Category Archives: Photos

Saying Yes and De-Stressing

sayyesadventures

It has been nearly 5 months since my last update and there is so much to catch up on!

We left Darwin in late October for the Sunshine Coast and travelled down over the course of about four days. We left Darwin in a little bit of a hurry as Stu had a job offer down the coast and we needed to arrive within five days. He got the phone call at about 2pm that day and we packed up all of our belongings into the car and left the next morning at 6am to been our 3500km journey.

Here’s a video I created documenting that trip.

We were headed to Stu’s friend Simon’s home, which he shares with his wonderful wife Judy ( Who at this point I had never met, and now I consider a good friend) & their three children. They were kind enough to offer us their spare room in their lovely house in Currimundi near Caloundra, until we found our feet.

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Simon & Judy on Christmas Day

The feet didn’t take long to get found and we ended up only staying with them for one week, after we found a beautiful Queenslander on the gorgeous Bribie Island to stay in with the owner, a lovely lady called Chloe and her Kelpie cross Border Collie pup, Boris.

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Boris

The location was beautiful and it was handy to still meet up with Simon and Judy at the weekends as Bribie Island is only around an hour away from Currimundi. Bribie Island is a little piece of heaven, a beautiful island off the Sunshine Coast near(ish) to Brisbane, connected to the mainland by a large road bridge and easy walking distance to all your amenities. In fact the majority of Bribie Island is made up of National Park Land. The downside to this being that it is a very desirable place to live, especially for the older generation, and the people and houses are all compacted down to one end. In fact as beautiful as it is, it is known as an above-ground graveyard within the surrounding area.

It proved near impossible for me to find work, being a small place with far more people than job opportunities, plus the fact I definitely feel employers are put off when they see the applicant is on a working holiday visa.

I felt depression creep back into my life whilst living there, which is quite remarkable considering it was such a beautiful breathtaking place. I felt so blessed to have the opportunity to live there, but not being able to find work really took its toll on me. I felt like I had failed.

Eventually after eating into our savings for nearly a month,  Stu & I decided it was time to move on. He no longer wanted to stay working a job he didn’t like for a poorly run business  and to be honest I was happy and excited to hit the road again.

It was now mid-November, We spent around a week trying to find work somewhere new, basically anywhere in Australia, (although we really wanted to stay in Queensland if possible) and after searching all over the internet on every job website, dozens of emails and phone calls later we found a job working for Manbulloo mangoes who provide Mangoes to Coles (One of the biggest supermarkets in Australia). This job opportunity meant us driving from Bribie Island to a (tiny) place called Giru nestled somewhere between Ayr and Townsville in North Queensland, around a 1300km drive. With no idea where we would stay or what the work would be like we took a chance, packed our lives up into the car once again and took a big dive into the unknown.

I was looking forward to seeing a new place, and meeting some new faces, I was determined that I would make the most of this adventure and pull myself out of whatever rut I had started to fall into.

We decided this time to do an all-night drive, so we spent the day packing up the car, drank copious amounts of coffee and finally we left around 10pm that evening. Around about 5am the next day Stu was getting extremely tired and he doesn’t like me driving on long journeys, (that’s a whole other story though) so we pulled into a rest stop for an hour. He had a nap and I have to admit, I was so incredibly grumpy on this trip. I’m sure any member of my family could tell you that when I haven’t slept I am a very grumpy lady. Public apology to anyone who has encountered sleepy Morv! I felt like I had to stay up to keep Stu awake, so I consumed way too much caffeine and it prevented me from sleeping at all the whole trip.

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Leaving Bribie, crossing the bridge to the mainland.

At one point we were coming over a steep hill at around 3/4am and there was a massive road train behind us, he had been sitting right up behind us for  a few kms and then on a blind hill he decided to flash us (we were doing the speed limit), and then begin to overtake us not knowing if anything was coming the other direction. There was a steep drop off to our left, I totally panicked, and Stu slowed down, as we were pretty much forced to. This driver then pulled himself in front of us rapidly and his back end nearly whipped us off the road, I am not even joking, I thought we were gonna get swept off the road, we pulled back and he narrowly missed us by a hair, our hearts were racing as we came over the top of the blind hill and then see another truck coming on the other side of the road. If it had come a few seconds sooner, I swear we’d all have been dead.

How irresponsible. What a selfish act of driving. Maybe the truck driver has children, would they want people to do that to a car with their children or partner inside? He/she put everyones life in danger that night and we were shook up for the remainder of the journey.

Everyone makes mistakes though, so hopefully it was just an error in judgement.

Here’s a video I made of the trip from Sunshine Coast to Giru (via a one night stay in Bowen) where we lived and worked for a month.

We went via Bowen, where Stu grew up as it was on the way and he gave me a quick tour. As we had made good time, we arrived there around about 1/2pm we decided to set-up-swag in the Horseshoe Bay Caravan Park as you are not allowed to free camp anywhere around Bowen such as on beaches etc.

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Enjoying a beer at Horseshoe Bay after a very long drive overnight.

I absolutely loved Bowen! We stayed one night and then the next day we had to drive to Giru, further North. We sussed out where our new work place was and then called up places looking for some cheap accomodation for the upcoming month. The cabins in caravan parks nearby were charging ridiculous rates per week, for the same money you could have rented a 5 bedroom Queenslander near the beach. As Giru is in the middle of nowhere, it’s just off the main highway with a large sugar cane factory works (sugar cane processing stinks FYI) there’s not too many options unless we wanted to stay in Ayr which we did not and we definitely weren’t willing to stay at a backpackers hostel, no offence to  those who do, both me and Stu have done it before, but we value our own space and freedom too much now to go back to it  (plus, I’ve heard some horror stories).

