Beauty in the Mess

In 26 years I have been to 26 countries, some of those twice even thrice but I have never done a solo trip. After a long 18 months of getting my mental health back on track I made the last minute decision to pick up and leave for a 3 week adventure to New Zealand, solo. I had three weeks between booking to departure and for anyone that knows me this is a big deal. I am someone who likes things organised in advance with hours of planning and preparation, but I did the unthinkable for me and I booked within 2 hours of finding the deal of a lifetime. YOLO right?! After a year and half of rebuilding myself it was time to concrete my progress with a final soul-searching chapter to cement how far I’d come. And did I ever!

On my way to the airport a mini panic attack set in and a rush of silly thoughts overcame me “what are you doing, why did you do this, what if?” This was the first time travel has ever made me nervous, nervous of the unknown and with no travel companion to fall back on. I quickly snapped back to reality of what was happening, I am doing this I told myself and I will never wait for anyone to come with me because I have too much to see in this beautiful world. Don’t hold back!

When you travel solo you learn to embrace all the people, all the places and you truly make the most of all the experiences that lie front of you. One thing I loved is how often I was shut away from social media when wifi or service was not available. At first you crave for the habit of grabbing your phone and at times wanting to show the world all the amazing experiences you’re apart of, but soon shutting away from the tech-savvy world was so incredibly detoxing and the feeling to check your phone constantly passes.

I hiked a freakin’ glacier, jumped into a canyon with a 60m freefall, ziplined through the canopies, hiked and biked. Tested myself and my abilities and was rewarded at every corner in rail, hail or shine. Not every day is the same, there are ups, there are downs but you learn to roll with the punches. You meet amazing people along your journey and you learn to be more capable to do what you want alone and enjoy it. The sense of freedom you get when you travel solo is just different to all the other times I have travelled, I really just felt at peace even when my day started before the sun rose. Imagine just sitting on a picturesque cliff face at sunrise, dancing under a waterfall or taking a morning hike without having to make conversation with anyone.

Traveling alone has become a new part of my reality. I absolutely love doing it and I’ve learned many lessons along the way. The best relationship you can have is the one you have with yourself and this trip gave me the chance to slow down and reflect on many aspects of my life; how far I have come, what I have achieved and the more I want to achieve. I am more self-assured than I have ever been, I know who I am, what I want and I refuse to settle for anything less than I deserve. My spirit has been renewed in the most positive way, I have become more fearless and confident in figuring out things on my own. I don’t want to say I jumped out of my comfort zone, but instead I have stretched its boundaries and my capabilities. Once you take the plunge, you’ll feel a sense of empowerment. A successful solo trip can inspire you to tackle even more things in life you’ve been afraid to try and bring back the beauty of you within the mess.

The journey isn’t about becoming a different person, but loving who you are right now.

FACT: The best stories are found between the pages of your passport.

Metanoia

When we know who we are, we are more able to live with intention. As most of you already know, this past year has been a journey of rediscovery for me; who am I and where do I want to be in life? For a month now I have been super quiet, apologies! I’ve been reflecting on the past, finding out where I am at right now and mapping out what’s next for me.

After a lot of journaling over the Christmas/New Year break, some quality me time and catching up with a friend I have not had one on one time with in way too long, I had one of those light bulb moments. That moment people call an ‘Epiphany’, but I like to refer to it as ‘Metanoia’; the journey of changing one’s mind, heart, self, or way of life.

I found myself saying “I value who I am, I love my life, I know I am worthy and after ever hurdle look how much I have accomplished.” I can proudly say I am so content with where I am and who I am right now. For so long I have been trying so hard to get back to that girl I once knew, the one who I felt was taken away from me. I loved that version of me but I am not her anymore. I still hold onto her dreams, her values, her optimism but as life’s hurdles approach us, they shape us, move us and we grow.

