I admired and wanted to be like. Looking at their success as a polished, final piece of art. Motivational speakers will always talk about their ‘journey’ their ‘failures’ and ‘setbacks.’ Sure, these mistakes are all part of the journey, but they’ll always finish with a classic one liner of ‘and you can do this too.’ And I’d be sitting there thinking… how?! Tell me how!

I think the concept of being a leader needs to change. Being a leader doesn’t inherently mean you’ve ‘made it.’ But instead it means your figuring it out and making it work for you. There’s no secret formula, no ‘how to’, no road map… the best place to begin is way out of your comfort zone, without a road map.

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One thing I’m extremely passionate about is travel. Not only is it incredible to see the sites of the world, but I get such a buzz out of meeting new people from all walks of life with all kinds of incredibly unique experiences. I love trying new food, wandering new streets, learning new languages, listening to stories and relishing in history. I’m extremely lucky to have been able to travel quite extensively around the world. France, England, Poland, China, Italy, Germany, Spain, Iceland, Canada and America to name a few. But the place that challenged me the most was my recent trip to Mexico (you can read more about my trip to Mexico here).

It was the first time I’d ever been somewhere with such poverty and inequality. Mexico has the highs of the highs and the lowest of lows, which in itself is such a hard task being somewhere with such contrast and flavour. I was there studying immigration and had the incredible experience of meeting refugees, asylum seekers and migrants from all over Central America. Listening to their stories was incredibly heart breaking. But instead of feeling pity for these people, I felt motivated. I had just formed a genuine connection with these people who opened up and shared with me some of the hardest struggles of their life. I was so inspired by what they had overcome, the immense strength they possessed and beautiful way they looked at life.

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These people are in no way close to the standard definition of successful, or the definition of a leader. And I’m sure they wouldn’t accept that title anyway. But that’s who true leaders are. They are people who are humble, determined, driven, considerate, thoughtful, have integrity, humility and courage. True leaders inspire others to self reflect and challenge them to make life better. After my encounter with these people, I’ve never felt more out of my comfort zone, lost and confused but I’ve also never felt more motivated to make a difference and pursue my goals and dreams.

To me, leadership means being unapologetically yourself. Possessing self confidence, backing yourself and being your own biggest fan. How can you expect others to believe in you if you don’t? Leadership means networking and teamwork. No great leader ever made it to where they were without the epic behind the scenes work of their network of people that believed in them and helped them out along the way. It means taking risks and learning from your mistakes when those risks don’t turn out. To me, leadership is about taking control of your life, what you want to get out of it and making a positive difference.

You shouldn’t aim to be a leader. Just aim to be yourself. You never know who you’ll inspire along the way.

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Travel Regrets Part 2 (Because The Regrets Keep On Comin’)

On any given day, you will find yourself scrolling through Instagram, and judging the photos of your friends galavanting around Europe on a Summer extravaganza, whilst you stuff your face with Doritos under the covers of the pillow fort that used to be your bed. You’ll see them with their ripped, tanned abs, low cut bikinis, coloured doors, stray cats and sailing boats that they’ve called home for the past week and what have you been doing? Watching Friends re-runs, that’s what.

In July this year I was lucky enough to leave the comfort of my pillow fort and travel around Central America for a month; Guatemala, Belize and Mexico. To the untrained eye, I too was living the dream (not going to lie it was pretty damn awesome). But little did those people at home in their pillow forts know that my trip was filled with regrets, mistakes, sickness and an overwhelming longing to curl up into the fetal position.

I wrote an article about my travel regrets a few months ago, and at that stage I didn’t think there was much more to regret or fuck up. How wrong I was because here, dear friends, is part two…

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Bringing a suitcase

 Who the fuck brings a suitcase on a G Adventures ‘YOLO’ style adventure tour? I was the only one in my group who had a suitcase and each time I had to push it up ridiculously steep hills, through mud, across cobblestone streets, up stairs, on boats and buses… I was constantly reminded of my naïve choice. What was I thinking?