We managed to find an absolute gem off the highway, a crumbly sign for an Eco-Tourist Park looked intriguing and was only 10 minutes from the mango shed. As we drove in, it was certainly eco – thousands of wallabies everywhere, a little run down but it sat under a beautiful mountain range and was lush and green and more importantly away from too many people. Here we met Fred, originally from Germany, a 90 year old man who had cleared this piece of land with his young family when he was in his 20’s. He was such a genuine, straight up, wonderful man. He told us many a tale of his past, showed us through old photo albums and told us that we were the most respectful, nicest couple he had stay in the park for over ten years.

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At nearby Billabong Sanctuary

 

He had only one caravan available on site, it looked pretty big and had a massive canvas annexe attached, as we stepped inside it was clear it had been empty for a while, it had a smell about it that I still can’t put my finger on, but hey, who cares we thought, we’ll take it! After a fair amount of Nag Champa had been burned, floors had been swept, everything cleaned and dinners had been cooked, it no longer smelt stale, and we had our own little cute pad for the next month.

We also made some pals in the park, all of which were furry. Possums regularly woke me up in the night climbing on the caravan, one of which had made his home between a tin roof and the top of the caravan, which I’m pretty sure is why he crawled inside the annexe desperate for water a few times. It got real hot here, and I’m glad we could help the wee guys. We fed the wallabies and possums mangoes that had gone too soft for eating, and they became regular fixtures at our front ‘garden’. We really enjoyed living here and Fred was excellent to have a chat with each week when we went in to pay our rent. Most of the other residents here were contractors we never really saw anyone to speak to them, everyone was doing seasonal work and was either working or sleeping, which made it such a beautiful and peaceful place. We took some time out after work one day to go for a local bush walk to the local rock slide, and that was amazing.

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One of our possum pals who came to see us for some water

We worked at the mango shed until around the 20th December by which time we were both so over it. At some points we were doing 70+ hour weeks and getting paid really awful wages, especially since the more you work the more you get taxed. One massive bonus of working there though was the amount of delicious mangoes we got to consume, and we made some delicious mango chutney to give as Christmas gifts, which went down very well with Simons family!

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Stu enjoying playing guitar in the spacious annexe

I painted this picture to give to Fred the Eco-tourist park owner, we had many chats about the commercialism of Christmas and as we wanted to give him something, I decided on making him a gift using up some of the paints and canvasses that we have been carting around Australia with us! He loved it. His eyesight is not great so I think he really appreciated the bold lines and colours.15665964_10154966618922868_1580557610874393212_n

We decided we would go back to Bowen for Christmas, so once again without knowing too much about where we would stay, we packed up our lives and headed to Bowen. Luckily I looked on Gumtree and I found an old advert from September still up, from a guy looking for a housemate in his four bedroom Queenslander. I took a stab in the dark, as it was the 23rd December at this point, I messaged him and he said he would be happy for us to drop in and see him.

Feeling a bit like Mary & Joseph, we did, and he let us move in that day.

We are extremely lucky to live with the aforementioned, Liam, we’ve been on a good few adventures so far, lots of snorkelling, bbq’s and a boat trip. It is so nice to live with someone and have that social aspect there too.

Thanks Liam!

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At Mother Beddick in Bowen

Stu knows his friend Simon from Bowen, as they were a pair of bloody terrors when they were kids, running rampant around the neighbourhood, or so I’ve heard, so Simon and Judy (who’s also from Bowen) were coming up for a big family Christmas. We were lucky enough for them to invite us along for Christmas Day with the whole family which was just lovely and so nice to see everyone again. We spent the day by the pool and the night dancing our butts off.

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Judy & I having a girly day eating lunch and drinking pints!

We organised to meet up with our awesome friends Anna & Trev, who we worked with at TFS the Sandalwood Plantation in the NT, for New Year, and decided to head to Hydeaway Bay. They brought one of their older dogs Buster, their teenage pup Boogie, and their new lil’ baby pup Trip. We had an awesome weekend with them down at the beach, snorkelling and camping.

A brilliant way to bring in a new year!

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Trip hitching’ a lift

We were sitting on the beach around 8.30pm on New Years Eve (Saying “Hogmanaaaay” was a running joke at New Years as my Aussie friends had never heard of it before) with a fire burning and two men began to approach us, we were the only people on the beach, so we thought maybe we would get told to put the fire out, but instead they asked if it was okay if they set off some fireworks near us. We were front row seat to a show of fireworks at 9pm, and luckily we had chilled Prosecco to pair it with.

It was so perfect.

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Happy to be here

Then I had another amazing surprise happen! My darling friend Louise who I met whilst travelling in South America, and with whom I ended up travelling with for three months AND who became a HUGE part of my life messaged me to say she was in Australia and could she come visit me. It was so lovely to have her stay for a couple of days, and really made me realise how many amazing people I have been lucky enough to meet and be able to call my friends.

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Louise is a beautiful mermaid

Stu and I are still currently loving life in beautiful Bowen, and awaiting the next adventure to unfold. I’ll keep you updated.

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NYE kisses

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Murray’s Bay, Bowen

My observations for 2016/2017

I have had an amazing start to the New Year, which kind of just rolled over from the whole of 2016 being so bloody interesting and exciting.

After we finished work at the Mango shed, I really wanted to get back into my fitness and so once we were back in a place with some reliable fast internet, I started doing yoga workouts with my favourite instructor Yoga With Adriene from the comfort of an air-conditioned spare room. I started to do around 3-4 sessions per week, and I also signed up for Bowen Parkrun, of which I have only done one (on Christmas Eve) as it is so hot even though they do them early in the morning, it was the hardest 5km run I think I have ever done!

