5 Reasons I’ve Started Keeping a Journal, Again

“[Journaling] is like whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time” – Mina Murray – Dracula 

Ever since I was in fourth grade, I’ve kept a journal. Now let me tell you, these fourth grade journal entries weren’t exactly sonnet worthy pieces of work. It usually went a little like ‘omg, my sister is soooooooo annoying,’that cool boy at school talked to me today!,‘ ‘my sister is my best friend,’ ‘ah, my sister is so weird.‘ (Sorry sis). On Christmas, I would always look forward to unwrapping a journal so I could welcome the new year with a fresh start. Keeping a journal is just something I’ve always done. At my parents house, I have a collection of about 10 old journals and that collection is one of my most prized possessions.

Last year though, I just stopped. It had been months since I’d written anything and I kept thinking, I’ll do it later, until I stopped writing altogether. I thought ‘ok, it’s just something I’ve grown out of’ and didnt’ think much of it. Then last month, as I was doing some shopping, I saw a journal at a store and thought about how much I used to love keeping a journal. There was no hesitation, I bought it and wrote in it that night.

I may not write in my journal every night, but I’ve started writing again, and it’s something I didn’t realise how much I’ve missed. I feel like we all need a little journal by our bed to write in. I’m sure the world would be a much better place if we did. So if you’re thinking about starting a journal or keep one yourself, here are my 5 reasons why I love keeping a journal and why I wish I never stopped.

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My journal for 2016. 

1. You can express your true feelings

One of my justifications for quitting my journal writing, was the fact that I planned on blogging more, and blogging more real experiences and emotions. And whilst I believe I’ve done this to some degree, there’s some things that you just don’t want the world to know. And no matter how close you are to your best friend and while you might tell them everything, sometimes it’s nice to have private thoughts that you keep to yourself. You can express your deepest anger or frustration, sadness or joy and the pages will soak it all up. It doesn’t have to make sense and it doesn’t have to be sophisticated. It just need to come from you.

2. There’s no judgement

A journal is a friend. There’s no evil eye staring back at you as you write. Like I said, its pages will listen politely to you. Sometimes it’s just nice to express how you truly feel about something and knowing that you’re not going to be criticized or judged for it. It gives us the freedom to be ourselves and explore ourselves a bit more, which is a pretty exciting thing.

3. Disconnect from technology

Think about it… how often do you write with a pen and paper? Personally, I work in an office and spend 9-5 at a computer. When I take notes for uni… I do it on my laptop. And when I write/blog… again, on my laptop. The only things I usually write with a pen and paper is a shopping list or a reminded note on my hand. It’s so relaxing and unwinding to sit down with a journal, a pen and your thoughts and just write for ten or fifteen minutes before you go to bed. There’s no notifications to distract you, or likes to evaluate your work. Just put some calming music on in the background and let your words carry you away.

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Some cute little tips I’m trying to adopt. Source

4. Reflection

Let’s be honest, in our busy lives, how often do we get to take 15 minutes to ourselves and really reflect on what we’ve been doing, how we’ve been feeling and how we can improve ourselves? I believe the answer might be along the lines of ‘what, you get time to yourself?’ I really value my ‘me’ time and writing in my journal is a way I talk to myself and listen to myself at the same time. It’s like the quote above ‘whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time.’  And I truly believe that by taking the time out to be alone with our thoughts, to take a moment to ourselves and reflect is a great way to move forward in a focused and re-energized way.

5. Future is looking bright

By writing down where we’ve been, naturally we’re prompted to write about where we’re going. By physically writing down our goals, our hopes, our dreams, we’re sharing it. And once you share it, it only encourages us to keep on going. Checking in with these goals and values every now and again, is a great way to ‘stay on track.’ And even if we veer off track, we might even create a new path, with new goals and new ideas. Our journals don’t dictate our path or tell us where to go, they simply show us that we have the potential to go wherever we can dream.

Do you keep a journal? Is it something you would like to do? Let me know in the comments below!

Have We Lost Our Ability to Talk to Strangers?

Yesterday, whilst waiting for my mum to pick me up from the train station, I took a seat on a 4 person bench where a guy was seated at the other side. He had his earphones plugged in and nervously looked at me once or twice. I was struggling with eating an icy-pole given that it was so hot outside, and trying to keep my cool as my frosty fruit dribbled down my arm. A few times I almost went to start a conversation, but I didn’t… I held back and focused all my attention to slurping at my icy pole, that thinking back on it, even if I did start a conversation, he would’ve thought I was strange and completely incompetent of eating an ice cream.

Which led me to thinking… have I lost my ability to talk to strangers? By the time his mate came and picked him up and Mr (pretty cute) bench guy was driving away, I felt like I had lost more by not starting a conversation, than if I had talked to him and made a fool of myself.