Booking the cheapest flight (despite the layovers)

 In the moment you think “sure, I can wait in Mexico City airport for 9 hours before catching my connecting flight to Guatemala City,” but when that 9 hours is from 1am…things start feeling a little bleak. I might have saved myself a whole $50, but I paid for it in breakfast, lunch and my sanity.

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Not bringing a rain jacket

 Listen to what your grandma says…. ‘take a rain coat.’ I dismissed this advice thinking only of all the sunshine and warmth I was about to immerse myself in. Ah, Central America in Summer! No! Do your fucking research and you’ll realise it’s their rainy season and that Mexico City has an altitude of 2500m in the fucking mountains where it fucking rains all the fucking time! If you couldn’t tell, this was a rather sore spot for me after confidently rejecting the thought to take a rain coat.

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Hooking up with a Guatemalan guy named Alejandro

Actually, is that a regret? Hell no, we salsa danced all night, went to a rave, made out and danced until morning! Oh, I remember… it was the hangover the next day that was the regret, not Alejandro. I mean really? His name was Alejandro!!!

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Not reading my briefing instructions properly

When I was in Mexico I was studying at a Catholic university, and in the brief (which I only skim-read) it specifically states that you can’t wear thongs or singlets to uni. As an Aussie girl abroad, that was basically the entirety of my suitcase (for someone that’s travelled a lot, I really fucked up on this whole weather/climate thing). So off I went to buy some respectable length skirts and modest shirts that covered my scandalous shoulders.

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Not having a polaroid camera

 This one’s a bit of a meaningful regret. When reflecting on my time abroad I wish I could have made a more meaningful contribution to the lives of some people I met; two specific times in particular:

1- When we did a homestay with a traditional Mayan family in Guatemala. They lived a very simple life, roosters for alarm clocks, no TV, cooking over a fire, no hot water or internet, with only several photos on their family room wall. I wish I could’ve been able to whip out a polaroid camera and take a family photo for them for their wall.

2 – During my course in Mexico City, we often met with refugees. For their protection, we could not take digital photos. However, I wish I could’ve had a polaroid camera to take photos of the kids and give it to their mothers and fathers as keepsakes.

The idea of taking photos is so skewed for us living in developed, technology saturated countries. It’s a touch of a button on our phones and we share it to the world online. For people who don’t have this privilege, photos are all they have of their family. They can put it in their pocket and hold onto it forever. It means so much more than a piece of paper. It means they’re able to capture, remember and bring their loved ones with them on their journey.

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Eating those street tacos

OK I don’t think it was the street tacos, but something I ate over there made me sick. Very sick. Let’s just say the next two weeks whatever I put in my mouth, did not come out of my body in a nice way. You can read my shameful tell all here.

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Picking up hitchhikers

No not people… parasites! After my rather shitty experience with getting sick in Mexico, I came back to Australia still experiencing horrendous cramps. After a rather confronting experience of having to poo in a cup, it’s confirmed that I have two little parasite friends living in my stomach. Rest assured, I’m on some pretty serious pro-biotics, but in the meantime I named my new friends Pablo and Renee. Lucky me!

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Dying on a public bus in Belize

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Luisa couldn’t quite make it to paradise

Don’t believe those beautifully crafted Instagram photos and witty captions, everyone has travel regrets, mistakes, fuck ups and maybe some parasites too. I just wanted to put mine on the internet to get down and real when talking about the joy of travelling. Oh and I guess I just wanted to brag about my hook up with Alejandro. No shame, he was hot.

[This article was originally written for TWENTY SOMETHING HUMANS]

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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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When Your Mum Reads Your X Rated Stories

My Mum rang me the other day. She’s usually the one who calls me, because I’m a horrible daughter and always forget to call home. I was filling her in on all my updates, telling her all about uni, work, my housemates, assuring her I’d been eating vegetables, and telling her about our quiet drinks on Monday night. I rather intentionally left out the part that I didn’t get home until 2am on Monday night being drunk af because saying you’re going for quiet drinks never stays quiet. So we were chatting away until she pauses awkwardly, and I could almost see her looking down the phone at me giving me that look. To avoid any more uncomfortable pauses, I ask what’s up. She very hesitantly brought up my blog and the writing I do for Twenty Something Humans.

