Although I looked after criminals, I was prisoner myself.

“I am thankful for all those who said no to me. It’s because of them I’m doing it myself.” Albert Einstein

Crazy to believe this time last year, I was sitting in a room with two judges, a murderer and his family, determining whether he should be released from prison and now my feet are in the sand, the waves are crashing and the sun is hitting down on my face. The breeze is running through my hair, I have my favorite tunes playing whilst watching the surfers. This is the life I always dreamt of but never thought it would be reality. In my mind travelling was for the rich and I was far from that. I didn’t know many people in my area who have done the whole backpacking thing, it was actually a girl from University who put this in my head.

I always thought I would need lots of money to see the world. Living in London is not exactly cheap and prices for everything seem to be going up. Look at Freddo’s- They are now 30P!! I mean what the heck, you can’t even buy a Freddo without getting ripped off. To save to travel was hard and admittedly I couldn’t save the amount I wanted to. Yet this was my dream and so I had to travel differently. I had to work and travel at the same time, but I still managed to do what I wanted to do and that gave me life.

The first prison I went to was around 3 hours from London, the excitement going to my first prison visit was so exciting. I was to meet a high risk murderer, yet that didn’t scare me. The first thing I asked the prison officer was:
“Can I go into a cell?”
I was so excited but as soon as I walked in this tiny little cell it scared me, it was daunting and the thought of being locked up was overwhelming… But I was a prisoner myself. Yet I wasn’t trapped between four walls, even worse I was trapped in my own mind and for the crime of not being free. I would often have doubts of doing things and like a prisoner I felt trapped. I remember going into a prison and the thought of not having any freedom scared me yet I wasn’t free myself. I always wanted to do things but felt I couldn’t, worrying I would be judged. I wouldn’t wear certain things; worried people will say something. I wouldn’t go out without make up on because I felt like I needed a mask. There is always that element that you never want to look bad, you don’t want to say the wrong thing as you don’t want to upset someone so you might not say anything. Sometimes good. Sometimes not.

OK so I haven’t had the experience to be in prison for a crime, but having over 50 cases and each of them saying about their time in prison was fascinating. Each of them would say
“Rach I never want to go back to prison.”
One of the people I was looking after was stabbed whilst in prison, but this wasn’t the reason he didn’t want to go back, it was because he did not have his freedom. Yet even on the outside world he wasn’t free. We all knew he was a wanted gang member, always watching his back. A majority of us feel trapped and wish we could do certain things but feel we can’t which is one of the most saddest realities. Most of us are watching our backs one way or another.

I didn’t want to be a prisoner anymore and set myself a goal, that at the age of 25 I will travel and find myself, I will be free and become the person I want to be. Seven months later and I am still learning so much about myself and what I want to become. There is no one I have not met who hasn’t been important. Everyone I have met in my 25 years have taught me new things. I remember when people didn’t believe me when I said I am leaving for a year but hey I did it and it feels fantastic. The number one question everyone keeps asking is:
“What’s your plan when you go back home?”
My answer:
“I will no longer be a prisoner.”

6 Months Later

I still cannot believe how quick time is going, it’s actually pretty scary. To believe over 6 months ago I was saying bye to my English family and hello to my Australian Family. Now because time is ticking, I have been trying to pack in my weekends yet trying to save money. Well let’s face it, that’s been the biggest challenge so far. Money and myself have a love/ hate relationship. God I love money and buying new things, going out (Well eating out because I love food) but flipping hell I hate it as well. So what has been happening the last month….

Old Friends in New Places

Although I am on the other side of the world it’s crazy how many people you bump into from back home, or you meet someone who knows someone you know. I have not seen an old school friend for around 13 years and where do we both end up… Australia! We decided we needed to go on a night out and I honestly had such a great night with Hayley. I met her in her hostel (How I miss the hostel life), and we met a guy there who has a mutual friend with the both of us. Such a small world! We went to a club called The Club, how ironic but it was so much fun.

IMG_2552[1]
Me and Hayley.

New Friends in New Places

Along the way I have met the most beautiful people in Australia, including my work wife – Mel. We are always laughing and joking and recently went into the city. She bought her friend along – Nenah. Mel knew us 3 would get on well. She was right! All we done was laugh and joke. We found a great bar called Laughing Buddha in the city. I have never laughed so much in my life and was quite embarrassing drinking a slippery nipple (Name of a shot).

Recently I have been partying probably a bit too much. Every weekend I seem to just want to let my hair down and have fun… Not good for the bank, but you know what you only live once. The weekends go so quick as well. Next thing you open your eyes and it’s Monday again. What’s that about? Here are a few drunk times over the last few weekends…

IMG_0076[1]
Mel and Me. Laughing Buddah.

Me Grace Jess. CBH

The Family at Tim and Hollys Engagement Party. Best Night Ever!!!!!

Bye Andy and Jo

In previous posts I mentioned, the hardest part about travelling is saying bye. Whilst in Australia we have our own little family and two of them have left to do their farm work. As time goes on the more people are leaving including myself. I only have 4 weeks left in Sydney and the thought of saying bye scares me.

Andy and Jo have kept me entertained from day one and will always have a place in my heart. They are both great guys and I wish them well on doing their farm work.

This isn’t a goodbye. This is a see you later.

IMG_0077[1].JPG
Andy and Me. 

Beach life

One thing I love about living in Australia is the beaches. My favorite so far has been Hyams Beach. I recently went to Avalon Beach with my cousin where we found a really cute cave which means PHOTOSHOOT! I do love a picture! In my personal opinion – I prefer the northern beaches; they aren’t as busy!

IMG_0012[1]
Blogging on Avalon Beach. 

Facing my fear – Spiders
What does a girl do when the weather is rubbish, her friends are busy and knows she only has a month left in Sydney. She goes to face her fear – Spiders. Prior to Australia I was never really scared of spiders but since I have been here, whether the spider is big or small I am scared, knowing what these little furry creatures can do to you. At the Australian Museum there was a spider exhibition, and there was a hell of a lot of spiders. Big and Small. Was it fascinating – Of course.  Am I still scared of spiders – Most definitely.

There was something quite peaceful walking around a museum with my mocha, reading the history behind Australia. I was in my own world. I’ve realised sometimes I enjoy my own space and like to be in my own thoughts. For me this was a perfect morning and loved it. I never used to enjoy my own company and would constantly want to be around friends, but moving to another country on your own makes you that bit more independent.

After the museum my aunt and cousin were at the Opera Bar, so I met them. I was high on life after the museum. One place I love to go to is the Opera Bar for drinks, I would say this is on the pricey side however when I’m there I always think:
“Wow I am in Australia.”
This is due to all the iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge in my view.

IMG_0145[1]
Kangaroo Selfie. Australian Museum.

