Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Colour With Me // 1

I always find watching people draw or colour so relaxing, so when I sat down to colour and relax myself recently that I'd film it and hopefully this can help to calm your mind and soul.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Colour With Me // 1

I always find watching people draw or colour so relaxing, so when I sat down to colour and rela...
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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Bali Travel Diary - Part 3

After getting stuck in a torrential downpour the previous day, we figured it was probably best to get up and get out and do whatever it was we wanted to do first thing while the weather held up. We could then come back and chill at the villa and swim and if it rained it wouldn't matter.

While sitting around the breakfast table we made our plans for the day (this basically became a daily ritual). My friends had heard about this walk that heaps of people recommended we check out while we were here, so we figured we'd go give that a go today, and then maybe just check out the surrounding area afterwards. We also decided we all wanted to make ourselves feel really pampered and luxe and book full body massages. Asking our staff if they had any recommendations for places to go, they told us they could arrange for the massages to be brought to us, and they could be ready and waiting when we got back. We booked in a time to be pampered and then, struggling to get out of our robes, we got onto the bus to leave the villa, while vowing that we needed to try and make room for some more time to chill out here.

The walk we were embarking on was called the Campuhan Ridge Walka nine kilometre nature walk that makes you feel like you've been transported to some other place. Being that it's always hot and humid in Bali, no matter what you're doing you're going to work up a sweat, but the walk itself is super easy and without a doubt anyone could do it. I would however probably recommend going in the morning or afternoon when the sun isn't at its hottest so it doesn't feel to overwhelming.

You start by walking across the Campuhan Valley which gives amazing views of all the surrounding tropical foliage. We stopped along the way to get pictures and check out the amazing view. As you walk further, you leave behind that rainforest feeling and begin to see some of the amazing rice fields that Bali is so well known for. The vastness of these fields combined with the perfect symmetry of all the planted crops makes for an amazing sight. As you get towards the end of the walk you'll start to hit buildings again, which house cafes, shops and we even discovered there was villas and hotels out there. We didn't have any time to stop and eat there as we had a set time for our driver to pick us up, so instead we turned around and made our way back.

I always find walks like these soothing and enjoyable for many reasons. Of course first and foremost was the amazing views we were surrounded by the entire time. Also, because it wasn't an overly exhausting walk, it gave all of us the opportunity to chat (like we didn't do that enough all ready). However there seems to be something about being outside in some beautiful nature (maybe it's the relaxing feeling you get) that usually brings out more serious and thoughtful topics of conversation that, by the end, makes you feel more connected with each other.

On our drive in to the walk, we had passed by the Ubud Monkey Forest and all the shops and sites in that area. While none of us had any desire to go to the monkey forest, we were keen to check out the shops in the surrounding area, so when we made our way back to the beginning of the walk, we got our driver to drop us back off there for a couple of hours.

While in Bali, I would personally avoid any and all attractions that involve animals. Last time I was there, I wasn't so informed and had gone to a place where we were all able to pet a tiger and have photos with it, I know shudder at the thought. First, and this relates specifically to the monkey forest, I have heard many a story about how the monkeys can be trained to steal your belongings as you walk through the forest, and quite frankly I didn't feel like having monkeys trying to grab at me for the entire walk. Also, in a place like Bali, well any place for that matter as well, you can never be 100% sure how those animals are being treated behind the scenes. For example with the tiger I had been silly enough to visit on my first trip, for a tiger to sit that motionless while surrounded by dozens of people, sure there is a possibility that it's simply be trained to do that and has been brought up by humans since it was a baby and therefore is not phased by them. However there is also the possibility that they have been injected with some type of drug to keep them sedated. Sure, from the outside there is no way of knowing which of the following is true for wherever you may be, but for me, the fact that there is even the possibility that the animal is being kept and treated in a way that is not fair or natural, means I prefer to steer entirely clear of any such attractions these days. I'm all for zoos, nature parks or anything of the sort that has the aim of keeping a couple of animals in order to breed them and help their species, I think it's awesome that people are helping to keep certain animal species existent on our planet, but otherwise, it just doesn't feel right and fair to me to keep animals, particularly if they're of a larger size, cooped up.