“Do you have to swear so much?” she says. Oh dear, here we go, my mother has finally read my filthy words and knows I’m no longer perfect. I tried to explain that I only occasionally swear in my writing when it’s appropriate and when it’s #relatable. But it seems that wasn’t all she was concerned about. I recently wrote an article about First Loves and mentioned something along the lines of that special moment when you finally give your first blow job…. Well let’s just say I didn’t have my mother as my intended audience for that piece. And to make it even more interesting and awkward (just another day in the life of me), she mentioned how my Grand Parents have been reading it and are a little ‘confused’ with my changing writing style. Oh god, my poor Grandma holding her iPad, zooming into my blog to see the word in size 72 font “BLOWJOB.” (sorry Grandma)

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This got me thinking about the two sides to me. The side that wants to keep it professional and clean, write about world issues, gender inequality, poverty, trade deals, politics and education, whilst enjoying a nice glass of white wine. I’m passionate about all of these issues and do write about them frequently on my blog. However, there’s another side of me that wants to cover myself in tattoos and write about sex, blowjobs, awkward tinder dates, hook-ups and threesomes, whilst drinking the whole botte of white wine. And I’m equally as passionate and interested in these more ‘tabboo’ topics – especially the whole bottle of wine thing. Blowjobs deserve to be written about too. To leave this important topic out of my writing repertoire would be an enormous injustice. Whilst I’m open and comfortable talking about my writing to my friends, my family on the other hand is a different story. And I’m not sure how I’d feel about a potential employer reading these things either. OMGSTARTSPANICKINGABOUTFUTURE…..

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But then Mum’s wisdom kicked in. She told me that I guess I can be the girl who not only writes about trade and politics, but also tinder dates and sex. That I can’t ignore what I’m passionate about and that people will really be able to connect and relate to my content because it’s true and it’s from me.  She may not love it, but she accepts that it’s a part of who I am and that’s nothing to be ashamed of or hide. But instead of having a NSFW (Not Safe For Work) warning, perhaps I should introduce a NSFM (Not Safe For Mum’s) Warning, to give all the Mum’s out there a heads up that they’re about to read something about their daughter that they may not exactly want to know.

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Whatever your thing is, just embrace it. If you hold back, edit and censor yourself to please other people, you’re going to end up extremely unsatisfied with yourself. Ain’t no one got time for that when we’ve gotta get out there and change the world with our posts on gender inequality and what type of vibrator is best for you!

Travel Regrets

For most twenty something humans who took a GAP Year and did a month long Contiki tour, you’ll know a think or two about #NOREGRETS. And yet, anyone who’s done a Contiki knows that there’s actually #manyregrets. And take it from me, someone’s who’s travelled and made #manyregrets then listen up, and be prepared for the mistakes to avoid and the regrets that will inevitably occur on your ultimate, scandalous, adventurous and crazy trip abroad.

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Pulling all nighters to save a night on accommodation

For some delusional reason, when you’re travelling and broke af,  you tend to do crazy things to save money. One of them is making the decision to save a nights accommodation by catching an overnight bus or train. In theory, yes it works. But in practice, it leaves you angry, tired, hungry and questioning your own sanity. It took a while for me to learn. The first time I did this was catching an overnight bus from London to Paris. Whilst it was the cheapest option and I’d definitely recommend it, DO NOT DO IT OVERNIGHT. Between customs, border patrol, the ferry, the cold, and the cramped seats on the bus, you will not arrive in Paris fresh, excited and ready for the day, despite what the movies say.