Valentines


A bit late but Happy Valentine’s Day! In my life I have never received a present from a secret admirer and would always admire people that did. Well this year I was in luck and received a beautiful gift, and for days tried to work out who it was yet the mystery was never solved. I asked everyone at work and thought this was some kind of sick joke but no one came forward.

IMG_0146[1]
Valentines Gift. 

4 more weeks and counting…

I have four weeks left and it’s getting emotional. I am sad to leave Sydney as this has been my home for the last 7 months, however I know  I need to see more. Luckily I have some of my favorite people coming to visit me whilst I travel the East Coast and South East Asia which will be amazing, so although I am sad I am really excited that I will get to see other parts of the world. From April I will be travelling 7 different countries in 2 months, I am already praying for my liver!

Next week is my birthday ! AHHHHHH! I’m getting old!

The next 4 weeks are going to be pretty full on so will try and write as soon as I can… Again it has taken me almost 2 weeks to try and write this one! Where does the time go? I am really looking forward to sharing my experiences in all these different countries I am visiting and tips on what are the best places the go.

My next post will be about my last final weeks in Australia.

Rae. X

 

 

Half Way There…

Time flies when your having fun.
As soon as I wrote my title all I could think of was:
“Woahhhhh we’re halfway there, woahhhh living on a prayer” – Thanks Bon Jovi!

Can’t believe its been 6 months already and how quick it has gone. This feels like a dream rather than reality, I have never been so happy and content with life. I have learnt so much within the last 6 months. For me going to the other side of the world has made me realise what I want in life. Saying it out loud seems so dramatic that I had to travel to the other side of the world to realise what I want… But here I had no one as in, I didn’t have friends who knew me all my life nor family who have watched me grow up. In reality this was a new life I was starting. This was a chance for me to be the real me and not what I thought everyone wanted me to be.

Was I living a lie that whole time? Definitely not. Yet I would watch what I would say, not go crazy on the dance floor because I was so concerned what people would think or sing my heart out. Since I have been in Australia all I seem to do is send my friends voice notes of me singing and laughing about it. Recently a friend back home sent me a message:
“Rach you have changed…”
The words I was dying to hear and that is what I wanted. For me this was not a bad change at all.She said:
“You seem more relaxed and care free.”
I am. Half the time I can’t be bothered to look my best because I just don’t care anymore. In reality the girl that left isn’t going to be the same girl when she returns back home (New Blog Post Title!)

I am so thankful for the direction that the universe has steered me in. Now I understand why I had to do some things, why I met different people along my way, why some things have been a rough ride but that has made me who I am. I have learnt change brings

blog-post
Where I am writing my blog post.

growth, whether this is big or small. I’m not saying you have to go to the other side of the world to “change” but you can grow in so many aspects, a project or business your working on, a relationship, anything. When you don’t venture out your comfort zone you will always think what if and you can not let fear of failure stop you from pursuing your dreams because lets face it, living in regret is worse than living in fear. It doesn’t matter how old you are if you want to do something- do it! YOU want to go and travel, do it! YOU want to change your career, do it! YOU want to go to University, do it. YOU want to start a family- do it! YOU have goals, chase them! Number one tip do not avoid growth no matter how hard it seems. Australia has been a dream and I am thankful everyday for this life I have been given. In this journey I have started to do what I want to do and stopped pleasing others. I focus on my own happiness, this is MY life and sometimes I will make the wrong choices or the right ones but no matter what these are my decisions. I have stopped wanting to be someone else, unfollowed all these gorgeous models on Instagram because I wanted to become them. Yet I should be focusing on my own health and well being. It become so unnatural how I would aspire to look the way they looked. I would pester my sister and ask her to do my hair how this model had her hair and because it didn’t look the same I would get so angry and upset. By the way this girl had a completely different hair texture so I do not know how I thought I could have the same hair as her ha-ha! Each of us are unique and all have different paths – embrace it!

 

So What Has Travel And Curls Been Up To?
I am still surprised how quick time has gone, I only have 2 months left in Sydney until I travel the East Coast and then onto South East Asia. As I am going to travel for 3 months I worked out how much money I would need. I wish I was rich but I have to work and travel at the same time so for the next 8 weeks all I am doing is just saving which sucks, but I know it will be worth it in the end. I am dreading leaving the life I have made in Australia, I have honestly met the most beautiful people and have got so close with my family over here, but I am not going to think about that yet… It won’t be a goodbye it will be a see you soon!

In April one of my closest friends will be joining me to travel the East Coast and then South East Asia. We have booked our flights from Cairns to Bali and our hostels on the East Coast. I have been reading so many travel blogs about the East Coast and what to do and I seriously can not wait. I was worried at first as I have been on my own in Australia and really had to throw myself out there, do things by myself. Whilst staying in hostels you just have to make friends and just start a random conversation. However, having a friend join me on this adventure will be amazing as when we go home we will be able to talk about all the things we done together. Thank god my friend has a GoPro so I will be able to make videos!

So here is what I have been up to the last month:

Best Things In Life Are Free!
So as I am trying to save money I have been doing cheap things, and my friends here are so understanding. I am lucky that my aunt has a pool so when its hot I can chill there. Me and my friends have also been having little dinner parties which has been so cute. Its like Come Dine With Me but with friends and no camera or ratings – so really its not like Come Dine With Me at all really – ha!

My friends are also trying to save money to travel so we have been trying to find random things to do. We went to a pub quiz in Newtown (The Shoreditch of Sydney). Well I have

jos-pool
Jo’s Rooftop Pool. 

never been to a quiz where the question reader tells you the answers. She was hilarious though, she would come to our table, and nudge us and show us the answer. Very odd but would go again! It did make me realise how rubbish I am at trivia.

Another day we went to my friend Jo’s rooftop pool and that was just amazing. The view of the city was just stunning, prior to that we sat in Hyde Park (Can’t believe there is a Hyde Park in Sydney) and had a few drinks and chilled in the sun. I love my group of friends, they are the most funniest people!

 

OK Ladies Lets Get In Formation.
As I said in my previous blog I started Dancehall dance classes which I adore and it is the only thing I have really stuck at- I get bored really easily but I have found a new hobby

beyonce-class
Beyonce Workshop. Dance Central Sydney. 

which I love. I recently went to a Beyonce Formation dance workshop where I could be Beyonce for the day, or as I like to call myself – Fatyonce. The dance teacher was amazing and he could wear heels better than me! It was so worth it and just so fun! When I go to these classes I don’t even feel like I am excising it just feels like I am partying for a few hours.

 

This Beyonce workshop was for a hour and a half and as you can see from the picture by the end of it I was dying. I felt like I lost a stone, no wonder Beyonce has the figure she has if she has to practice hours on end! This class was so BOOTYLICIOUS!!

Dance classes really have given me a boost of confidence, it has helped me loose weight and I just feel so happy when I am doing these classes. Thank you Terence for this amazing workshop. I am still doing my Dancehall classes and my teacher Crystal is honestly the best! She makes it so fun and she gives me so much life, she is so uplifting.