Walking along and looking at the various shops and sights, we eventually decided to stop for lunch at Wanara Kitchen. At first, being that the place was so empty, we were a little sceptical about our choice, but boy was that scepticism off. The inside of the restaurant was super modern and trendy, it would fit perfectly within Newcastle or any other trendy suburb; they even had some street art-type murals on the wall which almost completely sold me. A couple of my friends ordered some coffees and they said they were some of the best we'd had on the trip so far, so if you're in need of a good coffee this is a place I'd recommend. I ordered myself a fresh juice (the flavour combination of which now escapes me) and the mushroom risotto and both were completely on point. The fresh juice was exactly what I needed after the hot walk, and the perfect portion sizing of the meal, which I thought looked a bit small when it first came out,  left me feeling satisfied and not grossly over full. By the time we finished up it was about time to head back to our driver to get back in time for a massage.

We decided to stop at a small mini mart type shop to grab some snacks for us to have back at our villa; little did we know how so seemingly insignificant and simple a choice would end up leading to another one of the funniest memories of the trip; something that still cracks me up as I think back to it now.. Loaded up with some snacks in hand, we began to walk back to our driver, who was parked in the Monkey Forest carpark. As you get closer to the Monkey Forest area you start to see bunches of monkeys sitting around on the sidewalks and on the tops of the shops and stalls. As we got closer to the Forest, a couple of my friends say they heard a lady yelling at them 'NO SNACKS'. Those of us at the front of the group must have been to far up to hear, but my friends said they had no idea what she was going on about and so ignored her, which looking back on it now was one of the funniest mistakes. A friend in front of me was carrying a bag of potato chips and as soon as we reached the monkey infested area, one launched itself at her bag. It tried to rip it out of her hands, but she kept a hold, but each time it failed it just jumped right back at her. Another monkey ran onto the scene and jumped onto the first monkey, almost seemingly grabbing it to try and make it stop, which resulted in the two monkeys having a hissing fight at one another, which was oddly a little bit scary. The first monkey started jumping again, but this time it seemed to be jumping higher towards her bag. Obviously not wanting to have any of her stuff taken, on it's final attempt to jump at her, my friend put her foot out to block it and ended up kicking the monkey away. I feel like trying to describe that moment in words just doesn't capture it, but seeing her kick the monkey (not in a way that would hurt it of course) was one of the funniest things we'd seen so far. One of the stall owners even came out with a large pole and began prodding the monkey to get it to go away (they seemed quite prepared for this moment so I feel like this happens on the regular). As we all suddenly became aware of what was happening, and as more monkeys began to turn up to see what the fuss was about and likely because more of us with snacks in hand were walking through, it turned into a scene that would have been downright hilarious to view from the outside, probably especially as a local. Picture eight Australian girls, snacks and bags in hand, all running across the streets trying to dodge monkeys, somewhat screaming and laughing and going 'OMG what is happening'. No doubt hearing us from the car park and thinking 'that has to be my girls', our driver came running down the driveway to car park he was in and began directing us to where he'd parked our bus. We all ran to the bus, scanning around frantically for monkeys, trying to pile in and praying no monkey managed to make it on board as they walked closer and closer to us. Once on the bus we all burst out laughing about what happened for a good ten minutes, and suddenly realising why that lady was yelling out 'NO SNACKS' at us. We knew we'd all made fools of ourselves and probably looked ridiculously hilarious to the locals, but that only made us laugh more. The famous quote for the rest of the trip than came from my friend who was initially bombarded by the monkeys who said 'I didn't want to kick the monkey!' Later one of my friends made a meme out of it which will forever circulate in our group.

