Half a World Away

I could never imagine I would be in the position I am in right now. I mean the literal position is extremely predictable, laptop, coffee shop, headphones in, intently checking my fantasy premier league team score. However, geographically I am on the other side of the world, 5 weeks into my newest adventure. It’s brilliant, terrifying, inspiring, romantic, ridiculous and exciting all at the same time. Its a risk, two fingers up to conformity, a hat tip to wanderlust and just beautifully unconventional.

I have always wanted to travel the world, I want to see everything, know everything, experience everything, its like the worst case of FOMO. Anyone who knows me will testify, no matter how big or small, I want to know whats going on and be included, like an excitable yet slightly irritating puppy.

I think my biggest fear in life is to not have lived it properly, I want to, for the good and the bad, have lived a life that is worth writing about. I want to have a real story. World changing brilliance and adventure isn’t too much to ask for… is it? Therefore when the opportunity to follow my heart to the other side of the world came knocking I jumped at the chance.

So, what happened to prompt this change of hemispheres? I met a boy. Classic, girl meets boys falls head over heels in love kinda tale. 6 weeks of dreamy Worcester dating later I decided to quit my job, booked a plane ticket and 2 days after my 24th Birthday travelled for 48 hours via 3 countries to meet him in Sydney Airport. Causal Tuesday right?

The boy. Without wanting to sound like the soppiest human alive, is the kind of person you dream about meeting. Someone who matches your competitive spirit, can make you feel special and that definitely isn’t horrible to look at. When the biggest downside they have is supporting Manchester United and can sometimes be too tidy you know your doing okay!

Thats where I have been. Exploring Australia and New Zealand and falling a little more in love everyday. Long may the days of chasing the sun continue!

My Words

I thought I would ease myself back in with a little explanation as to why I have been rather quiet recently…

Consistency has never been my strong point. I mean the last time I actually pressed the publish icon on one of my posts was the 4th February. Five months have been an gone, I have let myself get wrapped up in the day to day… eat, work, sleep, eat a little bit more, contemplate going to the gym, nap, drink, sleep, repeat (sound familiar?). There is magic in the mundane sometimes; I know that there have been times in my recent history that I have thrived on my relatively new found routine and structure. I have become more accepting of being settled and less resistant to the life I never thought I wanted. That meant that while I was getting caught up in the world of line marking paint (my job), and being mildly swept of my feet by a tall, handsome stranger my writing took a back seat.

I have still been noting things down, typing away when things get a little too much, squirrelling away ideas for a day when I felt it was important to let other people read them. I wish I could just write, edit and post but unfortunately I am very protective over the words I string together. My writing is a truer version of my thoughts, more than what I share in my average day to day conversation, it has more intention and focus. When I have a topic and I dedicate time to formulating sentences and paragraphs my feelings get wrapped up in the placement of an adjective or an attempt at being funny with a well-timed metaphor. It makes be vulnerable, it holds a mirror up to how i’m actually feeling in a way that effects me much more than anything else. It has become the easy option to hide it away just incase I get a bad reaction or someone I know reads it and sees me differently.

However, recently I have become less concerned about my protectionist stance regarding my words. 1. Life is too short to not strive for the things you love and pursue your passions. 2. I am lucky to be in a position to be able to outwardly express my thoughts on things, a right that isn’t freely available around the world. 3. I want to create worthwhile content that means something to someone and means something to me. 4. This is my corner of the internet, my space that gives me a voice in a millennial minefield, it doesn’t have to be perfect or cool or polished, it just has to be mine and something I am proud of.

So I will be writing, to you, for me, about nothing and about everything. Its my words explaining and telling my story, or the stories of a place, person or people. I think thats what I want the essence of wayfaring rambles to be.

True

Late one Friday night, a 23 year old girl lay in her messy childhood bedroom, hair in a top knot, pyjamas on, typing away on a Mac book which due to its temperature should be condemned,  listening to True by Spandau Ballet partially fuelled by white wine. Painted the picture? I know it sounds like something out of a rarely watched, but cult teen rom-com. But this, at present, is me.

Why do I find it hard to write the next line… well Tony Hadley I will tell you why. No one ever really knows whats going to happen or why or how. So many things have happened this week to make me feel all different kinds of things and I need to get them out of my head. I’m not going to pretend this was an extensively planned piece of writing, but sometimes things can’t be ordered or justified they just need to be noted. Documented that on that day and at that time I felt that way. Or whatever tense that last sentence needed to be in to make sense.

I feel angry at the world and how cruel and unfair it can be, how where you are born even in 2017 can be a life or death sentence. How some people can be so blinded by greed and fear that they start to lose their humanity. How they can fundamentally lose sight of what it is that makes us different from them, we should care, we should help those in need, we should stand up in presence and in policy. We can not, and I will not, be crushed by people that have already lost their humanity, have lost what it is to value a human life. I am not going to fear living my life or doing what I feel is right or standing up for what I believe in. I want to be thoughtful, kind and make a difference to other people’s lives both now and in the future when the next generations inherit this planet.

