Tuesday Tantrums: Life of the Unemployed

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It’s been 3 weeks now since I quite my office job to chase interviews in my field of buying. So far I’ve had one (very good) job offer with the pitiful being the location and being heavily maths based vs my previous role; and then I’m also currently at the final stages for two other roles. But the thing is, I don’t know what I want. I thought I was being selective in the jobs I was applying for, but the three that, at present, are all super positive are all buying in three completely different industries. 

I know what one I want in my gut which is less money, London based and still in the fashion industry. But then, I know what one I really, really want long term, which is my old job back and I haven’t heard back from them yet. I’ve been looking at houses in the area where I’ve been offered the first job and it’s all so expensive for what you get and you would *need* a car or a love of buses – Of which neither of these things I possess. I have just under a month before I would start but to get a nice house I’d have to decide next week really, I haven’t formally accepted yet either.

The thing is, when relocation is involved it makes everything seem so much scarier. I used to be all for jumping into the unknown, but now I’m so exhausted from making new friends in every new town I go to that I actually just want to settle somewhere, re-save up a deposit for a house, and eventually buy wherever I end up working. That would never work with my current offer because I didn’t feel anything for the area, there was no soul and notably no one really wandering about. It’s silly, but it’s important to me to be able to walk to work because I’m a massively nervous driver and the thought of getting behind the wheel makes me beyond anxious and with the current offer my choices are very limited. I actually only saw one house online that I liked, and you know how it is with pictures online, they don’t always represent what you might end up with. 

I guess this post is pretty pointless, I’m just at a loss of what to do with my life now I’m home and I have so many scary life changing decisions to make in the coming weeks. I’m also a little disadvantaged because I am unemployed at the moment (absolutely hate admitting that) so I can’t really bide my time. My stint in an office really helped money wise, and I’m selling a lot of vintage clothes successfully on eBay which has been good, but it’s the shame I feel for not having a steady income or job that stresses me out. I can barely sleep anymore and when I finally do, I can never wake up. I think I’m falling into some sort of weird post-travel depression, I even filled in my second year visa the other day but didn’t submit it because the grass is not greener over in Australia and I know that.

I don’t know what is what anymore.

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Tuesday: 3 weeks in the UK

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Hello! A quick update: I have a new job in an office, home is okay even though I have zero friends in Kent. Oh, and I’m awful at maths.

Today marks three weeks of being home, well only 2 if we disgard my little trip to Reading Festival. Last week I got a new job in a corporate office which is what I wanted to be honest, to have actual structure and no faffing with samples is literally the dream. It’s less pay, but less stress and I can actually have a life around work which to me is invaluable.

Coming home has been hard, after Reading Festival I got very, very depressed. I always knew post-travel blues was a thing, but I didn’t expect it to hit me quite as hard as it did. You know when you’re looking through your contacts and realise that all of your friends are hundreds and thousands of miles away? Yeah. That. I knew coming home would be hard because I haven’t lived in Kent for 6 years and I was never particularly popular in school. I knew I’d have to rebuild and attempt to make friends as an adult, but the thing is: I’m scared. 

I feel like a complete freak being in my hometown and surrounded by absolutely no one that I know. I thought I’d have friends, or at the very least my closest friend reach out and ask if I was free for a catch-up, but nope. Nothing. Adjusting to living with my family is also very strange – I cannot remember the last time I had to tell my mum where I was going or what I planned to do for the day. It’s strange and I feel like I’ve already had the peak of my life and it’s all downhill from here.

I’m not really sure what direction I’m going in anymore. My heart is screaming at me to move to Reading because my good friend Samii bought a house there with her boyfriend and I have all of my old work pals there too, including my old housemate Jess. But I just don’t know. I applied for a lot of jobs in that area but they’re either paying too little to justify relocating, or I haven’t heard back at all. I’m also not really one to go to the same place twice and I would hate if I ever saw him with another girl. I mean I’m not an idiot, obviously it’s happening, but in my head I’d rather just pretend it’s not.

