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.

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Why I’m Leaving London After Four Years

Dear Reader,

Welcome to another blog of mine. If you’re a returning reader, I apologise for my absence – my brain hasn’t exactly been clear lately. If you’re new, well you’ve come along at an interesting crossroad. It’s a lot of words, and I’ve written and re-written this many times, so I’m deciding to just post it in it’s current state. Here ya go…

Why I’m Leaving London After Four Years

Today’s blog is brought to you by a big decision I made a few weeks ago, and one I’ve had difficulty making for over a year: leaving London. I moved to London when I was eighteen, and ready for an adventure of self-discovery and risks. The last few years have been nothing short of that; I’ve met people who will stay friends for the remainder of my life, I’ve explored cultures, cities & countries, whilst furthered myself through skill and awareness. I know I know, all of the classic & cliché things, but it’s true and I am not lying when I say this city has changed me as a person for the better.

I love London, and it is one of the best places to live in the world – I say that wholeheartedly – however, London is not an easy place to live. It’s a city where unless you are lucky enough to find a job which douses your bank account, it can be very much a situation of living pay check to pay check. It’s a city of competition, and entitlement. It’s fast-paced, and unless you can keep up with it, you can feel left behind.

I wasn’t one of these ‘unlucky’ ones; I like to think I have thrived here. And this isn’t in a “look at me” way, it’s in a way of pride. I got a good job, I worked hard and in result got promoted twice. I now have incredible friends who have given my life excitement and memories of a lifetime. I improved my living situation with every move. All of this, and having never worried about money, makes me proud of myself and everything I have achieved here.

So, if all was going well, what changed my mind about living here?

Well, if I’m completely honest, I became unhappy. Ultimately this is what I wanted to get down in this blog. This website has followed my entire London journey (my very first blog being about my first day here), through the ups and downs, and this process doesn’t stop with my decision to leave.

There was never one thing which caused the unhappiness, but I knew in my heart of hearts, there was something wrong. It stuck around, constantly underneath the sporadic smiles and dance parties, never really going away. It was a feeling I don’t want to label, because it’s not about that it, but it was a feeling of lostness. I felt alone, whilst surrounded by a city of 8 million, I felt unsupported from all angles in my life, I felt heavy and held down. It is important to understand that this isn’t directed at anyone, because I truly believe it was my body telling me I wasn’t where I was supposed to be, and not the byproduct of something in my life.

It is a scary thing to realise your “home” has detrimental effects on your mental state.

From the moment I set foot on English soil, I’ve been announcing to the world I would never leave – London was my new home. I absolutely wasn’t about to be one of those people who came to the UK, or Europe, for 6 months only to give up and go back to the little ol’ home town. I think this is partly why I’ve struggled so much the last several months, because for years I’ve been subconsciously telling myself I would be a failure if I even considered moving home. Insert another lovely feeling: of being trapped.

I started making plans to rid this unhappiness; plans to make changes to my work situation, my living situation; I had decided I was going to convert a Sprinter van and join the #VanLife movement. I was going to travel Europe whilst writing, combining two of my favourite things. I was convinced that my life was just missing some freedom. I became excited, I started telling people and I was happy because people were excited about the idea. I thought “Yes, this is the answer”.

A week passed, and that feeling in the pit of my stomach started crawling back up to my throat. Back to square one. I knew deep down this wasn’t the solution.

Then some suggested an idea that I couldn’t shake. Moving home. I sat on it, and after a week it still felt like it may be a good idea. After two weeks, I had my flight booked, my resignation submitted, and I felt like a weight had been lifted. It was the first time in months I could wake up and not feel heavy.

Since making this decision, it hasn’t been smooth sailing. It’s been an emotional adventure coming to terms with leaving this life behind. But after a chat with one of my best-friends I have been reminded this isn’t leaving anything behind, and moving to New Zealand isn’t a step backwards towards my old life, it’s a step forward. It’s simply change; a new chapter.

I will not say ‘I am moving back’, because that implies I’m going backwards. This is me going forward, this is a new chapter in my life. 

London has been a love affair, and it’s something I don’t want to ruin. I’m leaving at a time that is right for me, and for my writing, and I’m excited about that. Being a creative in London is also something I wanted to discuss. You can feel like you’re failing yourself and your art if you take time off from it. London adds this pressure, and it’s hard to ignore. Acting, writing, dancing, singing – if it’s your passion – shouldn’t be pressured, and/or done for the sake of trying to keep up to be successful.

I’m excited to go to New Zealand and find new inspirations in my writing, to further my life, to build a future, to be surrounded by family, to enjoy the things that I love – the ocean, nature, the quiet and calm, living a more organic lifestyle.

