Transform your health and wellbeing: Will Grant from Ghetto Movement

[This article originally appeared on Twenty Something Humans]
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My alarm sounds at 6:00am. Fuck what day is it? What do I have on? Why am I up so early? It’s still dark outside as I head down to the café at North Wollongong beach to meet up with Will Grant, creator and owner of Ghetto Movement.

 

 

Blessed with a golden sunrise, we settled in for our interview. I ordered a long black and Will ordered a peppermint tea and a bacon hash-brown brekky burger. Yep, herbal tea and a burger, what a perfect way to sum up Will. He’s a newly-wed, a yogi and a business owner with a baby on the way, but his busy personal life doesn’t put a dampener on his ambitions, in fact, he’s hungry for more!

Will caught up with Twenty Something Humans to share his thoughts on health, philosophy, personal growth and working in pursuit of a balanced life, all the while chowing down on his brekky roll as we watched a beautiful sunrise over the ocean.

What were you like after high school and in your early 20s?

I was your stock standard 21-year-old. I loved footy, partying and drinking. I was a little bit chauvinistic to be honest; unfortunately that was the ‘cool’ way to be. From 18 onwards the footy boys and I had the ‘Ben Cousins’ mentality. I had insight into the world of an athlete who could drink, party and then go to a training session. That’s what a lot of us boys based ourselves on, it was so self destructive and eventually it will catch up on you. I guess you could say that my attitude towards wellbeing was pretty non-existent.

Adding to that, I was a tradie and that job really didn’t promote a healthy lifestyle either. We were emotionally, physically and mentally disconnected. There was a lot of mental pressure in that industry, trying to live up to that tough ‘blokey’ expectation while being hazed and picked on. It’s one way to get thick skin but it’s not the type of environment I thrive in.

  

How did you begin dabbling in yoga?

Between the ages of 21 and 25 I had three shoulder reconstructions. Adding to the tradie lifestyle and the ‘Ben Cousins mentality’. I really wasn’t healthy. It wasn’t until after my 3rd shoulder reconstruction in 2015 and meeting Emma (his now wife), that it all clicked and I realised I’m not invincible and that I didn’t want to keep up that unhealthy and destructive lifestyle.

When I walked into my first yoga class it was about 90% girls and it was incredibly intimidating. After I’d got the hang of it, I’d post my flows onto Instagram and one day I received a message from a mate’s Mum who asked if I would teach a yoga class. I thought, why not give it a go?

My first yoga class was an absolute disaster. I kept forgetting my words, I wasn’t too confident and was really embarrassed. I thought that was my yoga career over. Luckily, I had some really supportive people around me who encouraged me to jump back on the horse and my second class went pretty damn well. That’s when I started Ghetto. I started out teaching 2 or 3 classes a week and later this year we’ll start doing 30 classes a week!

 

How was it going into a class that was predominantly filled with females?

It was honestly quite intimidating. At first most of my mates would say things like ‘aw we know why you’re going to yoga!’ and chuckle along. But I promise I was really there for the yoga! I wanted to make sure that guys felt just as welcome in our classes as girls. That gender divide is something I’ve been really conscious of. In fact, we’re starting some jiu jitsu which is predominantly male dominated.  I wanted to flip it on its head and encourage women to get involved. Not only are women feeling stronger and more empowered from it, but it breaks down those barriers that often exist in the health and fitness industry.

Where did the name ‘Ghetto’ come from?

My mate had an old backyard gym that we used to call the ‘ghetto’ gym. Everything was 5th hand a bit rusty. When thinking about what I wanted my company to be, I wanted to be able to incorporate mobility and movement and we thought why not Ghetto? And it just kinda stuck despite some criticism.

When you’re starting out, people sometimes unintentionally give you the ‘best’ advice based on their mistakes, but you need to make your own mistakes, fuck things up and make the wrong decisions so that you’re equipped to make the right decisions later on in your career. It’s hard not to take things personally, but the quicker you realise that people want to see you succeed, the thicker your skin will grow and the more resilient you’ll become.

 

What inspired you to start a podcast? In case you weren’t busy enough.