I applied for an amazing job which would involve spending 2 years at different locations all over the UK, but I completely stuffed up the maths test yesterday. I don’t really get those psychometric tests, I mean I did maths every single day in my previous job and it was absolutely fine. One of the questions was in German and about aeroplane parts (both two completely irrelevant things to the job at hand) and whilst I speak German, I cannot speak aeroplane. Stressful.

Maybe I’ll look back on this post in a year a laugh all the way from New Zealand or wherever the wind has taken me. I guess it’s quite exciting in a weird way, to not have ties to anywhere. I’m free.

Life After Travel: A Week at Home

Australia 2017, England, Uncategorized

It seems like forever ago that I was sat on a cramped 25 hour flight in the storm of coming home. Still jet-lagged and bleary eyed, slapped with a rejection from the police because of residency regulations, I dragged myself to Reading festival in a last minute decision to meet up with my two pals from university that I hadn’t seen in years. It felt good to have a few days out to just access my life and stay in the limbo of not being an adult just quite yet.

Whilst I’ve discovered that maybe festivals are not for me, I did have a great time seeing some bands I loved when I was younger, namely You Me at Six and Breaking Benjamin. I camped for 4 whole nights which for a self-proclaimed princess is no mean feat. I realised a lot this weekend – namely that beer for breakfast is (sometimes) a great idea.

Today I’ve arrived back at home to Kent for the second time in one week and I think the end of travelling blues will hit me like a ton of bricks at any minute. Everyone screams about how great it is to travel and do all of these amazing things, but I think we also need to remember the lows which will follow. It’s impossible to not get a little down when your life goes from sunbathing under palm trees to sitting in front of a screen/ringing up agencies looking for the right career for you.

I feel like I had a picture in my head of how my life would pan out when I got home, and so far it is absolutely nowhere near what I had in mind. I’m not joining the police (and cannot apply for 3 years because I’m allegedly not a UK resident), he will never want me, I’m heaps chubbier now than I was in January, and all my friends are buying houses and getting engaged whilst I’m putting mini doughnuts on my fingers and cuddling my cats.

Til next time.

liv

Coming Home

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It started 4 weeks ago, a constant voice of “book your flight” and truth be told I had no idea what date I would actually book when I sat down to finally plan my return to London. Originally I had thought early October, then end of September, but when it came down to it, I knew I just wanted to be home. This time next week I’ll be in England, curled up in my favourite chair with a strong tea, and that thought makes me feel beyond calm. 

I’ve spent the past two months on a farm packing apples in a house share of thirty girls. We have two toilets, one is outside, and two showers. It’s cramped at the best of times and whilst I’ve met some absolute angels here, I’ve also met people who have taught me things that I didn’t quite expect. I had something, two things, stolen. One being my silver bracelet with HOPE written on it and one a black viscose tshirt that I bought from a Market in Bangkok. Whilst neither item had any particular value, when you do not own a lot of things it seems like the end of the world because what on earth will I wear with X, Y, or Z without my black tee staple? But then it hit me. I did not need these material items, I just liked them. At first I struggled to understand how someone could take from somebody who literally has nothing, but I take comfort in knowing that whoever took them needed them more than I did. 

Today is my last working week, on Friday I’m heading the Melbourne, ironically my least favourite place in Australia for my last two days. I booked a nice hotel and I’m literally going to chill and bathe myself in deep heat because packing has not been kind to my health. I couldn’t even begin to write what a whirlwind my time in Australia has been. I came out here without a plan, I just knew I was desperately unhappy in England but I could never pin point quite why. My happiness was based purely on fashion and to me now, that is very sad when the world has so much more to offer. 

When I get home I assume I’ll be temping in London whilst I try to find my feet on the career ladder, but around that I’d like to volunteer at the hospice which cared for my Nana and I’d like to travel the UK and Ireland. I want to see Scotland and stay in an isolated cosy log cabin in the wilderness. And I’d like to see Tuam (Galway, Ireland) where my family is from. And I’d like to go to Wales and scream at the rugby after one too many beers. There are so many experiences and things that I want to do before I settle and get a house with a mortgage, and tiny humans that rely on me. 