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Feeling pooped after the Parkrun on Christmas Eve

Then, Yoga with Adriene created Yoga Revolution which is 31 days of daily yoga videos from the 1st to the 31st of January, I got really excited and signed up straight away. It has been so interesting to do yoga everyday. At one point in fact I wanted to go to India ( I nearly did & still do want to) to do my yoga teacher training. It’s had a wonderful effect on my mind and my body. I like to do it in the mornings and it really sets me up for the day in the best state of mind. Even when I don’t feel like it, I still turn up to the mat and never have I once regretted doing so (we’re on day 23 so far).

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I’ve noticed something that’s changed in my life in the last year too, I used to be a kinda messy/lazy person. I’m not really at all like that anymore, don’t get me wrong I have lazy days, but I love to keep everything clean and tidy, I get such satisfaction from a clean kitchen, a tidy room, a hoovered floor and organisation, it makes me feel more at peace. I don’t feel stressed out about where things are, I can find everything in its place and it’s all clean and ready to go when I need it. I wish I’d discovered that one a good few years ago! I like to be spontaneous, so if someone wants to do something last minute I can just say yeah sure give me 5 and I can easily have everything I need to go ready. It’s made a huge impact on my levels of stress.

I’ve decided not to make any New Years Resolutions. I just know I want to feel good this year like I did the last, I’m not going to define things too definitely by years either as I suppose really there is literally one second between them.

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Stu looking hawt

I definitely agree that it’s good to see your progress and track it somehow, so it makes me thankful to have this (slightly neglected) blog on which I can reflect on life, and see how things have changed over the years.

What are your observations of positive changes to your life over the past year? I’d love to hear other peoples points of view!

If there’s one piece of advice I could give, it would be to definitely do things that scare you. They are usually the things worth doing. Follow that little desire at the back of your mind, which seems impossible now, and make steps towards it becoming a real experience. 

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Much love and thank you for reading!

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Much love from my Wombat friend

Morv x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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An Open Apology

“This is a blog that I wrote as a draft way back in December. I read it tonight in my massive draft archive of blogs that I’ve never posted and I thought ‘Yeah I’m gonna publish this’ so here ya go! Why be afraid to express yourself and how you really feel or have felt? To feel is to be alive and to express that is to inspire so I hope one person can relate to this.”

I’m sure everyone has felt at some point that they wish they had said certain things to certain people.Be it ‘sorry’, ‘I love you’, or whatever. I find it hard at the moment to sleep well at night due to all these thoughts running through my mind, and I have an overwhelming urge to write some of those thoughts out.

No-one is perfect and we cant always be right, we all have times in our life that we look back on and cringe at what we did or said. I definitely feel like there are many people worthy of an apology from me. It’s a bit crazy to suddenly apologize to people you keep in contact with and who to be quite honest may not realize you feel so bad about a past situation. So, this blog post is not just about apologizing to others,it is about apologizing to and forgiving myself. I’m speaking openly to everyone I have ever hurt and seeking (though also giving) forgiveness in the process.

I have been in a really up and down place over the last few years (maybe nearly 5 years), and I realized the deeply personal implications of a long term relationship deteriorating, breaking up and then literally turning my whole world upside down. Alcohol & drug abuse, anti-depressants and coming off them suddenly in a place where there is no-one to confide in, eating disorders, losing my job, using others to make me happy short term, being used, trying to work out if I am doing the right thing & what the hell the ‘right thing’ is,  plus all of the ‘What am I gonna do with my life‘ & ‘Am I gonna be alone forever‘ moments….over and over and over.

Until, BOOM! I would end up in the same place as always, curled up and cosy in bed questioning who the hell I was, alone and confused and ashamed of who I think I had become and all of the things I had done.

I have let who I think I am and who I think others think I am become who I am over the last few years. Too shy to be openly me, always trying to fit in, desperate for recognition, desperate for comfort, for someone to want me for who I am if they could give me a chance to open up, or someone to sit with me, cuddle in and tell me I’m okay.

Desperate, sad little old me. 

That is true, and that is who I was.

Desperate, lonely and very, very sad.

I thought when you hit rock bottom, it could only get better after that. I must have hit rock bottom hundreds of times thinking ‘Okay, this is bad but it can only get better right?‘ but it just got worse and worse and worse.

This is not for anyone to pity me, this is an explanation and hopefully some form of apology to people who encountered me on my rock, rock, rock bottom trip. This is also to help people who feel like I have felt to see that it doesn’t last forever, things get better, you get stronger and you can be yourself again. To all who I interacted with on such a low level emotionally and sociably, all I can ask is that maybe you read this and understand a little more, that we aren’t all who we seem. We all experience struggles and pit falls at many points in our lives, caused by many factors.

I may have been an absolute disgrace or maybe I wasn’t in your eyes, but (in mine I was) I wont sleep until I get it all out.

I’m sorry if you got more than you bargained for from me, if I was a handful, a pain in the ass, or over the top. I’m sorry if I wasn’t enough, if I disappointed your expectations or I was weak. I’m sorry if I pressured you, pissed you off, or gave you a wrong kind of hope. I am really genuinely so sorry.

I made plans to sort my hectic self out and on the way I met an amazing partner. Now I am on the other side of the world with the love of my life. We are balanced individuals and make each other happy every day. Without him I feel happy and with him words can’t explain. If it wasn’t for all of the madness I wonder if I would have met him.

Words of advice to anyone who feels like I felt: Make a change!

You can’t keep doing the same things and expect a different result! Make plans, write lists, know deep down what you need to be happy.

