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2018 in Retrospect…

I suppose it’s that time of year again. Time to look back on the year that has yet again flown by way way too quickly. And a year that has once again changed my life.

Strange to think that when the bells of 2018 rang in and I raised that glass of bubbly to the New Year I had no intentions of moving myself to the other side of the world and I don’t think I could have even have begun to imagine the year I’ve had. Because bloody hell has it been a good one!

Last year I wrote a list of things I had discovered and they very much still ring true…

1) I do have the best of friends, moving away proved that the ones I loved the most would still love me wherever the hell I was in the world. And the new ones I met, even if they were just in my life for a few months proved pretty damn awesome and never to forgotten.

2) Technically my heart didn’t get broken this year though it got a little bruised around the edges. But I still maintain that the most heartbreaking of situations can be the most healing. Looking back at all my heart break from last year if none of that had happened I wouldn’t be where or who I am today and I wouldn’t miss out on that for anyone.

3) You may have the biggest butterflies fluttering around your stomach but willpower will get you through anything. I sat on the tiniest little propeller plane on the journey from Australia to New Zealand feeling sick to my stomach with nerves at the prospect of being on the other side of the world alone for god knows how long, but it was a dream that I wanted to follow so I pushed on through. Same way I pushed on through the stress and anxiety of the first few weeks of work and pushed through the little voice in my head telling me there was no way in hell I was skiing down that steep icy slope! With a little willpower there’s no end to what you can achieve.

4) You are never too old to change your opinion or learn a new skill or make a new friend. Heck you’re never too old for anything. You never know where life is going to take you if you have an open mind.

5) Indulge your passions. Hell fucking yeah. That is exactly what I did the last seven months and let’s just say boy was it worth it.

6) Life is too short. Seriously I swear the years are going by quicker and quicker. And all good things come to an end far far quicker than you expect or want them to.

I was wallowing badly at the beginning of last year not knowing what the hell I was doing with my life and then on a random evening late January I made the impulsive decision to follow a dream I’d had for a while and move my ass to New Zealand. I still may not know what the hell I’m doing with my life, I still stumble around from adventure to adventure, drinking far too much than is good for me and making mistakes. I still fall in love with guys that don’t want me or move to the other side of the world before I get up the guts to tell them I love them. but I also cross oceans and see sights that take my breath away and I fly.

I have never been so happy in myself, I even like the messy bits, and although life keeps going by at an alarming rate it just keeps getting better and better.

So this year I stumbled and fell and flew, let’s keep doing it all over again in 2019

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2017 in retrospect…

2017 has just flown away but as it sped on by it completely turned my life on its head. 
This year I broke up with my boyfriend and subsequently moved house, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, fell in love, started running, listened to despacito a million times over, lost my beloved Granny, drank a whole lot of tequila, started writing again, left my job, and travelled around South East Asia. (Not necessarily in that order) 

I floundered for a while, shed an awful lot of tears and wondered several times over if I was losing my mind. It has been a chaotic year of so many feelings but amidst this whirlwind I have discovered some wonderful things…

1) I have the best of best friends. From my oldest friend who put up with hundreds of tearful phone calls and ranting texts to newer friends who surprised me with their love, constant support and assistance in downing alarming quantities of tequila! People it turns out can be so incredibly wonderful and kind and I get to call some of the best my friends. 

2) The most heartbreaking of situations can also be the most healing. So I got my heart broken a little bit, a boy didn’t love me back. But he taught me that I can still fall in love. When I was wallowing after the end of a long term relationship and wondering what the point even was he came into my life and gave me hope. He reminded me when I so desperately needed it that that fizzy giddy feeling still exists and love will surprise you when you’re least expecting it.

3) Willpower is strong. If you set your mind to do something, really do something there is no end to what you can achieve. Me the least sporty and most ridiculously unfit person managed to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. It pushed me to almost breaking point but I did it and the feeling of achieving something that you believed impossible makes you feel invincible. There are no longer any boundaries to what I can achieve. 

4) You are never too old to change your opinion or to fall in love with new places and cultures. Travelling through South East Asia I discovered an entirely new culture that I fell head over heels in love with. I don’t know what I expected visiting there but I do know that it has become a place I long so desperately to return to and I very much hope that I get the chance to do so next year.

5) Indulge your passions. For a while I got a little lost and stopped doing the things I love most. Then when I was most confused and heartbroken I started writing again and it helped I realised that those things that I love so much I should never put to one side just because they may not result in great success and riches. Just writing this blog for the tiny handful of readers is enough to make me happy. And I intend to make this into the New Years resolution that I keep, not just writing but following my other passions and dreams and not cutting my loves out of my life. 

6) Life is short. If there is anything this year has taught me it’s this. The speed at which 2017 has fled by has shocked me. I suddenly found myself realising I was 27 and my life was slipping by at an alarming rate. So seize every moment, love every day and don’t let a second of life just pass you by.

In a year that started with Trump becoming president and has been one constant shitstorm after another I have truly had some of the most wonderful of times. So I wish you all the very happiest of New Years! Here is to a fantastic 2018 xxx

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What I learned climbing Kilimanjaro…

It has taken me a while to write this post because how on earth do you put into words the experience of climbing 5895 meters to the top of the world’s highest freestanding mountain? It was at once the best and worst experience of my life. Horrendous altitude sickness, physical and mental exhaustion all faded away at the sheer exhilaration of reaching the summit and watching the sunrise on the world. It is something that I will never ever forget and it’s impact on me will be a permanent one. Here is what I discovered whilst climbing to the rooftop of Africa…

  1. The body is incredible, it can achieve things you never think it could. On summit night we set off at midnight on 2 hours sleep in -15C and we ascended over 1000 meters. 2 hours in and 5000 meters up I sat down and threw up. I had no energy I couldn’t even raise my arms to lift my water bottle to my mouth but somehow I dragged myself up the next 800 meters determined not to give up. And I survived. I may have come back down with a killer headache, numb legs and completely exhausted but my god my body is resilient. I now (and to those who know me this will come as a shock) go running for fun! Because after climbing a mountain a little run through the park is child’s play! 
  2. Running showers and working toliets are the best luxury and I will never ever take them for granted again. After 7 days of washing in a small bowl of lukewarm water and going to the toilet either behind a rock or in a toilet tent I cannot emphasise enough how much I love my shower and toilet!
  3. I am strong. This feeling comes and goes, but whenever I’m having a down moment I have to tell myself I climbed a giant ass mountain I can deal with a silly boy taking advantage of me or a horrible customer at work yelling at me that I ruined their day with cold food. I can achieve incredible things if I want and that’s what I need to hold on to. 
  4. The human spirit is incredible. Our group were climbing with charity challenge we all had stories, had all faced struggles in life and been broken, and we were all dragging ourselves up this mountain for a reason. We were all massively unprepared, a little undertrained and all hit with altitude sickness and other ailments along the way. But we never let it get us down we sang we danced and my god did we laugh. It turns out you can get through pretty much anything with a bit of laughter.  
  5. Never give up on your dreams. (The big one!) I’ve dreamt about climbing Kilimanjaro for so many years now and had the whole trip planned for a good 5 years before I took any steps to booking it, and whilst it may have been horribly tough and at times I wondered what the hell I was doing I cannot describe how happy I am that I did it. I am an expert at wanting to do something or wanting something and not having the courage to chase it, the biggest lesson I learnt is simply to be brave. Go after what you want, life is short and it might not work out but it might just and it could be amazing!