I don’t know what will happen over the coming months. I don’t know if I’ll stay in Kent when I’ve learned how easy it is to pick up and move your life wherever you want it to be. I am a risk taker, and at the end of the day, that is how you grow. 

Monday: A Month of Farm Life

Australia 2017, Uncategorized

Just checking in to say that yes I am still alive, and yes I’m loving life again. I ended up in Brisbane desperate for a job, any job. I rung my mum in tears on the high street with the intention of flying home in two days because I’m literally unemployable out here. I told my friend Kim my plan and went to the reception of our hostel to extend my stay for a few more days before I was going to book my flight. The lady on reception was taking ages and I mean I was stood for over ten minutes whilst the person in front of me in the queue asked every question under the sun. Eventually I lost my patience and headed back up to our room where I had a missed call from Kim. After two weeks of looking for a decent hourly paid farm job we’d found one! The timing was honestly uncanny and in that moment I knew I had to stay. I’m a great believer in what’s meant for you will not pass you by, and it was the sign I needed to stay.

The next day we flew from Brisbane to Melbourne before getting on the three hour train to Shepparton. It has now been a month and already I know I have made memories and friendships that I’ll never forget. Suddenly everything just clicks and it feels good. I’m contracted out to a different packing shed to the main one with fixed hours so I actually know when I’m coming home now which is amazing. My plan at the moment is to finish, fly to Sydney and spend three days there before finally flying back to London and starting my life all over again. 

I’m scared about coming home, really really scared and it sounds so silly but I haven’t lived in Kent for nearly six years. My friends are all over the UK and now, well, the world. Whilst I know I’ll be fine, it’s still going to weird trying to make friends as an adult which is ridiculous because I’ve done it every single day I’ve been in Australia. I think the first thing I’ll do when I get home is boil the kettle, have a proper English tea in my favourite cup in my favourite chair with my favourite book. I’m weirdly excited about it and it’s so nice to finally have an end goal. Then reality will probably hit me as I scramble for a job, which is something I’ve also been thinking about a lot and what path I want to take. I know I want a job that matters and that helps people. I want to be a policewoman, and that’s bizarre for me to say out loud because I always thought girls should have girly jobs. I was always a strange kid, I wanted to be an astronaut so I could be the first girl on Mars, then I wanted to be a firefighter, to join the army and then fashion took over my life. 

I lost myself for a while in materialistic things, I loved that my salary allowed me to buy whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. I lost sight of what really matters in life. Living on a farm and dressing like absolute shite every day has taught me a lot about myself, including that you can go without showering for a lot longer than you thought possible and if it doesn’t smell you can definitely still wear it even on the fifth day. Packing fruit actually gives you so much time to think, like the work is easy but so repetitive that you just get lost in your thoughts. I’ve thought through so much and settled a lot of things in my mind.

I don’t know what will happen when I go home, but right now in the present moment, I’m the happiest I’ve been in a long, long time. 

Liv on: The Art of Changing

Australia 2017, Thoughts on Thursday, Uncategorized

One day you’re on cloud nine, exploring all these amazing new places and seeing strange animals and sights, and the next day it loses the sparkle. I can’t quite tell you when I started to feel this way but its something that’s been playing on my mind a lot. When I was in Bangkok I was honestly a click away from changing my flight from Australia to the UK and I don’t know why but I didn’t. It was like a sudden feeling came over me, like I wasn’t ready to go home entirely. I always thought travelling would make me realise what I wanted to do as a career and I’d discover some unknown things about myself. I was disappointed to find that this wasn’t the case, at least not at that moment in time.