Now if you have stayed with this post thus far I can imagine your thoughts have strayed to… ‘oh my, it started so light and is she really subtly dissing trump and terrorists whilst listening to an 80’s classic’ yes, yes I am. But in other less politically charged news, I felt happy this week about my progress at work and that me and my family are getting on so well. I felt proud of my friends doing good and making positive changes to their own lives and other peoples. I also felt a pang of heartache when seeing an old couple holding hands walking in a super market aisle and maybe just a little sigh at at the sight of heart shaped paraphernalia.

Human’s are strange things, we have this unavoidable nature to not be alone. It is not just romantically or physically alone but the feeling that comes with wondering if you are the only one to be feeling a certain way. It is at that point the millennials, just like me, take to the internet to highlight their profound thoughts… hola! I suppose that is part of the reason I write some self reflecting brain babble on the internet, it is a search, it is unapologetically outwardly looking for some form of confirmation that your part of something bigger.

Apart from this ‘alone but not alone’ ridiculous non problem promblemness I am actually enjoying being a single person at the moment. I am finding a new level of respect for myself. It isn’t that I didn’t respect myself before, but I was definitely disillusioned as to how someone should be treated and feel about themselves in a relationship. So although sometimes its nice to have the confirmation that your not the only one, sometimes being the only one for a while is beneficial for your heart in the long run.

I know, its like an page long stream of contradictory thoughts. It has been an emotionally odd week.

 

And now bed.

 

The Drive-in Dine in

I work in an office. I love food, it’s intrinsically linked to my mood. Lunch time brings me immeasurable happiness.

However in my current job there isn’t really a comfortable place to zone out for a bit and tuck into some grub, without the fear of disturbing someone else with my chewing or Duolingo practice. I’m not a fan of eating at my desk because then I don’t leave my little computer, post-it, desk bubble all day. I’m also known to be a little bit clumsy, and would probably end up spilling something on company property if I remained seated.

So my plan, I hop in my car, crank the tunes like it was 2001, and drive to the Morrison’s car park – adventurous. This is then the part where I sit in my car listen to the radio and tuck in to the delicacies that frequent my lunch box. Chia seed bar anyone?

Or, more recently, pop into the shop and get some chicken pieces and wedges from the friendly boys behind the counter – I am trying to cut down on my intake of wedges but they are so darn cheery, the boys not the wedges.

It occurred to me as I was singing to JP Cooper September Song marginally too loud in the portable lunch spot my car has become, that I can’t be the only one. That’s when I noticed it. I’m part of a cohort. A band of lonely lunch eaters. I glanced around the car park and spotted 6 other’s just like me. Munching on their lunch in the front seat.

Some common car-luncher themes –

  1. The accidental gaze, this is when you realise you have been staring out of the window at someone without even noticing. They are usually the first to notice. Awkward.
  2. The look of pure irritation when a pioneering piece of food breaks free and lands between the chair and the hand brake. Gahh.
  3. The gentle head bob or mouthing of the words to a song.
  4. The inevitable scrolling of social media to feel like your part of the world.
  5. The satisfied smile when you’ve finished the food then the slight disappointment that lunch is nearly over.

If you think about it, it’s a bit like being in a tank, the windscreen and the other windows. No joke, a woman with her family genuinely stopped and stared at me, like it was a one republic reunion, whilst I was trying to locate the spinach leaf that had fallen down my top. After it had taken me a while they walked away, but still shot a casual glance back a tad too often. The leaf was later found when exciting my vehicle.

Anywho, that was my thought of the day. If you are a car luncher I salute you, maybe park next to me sometime and we could form some sort of lunch club.

 

Mindfulness on the M6

This weekend I went on my first solo road trip. I braved the motorway in my Suzukis Alto aka Casper, and headed to Macclesfield to visit one of my best friends and her boyfriend. I know that you may be thinking #thirdwheel, but lets breeze past that, I’m great at being a very entertaining and helpful extra! Moving swiftly on…

Oh it was a head/heart healing experience. This post is called mindfulness on the M6 because there is something cathartic and calming about having to concentrate on driving, and the next word to the song you’re belting out from Radio 1. Ed Sheehan’s ‘shape of you’ got a 10/10 performance. It’s like for the time I’m driving the part of my brain that stresses and worries is just turned off, because there are more important things going on in that moment. You know, like not causing a major traffic incident.

After 2 hours most of which was spent on the M6, I arrived at my destination. There is something magical about seeing one of your oldest friends doing so well. I truly believe that success isn’t quantified by material things but about quality of relationships and seeing her and her longtime boyfriend being so content kind of made me all warm and fuzzy. The girl is doing good. She also put towels out in the guest room, with miniature bathroom products on top, thats hosting to a whole new level.

I think that if ever you feel down or a bit lost, hanging out with people that really know you and care about you can completely change your outlook. It can be hard being a twenty-something with jobs, uni, travel plans, houses, cars and relationships to contend with as well as just getting through the day without napping.

The best friendships are those that you can pick up and they are just as brilliant as the last time you left off whether its days, weeks or months in between.