My goal now? To enjoy every second I have being based in London. I am creating a project called #100WaysToSayGoodbye – the last 100 days, every day with something new, simple, weird or exciting.

I apologise because this blog is less for you, and more for me, with lots (and lots) of words. But if you’ve read to the end, I guess throughout this decision to move home I’ve learnt the importance of putting myself, and my health, first. Even though I still can’t understand why I feel London isn’t right for me anymore, I’ve listened to myself and I know this is the right thing to do.

I will miss you London, I will miss you my London friends, but I am happy because I know I will see you again.

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Three Ways To Get Enthusiastic About Work

It’s something we all struggle with at some point – a lack of enthusiasm to work the ‘nine to five’. Doesn’t matter how much we love the job, sometimes the happy vibes are nowhere to be found.

So that brings us to today’s blog, three ways to get enthusiastic about work.


1. | Why do you work?

This may seem like a silly question, but think about it for a second. Why do you work where you do?  Does it allow you to live a certain way in a particular area? Does it pay well? Is it your passion? (If it is, not sure why you’d be reading this, but whatever) OR do you work because it allows you to live out your passion when you’re not working?

More often than not, when you’re in your early twenties – like me – where you’re working isn’t usually your dream job, but you’re doing it to support something else. I work, to allow myself to live in London which in turn gives me opportunities to further my writing career.

So, figure out the reason why you’re doing what you’re doing, and remind yourself of it every time you have to clock into a shift.

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2. | Make the most of your free time

Other than seeing work as a means to an end, another way we can find enthusiasm to work is by not living and breathing the work place. Ever have a week where it feels like all you’ve done is eat, sleep, and work? Yeah, well me too. And it sucks! We all want to feel like we have life outside of work rotas and uniforms.

So piece of advice numéro deux? MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR FREE TIME. Book those events you want to attend, go for that audition, or simply… leave the damned house! Even if it means you go sit in a café and sip on a soya latte whilst reading a magazine, do it! Or if you work the ‘nine to five’, drop the whole “I’m tired act” and invite your friends over for a bottle of wine; go to the cinema. Make sure you’re spending your money on things other than the commute to work, and the bills. We earn money to live, not to follow the same old routine day in and day out. Spend your free time, fulfilling your passons; do what you love!

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3. | ‘Be the energy you want to attract’

We have to work, that’s the reality of it. I’m not here to tell you how to get out of working, because if you want to lead an exciting life, chances are you’ll need money for it. HOWEVER, HOW you work is a whole other ball game. I read a quote the other week which literally changed my perspective on work attitude like that *insert finger snap*.

“Be the energy you want to attract”.

My third and final way to get enthusiastic about work is to look at energy with a different perspective. Depending on where you work you have no idea who you’re serving, or working with.

Imagine this, you could be an aspiring actor, and one day you’re chatting up a storm to this guy, and you’re all passionate and excitable, then turns out hes a director at the National Theatre and ba-da-bing, you have a foot in the door. Conquer from within, and be the energy you want to attract. See work as another platform to further yourself, because it will be if you say it is.

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Screenshot the quotes, save them as your screen savers or lock screens; remind yourself of them everyday.

Only you stand in your way.

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“I Never Asked You.” (A Blog On Opinion)

Have you ever received an unwanted comment?

 “Your hair looks weird today”, “I don’t think that top fits you right”, “Why are you so grumpy today?”… did I ask for your opinion? No, I don’t recall asking you, thank you very much.

So, here it is, a blog on the idea of an opinion.

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So what is in an opinion?

By definition an opinion is a view or judgement formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge. Thank you, Google. Let’s summarise; an opinion is a singular view not based on fact. So, if these statements are not based on fact, do they really matter? Are they worth saying? And, should we leave our ears open for these comments? There is a quote from Ginni Rometty which perfectly sums up my opinion (great choice of word, huh?) on the topic of opinion.

“I ask everyone’s opinion when they don’t speak up. And then when they have an opinion, I’ll ask others to talk about it.”  

People who reserve judgment usually have more thought-out, and perfected perceptions. If someone is constantly pitching in their opinion, are they seeking attention, or are they arrogant in their ways. I want to make a point there is a different between arrogant opinion, and confident opinion. Remember that your opinion will more often than not, be rejected by the person you are passing it to, unless you speak at the perfect time.

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So what would arrogant opinion be? Say someone is having a chat about religion – you have every right to pitch in, but will it add to the conversation if you are disagreeing? If you say Buddhism is a hoax, and the conversing person is a sole-believer, should you really tell them they’re wrong? Not really. Certain opinions – especially those disregarding a person’s way of life – should not be shared. Keep it to yourself.

Confident opinion is very near the same but with an element of respect. With confident opinion, we wisely choose our timing and our topics to place judgement upon. When we are confident in our views, we don’t need them to be heard. We find satisfaction in not agreeing without saying so out loud.

