Friday, 24 July 2015

The Misery of Paradise

Last year I left Savary island saying I would never return. Somewhere in my memory I had lost this thought, it wasn't forgotten, just outwayed by unmatched scenic pictures which went with a new thought of 'oh it's beautiful, it can't have been that bad..'

Savary is an island off of the coast of BC in Canada, 5 miles long and a mile wide at best. Surrounded by Pacific Ocean views, laced with mountains and dense evergreens it is undoubtedly beautiful. I personally would consider it when thinking of some of the most memorable views from around the world, possibly even list it with some of my favourites. Scattered with unique cottages and cabins (or in some cases bigger than you're average suburban house) each self designed and built, the houses themselves give the island another endearing quality. Home from home with everything you want from a tropical island holiday. So why have I left for the second year in a row with no intention of returning..

A lot of the houses, cabins and lots were bought up in the 70's. By my generations grandparents, who dedicated their time, money and love into designing and building their perfect holiday homes. My generations parents have grown up with the island as a second home. Visiting yearly to their parents beloved island retreat. The small town vibe is overwhelming and your business is 100% not just your business. But why should the people who committed their summers for 40 years to this island relinquish their reign? And that's just it. This island belongs to a different generation. A generation contended with a simpler life. Where children played all day long with the neighbours and came home when someone rang a dinner bell, usually welcoming the neighbours children as well. Not today's children who fear every bit of the unknown, other children are a threat and seek solace in the company of strangers online. Of course that's a wild and indulgent generalisation but my point is that we are evolving (not necessarily for the better in my opinion but that's a different matter entirely) and that this island is belligerently part of the past.

Don't get me wrong, a few weeks with no wifi is not enough for me to rule out a place as somewhere I would return to. However are incredible views and wildly fortunate wildlife encounters enough? There are no memories made in a solo beach trip, the mountain range will never make me laugh and I'd rather not share a bottle of wine with the nearest deer. Which brings me (finally) to the real point. Is paradise really paradise in the wrong company? Can you fully appreciate somewhere and all it has to offer without someone to enjoy it with? Savary Island is wildly romantic and I can see why any couple would vow to watch the sunset there for the rest of their sunsets. Yet for a full family that is on the verge of outgrowing family holidays it all becomes disjointed. Family life isn't left on the shore and annoyances with one another are not forgotten as soon as toes are sandy. The setting may be different but the dynamics don't change. Leaving paradise being more of an enclosure, trapping you into more games of chess than you thought humanly possible. Savary Island belongs now and should forever to the elderly couple watching the sunset together over a glass of their favourite. Because paradise is anywhere as long as you have the right person sat next to you.


Thursday, 14 May 2015

Coming and going

I've been writing this post for a long time now. It's stayed in my drafts, been completely restarted and forgotten about over and over. It's difficult to do because I don't know how to do it without getting too personal, without crossing some sort of line. But maybe the only way of being real is by being painfully openly real. It's about people. People will always come and go. Whether you want them to or not. Circumstances change, opportunities arise, love can be lost, or found in unexpected places and in every situation ever, life takes people full stop. Learning to appreciate who you have is probably one of the simplest, yet most difficult things to conquer. Learning to let go of people that don't have a positive impact on your life is probably one of the most difficult, yet simplest things to do.

I feel like I've always been craving some sort of acceptance. I seek out frutile destructive relationships, only to be hurt when they inevitably don't go well (prime example being the guy that lied about everything for 5 months and I sort of knew the entire time) I'm good at recovering from them, because it only takes a brush down before its all aboard the crazy train again. This doesn't just stand for my unfortunate romantic relationships, I'm not very good with friends either. I know I don't make the effort, only to be upset when I'm not included. I can't seem to learn.

In the last year the amount of people I have met has amplified significantly. I've met people that haven't been home in decades and people that have never left their hometown. I've been utterly inspired by people and their stories and the relationships, genuine relationships, with real care and real loyalty and real love that can blossom and just how quickly it can happen. I've seen the purest forms of love and the impact that that alone has on life. I've also had an increase on negative relationships. I've been called cold hearted as I've gained the ability to cut people out that are not healthy (to be around) or don't quite belong. I've had bad encounters with not nice people and have learnt some important lessons. Lessons lessons lessons. One of which seems the simplest of all. That searching for acceptance or some sort of achievement in a relationship is not genuine.

Of course it isn't. The connection is based on fleeting needs that can never be satisfied because they exist soley in the crazy sector of my brain. Only to be reinvented if they're met. I can't say I will never do this again but I can say that I'm realising.

