Long time, no see.

Hey there. Guess what, I am finally back from a few months of silence.

As you all know, in November last year, I moved to little old New Zealand and have been rather busy with settling into my new life. So, after that eerie period, I’m dusting away those cobwebs to write this piece.

It’s funny how you very quickly settle into a space you know so well. I grew up in New Zealand, in my small town aside the ocean, and to be reunited with it after 4 years came easier than expected. Before I left London, I always got the “it’ll hit you after a while, you’ll miss the hustle of London.” – well, I’m here to tell you, I don’t.

And honestly, I don’t miss it at all. I thought I would; miss the traffic, the busyness, the cafe ridden streets, the atmosphere, but I simply don’t. However, the one thing I do long for, is hangouts with my cosmopolitain friends; the work pals; I met some of the best people in the world in London; I just don’t long for the place itself.

This did come as a surprise to me. I expected myself to struggle with small town living at least for a little while, to regret ‘giving up’ (for better the word) London for a simpler way of life, but I’ve come to realise that New Zealand kinda suits me. I thrive on exercise, and fresh air, and devour outdoor spaces. I’ve caught up with old friends, explored new places, rediscovered my love for cooking and creativity, joined a band; the open space of New Zealand, has allowed me to fill it with more fulfilling activities. There’s something special about this country, and I cannot wait for my London-made friends to come and visit me, so I can show them too.

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It definitely takes leaving a place, to find the appreciation.

It’s cheesy, and the same sentence has probably been said in a million different ways, but it’s true. I left thinking I was too big for the small life, that New Zealand was boring and not good enough for the life I thought I desired. In reality I just didn’t know how to live yet.

I went to London and it was there I learnt how to live. I discovered myself through trials, tribulations, tears and smiles. And that person, this person I became, ended up craving a bigger space to breathe and grow. London suffocated me. It’s definitely a big city, but it’s also hugely populated. I listened to my body, and it was telling me I needed to move on – it’s funny how perfectly, gloriously, accurate your gut instincts can be. Researchers are discovering that microbes in our gut can send messages and important brain chemicals to our brain, affecting how we think, feel, and remember. Well, my theory is that so do your lungs. Breathe the air you should breathe, and you exhale happiness.

I don’t quite know how to explain it, but I just know that New Zealand air is my kind of air. I encourage you to find yours.

Travel Log: Copenhagen

Monday 6:50

With an early start this morning, I ventured out into the crisp morning air. The only sound coming from birds – a fresh perspective on a city life.  Today I am off to Copenhagen, Denmark. It’s a city I’ve never been to, yet experienced vicariously through those having borrowed my guide book. I’m currently sat in a café in Gatwick Airport waiting for my avocado on toast; one of very few vegan options I could find. I’m surprisingly awake for having woken up at 4am, perhaps it’s the excitement of spending the rest of my day in a new city.  Or perhaps it’s the 4-shot Soya cappuccino I just finished. This trip is very unplanned for me; I got my Danish krone at the airport, I have no idea how I’m getting from Copenhagen airport to the hostel, nor what my plan is for the return home tomorrow. I suppose time will tell.

10:18

I must be more than halfway to Copenhagen by now. The sky is the clearest of blue, allowing the sun to glisten perhaps too brightly off the plane’s wing through my window. I somehow always get a window seat, and I couldn’t complain less. It’s an interesting thing to be so close to nothing; so far away from everything you’re used to being near. Buildings insignificant and the rushing lives of those in the streets of London invisible. I feel calm, and I feel un-rushed in my impatient descend on Copenhagen. I’d like to think, as I look out at the world below me, if my plane were to fall that it would be caught in the soft grips of the clouds blanketing the earth.  The clouds – they bring us rain, food for the soil under our feet – they also separate London from the world beyond. We stop looking up after a while because we are so used to seeing the grey barrier above our heads; we get so accustom to looking down at our feet, knowing our direction, our daily path. It’s nice to be above the clouds, to feel as if there is nothing stopping me from seeing new things. I am amongst the unreachable. With the unexpected wifi on board, I feel confident in my plan once I land. I know I will take the metro, a 3-zone ticket bought with either coins or credit card, and I will get off at Hovedbanegården otherwise known as Copenhagen Central Station. From there I will walk to my hostel, check in, and carry on with aimless wandering. According to the flight tracker, we are 24 minutes from Copenhagen. The descend has begun, I am now gently leaning forward with the plane; gravity pulling me towards yet another destination to tick off the map.

