A Light in the Dark

Adolescence – ‘the period following the onset of puberty during which a young person develops from a child into an adult.’ Easy enough to understand on paper but at what point have we passed that period and at what faze in our lives are we ready to say .. ok I’m an adult now?

As small beings we looked up to our parents, hanging off their every word and believing that when they turned on our night lights to keep the monsters at bay, it would damn certain keep them monsters at bay. So what happens once you’re too old for a night light? And the monsters are no longer ideas but are in fact real elements of our every day lives?

Having recently moved to New Zealand, I can definitely say I’ve struggled with life not going as easily as I anticipated. Daydreaming often a part of my daily routine, I’d pictured more of a fairytale ending to my journey to the other side of the world. In reality life is a mixture of genres; drama and horror will also play out from time to time.

I’m still learning, still adjusting and inevitably still moving forwards. Regardless of how adult we should be or how young we still feel, we’re all human. People with fears and emotions who need a light in the dark from time to time.

Reaching out to people that love us doesn’t mean we’re not not growing, if anything it’s a sign we know we can’t always get through things on our own. After a rough start to a new life in New Zealand, I feel that things have changed for the better over the last few weeks and I’m happy. I also know that it’s ok not to be fine all the time, as long as I don’t try and jump the hurdle alone.img_3637

 

 

Finding the words

There are many times I’ve opened my laptop ready to ‘update my blog’ only to stumble and fall at the first hurdle. Why would anyone want to read about my life? I’m not sure why today was any different but as I woke up and thought about my journey over the last year it dawned on me; I need to write this blog for myself.

I need to read this back in years to come and congratulate myself on becoming the person I am today and the person I hope I to become in the future.

Moving to Australia wasn’t just a gap year for me, it was a huge turning point on how I viewed myself. I didn’t work hard at this, in fact it’s when I stopped thinking about myself that the changes seemed to happen. I fell in love and met some amazing people who were at times a little crazy like myself. Slowly but surely the madness stopped. I stopped the five year analysis I’d been torturing myself with since my college days; since I was 17 years old and I became free.

This new found freedom allowed me to seek out happiness and small changes became a change in life style. I finally overcame the gluten intolerance, when I say overcame I managed to cut it out of my diet completely without sobbing every time I saw a bakery (although double chocolate muffins still make me teary eyed from time to time). This in effect allowed me to introduce healthier food items into my diet without me even noticing. I had more energy to be happy and when I moved to Finland to be with my boyfriend in September of last year I realised I’d lost over a stone in weight.

For anyone who uses scales please refrain from doing so. Not dieting and weighing myself was the BEST thing I ever did. I have to admit, during my three month stay in Finland I did get a little scales obsessed. I didn’t work during my time there, I didn’t have access to a gym and when I tried to run 5k I had what I can only describe as being an ‘allergic reaction’ to both exercise and -2 degrees. My throat was sore and my nose runny so I ran a little then walked back home.

My boyfriends parents were really lovely, feeding me meat and salads most nights so I did keep off the weight. I also mastered being gluten free in a country full of patisseries. Having the confidence to say you have an intolerance when going for tea at someone’s house and even in restaurants at times is hard. You feel like you’re an inconvenience and more often than not people insinuate you’ve decided to be gluten free.

There have been many times where I have been eating out and can see the odd eye roll when I ask for a gluten free menu. Please understand that I didn’t decide this because nobody in their right mind would decide to do this! It’s not the same as being a vegan!

After three months in a foreign land it was time for me to head home and reconnect with old family and friends. Moving home was a huge deal to me because it meant I had to face my demons, and by demons I don’t mean my mum and sister! Home is where I had started the analysis and I was scared it would all come back when I didn’t have distractions to take my mind off it.

At first it was a bit of a challenge, I didn’t retract anything I had done so far but I also didn’t progress in the way I wanted to. It wasn’t until I landed a longer contract at a company next to my gym that I started to put in the work. Having to constantly save and being in a long distance relationship has also helped. I never have the money to go on wild nights out regularly so I’m not drowning myself in take away food and alcohol. I also wanted to show my boyfriend how hard I’d been working at being a better person, both mentally and physically, so each time I’ve seen him it’s been a healthy target point for change.

As I woke up this morning, I lay there for an hour and thought about how different I am now. I’m a lot happier, patient and healthy. I’ve lost almost 3 stone, have gone from being a size 16 to a size 10 and I actually enjoy going to the gym.

I have more appreciation for the friends and family in my life because if they’re still in my life then they bring positivity to it. I can’t wait to move to New Zealand and see what else the world has to offer! I’m sure there are still many many adventures left to come and I’m going to enjoy all of them.

