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Isolation station week three – eight… involving a foggy brain, all the Disney movies and zero motivation…

The first few weeks after I arrived on the cattle station I had a whole plan, with free afternoons and literally nowhere to go, I was going to be proactive. For once I had no social distractions, no friends to go play stupid games or chill on beaches with and no bars or parties where I could get sidelined by drinking. And for a while this plan went ok, you may have noticed there were a couple of updates on here. I started working on a writing project I had been mulling over forever. I even started doing the Joe Wicks PE class everyday, thinking now was the time I could get fit. I would leave the outback tanned as fuck, skinny (well maybe not skinny but more toned and able to go for a run again without the need to stop and be sick!) and with a heap of writing done.

But oh so gradually this enthusiasm started to fade away.

A couple of days ago I read an article, I can’t remember the exact science (I’ve never been an exact science kind of girl) but it explained that long and sustained periods of stress like we are in now, mean that a certain type of chemical is constantly in our body. In short bursts it’s good for us, but constantly there it makes us foggy and lose focus. It makes sense, weirdly I’ve discovered that I am at my best and most motivated when I am busy. The time I was writing the most was my last hectic summer in London when I was working 6 days a week, 10 or 12 hour days and then partying till the early hours of the morning before doing it all again the next day. I thrive off adrenaline, and this static environment I find myself in had sapped up all my motivation and wrung my emotions out. All I wanted to do after finishing work each morning was to curl up in bed and read or watch films.

Something about the world turning upside down and being so very far away from home as it was happening, and my mind had started playing tricks on me. I was crying at just about anything. (Crying over YouTube videos is completely normal behaviour usually when I’m on my period not so normal for the entire month.) My dreams constantly starred people from my past. Old familiar faces that, whilst every so often I’ll get an odd spurt of missing, I now see every night. The kindest boy I ever knew, from my first New Zealand family has a recurring role in my nightly dreams, alongside childhood friends and of course my much missed mum. Waking up each morning without any of them truly being here invokes a weird kind of loneliness, and a strong nostalgia for the past. I start most of my days trying to shake this unnerving feeling, and mooching around work still half in a dream.

In the mornings I have found myself selecting soundtracks to every musical I’ve ever seen, or old favourite albums to listen to as I go about my work. The Kaiser Chiefs ‘Employment’ album features daily, taking me straight back to my year 9 Paris trip. When me and my three best friends somehow all swindled a place on the trip and hyped on sugar pranced around the city dressed in gypsy skirts (the top fashion item of the summer), eating crepes and fancying boys whose full names I can’t even remember. I haven’t thought about that summer for so long but now I miss it and I miss that innocence and above all I miss my friends.

Like reverting back to old and much loved music, I’ve also guiltily ignored the long list of ‘to be read’ books in favour of re-reading old classics. I’ve easily sunk back into the comforting world of Harry Potter, greeting the characters like old friends. Along side classics which I borrowed from my mum’s bookshelves as a teenager, like Wuthering Heights and Charles Dickens eagerly consuming them all at breakneck speed.

And then of course there’s Disney + (there could not have been a more perfectly timed launch of a streaming service.) And I have spent far too many of my afternoons here curled up with an old favourite, reliving the romances and adventures that I so longed for as a little girl. Singing along to the joyful songs that are permanently printed on my brain, and blocking out reality with an escape to Disney’s world of dreams and magic. Perhaps, some desperate part of my brain is trying to make up for the unexpected halt to my own adventures, and my current complete lack of romance, by living through these childhood films. Mostly though I’ve found myself watching the 2018 film ‘Christopher Robin’ with an almost obsessive frequency, and weeping every time. This could in part be down to the pure Englishness, seeing something as familiar as grey and rainy London is overwhelmingly comforting. But really it’s for the characters. The inhabitants of the one hundred acre wood have been my friends for as long as I can remember. When we were very young my sister got a toy Eeyore for Christmas and I was so wildly jealous that my gran had to buy me my own. Eeyore has been my favourite Disney character all my life. With Roo following up very close behind, after purchasing my Roo on a cotton candy high at Disney World Orlando, and him and my raggedy Eeyore have been on every adventure with me ever since. There is something so loveable about Eeyore’s grumpiness and Roo’s childish enthusiasm, about Piglets’s fearfulness and Pooh’s silliness. Returning to these characters is like being enveloped in a warm hug. Like all Winnie the Pooh stories, it is simple and silly but it’s full of joy and watching it is probably the best kind of cheering up I could have asked for. Each time it reminds me that even the smallest thing can be the biggest adventure. The ordinary can become extraordinary. And happiness can be found in the smallest and most mundane of moments.

Rationally all of this makes sense. I suppose being in a new environment so entirely different from what I know and without friends or family, when everything in the world is just a little bit wrong right now, that longing for the old and familiar is inevitable. That the things which I’ve loved so much, but put to the back of my mind, have come to the forefront dusting off the cobwebs and become such integral parts of keeping me sane.

