I resolve to do better….

My New Year Resolutions are not going as perfectly as I predicted….

#take12trips was scuppered in February by my lack of a trip. Yes, in my second month *sigh* I don’t even think I left the ski resort in February. It’s a busy month & I have a never-turn-down-work policy. Plus I moved house twice just to suck up any free time I had. I don’t know why I insist on challenging my peaceful calm nature with constant, unnecessary hassle. Maybe my April resolution should be to take care of my wellbeing? – Please encourage & support this in a bid to salvage my sanity! I’m still optimistically hoping to keep this #take12trips resolution by taking 2 trips in March to make up not going anywhere in February? Is that cool with you guys? This a resolution I REALLY want to keep.

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My February skincare resolution is still in full swing! I invested (heavily) in (atrociously expensive) skin care products & my skin is feeling happy as a result. Washing my face (aka double cleansing, exfoliating acid, serum & maybe a moisturising mask) is now a delight. My skin feels loved, hydrated & healthy. This mortgage payment feels worthwhile & I am blissfully convincing myself that these products will last for at least half a year… Self deceit is one of my many self administering coping mechanisms.

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My March running resolution started quite well. I was super keen to begin this resolution early but heavy snow, moving house & that 31 hour straight that I worked kind of hindered me time wise. Finally I went running on the 28th February to kick start my resolution. I should have packed a defibrillator. Only I can self harm in a manner that seems outwardly healthy & positive. Running for the first time in nearly a year, I went for hill sprints in the alps in minus temperatures after a 13 hour work day. Fuck my life. I coped & mentally it wasn’t as bad as I physically expected it to be. I can’t begin to explain how clear the sky was or how amazing the stars looked. As if I needed anything else to take my breath away. I really feel blessed in the alps. Blessed & out of breath.

As much as I enjoyed my run(ish) I am not confident running will continue as routinely as I hoped. I am currently completing a 16hour working day & the rest of the week is looking quite similar. As enthusiastic & motivated I am about running, I really need my sleep to get through the long days. I have to keep misery to an absolute minimum! & I’m not going to beat myself up about this or call it a fail (see possible April resolution in the first paragraph).

Here’s to trying harder, being better & continuing to smile

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Dear Skype, I love you

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I bloody love Skype. Another highly cherished ‘enabler’ in my world of travel. Without Skype I don’t know if I could go for long periods away from my family & ‘home, home’ (aka my original home where I keep homing back to).

However, with Skype comes a world of hurt, abuse, trauma & neglect as I am thrown 100% back into the normalcy of my family life. I have tried to come up with methods to avoid these negative situations but I fail at every step. I shall continue to perfect the manner in which I use Skype. These are some of my user issues:

1> Timing

Timing is EVERYTHING. If I Skype during Sunday dinner I am overwhelmed with morbid jealousy & I am a one woman pity party for myself. My mouth is watering & I can almost smell the delicious, familiar feast…. When I’m hungover this crippling sense of being hard done by & neglected is MAGNIFIED. Sunday Skypes are risky business. You are taking your hunger in your hands!

If I Skype when my nephew is trying to watch ‘Toot Toots’ (Thomas the tank engine to us mere grown ups) on the iPad, I am greeted by a screaming child. I usually hear the wails before I see his red, outraged face. “NOOOOOOOOO! Toot TOOTS!!!!” Will be shouted at me repeatedly while I am being pushed away in horror. This can really affect my self esteem when I’m looking forward to seeing a cute, loving face after a tough day travelling or a long week at work. This scenario isn’t helped by the parents’ protests to “Say hello to auntie” being met with a stamping foot & a distressed child screaming “NOOOOO!!! Toot toots!!!”. Enjoy your flaming toot toots then Mr Terrible Two *sobs into keyboard*

2> Motion Sickness

Pass me my motion sickness bands & tablets – I’m going to Skype the parents! Strap on your seat belts, this is going to be like no roller coaster ride you have ever experienced! Prepare to be shaken, dropped, moved non stop & aimed excruciatingly poorly at the wrong thing. This can all be done from a stationary seated position. That’s impressive! My parents’ arms must be aching after a Skype session with me from their non stop juggling. Maybe its a fitness initiative that I’ve missed?? Just when you think your eyes have adjusted to the swaying & spinning it somehow goes twice as fast. If you are hungover this is not even worth the risk. Even the thought of it may take you to a dark place of wretching. I swear my parents are worse than my niece & nephews who normally carry me (the iPad) somewhere & stand on me/switch me off/prop me against something/cuddle & kiss me.