I came across a book called The Spiritual Guide to Attracting Love one day going cheap in The Works. I bought it and I completed one of the suggested activities. ( I bought this book as a general well-being book not as a search for a partner) This activity was to make a page up of pictures of what you wanted your life to be like, be it career, relationship, lifestyle etc. I decided to a general lifestyle with what I imagined my life to be like, including how I saw my future self in a happy relationship. I set it as the wallpaper on my computer so that I saw it every day.

The similarities in my compilation of images to my current life are uncanny and I couldn’t be more thankful. I met Stu in October 2014 after making many necessary changes to my life.

I’ll never stop being thankful of how far I’ve come and the people who stood by me when I was a bit crazy.

I am by no means perfect but I am truly the happiest I have been in at least 5 years. Be thankful everyday for what you have, who you wake up next to, be aware of who you surround yourself with and never settle for less than you deserve. To this day I still feel very shy in social circumstances, unless (& even sometimes when) I am around close friends or family. I’m working hard to overcome this fear of being judged by others and writing this definitely had helped me release some of my emotions surrounding my past.

Your past does not define you.

 

 

 

 

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Bungalow Bar Forever ✌

When I was 18 years old I walked into my favourite bar for a remedy. I was young, unemployed, living with my mum, studying music and this bar was our favourite college lunchtime venue. We would come here and have a few pints at lunch break from college and play pool before our next class. This place was a rock bar called the Crow Bar. I came in with my friend Muzzy and solemnly asked for a drink, the guy behind the bar asked me what was up and I told him I had been looking for a job but to no avail. This guy turned out to be the manager, Steven and he asked me to come in for a trial shift on the weekend. I was bloody overjoyed. I had never worked in a proper bar before (I worked in a tennis club bar but that doesn’t count, this is rock and roll!) I remember the first night I stepped behind that bar I felt like a rockstar. It was like being onstage. So many cool people in one room, it was dark and dingey and the music was grungey. The drinks were dirty and the chat was great. I moved out of my mums house a few months into working there and into a flat, sharing with my brother. Before this I had only been friends with my school mates and I guess I felt a bit anxious about moving away from my close circle of friends in my home town. I worked in the bar and made many friends who are still my good friends to this day. One day at a lock-in (where you close the doors and have a cheeky party in the bar, if you have never experienced one you have missed out) I met a guy called Alan who was a musician and we went on to have a long relationship, which has since ended amicably. I became close friends with the sound guy Stevie, the other bar maids were ace and the bands became friends too. I was the singer in a punk band throughout college and we regularly performed in the venue.

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I’ll never forget dancing on the tables to the Nine Inch Nails with all the girls at the end of the shift on the weekends. As much as I loved working here, I had travel in my blood and I decided to go travel. The Crow bar eventually closed down whilst I was away which was sad for everyone who loved to frequent this popular venue . Whilst I was in Spain, Alan, Stevie and some other friends decided to bring the Crow Bar back to life by incorporating a legendary Paisley venues reputation.
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The Bungalow was a music venue in Paisley which  played host to The Buzzcocks, Echo & the Bunnymen and many more amazing bands due to a punk music ‘ban’ in Glasgow during the late 70’s. It had since shut down and is now a spanish restaurant. Inspired by this venue and it’s reputation the Bungalow (mark two) was opened whilst I was living in Spain and i would regularly visit and be made to feel more than welcome.
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They brought live music to paisley. More than just a pub with live music. They made a venue from hard graft with musicians who could build to help out. Plumbers, builders, electricians who played in bands crafted this place, everyone got their hands dirty. I returned from my travels and bagged a job at The Bungalow. We had so many amazing nights, The Complete Stone Roses was a favourite busy night along with Madchester club nights, many amazing independent and touring artists also chose The Bungalow as their favourite venue.
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We became a family, the clientele, the bar staff, the management, the bands. We became intertwined and we became one massive family. We were all always welcome.
We hung out, we worked we listened we learned. The mantra at the bungalow was always love and peace and happiness.

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We had problems but we always overcame them TOGETHER. I left The Bungalow last year and came to Australia with my boyfriend Stu. I miss my Bunga family so much and have recently heard the news that it is closing. I feel like a massive part of my last 10 years is somehow based around this building and its people. This one massive room managed to get me through so many turmoils and was the reason behind even more fun times. This place was the basis for my whole adult life. This place is my friends and my family. They taught me morals and manners and social etiquette. (Obviously aside from my family) They are my loves, my mentors, my confidants. My silly fuckers, my girlies, my guys, my lows, my highs. Fuck, I’ll miss them.
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I dunno, maybe because I’m abroad its harder for me to see, but this feels like the end of something really, REALLY special. So special that I cant explain in words. I love this place, I love what it stands for and I wish that people in Paisley had paid more attention to it. I feel like there will be an empty space now. This is where as an 18yr old I met all of my role models, my best friends, my inspirations and my partners in crime. My extended family who never judged me and who always made sure everyone was always welcome. Infact more than welcome. Everyone was a friend unless they proved otherwise!
You don’t know what youve got till its gone and you sure as hell dont make friends like this many times in your life. The Bungalow peeps loved and supported me. They were forgiving and kind when I most needed it. This was more than just a bar for many people. Bungalow fam, I love you!
I don’t know how many folk who barely made the effort to come down regularly will now be sad because it is closing. It was up to the people of Paisley to come together and support it and be welcomed into the family. I’m not blaming anyone for the close of it because obviously there are many factors involved BUT it would have been good for more folk to choose Paisley over Glasgow and to be totally honest I feel like the council has a big part to play in the future of local businesses, especially encouraging independent businesses by lowering rates and working with them rather than against them. People would choose Paisley over Glasgow if there were more thriving bars and a better night life. Independent businesses like this need support from the locals and the council.
I bloody loved this place and all of the people that fuelled it.