After a hilarious morning, when we got back to the villa, the masseuses were ready and waiting for us, which made us feel super glamorous despite how hot and sticky we were. With there being enough beds for four of us to go at a time, four of us had a quick shower to clean off and headed up for the full body massages. I think the last time I had a full body massage was literally the last time I was in Bali five years ago. However, nothing can compare to getting a full body massage in your own private villa that is surrounded by the rainforest by a masseuse that has been personally brought to you. To top it all off, part way through my massage we began to hear pray music reverberate around the area; it couldn't have gotten any more picture perfect by that point, and I don't think I've ever been so relaxed in my life. After we were done, the other four had their turn, while we chilled out, swam and took some photos. Each massage was about an hour long, and by the time everyone was done, we had just enough time for another quick swim before showering and getting ready for dinner.

As I mentioned in a previous post, we had people with a range of diets in our group, including vegan and gluten intolerant, which meant we had to take an extra minute when choosing a place to eat, but that extra research also meant we found some really cool and interesting places to eat. One place that my friends had heard about was Moksawhich is a plant-based, raw restaurant.

The restaurant was located sort of 'off the beaten track' as some might say; it certainly wasn't in any type of location that you would simply stumble upon. Our driver could only take us to the start of this stoned driveway, which we walked up for about five minutes before reaching it. The pay off of being located way out in the middle of nowhere meant the view we got while eating was beautiful; green crop fields with houses dotted in between. Being both a raw and vegan place meant that not only was there obviously no animal products in any of the menu items, but also nothing was actually cooked; there were a few dishes that were heated, which made for an interesting experience. I ordered the Raw Cacao Super Food Smoothie, which was basically like a healthy chocolate smoothie, so I would highly recommend it if chocolate is your thing. For a starter a few of us got the Love Bruschetta. Being raw, it wasn't on bread, but instead the base was something they called Living Crackers. It was a soft base that would fall apart as you picked it up, so eating was a little tricky. It was interesting dish, and while I think I'm going to stick to my regular type of bruschetta, I didn't hate it. For a main I had the Purple Scaloppini, which was one of the dishes that was heated. It was baked purple sweet potatoes with spinach, sautéed mushrooms, grilled vegetables and balsamic. Again I had the same feeling about this dish as I did with pretty much all the food that night. Nothing tasted bad at all, but it was all dishes that had different flavours and combinations than I was use to, so I can't say I was absolutely blown away by the food. I certainly think it's something that you would eventually get an acquired taste for, and there's no denying that we only ate super healthy that night. I would recommend people try it out because it's such a different food experience, but I don't think I'd be making multiple trips there. To top it off, for dessert I had a few scoops of what I believe was called Chocolate Coffee ice cream, at the very least that was the flavour combination I had. We sat around for a few hours and eventually called a couple of taxis and made our way home. Again we were all exhausted from the day, but we stayed up for another hour or so with our snacks, some tea served by our lovely maid staff, and just hung out.

Tomorrow would actually mark our last day in Ubud before we made our way to Seminyak. We had to be out by lunch time, so we made ourselves some plans for the next morning before jumping in to bed in our villa for the last time!

Stayed tuned for part four to find out about our first day in Seminyak, how our accommodation just kept getting better and me reliving my Bali trip from five years ago.
Saturday, January 14, 2017

Bali Travel Diary - Part 3

After getting stuck in a torrential downpour the previous day, we figured it was probably best to...
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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Are You Living Consciously?

I recently came across this article and it struck a chord with me. I wanted to share it with you and the message it conveys; not only to reveal my own answers, but to give you the chance to sit back and evaluate yourself and your life as well, because I think it's healthy to do so every now and then.

As you can probably gather from the title, the question seeking to be answered is 'are you living consciously?'

What is living consciously I hear you ask? I'm happy to admit that I hadn't really heard this term of living consciously either before I came across this article, so I put the question into Google and had a read of a few other sources as well.