This really is for me to achknowledge the types of relationships that are over looked, but in reality are what builds the foundation of my life. They're not materialistic, they don't mind what I look like and they have no reserves in telling me when I'm wrong. The people who I've watched the stars with and the ones I've watched clouds with. The ones who have picked me up after I've fallen on my face (quite literally) and the ones who have mocked me relentlessly. The friends whose houses I go to for a nap and the ones who drive directly to me when they feel I've needed it. We've not spoken in months only for it to feel like we were never apart. The sisters who came from nowhere that will forever be my family and the people with which distance is not remotely an issue. Relationships will never be easy and people will always come and go. But sometimes realising that who you already have is the only thing to do. Seeking out destructive relationships for some sort of value on self worth is laughable, when the love I have from the people I have makes a value of self worth incomprehensible to 16 year old me. I am enough. And so are all of you.











Wednesday, 22 April 2015


Running away is a simple and effective method for dealing with almost any situation. I am brilliant at it, I feel like its inherent. It's in my bones. See also; quitter. In the last year I have quit my job and all responsibilities and commitments I have ever had. I've run away from so many different situations I don't actually think I could name them all. Even as I write this I should be writing a lesson plan that I've given up on roughly 6 million times already. Quitting has the most negative connotations, nobody wants to be seen as a quitter. Even in my mind in generally relates mostly to failure. You quit and therefore you fail, you forfeit your position. You're not strong enough to finish, you've taken the easy route out. I personally think that's so far from the truth.
It's not the truth because it isn't the easy route out. Giving up on something that you've put time and effort into isn't failing, its recognising that this isn't providing you with what you need. There is nothing easy about telling people, friends and family and loved ones that you've quit. That once again you're starting over. Because everyone believes that you're failing, again. Who supports the absolute nutter who quits there job, forfeits there income, just because they don't enjoy it? I'll tell you who, nobody. Next to no-one will tell you that's a good idea. But why not? Why should we keep ourselves in these situations, when no-one is really benefitting. It takes a lot of guts to walk away from something. To take a step into the unknown. To tell yourself, this is no longer serving me and its time to move on. I don't see that as weak. Having high standards and not settling because that's what is expected of you. I will not settle. I will not sacrifice my time to things that, ultimately don't get me closer to the life that I want. The fact that I am still completely unsure about what that is yet is irrelevant.
I won't just run away from negative situations, a lot of the time positive experiences also have a sell-by date. I have numerous memories from travelling that, had I pursued or not 'given up' on, would not be the memory that I have of them today. The memories encapsulated in perfect moments, that I wished with every fibre of my being I could prolong at the time. Yet even then, even in heights of happiness there was a knowing in the pit of my stomach that this wasn't it. This wasn't going to be the thing that caught me. Had I actually prolonged them they're likely to not be the same memory, leaving when I felt I had to as apposed to leaving when everything was perfect. It is very easy to become incorrectly attached to things. We're all looking for something and it is so easy to think you've found it and immediately put all your eggs in the basket, I'm done, I've found it, thanks and goodbye. I've done it with so many things, the island I went to live on for one. We all do it, with friends or relationships or careers or lifestyle choices. But we are constantly growing and the things we look for evolve, often at different rates to the people and life around us. This is not a bad thing. Being able to call something a day, to me, is a sign of strength. Strong enough that you know what you want, or even strong enough to admit to the world that what you want has changed. And sometimes starting over, with a revised purpose is exactly what you need. Of course there are things I wish I had stuck with, but if I had I wouldn't be where I am, perhaps without the people I have now, or with a different set of morals. I like who I am, I like who I have and I love what could eventually be. I am a runaway and I will not settle. 


Monday, 2 March 2015


Lie next to me


And breathe soft words into my soul

Make me feel lighter

As your love

Drips down onto me

And seeps into my skin




Sunday, 22 February 2015

The search for home

I did it. I had my vaccinations. I said goodbye to all my friends and I packed as much as I could into my backpack. I bought over a years worth of malaria tablets and even invested in some travel insurance. I endured the 17 hour flight to Cambodia and after just under two weeks I'm on my way back to the UK. I had every intention of this trip being it. I wanted to step onto the beach and to be encompassed by the feeling of home. It didn't happen. After a years worth of learning and learning and growing and learning, once again I was faced with the most inevitable truth that I've learned so far. That one of the few certainties in life is that nothing is ever certain.