Thinking you can ‘do Paris’ in 2 days

First of all, Paris is not that greasy one night stand that you ‘do’ on a quiet Thursday night bootycall. Paris is an elegant date that needs to be wined and dined. She’s a classy lady and knows that all good things come to those who wait. It deeply pains me to hear that people completely write off a place after only spending a few days there. Instantly jumping to the classic ‘it’s dirty, there’s so many homeless people, I didn’t get proposed to’ bullshit that shatters their unrealistic dreams of a place like Paris. They spend 1 woeful day there and then they’re off to the next. Paris, and the great cities of the world were not created for you to ‘do’ and tick off you list. To really grasp and experience a city, you’ve got to spend a minimum of 5 days. And who knows what changing the pace will lead to, but I promise it will be more genuine and special.

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Pulling an all nighter then catching a train across the country

11 hour train journey’s are hard enough as it is. Do not, I repeat… DO NOT go out all night in San Sebastian, return home at 6am then catch your train at 6:30 to Barcelona on the other side of the country. If you look up the definition of pathetic, you would’ve seen my hungover face on that page. Never before have I felt closer to death. Every hour I had to run to the bathroom to throw up, sip on water, and tried to sleep. I completely missed all of the (apparently) beautiful scenery and I arrived in Barcelona just wanting to die.

Thinking you can save money on accommodation and fit 6 people into a 2 person room

OK smarty pants, you think you’ve fooled the system? You think you’re a genius because you squeezed an extra 4 people into your small double room? You may be saving money, but you sir, are an idiot! It may be fine for 1 night, but eventually you need to ask hotel staff for extra towels, pillows, blankets. You try to rotate sleeping positions and always wake up with someone snoring in your ear and another spooning you with sweat. In case you haven’t already gathered, getting a good night’s sleep is just as about important as that learning tower is to Pisa, so make sure you respect it.

Every Hangover Ever

It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, hangovers are the devil having a party in your poisoned stomach. But whilst you’re travelling, your always on the go, with early mornings, late nights, being overwhelmed by history, culture, food and adventure… so when that 12th tequila shot hits, it’s taking you down with it. And trying to recover on a bus… well, just make sure you have a paper bag at the ready.

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Thinking that German guy at the bar could be the one

Now I’m all for being a hopeless romantic, but let’s be honest, that mysterious German guy at the bar buying you drinks has no intention of becoming your boy boy. Sure you’ll flirt, get drunk, have sex, exchange numbers…. and then you’ll never see each other again. Who knows, maybe one sexy German guy at the bar really is the one, (and for your sake, that would be cute as hell). But don’t fool yourself into thinking that most travellers at the bar are looking for anything else but a one night stand.

Not being able to read the ATM language and accidentally withdrawing $2000 instead of $20

When you’re abroad, it’s important to have access your money. How else are you going to buy all that super cheap vodka in Hungary? However, ATM’s overseas aren’t always the same as the ones here in Australia. You know when you go to buy some sushi and they only accept cash so you run to the ATM, hurriedly take out $20 without even looking because you know where the $20 button is and you need to satisfy that sushi craving asap? DO NOT TRY OVERSEAS WHERE YOU DON’T SPEAK THE LANGUAGE. I will never forget the time in Hungary when my friend thought he was getting out $20 Australian, and instead withdrew nearly $2000! And to make it even worse… it was in Hungarian Forint which is super weak and hard to exchange. Make sure you pick an ATM that has an English option, along with a currency exchange app to make sure you don’t make the worst mistake of withdrawing your hard earned savings.

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OK so maybe they’re not regrets. They’re more like mistakes and complete fuck ups that I kinda wish I avoided but at least now I have an awesome story to tell. And that’s what travelling gives you. The good, the bad and the freakin ugly. No matter how many #regrets you have, at least you’ll have some killer stories.

[You can check out this post on a site that knows all about regrets at Twenty Something Humans]

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Post Travel Depression: It’s Real and It SUCKS


They say the hardest thing about travelling is coming back home…

It’s been exactly 1 month since leaving Montreal – how the hell has that happened? If you speak to Time, please tell him he’s working a bit too quickly lately, because damn has time absolutely escaped me. I guess travelling around the States for 2 weeks helped (if you missed it you can check out my videos from America here). Upon being back in Australia I’ve been equally busy. Seeing friends, family, getting back to work, finding a house, and finally sleeping in my own bed (luxury!), I’ve been busy enough to distract me from the void in my stomach. But now that routine is finally starting to kick in, I’m slowly but surely hitting that inevitable wall of post travel depression.