I had been receiving acupuncture sessions from my friend. Before and after our sessions we’d have some great conversations! One day we were talking and wondered why people weren’t having these conversations every day. We thought let’s have these conversations and record them. The idea for the podcast is a modern take on philosophy. We wanted to share our thoughts and experiences and try to inspire others to have those conversations as well. So that’s how we began The Modern Monk! It’s another avenue for Ghetto, and myself, to grow and evolve.

 

How’ve you got to where you are today?

I really wouldn’t be where I am today without my wife Emma and my family. I really can’t even put it into words. So much of my time and energy goes into Ghetto and that’s an emotional investment. When you come home a bit tired and drained, you can’t always bring it. It’s made me realise the importance of the saying “you only get what you give”. Without Emma, I don’t think we’d be sitting here having this interview. We got married at sunrise at the start of the year and we’ve got a baby due in November. I’m really excited to see how a baby influences our life and adds to our relationship!

“Exhaust every opportunity to make it happen. Don’t half arse it, go all the way! Try and fail and try again…you never know.”

So you’ve got your peppermint tea and your bacon brekky burger, what advice do you have for balance?

I think people fail when they set themselves up to fail. You’re not always going to fit the idea of what people think you should be, but you have to stop and enjoy yourself. People think I’m vegan and I’ve tried it but my body didn’t respond well. I don’t believe in beating yourself up for certain life decisions. It’s important to have those quality times with your mates. I had a little espresso martini night last night and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I try to employ the 80/20 principle. 80% of the time I’m the Modern Monk, 20% of the time I’m 21-year-old Will and that’s OK.

I think it’s really important to have balance and I’m sure a baby will be a great challenge to this balancing game, but I don’t want to give up what I’m passionate about. I can’t see why my kid can’t be a part of this journey? I think that’s where we’d like to move Ghetto and I think there’s definitely a gap in that industry. I want to make Ghetto fun, healthy and enjoyable for the whole family.

What plans do you have for Ghetto moving forward?

Big plans! Last year we had our Ghetto retreat where a group of us went up the coast to unplug and connect with ourselves and like-minded people. We want to recreate this and make it bigger and better, hopefully sneaking in a little Bali retreat! At Ghetto HQ, we want it to be a one stop shop for all things health and wellbeing. We’ll be opening a little café, we’ll have some acupuncture and massage and our movement space. We’d love a huge community book shelf as well. So yeah, we’ve got some big plans!

Famous last words?

Exhaust every opportunity to make it happen. Don’t half arse it, go all the way! Try and fail and try again…you never know.

 

 

 

Images: www.ghettomovement.com and @ghettomovement.

Share House Survival Guide 

Are you really a millennial if you haven’t lived in a share house? Living in an overpriced, slightly run down, house/apartment/garage/box, with a few of your mates is a rite of passage. It’s the first time we taste freedom and test our limits after flying the nest. Most people will be able to tell you of rosy, lovely times they had back in their day in their shared house. But for every one of these people, there’s 10 others just waiting to tell you a horror story or go on a 20 minute rant about their share house experience.  

So to avoid this tension and bring a little peace back into our tumultuous lives, here is my survival guide to living in a share house.  

 Establish House Rules 

OK so you’re supposed to be adults now with all this new freedom. But little did you know that the bubble you’ve been living in (your family home), is a bubble and it is about to be burst. People live very different lifestyles with different expectations and realities of cleanliness, what can and can’t be shared, how loud you can listen to your music, when people need to pee and you’ve been in the bathroom for 40minutes. You want to get off on the right foot and taking an hour at the beginning of your lease to talk about these things will save you a lot of frustration, confusion and bursting bladders.  

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Have a joint account  

If you’re that sort of household that smokes a lot of weed, then a joint account is a good idea (haha get it) . And if you’re not, a joint account is still a good idea. It makes the complex adult world of ‘paying bills,’ much less stressful and much easier to handle. Transfer your rent plus a little extra every week to go towards bills, cleaning products and beer. A house that drinks and/or smokes together, stays together. 