I decided to write this blog now because I have 6 weeks until I go to Greece and 9 until I move to New Zealand. I’ve been working so hard to organise my big move whilst still changing my nutrition and exercise. I have one final push to lose the stomach fat at the bottom that everyone hates because it just sits there doing nothing. But I will do it and I’ll document that.

It’s also the last few months I have to see my friends and family, whilst saving money and working all hours. So much to do and I’m going to write about as much as I can. Now I’m about to go to the gym on a Sunday, because well why not?

 

A new year brings old beginnings

Whilst reflecting on the year we’ve left behind it’s easy to fixate on the negative moments; often promising ourselves we’ll get it right this time. I was about to make all the new year resolutions I’ve made over the last ten years when like a gust of wind it hit me, I’ve already made my new beginnings! I just need to put my energy into carrying them on rather than starting them all over again.

For a start, I will say that 2015 was a year I shall cherish always. Starting it in Sydney, meeting some amazing friends who are still a huge part of my life, falling in love with the kindest soul who I then travelled with to Cambodia, Bangkok, Finland and the UK. When I did finally reach home I appreciated the friends and family around me so much more than I had ever done before.

I’ll not pretend the year was an easy one, I’ve had my fair share of heartache and upset but I learnt a lesson from that. A lesson that taught me to move forward no matter what happens, even if it takes all the energy you have. It taught me the only thing that really matters is how wonderful the world is, even in times of terror and darkness. Most importantly it taught me to see the positive in people because we truly are remarkable, we just need to be reminded more.

I’ve always felt like I am a spiritual person, something I have partly practiced ever since I was a little girl. I’m going to use this year to focus on that and really begin my spiritual journey. I’ve also decided to just go with it, especially with my writing and travelling. Lastly, I’m going to listen to my heart and enjoy being in love with someone who has become my partner in crime over the last year. These adventures began in 2015 so I welcomed with open arms this exciting new year.

Remember we can only move forwards so do this with the knowledge that this year will be a great one. You only have to believe.

 

A lovely story: Keep Sharing

So beautiful & true.

A Small Act Of Kindness Can Bring Smile On Million Faces

A monk decides to meditate alone, away from his monastery. He takes his boat out to the middle of the lake, moors it there, closes his eyes and begins his meditation.

After a few hours of undisturbed silence, he suddenly feels the bump of another boat colliding with his own.

With his eyes still closed, he senses his anger rising, and by the time he opens his eyes, he is ready to scream at the boatman who dared disturb his meditation.

But when he opens his eyes, he sees it’s an empty boat that had probably got untethered and floated to the middle of the lake.

At that moment, the monk achieves self-realization, and understands that the anger is within him; it merely needs the bump of an external object to provoke it out of him.

From then on, whenever he comes across someone who irritates him or provokes him…

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To be or not to be

I’ve spent almost a year in Australia; something I thought unique at first but soon realised the world is not as big as I once believed. Besides the world becoming a lot smaller, Australia has changed my view on a lot of things but also enhanced my beliefs in subjects I never knew I felt so passionately about. I definitely feel I’ve matured a lot, whether it’s down to traveling or a part of the brain changes when you turn from 21 years of age to 22 I’m not quite sure.

Over the last year I’ve encountered new relationships and lost ones, love and sadly loss, success and failure. If I’m being honest, quite a lot has gone down in the land down under and I am not ready to leave this place!

Unfortunately that decision is not up to me; I’m leaving that one to fate. I put up a good fight, traveled from Sydney to Melbourne, Melbourne to Darwin, Darwin to Kununurra and back again to Queensland in the name of finding farm work. I spent a hell of a lot of money but it wasn’t meant to be.

At times I cried on the phone to my parents then felt a little embarrassed, embarrassed that I was allowing the situation to even slightly upset me. I can still apply for a second year, I met some amazing friends who were in the same boat as me AND I’m living the dream am I not? I don’t get a second year here, pft I’ll hop on a plane to New Zealand.

Although travelling is something I wish to do for the foreseeable future, the word ‘career’ has rung through my brain like a thousand distant bells carrying their sounds in completely different directions.

Whilst in Sydney I’ve had the pleasure of being part of the corporate clan. Although it was only a reception job here and there, wearing nice clothes and engaging with business men and women made me feel important. It made me feel like a grown up and when the money started rolling in I got a taste for the finer things in life like Dermalogica face wash, bottles of Prosecco and brunch at small unique coffee shops.