17:49

My feet are ready to fall off. I got to Copenhagen Central Station just after midday and spent 20 minutes lapping the perimeter trying to find my hostel; suddenly earning a major appreciation for my Citymapper app in London. I found my hostel and then went back out in search of anything that defines Copenhagen as a city. I still feel near anxious being here. Not because of it’s size or population mass, just the fact of I know nothing about it. I always prepare my holidays, map out places I want to see, where I want to eat, I teach myself the language basics; this time I came in blind. After wandering in the heat and eventually discovering what seemed to be a busy part, I opted for a canal tour. A smooth sail into tourist mode. This was beautiful and somewhat informative. More than anything it gave me my bearings and sites to aim for by foot. The hour tour finished where it began, and so did my ventures. Saw beautiful buildings, did some window shopping, but more so just absorbing everything foreign. I followed it up with more wandering until now – Urban Bar, coffee in hand. As much as I am tired, I am also eager to see more and make the most of this 48-hour trip. I am headed to Tivoli Gardens this evening.

Tuesday 12:36

I am currently located in what seems to be the Danish version of Subway – iBagel. It’s pretty good, eggplant salad topped off with a beautiful dollop of humous (of course). I woke up this morning refreshed and ready to tackle another day of touristing. My first stop had to be food, and eventually I found my desired breakfast destination: 42Raw – a café that has surrendered it’s services to the plant-based community. An acai bowl and my new addiction, The Passage by Justin Cronin, made for a beautiful start to the day. Peaking above the city, reaching for the heavens, are spires scattered around the city. All distinctly different, I’ve been finding them an easier alternative to the maps within my guidebook. As 10:30 came around, I aimed high and true, and climbed 95m up Vol Frelsers Kirke. A beautiful old church which presented me with a stunning view of the city. Since my descend back down to earth, I have wandered; seen the Nationalmuseet, Christiansborg Slot, and Det Kongelige Bibliotek. It’s warm, I’m sun kissed veering burnt, but I feel calm and happy. My flight home to London is at 18:55, and according to the Central Station clock on the opposite of the square it’s now 12:57. I have plenty of time to continue this relaxing getaway.

Survival Instincts

From a young age you always hear the phrase ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, and more often than not people will say this to you as a piece of ‘much required’ wisdom.  As much as I accept this phrase about not holding prejudice based on someone’s outward appearance, I do slightly disagree.

Judgment is an inherent quality that our brain feeds with experience. We have established this instinct for survival; the judgments we make are what permit, or prohibit, things to get close to the core of our lives. Moving to a new country, I found myself surrounded with the unknown in things as simple as a phone shop. I spent the first month making choices purely based off harsh judgment and gut feeling.  There were the initial times of pharmaceutical and grocery shopping, I would walk an extra block to shop at a chain-store over a cheapened corner shop. When I was flat hunting, as simply as talking to a person over the phone, I would judge the landlord on the language they used, and immediately accept or decline the idea. For all I know these are the simple judgements that have extended my life, or have caused me to miss out on opportunities.

So what happens when you take a leap of faith and do leave things up to chance? Once I was settled within a house, had a group of friends, and had all standard life requirements organised, I went through a phase of doing spontaneous adventures; going outside of my comfort zone with relation to cafes, experiences and stores. I think the key point here is that because I was successfully living, not only attempting to adapt and survive to this new environment, I didn’t need that safety net of judging everything as heavily as I once had. I remember phone calls home, discussing this exact topic with my parents.  There comes a point where after the judging and hard work has been done, you do need to loosen the reigns of planning, and live life day by day, decision by decision. Sometimes there are positive consequences to veering away from that planned path of judging things critically. This way of living, or leaving life to serendipity, is what makes for a more rounded life. You come across things you may have never knew existed, you may meet people who are destined to be in your life, or find a new passion.

Judgement is something that is I believe to be socially acceptable when you feel that your life or well-being is at risk. I think that we need to make decisions for ourselves based off our intuitions and personal judgements; ultimately we have to live with our own decisions and choices, so we need to be satisfied with them. Nevertheless, don’t forget to give things a chance; we need judgement to survive, but we need spontaneity to live.

March

I have been pretty lacking in the ideas department for this weeks blog.

I have decided to just post a quick overview of the first half of March in photos.

See more at https://instagram.com/paigebolland/

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Location

“The more often we see the things around us – even the beautiful and wonderful things – the more they become invisible to us. That is why we often take for granted the beauty of this world: because we see things so often, we see them less and less.” – 

I find it intriguing how a different location can change your perspective in a situation.

If I were walking somewhere in my hometown of New Zealand, I would typically be staring at the ground, marching along, only hoping to get to my destination sooner than physically possible. However, being in this new country constantly surrounded by new things, I find myself in tourist mode taking mental photographs of everything; from fence detailing to sky-high buildings.

Today I had a complete day to myself so I decided to venture to see the much anticipated Tower Bridge. However, firstly I wanted to see the Tower bridge from the London Bridge parallel, then head along the Thames Walkway to extend the sightseeing. Along this length of riverside path every person I passed (whom obviously was not a tourist) looked bored. It bewildered me how someone who lives in such a beautiful and iconic place could just look at their phone screens or the ground.

That’s when I remembered Joseph B. Wirthlin’s fantastically accurate quote.