“Your opinion is your opinion, your perception is your perception–do not confuse them with “facts” or “truth”. Wars have been fought and millions have been killed because of the inability of men to understand the idea that EVERYBODY has a different viewpoint.” – John Moore

As much as I write about this topic, nothing is going to stop people from commenting on other’s lives whether asked or not. So, if you receive unwanted comments from someone – whether it be about your attire, something you’ve said, or something completely irrelevant – let it go, and tell yourself: Everyone is entitled to an opinion. 

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I’m sure a few of you reading this are probably thinking something along the lines of “What if someone has to hear it?” – that your wise words will help them in some way? I see where you’re coming from. I still stand by the ideology that people live individual lives, and along with this, comes figuring things out for yourself. Look back at that quote from our lady, Ginni. If someone wants your opinion, they will ask. Same for you, if you want a external view on an internal situation, you’ll ask.

Please feel free to comment down below. I would like to ask you for your opinions on opinion, and also ask why you think what you do.

Liberty

As we grow and age, our sense of freedom also changes. I’ve always been one to be self-righteous about freedom. I know most of us are, but I remember from a  young age always demanding the freedom to go to the shopping mall with my friends, demanding my parents to just let me do what I want, demanding that I go where I want. Rightly so my parents were strict on discipline and for me as a teenager, freedom wasn’t a right, it was a privilege.

When I was 13 or 14, I decided I wanted a job. Not legally old enough to be hired in New Zealand, I volunteered at my local library. For me, not only was this a chance to prove responsibility with shifts and everything else that came with the job, it felt like a step closer to freedom. I wanted to feel like an adult and a job seemed to come hand in hand with that idea in my head – funny how a badge with my name on it felt like liberty. As I neared 15, I got a job delivering papers in my local area. Suddenly I had an income on my very own bank card and a whole lot more freedom. In the grand scheme of things I was earning cents, but as a young teenager earning my own money – that wasn’t originally my parents – was invigorating. It was at that ripe age of 14, and about a month before my 15th birthday, I bought myself a scooter; freedom in the form of a 50cc engine, bright yellow. To be fair I bought it second hand, and my Dad did a fair bit of fixing it up, but it was the next step up the staircase of liberty.

The day after turning 15, and months after learning the NZ road code start to finish, I got my drivers license. I was 15, and suddenly my definition of freedom changed. From being dropped of at the mall by my Mum for a few hours, to being able to drive anywhere on 50km/h roads. There were of course curfews, and countless safety lectures, but I could drive myself to school, and as I got better paying part-time jobs, to those too. I was able to help my Mum when she was in need of a few things from the supermarket. Having a bucket on the back of my scooter, I volunteered and went up. I may have only been able to carry 2L of milk, and a broccoli, but I’ll tell you I was stoked. The most memorable thing about getting my scooter was filling up my scooter for the first time.  I remember driving out of that petrol station, singing to the pedestrians I passed, grinning my face off behind my Dad’s motorbike helmet – I perfectly remember how liberated I felt in that moment.

Fast forward to a year later, and I passed my restricted license test – I could now not only drive a scooter alone, I could drive a car by myself. No parents, a speaker system (!!!) and the ability to conquer my Mum’s entire shopping lists if need be. I know shopping seems like a weird thing for a 16 year old to be excited about, but to be able to do that for Mum seemed like the ultimate privilege of freedom. Plus, if I got to use Mum’s car I could play the music as loud as I wanted. I never had my own car officially, but when my Dad bought a convertible Peugeot… well, well, well… imagine this: a 17 year old, a red convertible, driving along the coast in the middle of summer, sea sparkling in the wing mirror, stereo blasting Twenty One Pilots. Oh how I miss that car. If someone were to ask me about freedom, that memory would come to mind – so would a smile.

Fast forward to now, and my sense of freedom is somehow less perceptible. This is my third year living in London and away from home, and I do have endless freedom. I can do whatever I want, whenever I want, wherever I want, yet somehow it doesn’t feel that way. I used to find liberty in the simple things – walking my dog alone, solo adventures to the beach, staying out after dark, and now I find it harder to get that same thrill. And no, going to Sainsbury’s to get groceries no longer makes me sing. I’ve been decently poorly the last week and I’ve had more than enough time to mull this thought over. I’m 21 now, and everything considered I am officially an adult anywhere in the world. International freedom but when do I feel the most liberated? I feel free when I’m writing. I can play with words limitlessly and I can lose myself in any creative world I choose. I feel free when I travel; away from the bills and responsibilities, I can lose myself in the new sights. I live for experiences and to travel is to self-liberate. Without thinking too much about the words I just used, looking back I’ve used the term “lose myself” in both cases. Is this really true? Am I using this in a negative way? No, I don’t think so. After a bit of thought, I think losing myself is a good thing; I stop stressing, I stop over-thinking and immerse myself in the now.