And I guess this is ok. It’s ok to not be productive. It’s ok to say my head is flipping just as much as the world is right now. And it is definitely 100% ok to take comfort in whatever makes you happy be that Disney films, old music, childhood books, or even bread making if that’s your thing! So it may be sunny outside and there may be 100 things I could be doing but honestly, you’re probably going to find me curled up under a blanket watching the Lizzie McGuire movie or re reading a Harry Potter for the millionth time, or returning to the hundred acre wood yet again.

There are so many articles touting advice and giving suggestions of what to do during this lockdown period, but I have no advice for you or suggestions and definitely not explanations. This is really just a post about nothingness, which is to be honest most of our lives right now. Just know that if you’re feeling down, or trapped, if you’re returning to childhood comforts or dreaming of long missed friends it’s ok. Nothing else is normal right now so why should your head be, but you’re not alone I’m right there too and so I’m guessing is most of the world.

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Thirty Before Thirty…

So it’s a new year and although we are entering the roaring twenties I will, unbelievably, be leaving my twenties behind and turning thirty, and I have no idea how that happened or where the years raced away to. So in lieu of a new year’s resolution I have decided to do the clichéd thing, and simultaneously indulge my love of lists, with a list of thirty things I want to do before I turn thirty. And without further ado here we go….

See Hamilton… I mean have you heard the soundtrack?! Enough said.

Learn to French plait my hair… let’s face it I really am too old now to keep asking people to do it for me and I just really like having my hair out of my face in plaits, so it’s time to be an adult and finally learn how to do it myself.

Reconnect with old friends… being back home for a couple of months gives me the perfect opportunity to see friends who I haven’t seen for ages. I have some amazing friends who I sadly don’t see or speak to all that much, mainly because I’m off gallivanting around the world, but now I have a little time at home I want to squeeze as many reunions in as possible.

Be better at keeping in touch with people… This is a follow on from the last point. I am rubbish at keeping in touch. I have some wonderful age old friendships that when we reunite after a long separation we slip straight back into how we’ve always been but I really need to make a better effort to stay in touch in between meet ups.

See some live music… I haven’t been to a gig for ages and I really love going to see live music, so this year I’m going to try and get to some. Preferably Dean Lewis as I am a little obsessed and he did one solitary gig in New Zealand, in the one month I wasn’t there. But honestly any live music would be good.

Skydive… Ok yes I have already done this, just before my 29th birthday I flung myself out of a plane and it was indescribable. The courage I had to summon to even get into the plane was unbelievable, but the experience like no other. And I cannot recommend this enough, people, PUT IT ON YOUR BUCKET LIST!

Visit my 30th country…. So far I have visited 29 countries on my extensive travel and it would be pretty nice to round of the number to 30 by 30. Plus it gives me the excuse to go and discover a whole new exciting place.

Go somewhere in the UK I’ve never been… As per the previous point I have been lucky enough to travel to many amazing places around the world but I’ve not seen that much of my own country. Especially not as an adult, with no parents to drag me off to some random youth hostel I’ve picked jumping on a plane every time as a holiday instead. So before I hit this grand old age I’m going to discover some more of my own country.

Run a 5K… A couple of years back when I was training for Kilimanjaro I started running and I actually, very surprisingly, quite liked it and would really like to get back into it with the goal of completing a 5k.

Cook something new… I love cooking and I really love baking however having lived in hostels or cars or vans for the last however long means I’ve not really done very much. So whilst I’m back in a fully stocked kitchen (courtesy of the grandparents) I’m going to flex my baking skills and try something I haven’t done before. What though is yet to be determined.

De clutter… I have a whole heap of clothes and belongings sat in storage and considering I can’t even remember what half of them are I think it might be time to donate some stuff. Also I have managed to just live out of a backpack for almost two years and it turns out I’m ok with that.

Get that 4th tattoo… I love my other tattoos a whole lot and I’ve been meaning to add to the collection for a couple of years now, so now is the time.

Go skiing on my birthday… Another one I’ve already done because I did start writing this list before I turned 29 with this in mind for my birthday, I spent a gorgeous bluebird day on the ski slopes with my friends and absolutely loved it.

Fall in love again… Not necessarily with a person maybe with a place or an activity or even a whole bunch of people. I’ve fallen in love with many places and maybe too many people for my own mental well-being but I intend to keep on doing it for ever, because, honestly is there really any greater feeling than falling in love?

Try to improve my Spanish skills… Despite my determination to attempt to learn Spanish over the years my skills are still pretty rusty and limited to what I can remember from my GCSE Spanish classes and of course “uno cerveza por favour”! And as I am determined to go to South America at some point in my lifetime I’d quite like to be able to speak the language. Whilst I think it’s unlikely I’ll be able to be fluent within a year I’m going to try and improve my Spanish at least a little.

Finally watch Narcos… I mean self-explanatory really. I keep meaning to watch it and then just keep putting it off and watching Love Island or some other crap instead, so next binge watch… Narcos (although I’m probably going to watch the newest series of Love Island as well).

Eat at Dishoom… A pretty basic one but something I keep meaning to do and yet never quite get there.