In a nutshell, living consciously is not allowing external influences, habits and your subconsciousness to dictate your actions and decisions. Choosing to live consciously enables you to stop any negative actions, behaviours or habits from influencing your choices and instead gives you more control to make more positive ones. It's knowing how you can live your life to make yourself happier, and living in the present moment rather than always worrying about the past or future.

"Do you ever have a feeling that you're drifting through life, and not going where you want to go? Or that you don't know how you got where you are today?

Living consciously is about taking control of your life, about thinking about your decisions rather than making them without thought, about having a life that we want rather than settling for the one that befalls us."

Choosing to make an effort to live consciously can positively affect your life and your experience while here on earth in so many ways. It helps you direct your energy to where you really need and want it, which can be great if you're someone like me who can spend to much of their time overthinking and worrying about trivial things or things that simply don't need or deserve that much attention.

The article raised a few questions for you to ask yourself which can help you figure out whether you are currently living consciously or not. They are yes or no questions. If you answer no to most or all of them then you're likely already living consciously (go you!). If however you answer yes to most or all, then looking into this idea of living consciously and trying to practice it more may be beneficial to you. I'm going to put my answers to the questions as I go.

1. Are you in a job that you fell into rather than the job you want?
No - while I currently do not have a stable job, I answer this in relation to my most recent past jobs. I've done a bit of time in the casual, customer service world, but since I first applied for and worked in the freelance writing world, which I always wanted to do, I haven't looked back since. Freelancing has been a crazy ride so far (I may need to do a seperate post on my experience at some other time), but I'm always proud to be able to tell people that it's the industry I work in, and I'm proud I managed to get into it after always wanting to.

2. Are you doing things that are given to you rather than what you love to do?
No - While during the completion of my recent law degree it did feel like I was just doing the things I was given in order to get it done, during that period and since then, I've been doing things I enjoy and choosing to do things I think I'll enjoy, like working on my blog and choosing to enrol in a Masters.

3. Are you spending your time doing busy work rather than what you want to do with your days?
No - since finishing my degree I've had more time to focus on my blog, and also do other simple things I enjoy like reading, writing and getting outside. 

4. Do you wish you could spend more time with loved ones?
Yes - While I think I do spend a good amount of time with those around me I find important, I think there is certainly room for me to grow and be more social, which is a resolution, if you will, of mine for the new year.

5. Do you find yourself overweight because you’ve been eating the food you’ve been eating for years and stuck in a rut of not exercising?

6. Do you find yourself living from paycheck to paycheck or in debt, not knowing where your money goes?
Yes - while I wouldn't say I necessarily live pay check to pay check or have any serious debt, I am in a phase where I don't have any major, steady stream of income and I would like to pick up some more freelancing work to change this.

7. Do you find yourself wasting your time doing things that aren’t important rather than focusing on completing the things that are very important?

No - I think we all might be guilty of this every now and then, but overall I think I avoid wasting time fairly well.

8. Do you go through your days not thinking about what you want out of life and how to get it?
No - I think I'm actually guilty of focusing to much on the future and what I want to do and how I should get there, rather than focusing more on the present moment, which is something I want to change this new year.

If you're finding yourself thinking about living more consciously after going through those questions one of the first things to do is rid your life of negative influences. Going through that quiz and thinking about why it is you answered yes or no to those questions can be a start to identifying some of the negative influences in your life. Negative influences can be things like certain people, certain types of conversations you repeatedly find yourself having with yourself or others, or even something like your continual procrastination and the things you do to procrastinate. Another way to identify negative influences is to keep a journal and write down anything that influences you and your decisions for a period of time and evaluate whether it does so in a negative or positive way.