For me, living in the moment is the true key to liberty.

 

730 days and a message for the future migrant

730 days and 730 nights have passed since I boarded the plane to London. Rather than repeating the summaries, the messages of gratitude, and the goals of the coming years, I wanted this blog to be slightly different. I wanted to write a blog which covers some of the lessons I’ve learnt whilst living abroad.

For those without English blood, a visa typically ends after two years. I, however, am lucky enough to have English ancestry and the right to stay longer – just the thought of being kicked out is scary, I have so much more I want to do. This is the case for a lot of antipodeans who travel abroad, right as they finally settle their lives and meet friends for life, it’s ripped out from underfoot.

For those who are hoping to migrate to the UK, or anywhere else in the world, I don’t want that thought to put you off. Moving to London was the best decision I ever made, and even if I only had the past two years, I would still stand by my choice to move. Remember that in life it is very much the same, you can’t not do something because you know it will end. Live in the moment and live for yourself.

If you’re reading this and considering an international move, here are some things I’ve learnt, and some quotes that have found accuracy within my life.

  1. Don’t feel fear in leaving things behind, because if it’s meant to be in your life, said thing will find a way no matter where you are.
  2. Age is but a number. At high school I had a very small, select group of friends; people I’d grown up with, either from an early age or the earlier years of college. We had birthdays within months of each other, and that was that. Once I moved to London, I began meeting people and making friendships based on conversation, laughter, and personality. In a lot of these cases, it wasn’t until we had hung out several times that the age difference came out. In some cases the age gap nears 10 years but they are absolute true friends – I’ve shared some of the best days of my life with these people.
  3. “Everything works out in the end”, “Everything happens for a reason”. These are two quotes that I’m sure many people will think are cheesy, or absolute nonsense. I’m here to tell you, I wholeheartedly believe in these simple sentences.  Enough said.
  4. “What’s the worse that can happen?”. When you find yourself in what you believe to be the ‘worst of the worse’ situations, ask yourself this question. If you get fired, something you own gets stolen, you made a fool of yourself at the staff party (believe me I’ve been there), what is the worse that can happen? You find a new job, you earn money to replace it, you strut into work the next day owning that glorious hangover glam. It’s never as bad as it seems. Never forget that.
  5. Technology makes the earth smaller. With modern society comes FaceTime, Instagram, Facebook and all of the other wonderful social mediums. A lot of people believe these sites to be detrimental to our social lives – pulling us away from real interactions – but in reality, for the modern day migrant, the internet closes the international gap. FaceTime has made my move a breeze, because of it I’ve been able to talk to my parents in an instant. Don’t get me started on Instagram, I love that shit.
  6. Save, save, save. If you decide to move to a city, such as London like myself, you’ll soon realise it’s not as cheap as one would hope. When I first moved, I had a lot of savings stashed away, and it was too easy to spend when I arrived. “Oh I’ve made it, I can treat myself” is a bad attitude, learn from my mistake. It’s not that I went out buying rounds for the entire pub, but I wasn’t as careful as I should have been. Money isn’t everything of course, nevertheless it sure does make your life more exciting.
  7. Aspire to Inspire. As my favourite quote, it doubles as a mantra for my life. I lose sight of it somedays, like anything, but I believe I should be living my life aspiring to inspire others. Working towards making a difference somewhere in someone. If we live this way, we become mindful, true to ourselves and find ourselves spending our time wisely.
  8. Be yourself. Try and see moving across the world as a fresh start and a way to stop trying. Being a teenager can encourage being fake and lying to not only your friends but yourself. Be true to yourself, and you will attract people who (as cheesy as it sounds) love you for you.
  9. Don’t put pressure on yourself to grow up. I definitely fell into this trap, in fact not until recently did I climb my way out. There’s this misconception that success is wealth and talent, and that to be victorious you have to start young.  In London, I am constantly surrounded by wealth and talent that I began to doubt my own progress in life; that because I’m 20, I need to be getting onto the path leading to a career, earning some money – some real respect. It took me two whole years of adulthood, of paying bills, of working full-time, of living in London to get completely over this idea. I fully realised that I want to write and I want to travel. So I’m working in a pub so I can do this. Life is too short for stress, friends. Don’t forget point 3.
  10. Trust your gut. It’s as simple as that, don’t do anything if it doesn’t feel right.

I’m gonna finish this blog off by saying that these past two years have been the best. I love London, I love living here, I love my life here, and I love travelling. I love living with a sense of adventure. I encourage anyone and everyone to do the same.

Happy two year anniversary London, same time next year, yeah?

 

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.