Australia Day
I was lucky enough to be in Australia for Australia Day. Me and some friends decided to do the Aussie thing and have a BBQ on my friends rooftop. Prior to this it was one of the girls birthday, so me and another girl went to her house early in the morning with a cake, flowers and breakfast. She was so surprised and the look on her face was priceless. I have

jess-bday
Jess’s Surprise Birthday Breakfast.

never done anything like that for a friend before, I will definitely be making more a effort when I go home with my close friends. Jess is such a beautiful person and deserved a good birthday. How lucky is she to have her birthday on Australia day. When your so far from home the friends you make become family. This was her first birthday in Australia so we wanted to make it as special as possible. HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESS!

 

So back to Australia Day, a day for everyone to get drunk. So as I said earlier we decided to have a BBQ on my friends rooftop and that was great. Again all we done was laugh and joke and we just had such a great time. We then went to a pool party, I weren’t really feeling this party as I thought it was a pool party so went really casual, barely any make up but it was like a pool party you see in the American films. All the girls were glamorous and in my head I was thinking:
“I’ve F’d up here.”

I stayed here for a few hours but the highlight of the pool party was a friend Andy jumping

australia-day
Australia Day 2017.

into the pool onto an inflatable which he bounced off which led to the inflatable breaking.

 

YES- He ripped of the gold flamingos head.

The girl who owned the inflatable was not to pleased and went round saying it cost her $95 dollars – gutted! Overall it was a great day and spent it with the best people. I finished this day with a glass of Champagne with my aunt and cousin.

It is about the company you are with, and I spent it with the friends I have met along the way who are friends for life. No matter what, when I go back to England these friends will always have a special place in my heart. Everyone has different travel experiences and a friend back home told me I would meet some of my closest friends in a hostel as a hostel can bring you a lot and it really did. The friends I have made, most of them I met in the hostels. I am lucky I have formed such a great group of friends.

Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls
Since I have been in Australia all I wanted to do is chill by a waterfall in my bikini and finally my dream came true. My cousin invited me to her friends birthday. We all went to

kerry-falls
Kelly’s Falls.

Kelly’s Falls which was amazing and one of the best days. I finally got to go to a waterfall and I felt so happy. To get to the waterfall was another story, we had to climb down a mountain and that was pretty scary. Was it worth it? HELL YES! The waterfall itself was just amazing and it made me so excited to see the waterfalls when I travel South East Asia.

 

I don’t know why but I always feel there is something magical about waterfalls. They are so calming and beautiful. When you come from a concrete jungle like myself, you admire all these beautiful things so much more. It amazes me how stunning nature is and that I have been lucky enough to witness some amazing scenery from waterfalls to hidden beaches.

Fam-A-Lam
I can not explain how much I adore my family in Australia, they honestly treat me like

me-and-terri
Me and Auntie Terri. 

royalty and my aunt wants to spoil me all the time as she knows I do not have long left! We recently went to see La-La Land, I heard a lot of mixed reviews so was quite concerned. We went gold class which meant we had these big comfy chairs, champagne and sliders. It was great and I really enjoyed the film, it was a cross between a really old Hollywood film but set in the modern day. It also made me want to go to a Jazz bar which is on my list when I go back to London.
I would love to listen to a live Jazz band, that would be awesome!

My aunt is like one of my mates, more recently we were at home on a Saturday night, it was nice outside so we sat at the front for a bit drinking Prosecco (My fav). We decided to blare some 80’s music  and dance around the house, it was the funniest night ever. Who said you cant have a party just with two people.

 

That night I went to bed and boom I was sick on myself.. YES actual vomit. I felt the room spinning and I didn’t get to the bathroom on time so what do I do, throw up in my top. I am so classy. Then I run to the bathroom and boom throw up on the landing and then in the toilet. I then went into the shower room took of my clothes and walked around naked… whilst cleaning up my mess then went back into bed. In the morning I woke up opened my bedroom door all I could smell was vomit. What the hell was I thinking? To top it all off I had stained the carpet… What an eventful night! I didn’t even think I was that drunk, its always the worse when your laying in bed and the room is spinning. I always tend to embarass myself. The typical line I hear from friends and family is:
“Rach its always you.”
Its true, I always end up in these weird situations… I even got dumped whilst in Australia and I didn’t realise I had a boyfriend… That story is for another time.

Now I need to sleep. I have to be up at 6AM for work tomorrow.

I am trying to do a blog post at least once a month, one I start travelling the East Coast and Asia they will most likely be more frequent as I will be able to write whilst I am on the coach, plane, train etc.

Rae.x

New Year’s Eve. A Night I Will Never Forget.


img_2189

Fireworks. East Balmain.

 

A New Year. Another Chapter. Lets Make It A Good One

            I hope everyone had a happy new year, whether it was chilling watching T.V or getting drunk! This year was completely different for me as I was in Australia watching the fireworks. I don’t know about you but as soon as the clock hits 12 I get emotional, I think back to what has happened within the last year, the memories that I have made, the people I have met, the people I have lost, how much I have learned. It just comes crashing down on me like a tonne of bricks. I personally do not think that it is a bad thing at all; it’s good to reminisce and look at the person you have become.

As I said in my previous post, if you have made a goal make sure you stick by it. Sometimes you do want to give up, not everything is easy. When things seem to be going right, something bad comes along and says:
“Hi I’m Mr Bullshit and I am here to test you. “
That’s life. You just have to keep focused no matter how hard things might be.

Support your friends and family no matter what journey they are taking, share their success with others and preach about the new journey they are on. Jealousy is a nasty feeling and will only bring you down! Have you ever read peoples statuses on Facebook and you can hear the bitterness when you read them. I recently read a status which said something like “I don’t get why people would spend New Year’s getting drunk, it’s pathetic.” Why do people get so wrapped up in other people’s business, who cares if someone wants to get drunk or stay home. Another typical status I saw was “Here we go again, New Year, New Me statuses. “ If people feel a new year will help them change then let them be.  I love it when people say they want a new start, good for you! Just remember to stay focused and pursue your dreams. They may not happen overnight but they will happen. I think it’s scary the older I am getting the quicker the years seem to be going, this only pushes me even more. Everyone has their journey, make sure yours is a good one (Next blogpost!)

img_2205
Some of us at New Years. Sydney. Australia.

 

New Years in Sydney.

img_2196
Group Selfie. New Years. Sydney. Australia.

New Year’s  Eve in Sydney has to be my best New Year so far. Everyone that knows me, knows how rubbish I am at planning things, especially at New Year. I’m not a person who likes to club on New Year, although I have done it in the past. I was pestering people every day asking the same thing all the time:
“So what’s the plan for New Year?”
I knew I wanted to watch the fireworks in the city and be surrounded by the people I have met along the way whilst in Australia. My friend Jo mentioned a place called Balmain East, my concern was whether I could bring alcohol or not – Ha! When I asked Jo if I could bring alcohol he said:
“Of course you can, don’t be silly!”
He is certainly on my wave length!