Another way to live more consciously is to engage in what is known as power sessions. These can last from any where between half an hour to one or more depending on what you need. These are time periods where you put all your focus and attention on completing important tasks. You need to make sure you don't get interrupted or disrupted during these periods, so turn off your phone, switch off the TV, maybe even turn off your Internet if you need. Make sure to focus on only completing those important things you want to get done and don't let yourself get sidetrack by something else. Having periods like this can dramatically increase your productivity and helps clear that thing off your to-do list and out of your mind to focus on other things.

Eliminating distractions is probably one you've heard before. Whether it's the TV or social media, you need to stop yourself from getting distracted and wasting hours sitting in front of the screen. Choosing to unplug your TV and only plug it in when a show or something is on that you really have an interest to watch, or downloading one of those apps that will block you from viewing certain websites during certain hours are steps to help here. By stopping yourself from wasting time here, you have more time to achieve more productive things.

Now that you've freed up all this time and have gotten all your important things to do out of the way, you'll probably find yourself with a lot of spare time. Normally you might fill this with TV or Facebook, but we've stopped wasting time there remember. This can be when boredom sinks in, and it can be oh so tempting to just jump back on the couch or in front of the computer to save yourself from it, but constantly choosing this path can make you feel like you're just drifting through life and leave you feeling unfulfilled; try embracing it instead. Don't run away from the boredom but instead use it as a time to reflect and think about things in your life, things you want to achieve, situations that have happened recently you want to assess. You can also fill this time with activities you wouldn't normally do or things you've always been meaning to try. You'll feel much more fulfilled spending spare time doing more productive and proactive things than if you manage to binge watch the entire season of a show.
Thursday, January 12, 2017

Are You Living Consciously?

I recently came across this article and it struck a chord with me. I wanted to share it with yo...
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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A Sketchy Impression // 1

It's probably been a year since I've drawn anything and I figured there's no time like the New Year to get back into it. I was never an amazing talent to begin with, but I'm excited to see how I progress with some practice over this year. Of course I had to start with a piece depicting one of my favourite characters from one of my favourite series ever.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A Sketchy Impression // 1

It's probably been a year since I've drawn anything and I figured there's no time lik...
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Saturday, January 07, 2017

Bali Travel Diary - Part 2

This is part 2 of my Bali travel diary series. If you haven't had a chance to read part 1 yet, you can check it out here.

Waking up the next day, my body clock really hadn't gotten itself into gear yet, because it was 5am, yet I was wide awake.

Being that it is up in the rainforest, and Bali is such a humid place, there was always this feeling of dampness that hung around you. I laid in bed for a little bit listening to the sound of the river that ran outside the door of the bedroom I was in, before logging on to Facebook and realising I wasn't the only one of my friends who found themselves awake ridiculously early.

We eventually all wandered up stairs and sat around waking up, admiring the view and waiting for breakfast. The sun was out and we were still a bit in shock about how beautiful the place was.

Before we got breakfast, the maids were lovely enough to bring over pots of tea and coffee for us.

Eventually breakfast was ready and we got to sit together for the first time at the huge round table. We realised that round tables were the best thing ever invented for us, because when you're traveling with eight people and all trying to sit down together and have a meal and chat, normal rectangle-shaped tables just ain't cutting it.

Our meal started with a variety of fresh fruit, which all tasted so good, and I personally always find it so nice and relaxing and refreshing to start the day off with some good fruit. This was followed by toast, a variety of condiments, and for those who eat it (not yours truely) an egg cooked in whatever way you pleased.

I think we ended up sitting at that table for maybe two hours just chatting and thinking about what to do with ourselves for the day. We knew we needed to plan out activities for all the other days as well, but in that moment it felt like to much of a difficult task. We decided to spend another hour or so at the villa swimming in the magnificent infinity pool and then head on out to visit Ubud Palace which was basically in the middle of the town, and then wander around to check out the markets nearby.

During those first few hours of relaxing and hanging out in the sun with nothing to worry about, I think we all struggled to bring ourselves to actually get our shit together, get changed and leave the villa. Eventually we did however, and our awesome driver took us into the town and dropped us off at Ubud Palace and said he'd meet us back there in about two hours.