The Facebook Chat is the DEVIL – try a real conversation 

You may be tempted to create a Facebook chat with a catchy, punny title dedicated to house updates. Whilst it’s a good idea for little things like yo we’re out of toilet paper,’ it is not the place for ‘ok so our gas got cut off and we have no hot water’ crisis’. No joke – our gas got cut off and it truly did test our friendship (and strength to have cold showers in winter). We all know that sarcasm and Facebook rarely works, so why would we think that talking about serious house issues in the group chat would be any different. Call a house meeting or give them a call and talk about it. Talking about any issues is the best way to resolve it.  

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Don’t be a tight ass, share your milk, bread, oil….  

Living in a share house implies sharing things. So don’t be that person who writes their name on the milk bottle… it’s just milk. Sharing is caring, plus there’s no point crying over shared milk.  

However… label your hummus. That shits precious. 

Sharing is caring, but sharing your hummus is for your soul mate.  

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The kitchen….. 

I wish I had the answer to keeping a kitchen tidy. I really wish I did. What I find most effective is if you pile up all their dirty dishes into a neat corner of the kitchen and clean around it. I think the communal kitchen is a global unsolvable problem.  Just like the chicken or the egg… whose dirty dish came first? (not mine).

Play music when having that special friend over 

Most share houses that us twenty something humans can afford are pretty shit (I call it character building). But that means that they have pretty thin walls. One of the perks of living in a share house is that you can bring whoever you want back to your place without sneaking around. But living in a share house is all about respect, so if you like to get your groove on, um, loudly… play some music.  

 

Living in a share house really is the epitome of being a twenty something human. As dirty, stressful, drunk or noisy it may be, your housemates become your family and your share house a home. Over the years you’ll live with good housemate, bad housemates, terrible housemates, and housemates that turn into your best friends. No matter what happens, at least you’ll get some good stories and character building out of it.  

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[This post was written for Twenty Something Humans]

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!

Why can’t you turn your life onto Aeroplane mode?

Your Facebook messenger is filled with notifications that you haven’t got around to replying to yet, your next three weekends are booked up with birthday, engagement and ‘any excuse’ parties, your alarm is going off persistently to remind you to get off your arse and go to the gym, you’re trying to secure a date, catch up on ‘Girlboss’ on Netflix, finish those assignments and get more than six hours of sleep, all whilst remembering that pasta and cheese is not an adequate diet….. HOLY SHIT! Apple, where’s the aeroplane mode for life?
Now I don’t consider myself to be overly popular; I know I ain’t Regina George. However for the past few months nearly every hour of every day has been completely planned out for me. I do enjoy being busy but I also enjoy not wearing pants, listening to 90’s music and just taking some serious me time. Not wearing pants is an essential part of life that, quite frankly, I’ve really been missing out on lately.

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When did we all get so busy? Trying to organise a simple lunch with a few friends turns into making a spreadsheet to find out everyone’s availabilities, only to find that you then can’t decide on a cafe because one of your friends is vegan, and you’re craving a double beef burrito. Even staying on top of all those Facebook messages becomes a tedious task (curse the handy yet exasperating advent of the ‘group chat’!) You think that you’re going to reply properly, with time and thought put into your response, only to wind up replying two weeks later with a shitty response like ‘hey sorry – was super busy! How’s life?‘ And if someone was to ask you ‘how’s life,‘ you’d probably roll your eyes at their attempt to make conversation and think to yourself ‘my life is too fucking hectic to deal with this small talk‘ but instead craft a tactful response of, ‘busy, but good thanks, how’s your cat?’

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 Part of me thinks that as young people trying to figure out this whole ‘adulting’ business, we have no idea what we’re doing. We look at our friends, colleagues and peers and immediately compare ourselves. We see them going to the gym, so we sign up to yoga classes. We see them learning how to use Excel, so we watch YouTube tutorials. We see them travel, so we open a savings account to book that ticket, only to remember that bills are due this week so there goes that idea.

 We’re constantly connected to others through our phones and when we get a life update from them it’s usually in the form of an Instagram post with a beautiful Valencia filter (the Valencia filter is bomb). It’s their little way of saying ‘omg my life is great and look at all the amazing things I’m doing,’ and even if we don’t realise it, we feel the pressure to do more and be more. What ever happened to just being who we are?