So New Years was finally here and I was so excited. I kept checking the weather app and praying it wasn’t going to rain. Australian weather is crazy; you can typically get three seasons in one day! It was cloudy but still really hot.

Nothing ever goes smooth let’s face it. We made a Facebook group and knew there would be around 20 of us. We all met at Darling Harbour to get the ferry over to Balmain and BOOM! We caught the wrong ferry; others who we were meeting were also at the wrong place, so it started fun. These little things make the story more exciting right? At the time we moaned and the amounts of “shit and fucks” I heard once we realised we had caught the wrong ferry was pretty funny. Luckily Grace and her sister, who were actually at the wrong place to where we were supposed to meet arrived at Balmain first and got us the best spot!

A lot of people who I spoke to advised me to arrive there early, some people said 12 PM, others said 6 PM. We all decided to meet in the middle around half 2/3. Although I did panic as some other travelers I had met along the way went into the city at 6 AM, but we still got a good space.

Now there were 20 of us which means we will make plenty of noise, so much noise that four people moved from us. Either we smelt like crap or they couldn’t bare listening to our music and our odd conversations. For example a typical conversation of the night was whether the guys shave…. Down below! (I apologise to any family members that read this- Ha!).

img_1977
Me and Grace. Titanic Moment.

What do you do when you have to wait 9 hours for fireworks?

img_2202
Playing Cards Against Humanity. Caught In The Moment.

Nine hours seems a ridiculous time to wait for fireworks, but when you’re with the best company it goes so quick. We decided to play cards against humanity which was quite possibly the funniest time I have played it. Andy couldn’t even read the answers without laughing! This was properly the reason people moved from us, considering the answers that were read out… I can’t even type them! It was just nice to catch up with people, talk about travelling stories and what people have been through especially with their farm work and stuff. The stories you hear about when people travel surprises you, it’s one of the best parts of travelling, hearing and telling the stories.

So what do a bunch of travelers do from 3 PM waiting for fireworks, we get drunk!! I thought I would be sensible and told everyone I probably won’t start drinking until 7, did I fuck! I couldn’t help it, and I definitely weren’t going to be the sober fart sitting there. A good story tends to be when you’re drunk right? So we all got drunk and chatted crap – for me this was the best.

As I started drinking so early, I actually felt like I needed a nap. Everyone knows sleeping is my hobby so me and Grace decided we wouldn’t mind a little nap, by now it was about 10PM. We both laid on the floor and decided we would face each other almost like we were talking face to face but I covered my face with my hair and she had her sunglasses. Firstly, why did we even think this would even work? Secondly, it didn’t work!
(Note to drunk Rachel: Don’t try and pretend to sleep on a hill with a group of friends).

img_2215
When Me and Grace tried to sleep. Me, Grace, Ronnie, Andy.

As time went on we all needed to entertain ourselves, this involved me and a new  friend having a twerk off. I started dance classes and as soon as that was the topic of conversation people wanted to see what I had learned – Please note I still look like a fat octopus. Yet drunk Rachel thinks she looks like one of Beyonces’ back up dancers…

img_1966
My Twerking Partner. Alicia.

During the night I also lost my shoes… Well drunk Rachel thought someone had stolen them. I was looking at everyone’s feet including men’s… They were heels so you can imagine what the men were thinking when I asked:
“Are you wearing my heels?”
I was not going to the toilet with no shoes, so I “borrowed” someone’s flip flops. I asked if anyone knew whose flip flops they were. No one knew so I just used them to go to the toilet. Later that evening someone from the group said someone had stolen his flip flops, which to my embarrassment were next to me. Oh by the way my shoes were in my bag…

Overall we had such a great and amazing night. I was surrounded by the friends I have met and love dearly, met new people that night including my fellow twerking partner. Its not about where you are its about the company! I cannot thank everyone enough of that night.

Fireworks

                The fireworks in Sydney were breathe taking and being there watching them after all these years watching them on TV in England was the best feeling. The 12 minutes they were on for went so quick, I just wanted that moment to last forever. In Sydney they also set fireworks off at 9 PM for families and they were spectacular so I knew the 12 AM ones were going to be much better. Here are some pictures:

Getting home

                So getting home wasn’t always going to be smooth, but again it made it fun and exciting. The que for the bus was ridiculous, there was a house fire so the road was blocked off, none of us knew where the bus stop was so was walking for a hour following a crowd of people but I loved it! We all went a different way home and a group of us got the bus, which was delightful, probably not for the rest of the people on the bus! Imagine a group of ten of us singing Forever Blowing Bubbles, on a bus in Australia. How English can you get? The couple sitting in front of me kept huffing, people can be so miserable. If you can’t beat them, join them! This was the best bus ride I have ever been on. A few people come back to mine, and what did we do? Eat pasta and go to sleep! We got home around 3 AM, so yeah it was a long day but it was so worth it.

15941613_1097221160403340_256823885_n
Quite possibly the best picture of the night. Bus on the way home!

Thank you for everyone who was there who made this the best New Year!
You lot are my world!
Thank you Sean, Celina, Henri for keeping me company.
Check out below the picture of the next day – Ha!
Andy look under the next picture!
Rae
x

img_2191
The day after new years. The way I look is the way I felt. Sums up New Year.
hca1_3_pack-shot
Personal joke.

To My Future Self.

Graffiti wall at Bondi Beach.

New Year. New Me. 

New Years is fast approaching and that means one thing – New Years resolutions! I never have a New Years resolution and when people put up the typical status “New Year New Me” I’m like shut up, you will always be the same person you was on 31/12/15 at 11:59 compared to this “new”person you will be on 1/1/16 at 12:00. Call me a bitch- I agree. Why did I think this?  Is this not a good thing when people are excited for a fresh start? So then why did I criticise the people that would write these comments? I know why… Because I knew I wouldn’t change. I couldn’t see myself changing. I knew I will be stuck in the same situation, with the same people around me. In my head I thought how is it possible to start fresh because its a new year… Note to self – YOU can!

2016 has been a roller-coaster of a journey. The beginning of the year I qualified as a Probation Officer, started a new office, was in a relationship, the middle of the year I left my career to go travelling, travelling was stalled as I had surgery, now I’m in Australia starting a new life. The people I surround myself with has changed a lot, I have removed myself from situations and let go of negativity. 2017 is going to be epic – New Year New ME!

Recently I called my sister and was nearly in tears as I was worried what my life will be like when I return to the U.K. I am nervous, its almost like starting again. I was really excited previously as I have so much to look forward to – seeing my family again, my mums wedding, meeting my baby niece but then what about after all the excitement. In my head I thought its going to be the same old crap and I panicked. My sister said the best thing to me “Because you think it will be rubbish that is what will happen.”It was true, I had so much negativity and I am so young I still have my whole life (Well until 30 if I want to work and travel again). I have so many options yet I could go back home and feel I can not leave my family and friends again.