There is a teeny tiny, but significant hole in my heart today.

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A New Chapter

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Our time in South Australia is coming to an end!

We finished up working at the winery and enjoyed a blissful week off without enduring 12 hour shifts in the now colder nights. Using Gumtree to search for jobs in Queensland mostly we applied to endless amounts of openings in tractor driving/Au-pairing/ seeding etc and it ended up we decided we would have to widen our search. Yesterday an employer got back to us about our application to work on a Sandalwood plantation, where they grow the trees to produce Sandalwood oil. We were definitely up for it as it fits in to the criteria for me to qualify for a second year visa, although it feels like i did 1000 days in that bloomin’ winery! ( In order to extend your one year working visa, you must do at least 88 days of paid agricultural work) The job is well paid , but it is actually in the middle of the outback in Northern Territory!

We agreed to the job but we have to be there in 10 days and it is a very rural 3000km drive from where we are now so there’s a fair amount of organizing to be done! This will be us on the road for a year or so now so we better be prepared! We bought a double swag (to sleep in under the stars) online so hopefully it arrives before we need to leave on Tuesday morning! Also today we bought an awning for the side of the car ( it’s gonna be pretty hot out there!), a UHF Radio as I don’t reckon we can rely on a mobile phone signal, spotlights to spot and hopefully avoid the ‘roos and we are getting the dual battery fitted tomorrow along with all of the wiring for the spotlights and radio.

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Drawing our route from bottom to top (via Ayre’s Rock)

We still have lots of things to stock up on, like blankets, storage boxes, a fold-able ‘outback kitchen’ table, food and some other bits and bobs. It’s gonna be a tough game of Tetris fitting this all in!

As I want to document our trip in all its glory and stunning scenery, I may or may not have purchased a Go-Pro… Okay I DID!!!I plan on making some kick ass videos of our travels and also I CAN FILM UNDERWATER! Hell yeah! My fingers and toes and bangles and bows are all tied in anticipation that it arrives before we have to leave on Tuesday morning!

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I made a quick out of breath video earlier whilst I was out for a run, so I’ll link that if you fancy a watch of me explaining all of this in a more vague and distracted manner..

Much love to you all, thank you for reading my blog and check out my You Tube and Instagram all of which I am known as HippyHooHa. Hope this wasn’t too dull for ya and I’ll try really hard to avoid getting eaten by any crocs so that I can continue my blog. And my life in general too ‘cos life is great.

Long Overdue Update

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I’ve realised I have been so preoccupied that I have forgotten to write a blog since we arrived in Australia! So here’s the last five months condensed into one blog post.

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Apologies for the Instagram Screenshots 

We flew to Adelaide on the 4th November, stayed there for a night and then drove to the Riverland where Stus parents live in a very small place, funnily enough called Winkie. It’s wine country out here, surrounded by vineyards, wineries and the River Murray. There’s the gorgeous aptly named Lake Bonney, in a small town  called Barmera, five minutes down the road. There’s not a whole lot to do around these parts unless you have a tinny (small motor boat) as many people do, and partake in water based activities on the lake or river such as wakeboarding, paddleboarding, water skiing, fishing and jetskiing. There’s also an array of flatlands, perfect for skooting about on a motorbike or bicycle.

We spent our first three months here enjoying having time to ourselves, visiting nearby places such as Wilkadene, a picturesque woolshed brewery on the river, and Stu and I have enjoyed many a beautiful summers day down at the river for bbqs. Both Christmas and New Year were spent down at the river at Katarapko Reserve and I have to say, it was one of the nicest, most peaceful NYE’s I have experienced.

One of our main priorities was to find a car as you can’t get very far in Australia without one, especially in these parts. We constantly checked online and on Gumtree for any local 4×4’s on sale but eventually realised we were going to need to got to Adelaide to find something worthwhile for our money. We borrowed Stus brothers van and went road tripping down to the big city with about four cars we had in mind. We drove all over the city from one end to the other for a full day and by the evening had decided that without a doubt it was the first car that we had seen in the morning that was to be ours. We managed to get a great deal from a private seller on a  Landrover Discovery.

We found super cheap accomodation in the heart of the city through Air BnB with a lovely, if not maybe too intense host called Bradley. He offered to have us stay again free of charge and seemed to particularly enjoy phone conversations woth us once we had left.

Now armed with a car, we had so muh more freedom and we began to apply for local jobs at the surrounding wineries for the Vintage season to help us fund our trip. The vintage is the time of year when the grapes are harvested and the wineries produce that years wine and typically runs from February to the end of March. It is very labour intensive work and generally you end up working every day for this period. The money tends to be good and is a very popular job opportunity for both backpackers and locals.

We applied to many wineries, managing to secure a couple of jobs and began work in the first week of February.

It’s hard to say but I think there’s probably another 3 to 4 weeks left of vintage and Stu may be getting kept on for a little longer afterwards as he has a lot of experience already. We need to make all of the money we can get.

A few other opportunities have also come up: We started making some music with one of Stus old friends Duncan who works in social work. I mentioned to Duncan that I would really love to get involved in some youth art projects and he has managed to find me an opportunity for after vintage and he managed to get the school to agree to pay for my police check.

There’s a local gallery who happened to see my artwork and they have offered to put some of my work up in the window of their shop, so I am super excited about that and definitely need to get some more paintings done!

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Once Vintage is over, we will be getting our last odds and ends sorted, tinting the windows of the car, buying our double swag and a car fridge. We will head off on our adventure around Australia around April/ May, so keep posted for the latest travel news!

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Grass is just green.

I don’t know where to start.

I leave for Australia in 45 days and I have begun to pretty much stress out subconsciously.