Do we really see so much beauty that we become blind to it?I think as time goes on, especially when you are settled within the same scenery for a length of time, you don’t exactly become blind to it, it just becomes monotonous. There are two ways of looking at this fact, this could be a negative thing; that we become ignorant and ungrateful to this beauty, or perhaps this is a thing to applaud about human psychology.

What would we do if boredom never existed? We would be happy without weariness for sure, but we would never have the motivation to go venture outside of our borders. The world is a beautiful place: full of 196 contrasting countries that are there to be explored. We need boredom to set our ambition dial on full.

With every year from about the age of 15, I became more and more uninterested in my surroundings. Leading into my gap year I found myself getting to the point of just wanting to drive somewhere out of town; for the sake of how bored I was with the same routine of seeing the same things every day. This lack of enthusiasm towards New Zealand was what got me to where I am now. And don’t get me wrong, I will forever appreciate what my parents have given me and my brothers — our home is a beautiful place, possibly the best home I could ever imagine growing up in — but we all eventually become blind to continuous beauty and it is human psychology to always want what we don’t have.

In the weeks leading up to my departure I did become more aware of the beauty in my neighbourhood. When I truly realized and accepted that I was to be leaving everything I had ever known, my love for the views escalated and I saw in more detail how beautiful the Kapiti Coast is; I was and still am so lucky to have been given a home there.

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Blogging

Blogging has never seemed like something I would do out of freewill.

The commitment, the typing, the endless mind-blanks of what to write about… but being someone who loves to write, and has decided to venture out into the world alone, it seems like a good idea. This blog will be a decent and easy way to connect with people I meet, and a way for my faraway family and friends to follow my journey in a literary sense rather than photography (Instagram – @paigebolland).

When I was younger, in fact from an age I cannot pinpoint, I was fascinated and intrigued by novels about diary keeping. Mia in The Princess Diaries was a favourite; her interesting adventures in day to day life, and in particular her quirky ways of safe keeping a memory, sparked an interest. At a young age I became a dedicated bookworm and in turn I used my book affairs to inspire my own creative stories. I remember taking so much pride in my page-long workings — prancing around the school begging my teachers to read the story, hoping to receive a shiny new sticker at the top of the page. Throughout high school, I found this creativeness and pride disappear. Creativity became something that no longer could be out of the box, it had to fit between the lines. This was something I extremely hated about school, and what saddens me the most, it made me lose my love for being clever with words and writing for pure joy.

After a year of being finished with school, and having the choice of what to do with my life, I found small things I’d lost from being in a classroom come back. For example, motivation. Motivation was lost for me, yes small hints were there, but my true motivation to live for myself came back after graduating. 2014 welcomed the dream of moving to England. This motivated me to work hard and save my money even harder; it got me to where I am now – London. From a small New Zealand town, it is more than an adventure to be almost 100% settled in such a beautifully busy city that is so new and out of my comfort zone. Today is day 5 in the UK, and out of those days I have had 1 day of being a tourist. What a day that was. With an early start, and I mean early I was able to make the most of the limited hours of daylight and go see a few, of the million and one, things I have always daydreamed about being on my back doorstep. To see the things I saw, you will have to see my Instagram, but things that I couldn’t capture within those photos was my constant smiling, my opinions and my being in awe. Being alone can seem like a sad situation to an outsider, but to me it is perfection. Thinking about yesterday, I got lost more than I could count on my fingers, but I enjoyed being a small dot within the map. In such a well organised and busy city you are never lost for long, you soon find your way back to the trail you were planning to follow. Soon enough I was listening to Big Ben ring on the hour – this really brought me into the moment, there is nothing like a sudden realization that you’re standing on the footpath looking up and listening to something you have dreamed about seeing for years. The realization that I did it. I got myself there. And to realize this, made me appreciate the moment more than I ever thought I could. I then continued, with a beaming grin across my face, along my spiral path through Westminster. I saw more breeds of swan than I thought possible in St James’ Park, I grinned like a cheese in front of Buckingham Palace to pose for a photo, I cycled through Hyde Park on a Barclay’s, and I went shopping on Oxford Street. Even sitting here now, I still can’t believe that these globally known places, are within a 10 minute tube ride from my new home! I don’t know if I will ever not appreciate this city as much as I do right now.

I guess now, after my endless worded rant, and now that I am in a point in my life where I have my own exciting stories, I want to be like Mia. I want to inspire someone. Not necessarily spark an interest in writing, but inspire someone to say yes to more things in life; to do things that make them happy, but more importantly to venture out into the world. This world is amazing, and if you don’t travel, it’s like reading only the cover of a book and missing all the gloriously written pages in between. Whether you write about your own experiences, take photos of things you see, or whether you prefer to just soak it all in as you live in the moment – just do what makes you happy. Just say yes.

The day you start living for yourself, the more you end up living for.