For 2017 I have decided to keep a journal – Not a day to day journal but a journal with my dreams and I will write how I will pursue these dreams. By the end of 2017 I will be on my way to achieve these dreams or achieved them. I will write myself a letter – To my future self, this will have my what I want to achieve and I will open this New Years Eve 2017. So much can happen in one year and I can honestly say this year has been life changing. Has it been easy? Hell no! Was it worth it? Hell yeah. To get what you want you have to make sacrifices but YOU can do it.

To all those people that say – New Year New ME, good for you! Achieve them goals whatever it is. A new year a fresh start. I have written my goals, things that are out of my comfort zone. Watch this space. (Thank you to my grandad for believing in me and given me new ideas). 

Goals

I have completed my goal for 2016- coming to Australia. The best thing I have ever done. Travelling meant I made the best of friends, realising what I want, finding my good and bad qualities. I’ve been at my happiest and had pretty low days where I missed home but I wouldn’t change this experience for the world.  I had to save for over a year to afford this trip and it was worth it. I am already working on my goals for next year and have booked my flight to Bali, booked all my hostels for the East Coast and  booking the rest of my flights for Asia the first week in January. Roll on 2017. 

What has Travel and Curls been up to? 

It was Christmasssss!!! Me, my cousin and her friends went out for the night which was great. Not going to lie I woke up Christmas Day still drunk. I haven’t been out for Christmas Eve for a long time but I had such a great time! 

Christmas Eve.

Although I had a great Christmas Day with my family it was so weird that it was hot! I’m glad I got to experience a hot Christmas and it didn’t stop me from eating loads of food. My family spoilt me rotten- I couldn’t thank them enough. Think I will spend Christmas in Australia every year! 

Going into a swimming pool on Christmas Day was an experience!! 

Hot weather on Christmas Day.

The inbetween stage between Christmas and New Years is always strange. I always eat and drink too much over Christmas that I feel my body has to rest for a while #FatProblems. 

A few days after Christmas I went to Hyams beach with some good friends. I have been here before but I love it. The day I went two great white sharks were spotted and I crapped myself. All I could hear was a man shouting saying get out the water and a crowd formed. Everyone was watching these two large shadows in the water. I was so scared to go into the sea after that but me and Neila did…  I needed a wee – Haha! Too much information?!? 

I want to swim with sharks when I go to Asia? God help me! 

This beach has to be the best beach I have ever been to, it’s so clean and the sand is so soft and white. 

Hyams Beach. Jervis Bay. My Favourite Beach.
 

The day after I went to Bondi with a few friends. This is not my favourite beach but it’s still beautiful. I love hidden beaches where it’s quiet. I do love jumping with the waves- feeling like a big kid again. 

Bondi Beach. Me and Celina.

That evening I was in my room and noticed a huntsman on my bedroom wall. (Please google what a huntsman is if you don’t know). I have never screamed so much. Thank you Sean and Henri for saving me and Celina for holding my hand whilst standing on the bed with me. 

So New Years is practically here. For New Years I will be spending it with people I have met along my travels. We will be in the city watching the fireworks. 

I wish everyone a happy new year and remember new year. New Me! 

Stay focused on your goals no matter how difficult they might seem you can do it!

Rae X 

Fat Octopus.

“Being out of your comfort zone makes you realise a lot about yourself – good and bad.” – Rae.

I bet this title caught your eye – You will understand the title later in this blog post. It seems every time I write a new blog so much has happened I can’t fit it all in. This post has taken me such a long time to write, I’m currently writing this on my phone on my way home from work – The struggle is real.

Hidden Gems:
Collins beach/ Jump rock – I have been reading loads of blogs about where to go within New South Wales. It was my friend Jordan’s birthday and I decided we should go to Collins Beach and jump off a cliff. Yes this was my idea. Did I jump off the cliff? Hell no! There was 18 of us and I was the only one who couldn’t jump. As soon as I was just about to jump my body froze. It didn’t help someone told me someone had died there years ago by hitting their head on some rocks. My mum and dad would be proud I didn’t jump- ha ha! I need to head back there before my time ends in Australia and actually jump. This was honestly one of my favorite days in Sydney so far. This had given me the chance to meet new people. We all found a spot on the beach with our beers, music on, all chilling and talking about life. Getting the ferry from Circular Quay to Manly was also a part of the experience. Even more of an experience going on a boat after a few drinks was something to remember.

imageShelly beach – I have found many hidden beaches within Sydney on blogs and websites. Shelly beach is also on the North Shore and many people snorkel as you can see a lot of marine life in the shallow waters. If the weather is nice next week I will be going with some friends.

Road tripping:
Jervis Bay/ Great Pacific Road –Me and some friends decided to go on a road trip. I had given them a list of things to do whilst in New South Wales, making sure I tick them all off within the next 5 months. Few of the girls decided they wanted to go down the South Coast and so we did. We hired a car, booked a motel and stayed there for the weekend.

image
Jervis Bay has to be one of the most beautiful places I have been. The views were amazing. We went on a boat trip the day we got there to see Dolphins. Unfortunately we did not get to see the Dolphins however we got a ticket for a free boat trip for another day. It was nice just sitting on the boat and taking in the views. I dangled my feet over the boat and felt the sea splash on me. It was so peaceful. When we arrived back we went to a place called The Huskinson to get food. According to others a lot of people travel hours to this place to get food. It was a really good night. I had a sober night as I was driving home. Don’t get me wrong I do like a drink especially when I’m going out but this weekend made me realise its about the company more than anything. The girls I went with made me laugh so much I almost felt drunk.

image
The following day we went to Hyams Beach and I was honestly taken away. To have the opportunity to go to the whitest beach in the world (Its in the Guinness World Records so must be true!). The sand was so soft, the sea was so clear you could see your feet through the water. I had to have a mini photo shoot at this place.

image
This weekend we stayed in a motel which I have never experienced. It was like what you see in an American film, I honestly felt I was running away from a drug lord and was in hiding. It was the most bizarre place with 1970s decor, out in the sticks and the shops close midday but what an experience.

A sober traveler – Does that even exist?
In my previous post I said I wasn’t going to go out as much and I try not to. Hence the word TRY. I decided I would rather spend my money on seeing things, being a tourist. The cost going to the South Coast, including hiring a car and staying in a motel for a night including excursions, petrol and food between the 4 of us worked out to be around $150 dollars per person. I would typically spend this on a night out, even more. To spend this money on seeing new things/beaches etc makes me feel so much better. Don’t get me wrong I do love a night out but I know I can do that back home, however I wouldn’t be able to see Koalas within their natural habitat in London.