I have been experiencing anxiety attacks pretty often and have been sleeping real bad.

So, I’m not sure what to get into in this.

I’m gonna start with coping techniques and hopefully form something that could be helpful for someone in a similar position, be it moving house, moving country or a change in circumstance.

The first thing I did when I realised we only had 100 days left in Scotland was I bought a new pair of running shoes and I decided I was gonna run every single bloody day, not necessarily far, but just go for a run. Enjoy the scenery, look at the cute dogs in the park, and hopefully chill my frantic mind the hell out. I have been successful at this so far (55 days),and it is now a form of relaxation that I now cannot deny myself.

I have a mental list that I need to write out and add to as I remember but this includes:

  • re-homing my rescue dog
  • essential overdue dental work
  • health check
  • seeing everyone I care about before I leave
  • clearing out a very full house
  • re-homing artwork
  • re-homing art accessories
  • finding year long travel insurance
  • saving a good sum of money
  • finding a storage place for priceless items, letters, drawings, memories & photographs
  • timing all of this so that I don’t end up in a cold bare house with nothing
  • dealing with my emotions over leaving my family
  • trying not cry about my family, friends, dog, flat etc.
  • reminding myself how exciting life is and that this is what I want!

Okay this feels good.

I hadn’t done this kinda list yet.

I like it.

I also made a total faux pas of thinking that in the 100 days left I could on top of everything else have the mental capacity to write a 100 day blog of my days. So yeah that definitely backfired on me.

I just need to give my pal Paddy, a chef at my work ‘Velvet Elvis’ in Partick a shout out because he is an awesome chef and he told me he was secretly hoping to get a wee mention on my 100 happy days as he has made me some super duper vegan meals whilst at work. So thank you Paddy!

On that note, I’m gonna leave this blog as un-insightful as it is, and I suppose the only thing I’ve really suggested that is possibly helpful is that exercise makes your body feel good, but it makes your brain feel better.

I’ll be back with more soon.

Thanks for reading and sticking in there with me.

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When did it become okay to tell someone you don’t like how they look?

NEVER.

It never became okay!

I’ve noticed a recent increase in people commenting on how I look and giving me their quite frankly unwanted opinions on my personal decisions.

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So let me clear this up: this is for all the unwanted hair-touchers, prodders and outspoken opinion makers who I’m sure we have all encountered, and maybe if you realise you have done this you can see how rude and inappropriate you have been.

Respect is the biggest lesson to be learnt here.

Here’s 5 things all arseholes don’t realise:

  • Touching a strangers hair is inappropriate & unwelcome attention.

I cannot really find anyway to make touching a strangers hair an appropriate way to greet someone, so first of all please don’t  do it on a whim because you don’t understand it, and second of all please just don’t ask to do it. Go home and Google it or something. Most people are happy to answer any questions you have, but please don’t interrupt my private conversations. The amount of times I’ve been interrupted by a random hair toucher is unreal! I would NEVER interrupt someone to ask a dumb question so STOP IT NOW!

  • Just because I look different doesn’t  mean I want to talk to you about it

You cannot comprehend how many times I have been asked ‘What do your tattoos mean?’

I don’t ask what your hairdo means or your clothes, really please just leave me alone.

To me it’s mainly decoration, and any that I have that do mean something, what do I owe to you to tell you?

It’s not a strangers business so back the fuck up.

  • People with tattoos think its a way to relate to me:

Okay, so you have tattoos, I have tattoos, that’s great, I still don’t want to talk about mine, so please stand here and tell me for hours about how and when and where you got yours and I can try slowly slither away out of earshot. Holy Christ. I don’t wanna talk about it.

(This one is probably the bane of my life.)

  • You don’t like my hair/tattoos/piercings/image/style and feel an unbearable need to let me know:

I don’t judge you or comment on your life, so please keep your thoughts to yourself. I have a partner and I am very happy and content. I don’t need your approval and I am very aware of my life choices. It doesn’t bother me if you don’t like something about me, but I would certainly never feel the need to tell anyone friend or stranger something about their image that I personally didn’t like. Keep it to yourself! How rude of you! Live and let live!

  • You need to let me know that I’m probably going to regret that:

Oh yeah, so I never realised until you mentioned that it’s permanent.

Yeah I’ll totes regret it.

I hate your face!

(jokes)

So, what I’m trying to say is that I don’t understand why people think its okay to comment, is it because they think I want the attention? I genuinely think that some people assume that if you have tattoos and piercings and ‘mad’ hair you are doing it for attention, well you are very wrong.

I along with most other people who are seen as alternative are just being who we are.

I understand why people ask about these things but most of the time I get asked in a very rude manner. I worded this post in a jokey manner to try keep it fun. I am never rude to people who do ask me about things, but I would live a simpler life without this hassle as I’m sure a lot of people would too.

I choose to live my life this way and I like to decorate my body, I would never dream of asking someone why they don’t have body modifications so please give us a break and realise that we don’t all live our lives  in the same way!

* as a back note I’d like to say that I understand genuine human curiosity and that I can respect that and I can tell the people who are genuinely curious from the invasive rude people! Most of you are just lovely, it’s just a small percentage that lets us down.

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I just want to make a house, with our hands.

I just want to find a place, a beach.

I just want to make a house, with our hands.

I just want to hold the earth and squeeze it tight.

I want to hold you in my arms, surrounded by the ground that we made into a home.

I want to see you everyday.

I want to taste new tastes with you.

I want to wake up with you.

I want to wander around.

I want to wonder.

I wonder.

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Lets wander the lands whilst we can, and please, kiss me.

Always, kiss me.

I love you and I want you to hold my hand forever.

No-one else can hold me like you do.

No-one else can make me laugh like you do.