Post Travel Depression, I argue, is a real and genuine thing that overcomes you a few weeks after returning from overseas. And the worst thing is, that you’re never really prepared for it. No matter if you’re a seasoned traveller or a first timer, I promise that it will still hit you as hard every time. You come back from your holiday (or in my case, exchange) and you’re like a minor celebrity. You walk around, see everyone you know, everyone’s asking about your trip, your pictures, if you met any cute boys… and you’re ecstatic.

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Did That Really Happen?

But then a week passes by, you start working again, then another week passes by, and you’re hanging out at your old bar, then a few more days pass by and it’s honestly like you’ve never left. Everything you’ve experienced, just feels like a dream. But how could it be a dream? It was one of the best experiences of your life! And slowly but surely, you slip right back into your old life, and you start sinking.

Change

I think the worst part is when you feel that you’ve changed, grown and had your mind and eyes well and truly blown. You’ve basically created a new version of you whilst on your travels, but the people you know and love back home, can’t see it. Sure they may notice little things, that you’ve put on some weight from all those baguettes, or picked up a weird accent, but at the end of the day, they’ll never truly understand. And that contributes towards the ‘dreamlike’ feeling of your experience, it kind of leaves you questioning if it really happened, and you feel yourself loosing a part of person you created overseas. And that feeling…. it’s incredibly horrible.

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Missing Out

It’s even worse when some sort of major event or occasion happens where you were living or travelling, and you get an overwhelming feeling of missing out. For example, not long after I left Montreal, there was a festival called IglooFest. And if the name itself isn’t enough to sell you, all of my friends went. OK, so that wasn’t the end of the world, missing an awesome festival. But what really hit me in the feels, was when it was my best friends 22nd birthday. You see snapchats, Instagrams, Facebook posts and you just know, deep in your heart, that everyone is having an amazing time, and that you’re really missing out on something special.

And I guess that’s something that we just have to come to accept and deal with. You can’t be everywhere at the same time (unless we make MAJOR advancements in technology asap). And we can’t always do everything we want to do. Reality strikes, your visas up, your exchange is over, your return flight is booked and you’ve got things to do. This doesn’t mean you have to be boring, but it does mean that physical barriers exist and at the end of the day, if you can’t be there in person, I’m sure you’re there in spirit (drinking all the spirits at the party whilst killing it at beer pong).

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Expression and Communication

The best way to deal with these feelings, is to get it out there. Society almost expects people who return from travel, to always be happy and rejuvenated. But by talking about how you’re feeling, and spreading the word of the honestly shit feelings you experience when returning, then you’ll get a lot more support, love and kindness.

And keep in contact with your friends you’ve met overseas. Give them a random FaceTime, send them a card, Snapchat them your day, write them a message and tell them that you’re having a rough time and that you miss them. I assure you that your friends will be missing you too. The most important thing to remember is that the friends you meet whilst on exchange or travelling aren’t just going to disappear. In fact, I think you’ll cross paths sooner than you expect.

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Your Next Adventure

Whilst everyone will experience this post travel depression differently and adjust at different rates and in different ways, I promise you, you’ll get through it. Soon enough you’ll be planning your next trip and starting your next adventure. The most important thing to remember is that travel and adventure is not just an action, it’s a mindset. So keep positive, live with purpose and accept and respect your feelings. You’ve gotta look after yourself, so that you can adjust to life back home, whilst planning your next adventure so you can do it all again.

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Did I Achieve My New Years Resolutions for 2016?

For anyone that knows me, I love making lists, writing my goals down and using it as inspiration to work towards achieving them. That’s why I always make New Years Resolutions and set myself goals for the year. And as 2016 sadly comes to an end, and I start trying to make sense of and work out the complications I’ve already got of 2017, it’s led me to wonder what’s in store for me. But I don’t just believe in letting fate happen. I believe in encountering fate, then telling it exactly what you want to do so you can achieve your goals. So, here were my goals and my New Years Resolutions for 2016 and my thoughts and reactions on some of the challenges I set myself.