A whole new world:
Recently my family and I went to see Aladdin and it was amazing. I have always loved the theatre since I was a kid and even studied drama throughout school and college. Due to my lack of actress skills I obviously did not get the part of Shirley in Eastenders. Anyway this was a great experience and was nice to see a show in another country. Genie was my favourite character. He was so funny and made me laugh so much. I would go again 100 percent.

imageFitness:
So as I said in my previous post I call Sydney – Skinny Sydney. I have a personal trainer I see once a week and she is a god send. We have set my goal – I need to lose 3 stone/ 20 kg in 5 months. Around 1 kg a week. So far it has been going well. It has been hard but when you’re not happy with yourself you won’t be happy in general. Today we dug deeper as to why I want to loose weight and how I will feel when I do. I explained how I want to be confident and comfortable again. I told her I do not want to get involved with a guy until I reach my goal and she said the best thing to me “The longest relationship you have is with yourself.” My response was “Preach Miranda my homegirl.” Why do I love to embarrass myself?

It also helps I started talking to a girl at work who is also on a weight loss journey and we said we will motivate each other at work. Working in an office can be a challenge, there is always sweets or someone has put a spread on in the kitchen area. There are always biscuits with a label saying “eat me” and my belly says “Go on Rach, have one.” I am getting there though – I will have one biscuit rather than the pack. Whilst at work I drink at least 3 litres of water. Drinking water has really helped me mentally and physically. I feel more energized and find it easier to get up in the mornings without feeling sluggish.

I make sure I train at least 4 times a week, whether this is Dance or Gym. Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday I tend to rest or if I go to the gym I will do a light exercise.

My personal trainer said I am still allowed to treat myself however this has to be in proportion. During the week I tend to eat well and one night I will eat out with friends or family. So I am trying to eat like a king for breakfast, queen for lunch and pauper for dinner. This has been quite challenging as I never have breakfast.

A typical day will consist of:
Breakfast – 2 slices of brown toast with peanut butter and a banana.
Snack – Either nuts/ yogurt/ fruit.
Lunch – Salmon/ Tuna Salad
Snack – Again maybe nuts/ fruit.
Dinner – Omelette packed with veggies/ salad.

I was advised not to eat after 9 – again this has been difficult and I will usually drink some water with ice cubes and chew on the ice cubes. Wow how boring! I really need to get rid of this beer belly – F U beer!

Becoming a Dancehall Queen:
Okay so maybe I have not become a Dancehall Queen just yet. I remember when I told my friends back home I was starting Dancehall classes – they did not take me serious. We laughed about it but I was being deadly serious. I need to learn how to dance before Nottinghill Carnival and what a better way to start. The first question when I noticed there was Dancehall class in Sydney was – who the hell am I going to ask to come to a Dancehall class with me? A lot of people I spoke to didn’t know what Dancehall music was. When it comes to these type of things I wouldn’t dream to go on my own so I had to take the plunge and just go for it. I remember rocking up on my first day an hour early and the receptionist said “wow your early.” My embarrassing response was “Keen as a bean me.” So I smiled and sat in the reception area. This was quite daunting as there were a few dancers showing their moves and I was thinking -wow I do not look like that when I dance.

So the dance teacher Crystal called us in and the music was playing which made me relax a bit more. I was moving my hips slightly. Not going to lie as soon as I heard the music I just wanted to go wild but I thought “Have some dignity Rachel you do not know these people.” Going to a dance class on my own was the best thing I have ever done, it made me more sociable. It felt a bit strange going to a dance without a friend, giggling the whole time. Although we had a laugh in the class we all took it a bit serious. My dance teacher Crystal is the best – She makes it so fun and exciting plus I love Dancehall music which motivates me a lot. The week beginning the 5/12 I nearly missed my dance class as I was late for work but I told my manager I will make up my hours another day so I could attend.

The day I started dance classes was the day I realised I look like a Fat octopus (Hence the title).

What I have learned after 3 months in Australia:
Stop listening to others:
When your away from your own environment you learn more and more about yourself every day. Have you ever noticed when someone says something bad about someone you automatically dislike that person they are talking about- but why? Have you ever put yourself in the other persons shoes? I have come to realise within the last few weeks I need to stop listening to people. If that person upsets that person then fine but I need to just shrug it off and I need to make my own decision whether I like that person or not. Not everyone gets on, if we did then what a peaceful world we would live in. Sometimes all you can do is listen, but do not let this affect how you feel about this other person.
Friends having good intentions:
Whilst travelling I have met some amazing people, in particular three girls who have supported me throughout this journey – Pam, Grace and Neila. All three girls are so different and I have no idea what I would do without them. Recently I missed people back home so I met Neila and discussed this with her. To speak to someone who feels the same helped a lot. Pam recently lent me money when I had nothing, I paid her back as soon as I was paid but she was like Rach just give it back when you can. Grace has given me what I missed back home, having a friend who I can go to at weekends, cooking dinners or ordering a take away. These girls make me laugh so much.

As much as I love these girls and the friends I have made I have also realised I also enjoy my own company – Reading a book, watching a film, being in my own thoughts. Back home I always had to be with friends and pestered my sister to come round or I would stay hers days on end. I am glad I have got to the stage that I am content with my own company.
Being grateful:
I appreciate home so much more now that I am away from it. I appreciate my Mum taking me to the hospital as a kid, putting so much effort into my leaving party, transferring the odd bit of cash whilst I have been in Australia, sending me messages saying she loves me and how proud she is of me. I can’t wait to see you walking down that Aisle in August 2017.
My Dad who supported me throughout the most important times in my teenage and adult life, being there when I failed university, picking me up at my lowest, giving me a home and never giving up on me.
My step mum being there for me when I had no one, helping me through the stickiest situations, telling her things I dare not tell anyone else.
The friends for all the fun, laughs, having a shoulder to cry on. For staying in contact and supporting me every step of the way and understanding how rubbish I have been not keeping in contact but still making a effort.
My Nan and Grandad for being my second parents and listening to me moan. Having dinner there every week.
My two little sisters teaching me how to be young again.
My crazy cousins who have not stopped making me laugh since I left, for being there early hours in the morning to have a catch up.
Lastly my sister, my best friend. I can not express how much I miss my sister and thinking about seeing her when I return makes my stomach turn with excitement. She is everything rolled into one ball – Teacher, best friend, sister, mum, mentor. I look up to her so much – she really is my role model.

My next post will most likely be about Christmas and New Years, it feels so odd that it is Summer over here yet it is December!

Roll on the sun

Rae x

Settling in Sydney. Finding my feet.

Waterfall near the Jenolan Caves.

“I am thankful for all those that said no to me. It’s because of them I am doing it myself.” – Albert Einstein.

Don’t be alarmed- I am not settling in Sydney forever.