A group of people I met in a bar in Edinburgh, Scotland
A group of people I met in a bar in Edinburgh, Scotland

I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t. I’m not exactly a shy person, and when I was overseas travelling, I would talk to anyone and everyone. My conscience tells me it was because I was too focused on eating my ice cream, but I think deep down, it was because I was slipping into my ‘routine’ life where I stay neatly in my comfort zone and can sit at a bench with strangers in silence and be OK with that. I also think another part of me was nervous. I remember a thought crossing my mind ‘what if he thinks I’m strange/boring/weird/any adjective.’ He had his earphones in, and his head buried in his phone, where I then reached for my phone and started aimlessly scrolling through my newsfeed so that the silence wouldn’t be awkward. We automatically created a barrier (being on another planet with our phones) that we completely blocked the potential of engaging in simple conversation.

By the time my mum had picked me up, I had already began to beat my self up for not starting a conversation with him, or even just saying hello. Because at the end of the day, the odds are we were never going to see eachother again, he wouldn’t think I was crazy or a psycho, and who knows, we could’ve had a really lovely conversation… (and then added eachother on Facebook, see eachother at the same station a week later, exchanged numbers, had a dinner date, get married, have kids and live happily ever after….) Haha OK so that only happens in movies.

2 English girls I met in Versailles, France
2 English girls I met in Versailles, France

Regardless, striking up a conversation with a stranger was something that I really liked about myself when I was travelling the world. And I met the most incredible people because of it. But I feel like I’ve fallen back into that state of mind where ‘all strangers are serial killers, trying to rob you or rape you.’ And the truth is that there are some truly remarkable people in our every day lives that we just haven’t had the opportunity of meeting yet. And starting off with a simple ‘hello, how are you?’ is a way of doing that.

This random bench guy probably hasn’t given this whole slightly awkward encounter another thought, but my not talking regret has sparked something in me that I’m determined to change. I don’t want to miss any opportunity in life. Whether it be the chance to travel someplace new, go camping, learn an instrument or even talk to a guy on a bench, and I feel that starting with a small ‘hello’ can lead to bigger and better things.

Challenge – So for the next month, I’m going to break my cosy little comfort zone and meet someone new/new people. Why? Because even if they turn out to be a bit psycho… I’ll know that I’m not crazy for not starting a little conversation.

xxx

A

ABOUT-US-NICE-TO-MEET-YOU-PIC

 

Does Working in Hospitality Make You Cynical?

(This post is dedicated to all the waiters working their asses off in hospitality)

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Short answer… yes. Long answer… YEEEEEEESSSSS!

But don’t get me wrong, hospitality work is great. It’s generally flexible on hours, good pay, interesting customers, every night is different and you become really close with your work mates.

People treat you like sh*t – As soon as you step behind the counter and put on your uniform, it apparently gives people the right to treat you horribly. It constantly surprises me how some customers won’t hesitate to yell abuse or personally insult you. I think also that some customers assume that they can treat you like this because ‘it’s your job.’ But the thing is, a lot of people working in hospitality are working towards something bigger. I’m a university student who’s trying to save some extra cash for uni and serving you food isn’t my life. There’s nothing I hate more then people treating me with disrespect because I serve them food and am therefore apparently not worthy of their respect.

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People forget the basics – Have you ever heard of please and thankyou? Apparently not! Kids tend to have better manners than most adults.

People take their food very seriously – It astonished me when people expect a culinary masterpiece when ordering a chicken schnitzel. Really mate, it’s a snitty… what did you expect? Also, calm down if your mushroom sauce is on your snitty and not on the side like you apparently ordered? What difference does it make?

People lack understanding and empathy – We’re working in a high pressure environment, it’s hot, we’re running around at a hundred miles an hour, you don’t say please and thankyou, and then wonder why we’re not giving you our undivided attention. We’ll give you a smile, a ‘enjoy your meal,’ anything you ask for, but please know that we’re human beings and not robots and therefore use a lot of our energy to get things done for you.

You get yelled at from every direction – Not only are you getting yelled at by the customers, but also the chefs, your colleagues and your supervisor.

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Guys always flirt with you – They’ve had a few beers and you’re just trying to do your job and pick up glasses, but some guys feel the need to try and become your best friend. It’s nice to know that I’m looking good whilst at work but come on! Once, one guy said to me ‘you know, for a ranga, you look kinda cute.’ Umm is that an insult or a compliment? I walked away and I think my passive aggressiveness made him feel so bad that he ended up giving me a $10 tip. Now that’s one of the perks of working in hospitality.