We decided to start by checking out all the markets first. Up until this point the weather had been perfect, but we'd begun to see the rain clouds form over head, and as our luck would have it, after around ten minutes of browsing on the streets, the heavens opened up and the downpour began. When I say downpour, I mean like torrential downpour. As much as being stuck in the rain sucked, it was kind of amazing to watch how the locals who were running stalls at the markets responded so quickly; clearly having dealt with this situation hundreds of times perform. They all began moving their wares around and puling out tarps. Within a few minutes of people rushing around all over the place, there was suddenly alleyways of tarps and what had been an outdoor market, felt like it had somehow been magically transported to some other inside space. By this time we'd seen all we had to see at the markets and wanted to keep exploring, but weren't overly keen on getting completely and utterly drenched, so we knew we needed to track down some ponchos. We eventually found a lady walking around with a few, flagged her down, and she went off to grab a few more for the rest of us. After originally offering some ridiculous price for what are virtually eight pieces of thin, terrible quality plastic, we were able to barter her down to a reasonable price.

Now adorned in our beautiful green ponchos, plus one red one, we set off down the street looking nothing but clearly fabulous. We figured the best thing to do with ourselves at this point was find somewhere to have lunch and hope the rain calmed down while we ate. We wandered for a couple more minutes before eventually coming across Ibu Rai where we decided to shuffle in out of the rain and remove our woeful ponchos (most had gotten a tear or two in them already).

On our trip we had people with all different kinds of diets including gluten-free and vegan, so while it would make picking a place a little bit less than simple, we always seemed to end up at interesting places. I have to say my first meal out in Bali for this trip got a 10/10.

After sitting around for about an hour, the rain had significantly calmed down and reduced to about a sprinkle. By this time our two hours was almost up, but we felt we wanted more time to explore. When our driver pulled up, we prayed he wouldn't hate us as we asked if he could maybe come back in another hour. He seemed cool with it, so while he drove off we went and checked out the Ubud Palace.

When you think palace I know you're probably imagine some amazing big, castle-like feature, but this was actually more of a shrine, which there are plenty of all around Bali, so if you're not in Ubud I have no doubt you'd be able to find something similar to check out. It was a beautiful place though. As you walked through there were various places blocked off that seemed to be used for worshipping/praying. All the nature growing throughout the palace also added to the beautiful, serene, spiritual vibe. One thing that did annoy me while walking around was the few people who, despite there being clear signage asking people not to walk up the steps of certain parts and not to enter various section, there where still those doing so just to be able to grab a photo. I'm all for grabbing photos wherever you go, but when doing so means your basically disrespecting a religious place and the rules set there, it makes me a bit pissed off.

We then wandered back down the street we had lunch on to check out some of the shops before meeting our bus driver. Before we headed back we also all grabbed our first gelato for the trip. Bali isn't probably the first place to come to mind when you talk about having good gelato, but not only did there seem to be shops with it everywhere, it was actually so good! Though at this point we had no idea how the weather would go, we'd already made plans to head to Tegenungan Waterfall, so off to the waterfall in that oh so perfect waterfall weather we went (hint* sarcasm).

As we approached our destination, the torrential rains decided to return. We had never really dried properly from our first soaking anyway, so it was back on with the half-ass ponchos and down to the waterfall we went. Now most people would consider walking down a series of concrete steps, wearing fluro green, ripped ponchos and thongs, while wading through masses of water streaming down the pathway as a terrible day out, and sure it was, but it honestly became a highlight of the trip. Most of us agreed that we'd never laughed so much in our lives, and honestly would have never put ourselves in such a situation if we weren't all together. The group photo we got once reaching the waterfall (see below) really just says it all, and is probably a photo I'll cherish for a long time. The first part of the walk down actually consisted of walking past a few shops and stalls, and the road there had well and truely flooded; I think the locals got great enjoyment from watching us wade through the dirty water in our ponchos, looking so out of place and hopeless. I'm sure we spent longer trekking down and back then actually at the waterfall itself, but honestly the trek was the better part, even though it was also horrible. Sometimes I wonder if our bus driver wanted to die of embarrassment having to chauffeur us onto his bus (that will become more clear with more stories to follow).