Wow – has it really been 3 months since I landed in Australia? Time is going so quick already and its scary. When I look back at everything I have done it really does surprise me. Every month I look through my journal at what I have accomplished within the time I have been here – The people I have met and the places I’ve seen. London life seems so long ago. It still feels surreal I am in Australia. When I go to Circular Quay and see the Opera House and Harbor Bridge that is when it hits me the most that I’m here.

Sitting in a park under the Harbour Bridge.

One of the main reasons I came out here.

So I feel I have settled in Sydney, I am working in a security firm and living with two amazing guys. In my previous post I said I will talk about the people I met – I can’t list them individually as there are so many people I have met along the way – whether this is at work, on nights out, hostels (I have met the majority of my friends here), through my family, on the plane, housemates. All these people have inspired me in different ways. Before I left for Australia I wanted to meet people from all over the world. I have met people from all over the United Kingdom – Essex, Leeds, Manchester, Ipswich, London, Kent etc as well as people from different countries including Scotland,  Denmark, Germany, America, Mexico, Australia Netherlands, France… The list goes on. This is my favorite part coming to Australia, the different people I have met. I have made some beautiful friends for life and I don’t know what I’d do without them. All from different walks of life and all so unique. They have made me smile non stop and when I get a message from them I get so happy. It’s so nice being around people that are in the same boat as me.

As Steve Harvey said “Surround yourself with like minded people.”

The other travelers I have met along the way all have different reasons as to why they came to Australia. We all had a reason why we left our lives back home, whether it was boredom, a bad break up, change of career, different lifestyle and to hear each of their stories intrigues me. Many of us had the same feeling, wanting to start fresh and start a new journey. We all miss people back home but we have each other whilst we are on this journey. I plan to meet so many more people on this experience.

It’s been 3 months but I have met friends who I will have for a lifetime.

Here are some of the beautiful people I have met so far.

 

Fraction of people I have met along the way.

I have places to go, but not people to see.

So I have made a list of all the things I want to do whilst I am in Sydney. Some I will do on my own, some with friends and family. I just need to make sure I do them all before I leave in April.

– Featherdale (Where I can get my traditional selfie with a kangaroo).
– Collins Beach/ Jump rock.
– Coastal walk.
– Palms beach (Where Home and Away is filmed).
– Jervais Bay/ Hyams beach.
– Royal National Park.
Jenolan caves. 
Blue mountains (Three sisters).
Harbour Bridge. 
Opera house. 
– Kangaroo Valley (Water rafting).
– Mermaid pools.
– Cathedral rocks (Especially at sunset).

There is loads more to see and do whilst I am in Sydney but I need to tick these ones off first. The ones I have put a line through is what I have done already – which doesn’t seem a lot but I have been to quite a few beaches since I have been here. I have also decided I need to stop partying as much as I have been and to explore more. Since I have arrived in Sydney most weekends I have been getting drunk with friends – Don’t get me wrong it has been so fun but I really need to see more of this beautiful country. This Saturday if the weather is nice I will be going to Collins beach with some friends to jump of a cliff – watch this space (hopefully I have the guts to do it).

Blue Mountains.

Noodles is the name.

So I’m thinking to change my blog to travel and noodles – ha ha! I have been given a lot of nicknames in my life – Poodle (Always changing my hair style), Scary Spice (Everyone in Australia love to call me this – I wonder why? Someone did call me Beyonce – I was flattered and cried with happiness but he was drunk so he clearly had his beer goggles on), Lanky – I’ve had it all. Now everyone at work calls me noodles because of my hair. I’m pretty pleased with this nickname – ha ha. One thing I’ve noticed – Australians love a nickname. I officially feel like a Aussie with a nickname!

My first soccer game

It seems like ages ago I went to my first soccer game, I do not know why I haven’t been to a football game back home. I can not even describe the atmosphere – it was full of energy and everyone was on a high (maybe not so much after the game as my team lost). The experience was amazing and I would love to see more sport games. I definitely need to watch an American Basketball game *adds to bucket list*.

Beer before the soccer game.

Jenolan caves. 

So now I have decided not to party as much me and my cousin went to the Jenolan Caves (within the blue mountains). I can honestly say I would rather do these things every weekend than partying. The views were breathtaking. I saw my first waterfall as well as the Blue Lake (I have never seen a lake so blue). The caves themselves were beautiful and when the tour guide told us they are 300 million years old – I was quite overwhelmed. I felt so privileged to walk through these caves (Warning – do not go here if you are claustrophobic). As a tall person I had to duck quite a lot – hitting my head on a few (many) occasions. The scenery going to the Jenolan caves, driving through the Blue Mountains was mesmerizing. I got to see some wildlife – beautiful birds, lizards etc. The world really is a beautiful place.

Within the Jenolan Caves. The Imperial Cave.
Blue Lake. Jenolan Caves.


Skinny Sydney. 

So I have nicknamed Sydney- Skinny Sydney. Everyone seems to be into their fitness and health which is a good thing for me. I have recently started a gym, Snap Fitness which is great and is open 24/7. It is a small gym but has everything I need for what I want to do. I start my personal training sessions soon which will help me a lot. After not being at the gym for 8 months I had no idea what to do. Having a personal trainer will help me get back onto track. Not only have I joined the gym to loose weight but I also want to be fit when I travel the East Coast/ South East Asia. During the time I am travelling I will be climbing mountains, swimming in the sea, walking on beaches and I really don’t want to be the fatty 10 miles behind everyone else.

I am also eating much more healthier and have stopped eating meat for a little while. When I stopped eating meat before I lost so much weight. You could say I am on a detox for a while. Roll on the salads and the Beyonce figure (I wish).

Healthy food. Good book. Sun = Perfect.

Where to next? 

I have recently planned my next journey up the East Coast. I have been reading so many blogs and spoke to many people who have travelled the East Coast. Every time I talk to someone about it my stomach turns with excitement.  I printed out a map and planned my route. Here it is:

 

East Coast route.

I have also sorted a plan for when I go Asia which I will be doing in one big circle (Please see my map which has my route). I am really excited for South East Asia – The waterfalls, islands, beaches and temples. This is where I will swim with sharks (Whale Sharks – picture below). Not long now!

South East Asia route.

So my plan is in April when my contract finishes for work, I will travel the East Coast and from there I will head to South East Asia before heading back home to England in time for my mums wedding.

Whale shark.

To top it all off before I travel the East Coast I will be seeing Adele with my family.

2017 is going to be the best! I have so much to look forward to.

What I have learnt so far. 

I have learned England will always be home. Before I came to Australia I complained about my life all the time. I was depressed and felt like there was more to life. Since being away from home it has made me realise how amazing my life is back home. I have such a supportive family who I miss dearly, the best of friends, a well paid career and I live so close to such a vibrant city – London. We take things for granted but I promise my family when I return home I won’t moan (as much).

Although I miss home, I’m not ready to come home – just yet. I still have things to see and new people to meet.