However… despite all of these things that cross your mind at night and get you thinking ‘why am I working in this job?’ There are a lot of great things about working in hospitality. Your work friends… they go through it all with you and at the end of the night, you can bitch all about it and they completely understand what you’re talking about. And, you can usually do it over a cold beer. So yes, working in hospitality can make you a bit cynical, but once your shift (or split shift) is over, you can appreciate all the little things in life, like wearing your hair down or getting a good nights sleep.

xxx

A

My Secrets to Confidence

Confidence comes in all shapes and sizes. Hopeful of joining a gym, courageous to apply for that job, brave to deliver a speech, bold in your outfit and fearless in life! Confidence is a key element that we’re all expected to have, yet why is it that we talk ourselves down and doubting our ability? We all have insecurities, we all have weaknesses, yet it’s how we accept them, deal with them and conquer them so that nothing, especially yourself stands in your way.

I would describe myself as a confident person, yet from time to time I give in to those dark uncertainties and it can all get a bit overwhelming really. However, I have found some ways to help me be more confident in my thoughts and actions.

Slow down every now and again to embrace beauty around you
Slow down every now and again to embrace beauty around you – Rome

Smile – It instantly makes you feel a little bit better I promise! Also laughing or singing helps break down those nerves and negative thoughts circling your mind. It will also make people around you feel more comfortable and relaxed. A smile really can go a long way!

Think about your strengths and skills – Take a moment to think about all the wonderful and exquisite things you can do. Maybe you can play all of Ed Sheeran’s album on guitar, a really fast reader/typer, good at remembering people’s names, keeping things tidy/clean, taking initiative or responsibility… the options are endless! If you’re ever in doubt, focus on your skills and strengths and how you can use them to your advantage to help you achieve what you want.

Embrace what you love – Personally, I love writing, listening to music, going to the beach, going on coffee dates with my friends, travelling… the list goes on. It’s important to take time out and focus on yourself, what you want and what you love. Engaging with these activities will also give you that motivation and self-confidence that will automatically make you happy and feel better about yourself and your capabilities.

Surround yourself with positivity
Surround yourself with positivity

Accept and grow from your weaknesses – We all have them, I’m not the most committed student when it comes to exams, I try and take on too many tasks at once and cannot for the life of me keep my room clean! (that, I can’t change). The first thing is to be aware of aspects of your life you can improve on and how you can do that. For example, trying to go to sleep before midnight, having a diary to write all of your due dates in and focusing on things your truly passionate about. Even if you take baby steps, at least you’re closer to growing and moving on.

Think Positively! – Whilst it might be hard to stay positive sometimes, I strongly believe that positive people attract positive energy.

‘Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong.’ ~Peter T. McIntyre

Set Goals (and make them BIG) – I find it helpful to set goals to work towards. All throughout high school, I just wanted to go to Paris, and I made that happen by getting a job, planning, investigating and being absolutely determined to make it happen! Like the quote above says, be fearless! Go out and grab life! Like the classic cheesy quote ‘if you miss reaching for the moon, at least you’ll be among the stars.’ Opportunities are everywhere if you have the courage to seek them.

Take the plunge – Yes it might be scary, seem impossible, be overwhelming etc. etc. etc… but what if… it works? What if you accomplish your dreams? And what if you take the world by storm? You cannot truly gain without a little risk. Put yourself out there and just do it!

xxx A

Take the plunge!
Take the plunge! – Greek Islands

The Liebster Award: Nominated!

A Worldly Addiction: Nominated!
A Worldly Addiction: Nominated!

Leibster Award? What is a Leibster Award?! That is exactly what I asked myself when I was nominated. After some research, I discovered that LEIBSTER is German for ‘beloved.’ It’s a way for bloggers (professional or amateur like myself) to discover new blogs, get involved in the blogging community and be discovered by more people. How sweet! So you can imagine my surprise and excitement when I was nominated by Danika Maia- http://danikamaia.com/. Thank you so much Danika and I hope you enjoy this post as much as I enjoyed writing it! If you wish to know more about me, check out my post here! 

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Danika has asked me these wonderful questions;

1. Why did you decide to start a blog?

I started blogging last year about my travel and daily adventures of living in London. It was a new and exciting way for me to write regularly and also keep my friends and family up to date with my life. When I started university this year, some of my Communications and Media subjects required blogging as part of the course. I learnt simple things about blogging and really loved the unique experience. I then decided to make this blog mine, incorporating my studies, thoughts, travels, adventures and a little bit about myself into my blog. My goal is to be a writer/journalist and I figured blogging is a good way to start that off!

2. Where did you have your first kiss?

A lady never kisses and tells 😉

3. How many languages can you speak?

Je parle un petit peu français. I’m currently studying French and planning on going on exchange to a French speaking country to further my language skills.