Tick some books of the ‘To Be Read’ list… I read a lot, a lot, a lot but I have a very bad habit of re reading books repeatedly and a stack of unread books as well as a very long kindle wish list. Time to get reading some of them.

Go to the Dentist… As much as I don’t want to admit it, I am an adult now, and as such need to do things like go to the dentist, even if I don’t want to, because it’s good to take care of yourself, or so I have been told.

Dye my hair… The second of my take better care of myself promises is to sort out my hair. My hair is a complete mess I bleached the ends and dyed them green and now there’s a weird greenish tinge lingering, it turns a lighter colour mid-way down where the sun and sea lightened it last summer and there’s the odd (gulp) grey hair appearing. So time to treat myself and get it sorted.

Try to cut back on Dairy… Another promise to take better care of myself. I don’t react very well to dairy, never have really, milk and milk based products make me sick, but never the less I eat it, and I eat quite a lot of it in the form of cheese, which I am obsessed with. But as loathe as I am to, I’m going to try and eat a little less in an attempt to hopefully help my body feel a little better.

Get up and see at least five sunrises… I am not a morning person, but there is something wonderful about being awake before most of the world and seeing the sun come up. We only get so many sunrises in our lifetime and so far I’ve missed a fair few of them, so figured it would be nice to catch some this year, and hopefully in some beautiful places.

Try and date someone nice… I mean I always think I do at the start and then I get invested and catch feelings and then it turns out they are not so very nice and somehow it takes me a long time and a lot of friends pulling their hair out in frustration for me to see that. Maybe it should be listen to my friends dating advice more, but either way, it would be quite a lovely change to actually spend my time with a nice guy for once.

Keep laughing… I firmly believe laughter is the best cure for just about anything and life would be a complete waste without a little laughter in every day.

Do my bit to look after the planet… The planet is burning guys and we’ve somehow got to fix this mess we’ve made. I’ve been trying to be more and more conscious of my environmental impact, and whilst I’m nowhere near perfect I am going to try and do my utmost best.

See the Southern Lights… I have always longed to see either the northern or southern lights and am very much hoping that during my winter in Australia I’ll finally get the chance.

Be more consistent with this blog… I love writing, getting my jumbled thoughts out on paper and having other people read it makes me feel a little less alone in my crazy, crazy thoughts and feelings and hopefully provides mild entertainment for whoever happens to read it. So if you are reading, thank you and I promise to write more often.

Write something… be it a screenplay, short story, novel (although that may be a bit of a stretch) or even another blog. I have ideas that I have been mulling over for years now and let’s face it I am not getting any younger, therefore it is time to actually stop procrastinating and get on and write something for God’s sake!

Live somewhere new… I’ve no secret I’ve got the travel bug, badly, and although it’s only been a few weeks that I’ve been home, I already want to go find somewhere new to make my home for a little while. I’m kind of already working on this with a visa and flight for Australia acquired. So I’ll be seeing ya soon Melbourne.

Be goddamn happy… Simple really. Looking back at this list it’s going to be a busy year, and hopefully I’ll be able to do all this and so much more. Here’s to a fan-fucking-tastic year of travels, laughter and happiness.

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Falling in love is horrible…

A few months ago when I was talking a friend through my breakup she told me my ex was likely heartbroken, in response I told her that the next guy I was with would probably end up breaking my heart in return. How much I regret those words now.

You see I recently started seeing someone, it’s a little complicated but he makes me happy and I am falling for him. Head over heels, movie style falling for him. But as amazing as it is when we’re together I don’t know where it is going or if he feels the same way, and that thought, that it’s my turn to get my heartbroken is hanging over me constantly.

I broke up with my ex for a whole number of reasons but largely because I wasn’t in love with him. I loved him of course but I want, as silly and idealistic as it sounds, a love that consumes me, the kind you do see in movies or read about in books. I know now that I was never really in love with my ex because the feelings I have now are completely new and completely awful. In between moments of giddy hysteria there are so many tears, I can’t keep up with my own mood swings. My appetite has gone (although to be fair it wasn’t that great to start with), I’ve stopped sleeping properly and I have become a paranoid wreck.

The thing is normally the people I want, the people I yearn for never even come close to being mine. The last few relationships I’ve had, I’ve not wanted the person until I’ve already got them. This guy I have wanted but never thought I could have and now I’ve had a piece of him I want him so much more. And this feeling is terrifying.

Part of me wants to run screaming for the hills before my heart ends up being shattered and I have to pick the broken pieces of me up off the floor, but the other part of me thinks what if? This could be amazing, this could be everything I want, he could be everything I want.

The heart is a complicated mess. I hate, hate, hate this feeling but at the same time I want it. I want to feel like this because whilst it’s horrible it’s full of hope and possibility. This is the feeling of standing on the edge of the cliff and jumping you could crash and burn or you could fly.

The truth is we have no control over our heart. I have no idea where this is going and all I can do is trust, that everything will work out ok, that my heart is resilient and that even if it shatters I’ll survive. Here’s hoping for the best!

I’ll keep you posted xxx