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“I am a Master Pretender”- First Aid Kit

(Firstly. I wrote this listening to this song on repeat. Put it on or your most insirational tune and then begin to read for the full effect: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51BgWFciimQ or type into Spotify First Aid Kit – Master Pretender)

Like most people I can really suffer from low self esteem.

For some it is extreme and for others sometimes it’s just a wee dip, but we all feel a wee bit of low self esteem sometimes.

Over the years I have developed techniques to make me more confident and I’ve tried to compile some of them for you.

First off, the most important thing is that YOU LOVE YOURSELF, but of course you don’t feel like you do.

So now we have to pretend a bit.

I like pretending, we were all really good at it as kids.

By this I don’t mean lie. I mean we can pretend we have confidence until it becomes more natural.

Who seem to be the most naturally confident people? Famous people! Many who are ACTORS  and models. Being a pretender is their job! They’re pros!

So here’s some tips.

Remember, that it’s not selfish,

You deserve a wonderful life.

It isn’t selfish at all.

You are a unique and beautiful being.

Walk with pride and embrace that your thoughts, movements, ideas, aims, are different from others round you.

Everything is perfect.

You can be anyone or anything you want to be.

Carry yourself high.

Be proud of yourself.

Here are the things that I really like to do:

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  • If it doesn’t inspire you, tidy it away: Leave things around your home that remind you of people you are proud of or honoured to have as friends and who know and who respect you. If you cant find anything or don’t have photos like this, then put up a certificate or a reminder of something you have achieved. Make it prominent.  If you have made things, display them, if you have tickets or memories of good times put them out on display on the wall or on a notice board.  Get creative and make sure that when you wake up everyday you are reminded of your greatness, no matter how small importance it may seem. I have definitely surprised myself with how great it feels to see a picture of a happy time on my wall in the morning and I think, “Wow I remember way back then, I remember, how I never knew that I could ever be where I actually am now in my life, and now, look here I am, and look at all I have accomplished.” Sometimes that is all it takes… Sometimes our past achievements can feel like dreams. It’s almost hazy and we wonder how we ever did them… Keeping them out and rotating them every so often keeps this fresh and keeps us WANTING to do more to change it! I like to put my own art in my house, and I have a notice board in my kitchen which I put photos of my close friends and family, or just even random good times. I rotate this every month or so, and put new and often old photographs of fun times up. Sometimes it really helps you to remember to get in touch with someone you had forgotten about or remind you how great your friendship was. I like to hang jewellery I love that inspires me, in areas of my house, I only use mugs that are bright and colourful, I try to only be surrounded by positive objects and everything else is tidied away in cupboards/drawers. These things inspire me, and make me happy so they are displayed.

 

  • Have a music supply readily available in the areas of your home that you spend the most time in: I find that when I wake up and head to the kitchen to put a kettle on, hitting the ON switch on the radio is the best thing. I listen to tunes first thing, I have a wee sing song and a dance round in my Pj’s. I salvaged a digital radio last year that my mum was gonna fling out and it is now my favourite. I set it to a good reliable station, so there is always nice positive background noise, and personally I find this ESPECIALLY important first thing in the morning. It sets the mood for the day and is always great later on as the kitchen is the social area in my house, where everyone gets together and has a good laugh. It reminds me of laughter and good times. It makes me feel social even if I’m by myself. I even respond to the radio presenters. Ha! Personally this makes me feel like I have company when I don’t and builds my confidence for the day.

 

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  • Get a pet: I am very lucky, in that I can have a dog, and don’t get me wrong, it can be really hard work, but I chose a very mellow, chilled out breed well (Greyhound in case your interested! ) Having her around can be really helpful for my self esteem.  This wee pooch loves me and gets excited by my return to the house. She wants to hang out with me, share my food and my bed and basically we are best pals cos I wanna hang out with her too ( I’ll skip on sharing her food or bed though!) You don’t need to feel bad though if your circumstances mean you can’t have a dog. I also have a fish.  She’s a character. She murdered the other two fish in the tank. ( I did have three!) She also gets excited by my presence as the food dropper. It’s therapeutic. You can buy a fish, it’s something to concentrate on, put a little energy into. You make a friend, you have a wee character in your life. I have ‘Sharon the mad wee fish that ate Seana & Dan’s eyeballs out’! I can leave her for days and she’s cool, she doesn’t need walked, but she’s there and she needs me and that’s great for self esteem. She’s over there right now as I write this in my kitchen and I don’t feel alone at all.

 

 

  • Create a cosy, welcoming environment: Whenever I’m feeling down, it is reflected in my house and/ or bedroom especially. When life feels manic, my room is insane. Creating an organised system and having a friend to help you out at first if it seems too hard/overwhelming by yourself to manage is brilliant. When my house is tidy. everything seems better. I sleep better, I know where things are and it’s easier to keep that way. Never be ashamed to ask a friend for help or to explain to them you are struggling to keep on top of things. We are all only human and think how you would respond and if they were in the same position. My best friend Micaela would often come round and help me tidy when I was in a really bad place.

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  • Clear out unhelpful clutter: Bad memories and bills etc can really clog up your energy so store everything unhelpful away, give them a place, make it a drawer and keep  them so they aren’t out on show. This also counts for clothes, or keepsakes that have a negative memory. Throw away clothes that do not fit you. If you lose weight do you really wanna wear something that has been sat in your wardrobe for three years. No. Throw it out. Treat yourself to something new.  Do you really wanna be reminded everyday of your past heartaches?  No. Keep them, respect them and put them aside in storage. I like to keep memory boxes, I fill them and store them away and when I feel ready I like to have a look through at old photos and memories. Sometimes it’s good for a cry. Then you put them away again. No point in torturing yourself.