I guess the point is this, you never realise you’ve changed in the moment, it’s only weeks after the fact when you look back and realise that you’ve reacted differently than you would of when you were your past self. It’s hard to put into words the feeling, but it feels good, really good, when you don’t cry or act like the world is ending but rather react with a simple okay and a step back to analyse why something happened and how best to move forward. 

Yesterday I realised what I want to pursue as a career. Today I feel like I’m figuring out my life long plan and tomorrow I’m hoping I’ll have an answer for the present. At the moment I’m in an awkward kind of limbo between the UK and Australia. I literally cannot get a job anywhere and I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because my hearts not in it, at least not right now. I feel like my heart is ready to come home, but my willpower is so strong and stubborn. I said I would do a year, maybe two, maybe four if I went to NZ for a while and I’m finding it hard to allow myself to let go. In my mind it’s a sort of giving up. It’s just so hard to think about how I could be progressing in the UK whilst I just exist in Australia. 

I really truly do not know what I’m going to do or if my decision will be the right one, but I guess what’s life without risks hey? I took the biggest gamble coming here, but if I hadn’t I would still be staring at lab dips and feeling indifferent over three identical shades of pink. I think we always end up where we are supposed to be, or at least I like to think that way as it makes me a little less apprehensive and more excited. All shall be revealed in time. 

Thoughts on Friday: A month in ThailandĀ 

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Tomorrow I leave Thailand after a month of exploring. To be honest I don’t know what I expected when I boarded my flight from Melbourne to Bangkok, but it wasn’t what I’ve experienced. I’ve found myself in places and situations that I never really imagined could happen in Thailand and I’ve seen things that I never expected to see over here. It sounds silly, but I imagined Thailand to have pristine beaches and sand to envy even the beautiful beaches of Australia but was left bitterly, bitterly disappointed by the littered beaches across the mainland and all of the islands I visited. Whilst I know tourism undoubtably is the cause behind all of the litter, I wish 7/11 would stop giving you straws for everything. Yoghurt? You need a straw. Noodles? Straw. Tea? Straw. It’s insane and unnecessary and WHY are there never any bins anywhere? It’s very bizarre and something I can’t quite comprehend. Another thing I never expected was all of the pollution from the bikes – I had some insane vision in my head of all the stars I’d be able to see in the night sky and you know how many you can see here? Four. Four stars. 

Anyway disappointments aside, the absolute highlight for me has been Pai where I let go of all my negative energies (and negative people) whilst staring out the back of an open taxi completely in awe of the rolling hills and scenery, and in that instant I felt lighter. I found myself in the winding roads of Pai, in the bakeries and in the street food (where I accidentally had purple looking meat in a veggie spring roll and was ill for two days, but I digress). I would of loved to have spent longer here and I’d definitely revisit if I’m ever in Thailand again. Pai was the turning point for me, where I realised how much I’ve changed as a person since January because I had time to sit and reflect on so many things and met some wonderful people.

I won’t lie however, I am extremely excited to be back in Australia in an English speaking country with the ability to cook for myself. I’ve booked possibly the cheapest Aussie hostel I’ve ever stayed in for my return to Brisbane so I’m hoping it won’t be too disgusting – I’m excited to have my phone working again and ring round some temp agencies whilst trying to find farmwork with my friend Kim. I’m honestly so scared for the future and it’s hard not knowing where you will be in a few days, a week or a year, but I finally have a plan in place and I know what I want. I want to get my second year visa and have the option to come back to Australia in the new year after spending a few months at home to see my family and sit in my favourite chair, with my cats and with my favourite mug filled with strong tea. 

It’s weird but I find it really odd when I imagine going home. Like yes I would love to go home, of course I would, but I’m not done yet. I miss my family, having my own personal space, clothes(!), not having to budget like a mad woman and just feeling as though I have my life together. I am so bored of wearing the same sweaty t-shirts and asking everyone I meet their name and where they’ve been. It’s silly but it’s tiring. 