3> Terrible picture

Feet. Corners of the ceiling. Blank wall. The iPad cover. I’m looking at you again parents. Its a simple aim & hold device. I do not need to gag at your dirty, disgusting crocs. I didn’t call you to look at the Dulux whisked egg-white-ivory-linen-cotton-cloud paint on the walls. I am giving you a perfectly delightful view of my face. Ok, so it may not always be a delightful face but at least there is emotion, communication & interaction. Why am I looking at the carpet??? Is it so difficult to look at the little box on the screen to check what I’m seeing once in a while? Is it so difficult to remember whether you’re on front or back camera? Can I see your whole face for expression or must it solely be a conversation with your scalp?? *Sigh*

4> Neglect

Sometimes I get forgotten. The iPad (me) gets set down, people get on with their tasks/chatter/life & I listen in. I quite like it though. I feel like I’m right back at home – Is this a pity party thing where being left out makes me feel like I’m at home?? I like to sit back & be a fly on the wall, taking in the conversation & taking part when it suits. Not being the focus of entertainment or being interrogated.

5> Interrogation

Ok, I get it. When someone isn’t home their life seems so exciting & you want to hear more about it because you’re sure it’s incredible. Ask me questions, I’ll tell you anything you need to know. But please, fill me in on what’s happening back at ‘home, home’. I want to hear the funny, silly stories. I want to know that my niece cried when granda collected her from nursery, I want to hear about my nephew giving his toys to his wee brother when he’s upset, I want to know that the flowers I sent were hand delivered & my mum was asked for by her funny nickname.

6> Heartache

Nothing breaks my heart quite like how much I miss my dog when I’m away. I think about him an absurd amount of time. My daydreams usually involve reminiscing about how soft his fur is & how good he is to hug or looking forward to the next time I cuddle him. When I Skype him he doesn’t show interest in me anymore. The years of abandonment have hardened his fragile heart. To see him on Skype is always a complete joy & a reminder that I’m a bad mamma. I guess if this is one of my great sources of sadness then I can consider myself very fortunate. & I do. However, this doesn’t stop me missing him every single day.

7> Jealousy

I am happy go lucky, I make the most of what I’ve got & I don’t dwell on jealousy. If anything I make a joke at how unfortunate I can be on occasion. Honestly, most situations I wouldn’t change because I really love a funny story. No matter if I’m the joke, I like to see how things unfold. Plus I have a fantastic group of friends who see great humour in when things go wrong in my life. Not in a cruel way, more of an it-could-only-happen-to-you, eyes rolling, kind of way. When I say I don’t do jealousy, I have to admit there are flashes when it consumes me. One great example is when I Skype during Sunday dinner. I am jealous. I want to eat that too! On Skype my family don’t hesitate to tell me when they are going to the (DELICIOUS) local Chinese, my favourite restaurants or for walks or day trips to my favourite places. It is mainly food induced jealousy. What can I say, I’m a foodie! (This is the cute term I use so people think I’m not a greedy, forever hungry, unfillable pit of a human).

8> Emotional

Not content with being a visual roller coaster, Skype has been an emotional roller coaster for me. I can document so many milestones & experiences via Skype. My heart filling when I got to see my 1 hour old niece from Switzerland, my heart twisting when my Grandad passed away when I was working in Italy, my nephews first steps, ringing in new years, singing happy birthday & wishing each other merry Christmas. You are the one who has been there for my family & I through it all.

So, Skype, I still have to finesse the terms on which I use you to avoid all my personal issues…. But honestly, I don’t know what I would do without you. You help me see my niece & nephew grow up, you give me immense comfort when I see my dog, you warm me when I hear my family chatting casually & waving down the camera. You allow me to have a (somewhat) normal life with my family via regular conversation, interaction & sharing our lives. You make it easy for me to pack my bags, leave home & jet off to a new country. You make it easier to pack for months away. You make it easy to visit countries on the other side of the world, to explore & escape.

From the bottom of my heart I thank you for being an important enabler in my life.

Please share your travel enablers with me in the comments below. What apps & websites help you to travel & make your life easier? I’m sure there are so many out there just waiting to be discovered. Thanks!

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“New Year Resolutions” – 1 month on

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New year resolutions – What a pile of crap. Every year we all go through the ritual of summoning our will power to aspire to be healthier, exercise more & achieve our goals. Fuck that bullshit. This year I shall not be buying into a week of highly motivated good intentions for them to waver & me to spend the rest of the year wallowing in self loathing guilt & worthlessness. None of that crap anymore!

I still want to do resolutions because I find them to be beneficial & self enhancing. This year I’ll be breaking down my resolutions to 12 bite size manageable projects. Nothing too strenuous or demanding. Just a programme of mini well being self improvements. Perfect!

In January I committed to the #take12trips challenge. Once a month I shall be going on a trip may it be to a town I haven’t visited, a trip to the spa or a country halfway around the world. Perfect! I have a feeling I could do this challenge by default as my parents say my life is a holiday. My first trip was to Morocco. Upon discovering I had a week off I quickly got on to http://www.skyscanner.com (my favourite flight finding website) & booked a flight to Marrakech for 2 days later. This is certainly a new years resolution I will endeavour to keep.