You can see my original post of 16 Things I Want To Achieve in 2016 HERE

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1. Watch less TV shows, read more books

I’d say this one is somewhat accomplished. I don’t think I necessarily stopped watching TV shows. I just found more time to read and instead of watching TV shows, I made the transition to the wide world of YouTube.

2. Limit my coffee spending.

DID NOT HAPPEN AT ALL… maybe I need to buy a coffee machine?

3. Buy my lunch a max of once a week.

ALSO DID NO HAPPEN! In Australia I was good.

And this is probably the point where I should address that this year was split into two parts… Australia and exchange life. Obviously exchange life isn’t ‘reality’ where I have a job and responsibilities so it therefore impacted my ability to achieve these goals. None the less… I ended up buying food out a lot… oops.

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4. Be a vegetarian. 

I did this in Australia. I quickly discovered that when travelling and staying with friends and family overseas, it’s very difficult to maintain this diet. So I just decided that whilst travelling, I’d ditch the veggo diet. However, the only time I eat meat is when I eat out. I eat vegetarian at home and buy tofu as a source of protein over meat.

5. Ride my bike more often.

Yes in Australia. Yes in France. No in Canada. Sadly I didn’t have access to a bike in Montreal… and to be honest, I think I’d be a bit scared to ride my bike around the streets of Montreal. Drivers here are kinda mental. But I’m soooo looking forward to going home so I can ride my beautiful bike absolutely everywhere.

6. Maintain and improve my French.

Oui, absolutement. After a month of intensive French study in La Rochelle, and 6 months in Quebec, I think I’ve managed to improve my French skills.

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7. TRAVEL! 

This one was kind of cheating because I knew I’d be doing a lot of this on exchange. I’ve been lucky enough to travel around France, Spain, Iceland, Canada (Montreal, Quebec, Toronto, Kingston, Niagara Falls) and the US (DC, Boston, New York – and soon to be California) and I’m so freakin grateful and happy that I had the opportunity to do so much travel during this time.

8. Volunteer.

I did volunteer at the beginning of this year but as soon as I started travelling and moved to Montreal that totally died off. Definitely something that I want to get involved with in 2017.

9. You can’t play hard until you’ve worked harder.

This was all about doing well at uni and I think I managed to do this in Australia and in Montreal. With 2 Distinctions and a HD at UOW for Autumn, and getting the top mark in my mid term for one of my classes at Concordia. I think I’ve deserved those beers.

10. Try something new

I experienced lots of new things, but I don’t think I really tried something new. I guess my intention with this goal was to really put myself out there and try a pole dancing class, learn to play a song on piano, a skill or something just completely out of the ordinary. I did try a lot of new things, but I’m all about pushing myself so I’m going to leave this unachieved and I’ll definitely be carrying this with me into the new year.

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11. Say Yes!

Absolutely smashed this one. There’d be nights where I’d be in bed, winding down for the evening, and then suddenly get a message from a friend inviting me out. It’s really easy to make excuses. In fact I think I realised just how hesitant I can be to making plans. Exchange definitely encouraged me to put myself out there and say yes to opportunities and I’m so grateful for that experience.

12. Be thankful, and show it.

One of the biggest things I learnt this year was just how privileged I am and I never want to take this privilege for granted. I want people to know how much I appreciate their friendship, their kindness and love. Actually, I don’t want them to know it, I want them to feel it. That I’m completely grateful for everything that has happened this year and nothing has passed by unnoticed.

13. Couchsurf.

Maybe next year.

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14. Eat. Sleep. Blog. Repeat. 

Mmmm kind of. Whilst I may not have been blogging as much as I would have liked, I launched my YouTube channel and have been making videos every week. I’ve also written content for Twenty Something Humans and Thought Catalog which has been an incredible experience and something I definitely want to continue into the future.