Love and miss you all.

Rae. x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You have to be lost to be found. 

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” – Aristotle.

Let me first explain the title of this post. I was exploring the botanical gardens with Sean and Adrian – two amazing people from the hostel I was staying in. We were lost and I said “Oh no we’re lost.” Sean turns round and said “We have to be lost to be found.” I loved that phrase so said I will use it for my next blog post, as it fits so well – I’m lost but I am starting to find myself.

I have officially been in Australia for just over 2 months and what a roller-coaster of a journey. It has been so hectic, so I have struggled to keep in contact with people back home. The time difference since I have been here has changed three times. There is now an 11 hour time difference between Australia and England which has made contact a little bit more difficult. My friends and family have been understanding which has helped heaps (A favorite Aussie word).

So as I have already said earlier, the past 4 weeks have been crazy. I have now started working for a security firm as an administrator and landed myself a 6 month contract. I’m telling you I struggled getting up at 6am for work, having not worked for 3 months. The people at this place are lovely and one colleague reminds me of my grandad which makes me really happy.

I officially became a adult – well kinda. I have now moved into a place. To find a place wasn’t easy at all and I was probably being a little bit fussy. At work I was online on my lunch breaks (other colleagues were even looking for me), after work and on the weekend looking for a place to live. I have only lived with my parents and in the last 2 years in my back garden (Not in a shed before you think anything! Ha!). I didn’t realise how hard it was. I was emailing loads of people but many places did not like visitors. By this time I had made some great friends and wanted them over for dinner, come mine before a night out and even stay. I had quite a few viewings but none of them felt good and I honestly believe you should trust your gut feeling. So my mission was on – to find a home and decent house mates.

Luckily the house I am living in now is the one I wanted. It’s in Inner West Sydney which is convenient to get to a lot of places including the city which takes 10 minutes on the train. As soon as I saw this place I knew I wanted it, not only because of the house itself but the house mates were great – Chris and Matt. Both Aussies and the most chilled and laid back guys I’ve met. They really have made me feel like this is home. The day I moved in Chris opened a bottle of wine and in the evening us three chilled and had a drink. I knew I was going to get along with these two just fine.

It was difficult living in a hostel and working full time – many people who I know that have traveled and worked told me this. I do love being in a hostel, I met so many people. Most of which are in the same situation yet all have different stories. Some people I have met in Australia have better intentions for me than friends I’ve had in my life for years!

A lot of people back home have said how can you stay in a hostel? Okay so you don’t get the best sleep but it’s the people you meet. You’ll be surprised what a hostel brings. I stayed in Bounce (Opposite Central Station), which I kept going back to. It is one of the expensive hostels but it was really clean and I didn’t only meet my friends here I met my family. I also stayed in Blue Parrot (King’s cross). The hostel itself was great and again I met some great friends there. The hostel is more like a family home, I loved it. There is quite a lot of long termers but they were welcoming. I have read bad reviews about long termers in a hostel as they tend to be clicky but I didn’t experience that.  The area itself was the Soho of Sydney – mental. If I turned left out of the hostel, it was very chic with loads of quirky (AKA expensive) cafes. Yet if I turned right out of the hostel there was loads of strip clubs and drug users. It was surreal, but this is a part of the journey so I embraced it. I didn’t like turning right too often as one day a drug user chased me shouting “girl” and then decided to smack his head on a billboard. Fun times! Another hostel I stayed in was The Village (Redfern) – Not such a good experience. It was one of the cheapest hostels but I woke up with a massive cockroach next to me. There was also mice (mainly lurking in the kitchen area) so I didn’t last long (two nights to be precise). If I wasn’t working I would have embraced the cockroaches and mice and maybe even become friends with them but I went to work feeling dirty so I didn’t stay there long. Unfortunately I lost money, which is upsetting when your backpacking but it’s a lesson learn’t – Read the reviews! The last hostel I stayed in before moving into my place was YHA Central (Central Station), again this place was great and clean. It reminded me of a Travelodge. The staff were really friendly and the facilities were good.

Hostels really are great when your a lone traveler. I was only home sick once when I was in a hostel and that’s when I was ill. However the friends I made really did help me and were so caring. A big shout out to Rob (Who gave me tablets) and Grace (Who bought me some food). So although it wasn’t the best experience staying in a hostel when I was unwell, the friends I made, helped make it easier.

I am really happy and feel like I have already changed for the better. Doing this journey on my own has already made more independent and outgoing. There is still loads I need to learn about myself and I need to explore new cities. I’m still lost and need to be found.

Recently I went out for Halloween and had no idea what to wear. A girl a work with- Elenor  (Thank you Elenor!) said I should go to a charity shop near my work to get an outfit. Back home I would not dare go into a charity shop due to the stigma attached to it. I decided to give this a go and I had a field day – It was great! I got my costume (dead school girl) as well as a really cute Zara dress for ten dollars. I felt so proud, not only for going into a charity shop but the fact the money I had spent was going to a good cause. I wish I had done it sooner to be honest.

In 2 months I feel like my life has changed so much, for the better. I’ve had the opportunity to live in another country, met some new people and become a better person. I’ve also realised the type of people I need to surround myself with. People who are uplifting and positive. People who want to make the most out of life. The friends I have made have turned a bad situation good. I know back home I would have dwelled on these situations. I have also learned that I do not need someone to love me to love myself. For years I have always wanted someone to love me and have a boyfriend. I am not here to look for love but to love myself. Before I would love attention but now all I want is to be happy with myself and to laugh with friends. This opportunity has also mean’t I have met people I went to University with (Steph and Carla). Both girls I didn’t speak to much in University however since I have been over here we have met for drinks and I wish I spoke to them more back home. Both have become great friends and it is nice to met friends from back home.

My contract at my current job finishes in April and this is when I plan to travel the East Coast. I am also thinking to travel Asia and be back in time for my mums wedding. Then again who knows as this could change- I love the idea of not knowing what is next. I could decide to do my farm work and stay in Australia another year. If I go back to England and still feel like something is missing, I’m looking at maybe working and traveling Canada for a while. On the other hand I might go home, settle down and go to a different destination every year for a few weeks. At the end of the day London is my home and I love London. Being away from home has definitely made me appreciate it more which is one reasons I felt I had to leave. My sister recently had a beautiful baby girl so I have things to look forward to when I go back. However I need to enjoy and embrace this journey before I go back home.

This blog post has taken me ages to post as I’ve had to do it bit by bit every now and then as I feel like I have not had time to write. Luckily I keep a little journal which I write in everyday. Although it has only been 2 months when I read it back it has made me realise how many people I have met, the memories I have made and how much has changed. Hopefully now I have settled I will have more time to write about my journey. My next post will be about the people I have met along the way and how they have inspired me in different ways.

Today is the Melbourne cup – hopefully I win some money! (Oh by the way- I didnt)

Rae. x