Amazing as it may seem however, the business world scares me. I feel like it turns me into someone I know I shouldn’t be and don’t want to be. I don’t want to become a woman who depends on material ‘necessities’ to be happy. I also don’t want to spend my life working towards something that feels fake. I sit in my chair watching this made up world around me spinning like a wheel driven by money. People are only important because we’re made to believe they’re important; because money makes them important. Take that away and they become nobody.

I also realised that no matter how hard you try at turning the wheel, one wrong move and you’re out. I witnessed a lovely woman get escorted out of the company building only two days ago, tears streaming down her face because she suddenly wasn’t relevant to them anymore. It didn’t matter to them that she had two children, one being a 13 month old baby. They didn’t need her and she was out.

I also can’t ignore the fact that I love writing, I just need to find my style and believe that I have a voice. I read an interesting article today in the Sunday Herald which focused on ‘imposter syndrome’. It stated that a lot of successful women feel like imposters; they feel like they’re faking it. I’m often worried that I’m going to write on my blog or create a short story but nobody will want to read it. I’m scared of failure.

It doesn’t matter that people have read my work and complimented it. I believe it relates back to the world becoming a lot smaller the older we become. There is an endless amount of talented writers, all with unique styles and a gathering of followers pining to read their next article or novel. But who’s to say I can’t be successful in that field? The only discouraging voice I hear is my own! I need to find my passion and be prepared to work hard.

I have no doubt in my mind that I will achieve my goals eventually, I just need to figure out what they are and how to get there. Life is a marathon not a sprint; a fact we forget from time to time. I’m amazed at how much I’ve learnt in last year alone and I can’t wait to see what the next year has to offer.

Summer, Smiles & Sydney

Sydney – I have fallen head over heels in love with you!

The last few months have been just what I needed. A transformation in so many different ways.

When I first arrived in Australia, alarm bells were ringing; a little tiring when it lasts for just over a month! Had I made the right decision? Was it normal to miss my friends so much? Should I be thinking of a career and my future?

The answer to all my problems was trust and time. I needed to trust that over time things would fall nicely into place. Moving to Sydney and having faith in my decision was the hardest but most liberating thing I’ve done during my time here.

Instead of concentrating on a career I’ve decided to travel for as long as it makes me happy. One thing hostel life has granted me is the freedom to care less about what we’re supposed to do and more about the things we’ll lose the opportunity to do later on in life.

One thing that stood out for me was the age difference between me and fellow friends in the hostel. I turned 22 in December and it was made clear to me that most of my friends were older than me. Some were touching 30 and I loved it. I loved the fact that they were still living their dream and that they hadn’t bowed down to the expectations of the modern society we live in.

I’ve started to appreciate the little things. I have to set off to work at 6am (which is a killer) and I’ve caught myself sitting in awe of the sun shining down on the trees and the birds flying in the sky.

180 degrees

I haven’t been on here in what feels like a lifetime because of the wifi in the hostel. So much has changed over the last few weeks and I’m feeling amazing.

It was difficult at first; meeting new people again and starting all over for what seemed like the 100th time but it was always going to be hard. I think because of my experience in Byron Bay I was just wanting everything to happen too quickly! I needed it to happen straight away for my state of mind.

Although it didn’t all happen as quickly as I had hoped (which is usually the case) it did all work out for the best. It’s almost a repeat of university, except I have sun, sea and I share a room with 7 other people which can be challenging at times because it’s nice to have some personal space.

My life did a 180 degree turn over night and I’m grateful it did because I was starting to get tired of my own voice! I think getting a job definitely helped; I work 5 days a week in a mail room for the biggest electrical company in Sydney. It was only meant to last for two weeks but they made the wise decision of keeping me on for another three months.

My friends in the hostel are the loveliest group of people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting since I began my travels. I genuinely look forward to coming home from work and just chilling out or getting ridiculously drunk with them on the weekend. I think it’s one of the most important factors when traveling alone; meeting the right group of people. If a hostel doesn’t feel right for you and you’ve given it some time definitely move out and move on! Your future friends are waiting to meet you and when the time comes it’s one of the nicest feelings.

The last couple of weekends have been insane. I went to see Dusky at a club called Chinese Laundry and it was AMAZING. A last minute decision as well which always ends up being the best kind of night. I’ve also been shopping with my well deserved first wage! I went to an Irish bar to see my friends perform; all I can say is WOW. You don’t realise how talented people are until you’re a witness to it when traveling around. And lastly I spent the day at Redleaf beach which was pure bliss as I was feeling a little worse for wear.

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