Wanderlust Wednesday: Chiang MaiĀ 

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Welcome to Chiang Mai, a city north of Bangkok. Honestly I was way too scared to leave my hotel alone in Bangkok so Chiang Mai has been my first and only glimpse of Thailand. I was expecting shacks and run down buildings, no one to speak any English and technology to be few and far between. I’m pretty saddened that wifi is available pretty much everywhere, it’s actually easier to find internet access here than in Australia. The buildings are beautiful, too, with all the roads looking like a standard back street in pretty much any city. It’s so westernised that I don’t even feel like I’m abroad, which is sad. The locals all speak perfect English and are incredibly friendly, which is lovely but I feel so bad and too embarrassed to speak the basic Thai I’ve learnt. 

It is a beautiful city, but it’s changing. I would have loved to have visited maybe five years ago. Yesterday we met a lady who told us about an event that only happens once a year where the people of Chiang Mai walk to the temple the night before Big Buddha Day which is today. She encouraged us to go and we were all up for it until her friend said it starts at 6pm and you wouldn’t make it to the temple until 3am. I genuinely feel bad about not going, but I get tired even climbing to the third floor of our hostel so can you even imagine me on a 9 hour hike? Really?

The past two days we’ve spent exploring the old and new town, going to the night markets. Today we are doing a vegetarian cooking class which I’m so excited for because food is life, but to get there we are getting picked up by bike. Yes, bike – I’m scared but excited, the bikes here are insane. They drive like crazy over here and crossing the roads is an experience in itself. Tomorrow we’re heading to the waterpark which looks like Total Wipeout, you know, that TV programme you fantasised about going on as a kid. 

On Friday we head to Pai, via van for three hours which will be an experience. We’re staying at a circus school hostel and will be professional clowns in no time. 

Watch this space.

Liv on Tour: Melbourne > Adelaide > Melbourne

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Last Saturday I randomly stumbled into two girls I’d never met before who invited me on a road trip to Adelaide and back via The Great Ocean Road. Whilst this thought would of terrified me a few months back, I’ve learnt that with life comes spontaneous (sometimes mental) decisions and so there I was, in the back of the van with two total strangers camping in country campsites and waking up to the sound of kangaroos hopping. 

We started from Melbourne and made out way to the start of the B100, stopping off at various ‘tourist’ attractions along the way. The actual road was super short, I was slightly underwhelmed but the absolute highlight was at Kennet River where we watched a wild large koala move trees – it was so special to see as usually they tend to be little fluff balls up in the sky. It was also pretty cool to see the famous 12 Apostles, The Gibson Steps, London Bridge and a whole other bunch of rocks.

We camped at some beautiful spots, as someone who needs structure and to know exactly where I’m going and what I’m doing, I was surprised that it actually felt good to let go and never know where we would end up staying. Now I’m not going to lie, fitting three people in a camper van is absolute hell. Your limbs will ache from not being able to move, and you wake up with feet in your face and legs on your chest. But it’s all worth it, one night we were lucky enough to find a spot out in the sticks, I would tell you where but I honestly don’t have a clue, but you could see most of the Milky Way. In that moment I felt closer to home than I had in a very, very long time.

On day 5 we arrived in Adelaide which I personally think it beautiful in its own way. It reminds me of home and I guess that’s why I feel so comfortable there. But, that said, there’s not a whole lot to see there and I’m not too sure why the girls wanted to go there. I did my best to show them some of my favourite spots and we cooked up some dinners for the next days ahead. With an Eski full of great food, we set off to see the Grampians via Hahndorf. We stopped at The Lane Winery where you can taste 12 wines for $5(?!) but I got tea as I just really fancied it. We went to pay but they said it was free for us and to put it towards petrol. What a lad. 

Then we continued on our trip, heading towards The Grampians and seeing some wildlife. This was pretty disappointing if I’m honest, none of us are big hikers so the thought of climbing a mountain peak doesn’t appeal to me at all. We did all the usual tourist spots including The Balcony which is just as it sounds – tourists sit right on the end of a piece of rock sticking out thousands of feet above the forest. My stomach was literally churning as I watched a small Asian child climb to the end for a photo. It was horrific.