15. Stop comparing myself/Stop with the negative thoughts.

Everyone has insecurities and has periods where they feel down about themselves. This is something that I’ve wanted to combat this year because being negative is not productive or helpful to anyone, in any situation. So I’ve really been focusing on loving myself and owning my flaws. This has pushed me in a really positive direction and I feel that I’ve grown so much as a person because of it. YAY progress!

16. Own It!

Hells yea I ‘owned it.’ I feel that this carries on from my last point, to love myself, accept myself with my flaws and strengths. I’m really proud of everything that I’ve achieve this year. From improving my French, moving to Canada and putting myself out there to make such amazing friendships and connections with incredible people! I feel like I’ve been able to re-evaluate my values, goals and ambitions to work towards what I really want to achieve and who I want to be in life.

So… do New Years Resolutions work? I achieved 9 of 16 goals so yep – I think that counts as mission accomplished! I’m already thinking about things I want to achieve next year so stay tuned for more!

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How To Survive Christmas Away From Home

So you’ve got an epic trip planned for the summer break. Firstly, WOOO! You’re going to be travelling, adventuring, meeting new people and learning about this big and beautiful world. Unless you’re on a Contiki trip, in which case you’ll be binge drinking your way around Europe. Good luck! Secondly, you’re going to be travelling or binge drinking on Christmas! WOOO-WAIT-WHAT?! And being a twenty something human, you realise that you’re not quite prepared to spend Christmas away from your family, friends and home. You’re in that awkward phase of being independent and wanting to create your own new traditions, experiences and badass memories. But at the same time you also want your Mum to cook you food, do your laundry and watch The Grinch with your little cousins whilst digesting your food baby.

Well luckily for you, this year will be my second Christmas overseas, so I think I know a thing or two about surviving that jolly time of year where it’s apparently socially acceptable to wear candy cane earrings and play Christmas carols for the entire month of December.

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Make Plans

The first time I spent Christmas away from home was when I was 19 and living in London. My housemates and I cooked a huge feast and got ridiculously drunk. We bought a little Christmas tree and decorated it with tinsel and beer bottle caps, classy I know. I was lucky I got to spend that Christmas with such dear friends. But wherever it is you find yourself, whether it be a hostel, a hotel, a tent or a flight… make some epic plans. Do something wild, or crazy or out of the ordinary. Not only will it keep you busy and your mind occupied, but you’ll then remember that wild time you did a nudie run in Switzerland, made a giant snowman in Canada, or swam through a waterfall in Indonesia on Christmas, for the rest of your life.

Buy Alcohol… lots of alcohol

Ok, I’m not going to lie, alcohol definitely helped me through that Christmas in London. If you put a group of young Australians together, with no parental or adult supervision, you’ve got a recipe for a wild day and night. Honestly… alcohol… enough said.

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Plan a Secret Santa

Secret Santas aren’t just for middle aged ladies working at your local grocery store. Secret Santa is the cheapest and easiest way to recreate Santa’s visit to your house. You don’t even have to go through the stress of organizing who has who as a Secret Santa. Just plan for everyone to bring a gift, chuck it under your Christmas tree, and after a few drinks when someone rightfully puts on a Santa hat and beard, the gifts can be randomly distributed. Plus, you don’t have to put out milk and cookies for Santa. Those cookies have your name on it.

 Embrace local culture

Did you know that in San Francisco and New York City, they hold an event called ‘SantaCon’ where everyone dresses up as Santa Claus and takes to the streets to partake in an epic pub crawl? Or that in Ukraine they add spider webs to their Christmas trees? And did you know that in Japan, there’s lines out the doors for KFC on Christmas day? Yes… KFC! Christmas means different things to different people across the world, it may be a day to celebrate with friends and family, a day to eat, a day to rest or just another ordinary day. Wherever you are in the world, get amongst the local culture to celebrate Christmas the way the locals do!

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So Merry Christmas wherever you are in the world. If it’s filled with laughter, alcohol and inappropriate gifts, you’ve done Christmas right.