In February I am researching skin care in a bid to invest in & overhaul my skin. I am indulging in skincare vlogs & a skin care education courtesy of the one & only Caroline Hirons. *grovels at her feet* http://www.carolinehirons.com I urge you to check her out if you want excellent product reviews & no bullshit skin care recommendations. My friend is coming over from the uk & will be packing a great deal of coveted skincare goodies for me! As if I can afford anything in Switzerland with the Swiss Franc in it’s current state!

In March I am hoping to take up running! I am actually looking forward to this! I am planning on getting new trainers as soon as I get paid & I may even start running earlier than planned!

I’m feeling very positive about my deconstructed resolutions. In previous years I would have tried & failed by now but here I am, feeling good! Positive! Happy.

Long may it last! …..I shall keep you updated.

Have you made any new year resolutions? Have you kept them? Have you come up with an alternative way to manage them? Please let me know in the comments below 🙂

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Not all fellow travellers have morals

After complaining about how I hate being hoodwinked & shortchanged, lo & behold, someone in my dorm steals my purse with €250 in it. I am so mad. What sort of low life does something like that? I generally have good karma but I know that money is long gone. I wish the thief nothing but terrible karma to come from my hard earned wages & kindly appreciated tips.

I am now a little anxious with the rest of my beloved belongings. I don’t think I could cope well if anything else gets stolen. So much for a cheap break to morocco. There goes my flight to New York *sigh*

As usual I will convince myself that it was my fault so I have to deal with it, it could have been much worse & that it’s only money, I still have my health. All fair arguments. All not bringing me my money back. I have some very strong words I want to scream & seek justice…. Instead I will wallow in a smelly room *sigh*

My roommates have purchased big leather bags. The room fucking stinks. I can taste the leather & it tastes disgusting! It has certainly put me off buying a new handbag, not that I even have the funds for it to be an option anymore.

Everything is annoying me tonight. It is freezing cold again. There is no toilet roll. The pillows are uncomfortable. I’m skint & have been robbed. I’m at a bit of a low right now.

Tomorrow is my last full day in Morocco. I will have some orange juice for breakfast, visit the spice souk, read my book, get a tagine for lunch, nap in the sun, visit another hamman, eat something delicious for tea & chill out in the evening. Sounds perfect! Bring on a better day!

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*Dusts off backpack* *Throws backpack away*

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As lovely & absolutely wonderful as home is….

I’ve booked flights to Thailand!

It has been over 10 years since I had the backpacking bug & I forget what it feels like! I know I love it, I never fell out of love with it – my funds did. The exact reasons & feelings behind my passion for backpacking have sadly laid dormant for too many years. Now I’m doing something about it!

I’m so elated! It feels like an out of body experience!!! Sure I travel & work abroad but I haven’t booked a pleasure based break in almost a decade!!!*

I am in my happy place of being super productive carrying out awesome pre travel tasks! I got my vaccinations, I read up on places to visit, got sun screen & bug spray. I bid farewell to my circa 2003 retro backpack & treated myself to a new one! AND I even had the audacity to check how much an upgrade on my flight was – who am I kidding!?

Not one to ever turn her back on self improvement, or enhancing my career opportunity potential, I’m doing a Thai massage course while I’m there. This will be during my first 2 weeks in Thailand & my last 2 weeks are completely open! Bliss! Suggestions are welcome! Step right up.

*excluding glastonbury – however those of you who have been would agree it is an endurance adventure sport & not a relaxing break. Well it is to me!

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Holy shitballs, i’m aging…

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I’m turning 30 in a matter of minutes & I am the epitome of an emotional wreck. My mind is replaying the phrase ” I am not where I want to be at 30.”
I don’t know how true this is, however I seem to be brainwashing myself into believing it either way.

Maybe I am where I want to be at 30? I am happy. That’s a life strive.
Am I happy??

Married, with kids, settled. That’s where I envisioned I would be. Happy. Settled. With all my travelling & partying out of the way. I feel nowhere near settled. I’m moving from new job to new country at least twice a year. When will I stop? Why would I want to stop?

I’ve had fun. I’ve met the most amazing people & made the best of friends along the way. (I’ve met some knobbers too). I wouldn’t consider erasing those years for youth if it meant never making those friendships.

I’ve laughed. I’ve met crazy people. I’ve been in the most beautiful breathtaking surroundings. I’ve worked with amazing people & created wonderful opportunities for myself. I’ve made people laugh. I’ve made people smile. I’ve cheered them up when they’re sad. I make people feel good about themselves. I have a genuine empathy towards people & I care. A lot. I’m a good person. I make people feel comfortable. I am never mean or nasty. I have no hidden agenda & I work hard and always do my best. I have been told I have a pure soul. These are qualities I highly value in myself. I feel like a success as a nice person.

….everywhere else may be lacking. Or am I? Why do I measure myself to other people? We make our own happiness, right? Our mindset drives us & pushes us to our opportunities.

I always struggle with my birthday & new years. This milestone birthday seems to be significantly detrimental to my mental health. I feel like a volatile emotional wreck. A volatile emotional wreck who should go to sleep right now so I’m not crying at midnight. I couldn’t cope with that!

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