4. What’s your favourite app?

To be honest, I don’t use that many apps because my phone is filled with music! However I do love Instagram! Oh and I also recently downloaded Minesweeper, remember the really old default game on PC’s? Yea, that’s occupied a lot of my time!

5. If your life was a movie who do you think would play the main characters?

I have an unhealthy obsession with Johnny Depp so he’d have to be in there somewhere (swoon). My brother would have to be played by the actor who plays Luke Dunphy from Modern Family. My sister, maybe Anne Hathaway because she has perfect teeth and is stunning. I don’t know if anyone else could play my parents, I’m sure that’d be a very demanding role. I think they’re the only ones who can pull of parenting me. And I think I’d like to have Emma Stone around for some laughs, Eddie Redmayne for some eye candy and Emma Watson for some motivation to change the world!

6. What do you want to accomplish with your blog?

I really admire World of Wanderlust and have been taking her tips for some time now. My ultimate dream would be to travel and live around the world, writing about my experiences and inspiring people to fulfil their dreams.

7. Are you in a relationship?

Like I said I don’t kiss and tell, however there is a very special and handsome French man in my life

8. What is your favourite thing to eat after a night out?

KEBABS!

9. What’s your favourite cocktail?

Strawberry Daiquiri! Anything that has pretty fruit on top of it!

10. How many countries have you visited and what’s the next one you need to see?

I’ve been everywhere man! (not really) But one day I want to say it and mean it! Here’s a list of the 16 countries I’ve been to. My favourites would have to be Scotland, Iceland and France!

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Alright, so here’s the rules for the Leibster Award!

1. thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.

2. display the award on your blog.

3. answer as many questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.

4. nominate 10 blogs that you feel deserve the award.

6. create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.

7. list these rules in your post.

8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated them.

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So here’s my top 10 favourite blogs at the moment! And on a personal note… thank you for inspiring me each in your own lovely way x

1. Travel Chick Diaries – http://travelchickdiaries.com/

2. Dating Dilema- http://datingdilemma1.com/

3. Everyday Adventures – http://everydayadventures365.com/

4. Have You Heard the Latest – http://haveyouheardthelatest.com/

5. The Bella Travelista – http://thebellatravelista.com/

6. Hannah Gale – http://hannahgale.co.uk/

7. Erik Conover – http://erikconover.com/

8. Ali Does it Herself – http://alidoesit.wordpress.com/

9. Lady Lauren Hutch – http://ladylaurenhutch.wordpress.com/

10. World of Wanderlust – http://www.worldofwanderlust.com/ (A BIG inspiration of mine)

11. (I know you’re only supposed to do 10 but who ever follows the rules) Nat’s Nutritious Delicious- http://www.natsnutritiousdelicious.com/

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If you accept and follow the rules, here are my questions to you!

1. Rock of Pop music? Favourite musician?

2. Favourite place you’ve ever been?

3. Coffee or Tea?

4. If you could have any animal as a pet, what would you want?

5. Why do you blog?

6. If you had one wish, what would it be? (you can’t wish for more wishes)

7. If you could have dinner with one famous person, who would it be?

8. What are you addicted to?

9. Chocolate cake or ice cream cake?

10. If you could become fluent in a language, what would it be?

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I hope you accept my nomination and enjoy this post as much as I did whilst writing it!

Peace and Love to everyone

xxx

A

A WORLDLY ADDICTION

Getting My Fix

Sourced from http://piccsy.com/2013/07/one-ocean-one-breath
Sourced from http://piccsy.com/2013/07/one-ocean-one-breath

I find it ever so empowering to believe in the power, strength and never ending ocean.

Its chameleon colours stimulate our eyes.

The sweet smell of salt tickles our taste buds.

Its silky waters glide over our skin invigorating us with life and meaning.

It sings to us a symphony of sounds from the highest wave to the lowest crevasse.

You never fail to ignite a fire within me. As I submerge myself into your cool waters, my body becomes numb. Such an exhilarating feeling… not to feel. I am vulnerable and lost. I come to you with my questions, my worries, my dreams… hoping you can help me make sense of it all.  The world sometimes blurs past me. I may nod politely and listen intently, trying ever so hard to pay attention. But there’s something else that grasps my spirit. It may be the glorious warmth of the sun or the encouraging breezes of the wind… I hear waves crashing as a reminder than when I am lost, you will be there to guide my way. My lungs burn as sea water drips down my throat, your magic creating the sparks deep within my heart that sometimes dim in this dark world. I am weightless. In these moments, I am invincible. My mind is clear. I am free.

I emerge from your sanctuary and inhale your fresh salty air. I can’ t help but smile as you push me towards the shore.

The sunshine kisses my skin and my spirit. Your song twirls around in my mind as I trudge back to life. You energize me, your name tattooed across my heart reminding me that happiness is never too far away.

x