Finally back on the bus and knowing we were heading home, as much fun as the day had been, I was kind of glad to know we didn't have to go back out and trek around in the rain.

From memory much of that afternoon was spent swimming, drying off and figuring out what to do for dinner and things to do for the following day. It took me a while to remember where we'd actually gone for dinner that night, but I believe we went to Kebun Bistro. They had a huge variety of food and an amazing dessert selection, which each of us got something from. A couple of us decided to try out the cocktails but boy were they strong! It was at this point I decided that ordering cocktails just wasn't for me. I think we ended up sitting there for a few hours before we all began to fall asleep at the table and decided it was probably time for us to head back. I think all the excitement of our first day, combined with our screwed up body clocks meant we were all exhausted by the time we got back to our villa, so it was straight to bed to crash out for all of us.

Stayed tuned for part 3 of my Bali travel diary to hear about the time my friend kicked a monkey!

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Bali Travel Diary - Part 2

This is part 2 of my Bali travel diary series. If you haven't had a chance to read part 1 yet, y...
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Thursday, January 05, 2017

Dear December ('16)

It was like I blinked and you were over.

You were a month of endings, new beginnings, making plans and taking a moment to stop. You signalled the end of a five year routine and were a time for me to realise it's up to me to make new plans now.

This new year is unlike any other for me. I told myself and everyone else I was happy to have a year to just relax and unwind, yet I then went and attempted to do everything in my power to not have that happen. However it seems the universe wouldn't have it.

You taught me to accept that sometimes what you think you need to do isn't what you should do. You reminded me of my belief that everything happens for a reason.

November gave me probably the most stressed month of my life I've ever experienced. As my five year degree came to an end, a five year routine that I'd become accustomed to and came to rely on as showing me what I was going to do with my life for the next year, as I realised I had no major plans for the next year in front of me, combined with focusing on making sure I passed what I had left to do, things felt overwhelming. Not only is not knowing what I'll do in the year ahead an odd feeling for me, but so to is stress a foreign feeling.

The beginning of you brought much of the same, but as the days rolled by I began to accept and slowly feel more at peace. With the peace came a clearer mind to think about what I wanted to do with this free time, however long it lasts.

There is no telling what will pop up tomorrow, in a week from now or even months from now, that will change the path I'm taking and change the direction I thought I was going, but until that happens, here's my simple ideas for 2017.

For five years I focused much of my energy on pure academics; I had other interests but they were never given enough attention for me to truely learn and grow them. With the textbooks out of the way for the most part, it's time for me to give them more attention.

While I will be doing a Masters in journalism, choosing to do so via online, distance education means it won't be such an overwhelming force as previous studies were.

It's time to devote more attention to writing, to taking pictures, to other creative outlets, and to me. It's a time to focus on not worrying so much about the fact I might not be following some concrete path to help me get to some predetermined end, it's a time to realise I only think that's the right thing to be doing because society makes us think that it is. When you do that, you increase the potential of missing out on your true passions in life, your true meaning for being here, and worst of all, you can miss the chance to be truely and completely unapologetically happy.

It's time for me to tackle the fear of travelling solo, even if it is just within my own country.

December, you were a month of nothing concrete, but instead were a month of me sitting in my mind and figuring out where my focuses will go from here. While you may have felt a bit like a 'nothing' month, for lack of a better term, you were probably the most important.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Dear December ('16)

It was like I blinked and you were over. You were a month of endings, new beginnings, making pl...
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