 So, can there be an aeroplane mode for life? To shut off that phone, turn off notifications, pick up that book, those pencils, and paints, get outside, get messy, get dirty, start a conversation, smile, eat and sing at the top of your lungs, make plans to not make plans and put your life on aeroplane mode, just for a weekend. Oh and absolutely take those bloody pants off as you tune out!

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I originally wrote this piece for TWENTY SOMETHING HUMANS. You can check it out here. 

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These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: APRIL 2017

OK Shit. My bad. We’re already a week into May and I’m only just getting around to writing this…. I would love to say I had some epic excuse as to why I haven’t got around to it, but tbh, I just didn’t get around to it. Priorities change and suddenly you find yourself a week into May with the embarrassment of not posting your fave things. I’m sorry I kept you guys hanging. HOWEVER – APRIL was a SICK month! I did lots of awesome and exciting things so I’m excited to dive right into it!

❤️ Friends

I know this is cliche, but this month I’ve spent some truly wonderful times with some truly spectacular people.

🎼 Getting to interview MAYA

Yep – my first real interview. I got to chat to the lovely, talented and girl boss MAYA about music, family, Andre 3000, near death experiences and being a ranga in Australia.

You can read it here. 

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🌟 Smashing Goals with Anna Johnson-Hill

Lucky me, I got to attend another awesome inspiring dinner party with the lovely Anna Johson-Hill. Not only did we get to have a lovely meal, but we extended on what we talked about in our last dinner party (you can check out what we did last time here). Plus I got to bring my beautiful friend Tishia. It was a very inspiring night, hearing about everyone’s goals, dreams and passions where we all encouraged each other to take that step to get to where we want to be! Make sure you click here to find out more info.

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🇦🇺 Sydney

Lucky me – this month I got to spend a lot of time in Sydney with friends and family. We went to Sydney for Mum’s birthday which we spent galavanting around the Rocks, going to performances and eating Indian food. I then went to Surry Hills with my friends Dylan, Tishia and Claire where we drank too many peach slushies and laughed until we cried. I topped it all off with a lunch date in Bondi beach with my fam to farewell my sister before she headed off to Vietnam to go and change lives. Sydney is such a beautiful place to be and it’s always great to be a tourist in your own backyard. 

🍻 Dylan

Dylan – if you’re reading this (which you better be). I freakin love you. For those of you who don’t know, Dylan and I have been friends since high school and we both moved down to Wollongong for study. He’s one of my best friends who I know is always there for me and I know he’s always there for me. You’re one of the kindest humans I know and I’m so lucky to have you in my life. Even if you’re hands are weirdly out of proportion. (I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much from laughing).

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📚 Books

Jungle – Yossi Ghinsberg. This is a must read book for anyone who loves travel and adventure. It’s based on a true story of a man (Yossi) who gets lost in the Bolivian jungle. It’s soon to be a movie starring Daniel Radcliffe, so make sure to get in ASAP to be that person who read the book before seeing the movie. I literally couldn’t put it down!

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🎥 Flicks

‘Girlboss’ it wouldn’t be a summary of my fave flicks without an honourable Netflix TV show. The name gives it away, it is boss af. I think I love it because she’s 23 (the age I’m turning this year) and I’m feel like I’m almost approaching a kind of mid life crisis! It’s about persistence, innovation, and just general struggles of being a millenial.

An Education’ is an uncomfortable, thought provoking drama that is a must see for any young woman. Set in London, 1960’s, it follows the story of a young schoolgirl who falls in love with a much older man. It resonated the importance of education and being an independent woman, which is what I’m all about.

‘Where To Invade Next’ is the perfect entertaining documentary for all of those culture and politics savvy nerds out there (like me). He travels around Europe stealing all of their great ideas whilst bagging the shit out of America, what’s not to love?

🎶 Tunes

The Football Club – Ivy. Damn this song has been absolutely smashed out on Triple J and every single time I never had my phone and couldn’t Shazam it. When I FINALLY discovered who sang it, I couldn’t stop listening. Definitely a contender for my Hottest 100 short list for next year!