 

  • Love your body: Appreciate your body. It is a beautiful vessel. Look after it and respect it. I can be pretty lazy sometimes, but I do try to eat well most of the time. Everyone has their own thing. Something I have learnt is to stop worrying about thinking . FULL STOP.  If you worry you’re too fat or too thin to do something, or that people are judging you based on that,  I know for a fact that I have been stick thin and worried that people thought I was too fat and I have been hanging out with really ‘cool’ people thinking I wasn’t cool enough. What are we thinking!??! ALL, AND I MEAN EVERY SINGLE BLOOMIN’ ONE of my friends are my friends because they are the most lovely people.  I  could not give one care to what they look like/ how cool/skinny/chubby/awkward/awesome they look because I love them and I love WHO THEY ARE. It really actually doesn’t matter, no one is thinking about us what we think of ourselves, and even if they are, so what?! Let’s get over it! Somehow I still struggle with this one. I often feel awkward  and this is where I normally put the next bit of advice into action.

 

  • Positive affirmations:Look at yourself in a mirror before you go out, and complement yourself. About anything. Your clothing choice, your smile, your nice teeth. your cute squinty nose. Find something, anything about yourself that you think ‘That is actually pretty cool, and it’s unique to me!’ Find it and have a wee laugh in the mirror and feel high that you are you, even just laugh that you are sitting in front of a mirror doing this.  Learn to laugh at yourself. embrace bad photos where you don’t look great because the memory was good. You can write down your affirmations an put them somewhere you will see them daily. Even simple things like ‘I am a good person.’ I also made a ‘Treasure Map’ which is a collection of images that I compiled to create one large image of how I want my life to be and the things I most value and seek. I set this as my desktop photo on my laptop, so I see it everyday and I am reminded of what I am aiming for. I noticed a massive positive shift in my life since I did this.

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  • Fuck them: My big sister taught me this. She probably doesn’t know that I use it as often as I do. But I call it ‘The Fuck You!” She told me that when she felt vulnerable in the street late at night, if she clocked some lurkers in the street, she would play ‘Rage Against The Machine- Killing in the name of’… in her head, and stride to it, with a bit of feist in her eye. Well, I like to do this, but I’ve expanded it’s use, I use it when people make me feel intimidated, or try to hurt me, or are mean to me, I put on the biggest goddam smile and I sing that song in my head and I stride away as the better man. With a great tune in my head. And ten times outta ten I forget I was even mad or feeling vulnerable. Plus, I’m smiling.

 

  • Smile and laugh: When times are hard, I like to force laughter. I chat away to my dog, I make daft videos, I send funny messages to people, leave ridiculous voicemails, I try to cheer others up. Take the focus away from yourself. Find an activity, find new people where the chat is lighthearted, if your relationships with friends are stale and negative, then change it up for a while. Start something new, sometimes friendships are so close they become negative because you are so comfortable. Have some time apart. Book an adventure. Be better at something. Organise a meetup, create a new group of friends. Don’t let fear hold you back.

 

I know I am a good person. I know you are too. You know you are, really deep down too. What makes you feel good? Do it more. Find more things and more things that make you buzz! Writing this makes me feel good about me.  This is my release.  And so I have one more….My last, last, very last tip to help boost your self esteem is to help other people:

  • Admit you’re wrong even when you really don’t feel you are.
  • Tip people/ give someone the last of your change that you might need.
  • Give random people compliments.
  • Instead of making up an excuse, tell the truth about something that scares you.
  • Listen.
  • Appreciate your friends and be there for them.
  • Ask questions about others in conversations and focus on other peoples lives during catch ups rather than your own.
  • Smile.
  • When you laugh, let yourself go.
  • Experiment with laughter, laugh loud, laugh little, laugh high, laugh low.
  • Have fun, I came outta the shower last week and danced round the kitchen naked whilst my flatmate sat there giggling. Life’s too short. I wasn’t worried for a moment about the size of my butt.
  • Wiggle, jiggle, laugh, relax, have fun.
  • Make others laugh, don’t worry about looking silly.
  • Give something back, become involved in your community and positive about where you call home.
  • Share everything you have. You will always get it back tenfold. Give food, give laughter, kindness, generosity, your truth, give in to everything. It is the most empowering thing you can do.

 

Thank you for reading this.

I actually wrote this blog in particular for a few of my girlfriends who are going through a hard time. They are beautiful strong women and I love them and I haven’t been able to be there quite as much as I maybe should have. Each one of them has taught me a part of this. Mostly to laugh wholeheartedly and to smile and care and share…

I bloody love these girls.

Raquel, Kayleigh, Gaynor, Chelsea, Mac

 

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“That which we persist in doing becomes easier to do, not that the nature of the thing has changed but that our power to do has increased.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

I asked a mate to borrow her ukulele a month ago.

I picked it up and strummed, I was totally rubbish.

But I picked it up again.

And then the next day, again I was drawn in, and intrigued by it.

I’m naturally inquisitive.

As are we all.

Those moments you have between things. Where you’re sitting waiting to go somewhere, or do something. In that time I decided to pick up the ukulele.

I left it outta its case.

In a familiar place.

In my kitchen, where I like to hang out.

I pick it up every time I’m there.

I lose time with her.

I’m not a great ukulele player.

It’s been a month and i can strum it.

I feel free.

And i realise….

I am better at playing this ukulele than I was one month ago.

So imagine a year from now. Imagine 5 years from now.

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It’s a great way to approach your life.

I see that ukulele.

I see the comfort in how I hold her.

I see how strange we were before.

All it takes is your own will.

And

You…

You can be whatever you wish.

The power and the drive is within you.

You can be whatever you want to be.

 

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