Then we were on our way to our campsite where the van broke down from a dead battery. We sat at an abandoned petrol station near Salt Creek (where the attempted murder of two backpackers had occurred the year previous). I flagged down a guy whilst waving our jump leads but he couldn’t locate the battery and of course, we had no idea. Luckily he was a contractor for mechanics and called one of his guys. We sat for what felt like an eternity, flinching at every sound of twigs snapping until the guy showed up an hour later. He was probably the cutest person ever. He jumped us, checked our oil (which was empty, opps) and told us we’d be safer waiting at the servo in Kingston SE for our breakdown cover. 

So we are sat waiting and get a knock on the window – he’d bought us two bottles of oil for free and wouldn’t take any money off us or anything (he was literally the kindest human ever and super cute, wish I’d gotten his number hahaha fml). He left his jump leads in the van, I assume to have an excuse to come get them after he’d done his food shopping in the main town, but alas it wasn’t to be and we along with his leads ended up camping in a creepy car service station that our breakdown cover lead us to. 

The next day we drove straight back to Melbourne which was pretty boring as by this point I think we all needed our own space (and a shower!) Am I glad I went? Yes absolutely, I never would of seen myself camping, not washing my hair for four days, and sharing a van with a huge spider. I like to think that anything that’s meant for you shall not pass you by – I was sick of living in the city and needed an adventure. 

Now I’m in St Kilda and today I went in a hippy shop and pulled out a guidance card which said “keep quiet and be still” so I sat by the sea for what felt like an eternity, and man, did I miss my own company. 

Now the countdown to Thailand with my favourite person can truly begin! 

East Coast Paradise

Australia 2017, Uncategorized

Hello from Tully, a beautiful small town located somewhere in between Townsville and Cairns. I’m currently in a hotel as our indigenous camp was cancelled, but there’s no complaints here – the hotel is Mt. Tyson and totally amazing compared to the 8 bed dirty dorms I’ve become accustomed to. My room is a single, with air con, a TV, fridge, kettle, toaster AND free wifi. 

I couldn’t even begin to tell you how completely breathtaking the past few weeks have been. I’ve had the time of my life and I’m super sad that my east coast adventure has nearly finished. Tomorrow I head to Cairns to begin my final week up north before flying to Adelaide to see our lovely family friends and then Melbourne.

The absolute highlight for me has been Fraser Island where our group quickly became a little family. We drove huge four wheel drives and camped for two nights. We saw the amazing Lake Mackenzie, another lake with those fish that eat your feet (I forget the name…) and my personal favourite Eli Creek where you float down a freezing fresh water stream in rubber rings. At night we would drink on the beach before heading to Winkies, which was a glorified tent with disco lights but so much fun when you’re off your face on goon. I’ve never seen so many stars as I did here. Then we got back to Rainbow Beach and my beautiful group surprised me on my birthday with cake and balloons at a cute pub.

Afterwards I went on an overnight train before hopping straight onto my boat around the Whitsundays. This is actually what I was most excited for when coming to Australia, but actually it felt pretty dull in comparison to Frasers. I think it’s all about the group you get and I didn’t really ‘click’ with many people on the boat but still had a great time snorkelling and exploring with the two of the funniest and friendliest people ever. 

Today I just came from Magnetic Island, which is a little Island off of Townsville. On day one we did the Fortz Walk and saw two wild koalas and watched the sunset from the top of an old war bunker which was absolutely terrifying to get to but worth it for the views over the rocks. On day two we rented what I can only describe as a death trap on wheels. After a terrifying start and nearly dying, we picked up a stray traveller and had the best day exploring the Island. We fed rock wallabies, went to a million different bays, cracked open a coconut and drank the milk before realising it was mouldy, and watched the sunset at West Point. Yesterday I held a koala and lots of lizards which was pretty cool, who knew lizards have the softest little bellies? I didn’t. 

How’s England, guys?