Kendrick Lamar – DAMN. The king has finally released his new album and holy shit I’m in love. His music is so damn important and it fills me with emotion, love and anger. Honestly one of the most important albums of 2017.

📷 Bloggers & Vloggers

The Blonde Abroad. This girl has been inspiring me for a very long time, but lately her Instagram has been on freakin point. Her content is super practical and useful for people, especially young women, who are planning their epic holiday adventures. She also gives us some pretty serious travel envy.

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Robert Strok. I’ve only recently come across his content and holy shit – it’s spectacular. The cinematography is world class with beautiful editing and post production effects. I’m not the biggest fan of his personality (most vloggers I get hooked on because of their personality), but he seriously inspires and challenges my filming technique, and that’s why I’m a huge fan of his channel.

📝 Quote

“She believed she could so she did.” Ah this one has really been singing to me lately. It’s all about positive energy and positive vibes. About being proud and believing in yourself – because trust me, people aren’t going to do it for you. It’s about action, about being proactive, taking initiative and taking risks to get to where you want to be. And that’s what I’m all about.

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What a freakin crazy month! And we’re already a quarter of the way into May which is absolutely terrifying. This month I have an insane amount of assignments due, and really have to get my shit together for Mexico! But bring it on!!! Ain’t nothing going to stop me!

 

First Love

Your first kiss, your first blowjob, your first fart, your first contraception scare, your first awkward utterance of ‘I think I kinda maybe love you.’ Yep, your first love. Sweet, awkward and something that we always hold onto (and all those love letters that you keep scattered throughout your diary). Us twenty something humans cherish these beautiful memories to get us through the cynical and sometimes desperate times of our twenties. What is it about our first love that makes it so special? Surely it’s not just the fact that they’re your first, because I remember the I farted in front of my first love and there was nothing special about that.

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Is it the fact that we’re young, naive and innocent af when we fall in love for the first time? Time and experience hasn’t ruined how we view relationships and sex (yet). We truly believe the person we’re with is our Prince Charming or Emma Watson (let’s be honest, she’s basically a princess) who will never hurt us, never let us go and all that other fairytale shit. When we get older, we start to realise that romance, dating and sex isn’t so innocent. You get fucked over, fucked up, get hurt and move on. Maybe there’s just something beautiful about that nauseating innocence of your first love that makes you want to hold onto it.

OK so you’re finally over them. You’ve stopped checking their socials, you feel relaxed when you go to your old date spot,  life is going great and you’re  moving onto bigger and better things. Hallelujaaaah. And then you see them at a party, practically radiating a halo their ass and they’ve magically become everything you always wanted from them. Oh so now you’re wearing a button up shirt? Now you like that band I loved? Now you have a proper adult job? Oh now you love giving head?! Over the course of a few short months and years, they’ve got their shit together and flying high whilst you’re idea of success is being able to afford burritos two nights a week, pay your energy bill on time and keep your succulents alive.

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Or maybe our first loves are so special because it reminds us of every rom com ever. The Notebook, Dirty Dancing, The Little Mermaid and even the saddest of them all, My Girl. As a young hopeless romantic growing up in a media saturated society, we are immersed into the rom com world at a very young age. And we grow up thinking that Patrick Swayze will notice us across the room and ask us to dance, or that we’ll finally be ‘apart of his world’ and give up our voice to be with our Prince Charming. When we’re with our first love, our heads are in the cloud and we’re riding that love high. And when that love end, we crash back down to reality where a girl gotta look after herself and a boy gotta work on those Swayze moves.

Maybe we never really get over our first love. Maybe they will always have a piece of our hearts with their name branded across it. But without them, would we even believe in love? Would we even bother with the Tinder, Grindr and blind dates? Despite the heartbreak, mid life crisis’ and awkward sexual experiences we have with our first love, we need them to know that love does exist and it’s out there. It may have taken a twisted form, but it’s there, and that’s what we’re searching for at the end of it all. And if we can’t find it, then at least we’re happy with our burritos.

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*This post originally appeared on TWENTY SOMETHING HUMANS*

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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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