If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation. – Jiddu Krishnamurti

You may feel very secure in that pond you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know there is such a thing as an ocean. Holding onto something that is bad or good for now, may be the very reason why you don’t have anything better. Close your eyes and envision where you see your life in five years. Don’t get hung up on the details you feel you’re suppose to know (career, savings, marital status) but instead focus on the aspects of your future that are important. Do you see yourself in a new city, learning a new hobby or feeling a certain way? Can you ever be sure you are on the right path in life? What path do you see yourself on now, describe it to yourself. Did you have to make sacrifices to get there? What would you change?

Life isn’t fair, but its good. I find it great, but we all have our lows. When in doubt just take that next small step. Life is too short to fill your life with things and people that no longer serve greater purpose in your life. Burn candles, use the nice sheets, wear that fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special! Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful. And no matter how you feel, get up, get dressed and show up because those simple steps helped me more than you know and the best is yet to come.

I ask you this: Is there a difference between happiness and fulfillment? What does it take for you to be happy? What does it take for you to be fulfilled? Are the qualities the same?

Lost Girl.

So you’ve hit your mid 20’s, are you feeling as lost as I do? Things start to take place that make you realise your growing up, maturing and time is moving way too quickly. They start as little things like all the brunch dates, going to bed early and preferring to stay in on a Friday night (I’m legit on the couch with Better Homes & Gardens in the background and… loving it). Or they can be monumental, such as graduation, promotion or those friend’s weddings I keep harping on about.

I never went to University, I couldn’t make up my mind what to even study. I remember in Year 10 having those meetings with the careers advisors, being fed all the information about choosing the right subjects for the HSC and asking us what career path we wanting to pursue. If you were like me and started school younger than the majority, you came home to your parents feeling overwhelmed & consumed. “I’m fifteen years old and I need to have an idea of a career now!” I did not pursue either of the two career choices I had in mind. I’ve now been with the same amazing travel company for 5 years, I moved up the ranks quickly; I was an assistant manager at 21, manager at 22 and I’ve been a global consultant. My job has opened up so many opportunities especially at such a young age and now I get to see the world through new eyes multiple times a year. In the past five years alone I have been to 17 countries, some of those more than once and in three months’ time I will be off again. Seems amazing right? Well, I’m not gunna lie, it is!

But behind all my exciting adventures you see, my life has also consisted of incredible heartbreak (more on that another time), battling anger issues & anxiety, taking anti-depressants short term just to get through everyday life without losing my sh*t, gaining 12kg not once but TWICE in five years! I’ve lost long standing friendships and I’ve lost a best friend to suicide. Everyone has their battles and this is just some of my story. I’ve now moved back to my home town to work on me, to find the me I once knew but a better version. I have no true direction of where I want my life to go just yet but I know I am in a better place.

“She has been through hell. So believe me when I say, fear her when she looks into a fire and smiles” – e.corona

I’m a lucky one, I know I’m strong enough to tackle it all. Life keeps moving forward and so must I. Grow through what you go through. I had a good friend recently tag me in this:

“She made broken look beautiful & strong look invincible. She walked with the Universe on her shoulders & made it look like a pair of wings.” – Ariana Dancu

So if life has handed you some lemons as well, here are some things that make me feel a little bit better about being completely lost and starting over after twenty-five:

  1. There really is no rush; these years are totally acceptable to move back home, be single, be broke and have Mum cook for you (but be grateful!). Breathe it’s okay to take a few steps back to then move forward with your life.
  2. The smallest things can have the biggest impact. Don’t take things for granted, count your blessings.
  3. Appreciating little things. Family always want to see you, Mum loves cooking for you (which seriously is the best after years of cooking for yourself or lack of some nights), love the rainy days inside at home with a good book and coffee dates with friends.
  4. Learning to be patience with the struggles so you can enjoy the success that comes after.
  5. You’re twentysomething; it’s the perfect time to be reckless, adventurous and carefree.
  6. Going on dates – the good, the bad & the ugly. Trust me I have some epic stories and have met some amazing people.
  7. It’s a time to be fierce, be brave and take chances.

“Sometimes you just have to give yourself the pep talk like “hello, you’re a queen, don’t be sad, you’re going great and I love you.”

-you got this!