Clarity comes in all forms, I had a full on moment just chilling with a slight red wine hangover, coffee in hand, watching an awesome film (Sing Street – it’s on Netflix, watch it!). I think it was the calmness of chilling in a onesie, no make-up on, no bull shit just me, in a place, doing pretty much nothing, with great people and feeling like it was the right thing for me to be doing at that time. I know deep, getting transcendent vibes in a onesie is quite the achievement.

I am not quite at the place I thought I would be 10 years ago but I’m doing okay. I am moving in the right direction and surrounding myself with good people, and that feels pretty sweet. The bacon and egg sandwich also helped this epiphany.

All in all a lovely weekend, spent with lovely people and some me time on the motorway.

 

 

 

 

 

Wayfaring Rambles

Well what better way to start 2017 than getting back on track with my own little corner of the internet.

I may have epically failed last year when it came to consistency and clumsiness whilst on my biggest adventure, but this time it is different. I am motivated and maybe even slightly more grown up than before, slightly.

2016 was a defining year for me, I conquered personal fears, did things I never thought I would and well and truly got my heart broken. More stomped on… but broken will do.

2017 is about taking back my happiness. I want to use all the lessons and experience I learnt last year to make this one even better.

So this space, I want to document my thoughts and adventures, I want it to motivate me to make more memories and keep doing things that challenge me. The content is undefinable and random – rambling if you will.

When everything in my life seems to have become more ordered I want to meander around my ideas and see where it takes me.

I want to have a voice in a world when things can sometimes be overwhelming. I need a creative outlet with freedom and space, thus the rebirth of wayfaring rambles.

Let’s go for a wander…

Week 3: Happy Heart and Rough start

After a very early 4.30 am start I headed to the airport to catch my flight to Singapore for the night. My next major stop is Cambodia but the only flight available had an 18hour lay over in Singapore, this initially was an inconvenience but turned out to be a complete blessing.

My grandparents-friends-son, his wife and their children had moved to Singapore a few years back from London. This was amazing as I got to stay with them for a night and have a little home from home experience.

I had such a good evening, their children are adorable, the little boy Charlie melted my heart as soon as I met him! The girls were amazing too! It was a lovely night spent eating pizza and beans for tea (my idea of heaven) and chatting about life. Caroline and I had such an intelligent, inspiring and entertaining chat that lasted way into the night – It’s amazing how you can meet people for the first time and instantly feel comfortable. It just all made my heart happy! I’m so lucky I got to meet them and wish them so much luck with their big move to Sydney!

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After saying goodbye, it was time to go back to the airport. They sent me on my way with a packed lunch which was lovely, little bits of care like that when your a solo traveller make such a difference! Singapore airport is amazing, definitely the nicest I’ve been in so far. Next stop Phnom Penh.

I arrived into a the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh just after a storm so the heat wasn’t to unbearable. I met my new co-ordinator Hong and we took a tuk tuk ride to the guest house I would be staying in for the night.

Cambodia has such an interesting atmosphere. It feels young and industrial in some ways but then bustling and alive with culture. I had dinner at my hostel and it was incredible – I may even go as far to say the best noodles I’ve ever eaten! At one point I ended up helping the owners family pull a rope attached to a massage chair he had won at the bank, they were pulling it up three stories – it was all very surreal! I met some interns staying in the same place so it was nice to have some people to chat to after the social craziness of Sri Lanka.

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The next day it was time for a whistle stop tour of Phnom Penh, me and Hong went to the market, where I ate a tarantula! Then we went to an awesome view point and drove past the memorial statue for the previous King and the palace on the river. After this it was time to travel for about 45 minutes to my project at the orphanage.

My first impressions were that the place was beautiful, and the kids were really welcoming and friendly. I was shown around and then taken to my room above the office. There was one other girl here for the first night but then she was leaving – this is where some problems began.

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Before starting this project I was told that there would be at least 3 volunteers at the project with me for the duration of my 3 weeks in Cambodia. This is not the case. I would be here by myself. This was quite difficult as I had just come from a volunteer house of around 22 people to just being me in a room from Monday to Friday.

I decided to just take it in my stride and give it my best effort. I began planning some lessons and started teaching properly on the Tuesday. Teaching is so hard!! I have a mixed ability class of children from 4-14 so it proved quite a challenge.

I muddled through for the rest of the week but I did find the nights quite lonely. I am really enjoying travelling but when you get too much time by yourself the distance between you and your loved ones feels a lot more real.

I gave the children a test on Friday and it was awesome to see that they had actually taken in some of what I had taught. On the Friday afternoon I headed back into the city to have some well deserved social time!

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Me, Hebe, Elina and another volunteer who I have only ever called higher but I’m sure his actual name is different, went to an incredible rooftop bar for some cocktails and then into the night market for some more delicious noodles. Hebe and I were heading to Siam Reap for the weekend so we chilled at the guest house before getting our night bus at 11pm.

I can’t wait to write all about the weekend!

Again well done for finishing! if you got this far, I’m sending you an invisible high 5 of appreciation!