For as long as I can remember I've been searching for home. When I was little I'd often announce that I wanted to go home, nearly always sat in the house that I've lived in since I was 18 months old. It was more than likely a comfort thing, something I'd say without thinking because of course that was my home. I know every crease and crack of that house, I know which floorboards to step on if I don't want to make any noise, and I know if I don't pay enough attention when brushing my teeth, I will inevitably get my hair caught in the light switch (which can be ridiculously hard to free yourself from). Yet I've always been asking to go home. Part of me truly believed that I'd found it.

I've been drifting for a long time. Drifting in and out of education, from job to job to job to job to no job, then from country to country. I haven't known what I wanted (I still don't) but when I was travelling last year some things started to make sense. When you're away you meet people there's no way you'd meet in every day life back in your hometown. You hear incredible stories of crazy adventures and realise you have an equal story to share. You start to reinvent yourself, you can share things that would usually be kept quiet because you realise there's no shame. People are interested and through sharing you, in turn, reevaluate some things and their importance (or not as the case may be) in your life. This is probably the cliche people refer to about finding themselves. It is every bit as wonderful as each and every traveller will bang on about. I fell in love. I fell more in love than I had ever been before and it made me question if in fact I have ever been in love (that ones still up for debate). It was a gut wrenching heart opening love and it was with the world, places and people, buildings and smiles, most importantly with myself. One of the places that this tidal wave of love hit me was koh rong, Cambodia. Cambodia is without a shadow of a doubt my favourite county I have visited. The island itself is described by most that have seen it as paradise, it exists honestly. This small island, that is so under developed there is no consistent electricity was the first place I ever felt like I had found home. It held such resonance that not only did I struggle to leave (3 planned nights turned into 3 and a half weeks, only leaving because of an out of date visa) but I also did not shut up about this little island. Every time I met someone new, people I had spent time with would role their eyes, and I was off again 'koh Rong blah blah blah' this continued for all of Asia and to getting back to the UK. I had to go back. I had to had to had to because what if this really is my forever, my home. So I did it. I went back and I expected with every fibre of my being to step off that boat and into the sand and feel it, feel that heart breaking love for everything. But after a week of not really trying to fit in with the constant flow of traveller crowds, not really wanting to go out and get really drunk on horrendously cheap local spirits and make questionable decisions, I felt nothing but disappointed. The magic was gone. I hated being so itchy I would happily let the nearest machete bearing child amputate the foot with 16 bites on. I hated being woken up in the night by drunken roommates switching on the light because they didn't remember what bed was theirs. I got sick from the unsanitary conditions and most of all I didn't understand what had happened. Which is when I learnt something else, I was chasing something that didn't exist. I had all these expectations of going back to this island and falling in love with puppies and living in paradise and doing yoga on the beach and being swept off my feet by the nearest long haired lovely. It wasn't authentic, I was running after a reinvention of myself that no longer existed. That maybe never existed. Because whilst the island is undoubtedly beautiful, it wasn't the island itself that was home. It was the final realisation that I like who I am and who I can become. I was at home with myself. No excuses or lies or cover ups or hiding, just love. Love and hope and excitement and love.

When this became apparent there were no regrets. I had to go because I had to find out if this is what I wanted. I would have forever held onto the thought that that's where I belonged if I had never tried. Disappointed that I didn't belong in paradise but I have so much more to explore. The world keeps spinning and the sun will come up and the tides will change and so will everything ever. Because change is the only thing we can count on to get us to where we need to be. So right now I'm about to board a plane, eventually (there are a lot of stopovers) I'll be back in my little town, in the little house that I know inside out, because of course, it's my home.









Thursday, 22 January 2015

Freak outs

I'm going back to Cambodia. I'm going back to Cambodia and I don't know how long for. I'm going back to Cambodia and I don't know how long for and I'm going to leave in three weeks. It was supposed to be next week but I'm being sensible for the first time ever and holding on for some vaccinations. Despite the fact that I've been there before and have never loved a place so much I'm scared. Really scared. What if it isn't what I want it to be, then once again I'm back to square one with the concept of what to do in my life. What if I don't find friends and feel isolated. What if what if what if. These freak outs have been coming and going in tidal waves of life threatening panic usually at completely unreasonable times of the night. I've been grumpy because I want to leave immediately, it's so cold in the UK. I have no purpose here, no job. Then I've been whingey because I'll start to doubt myself again. What if this isn't the right thing?! What if what if what if.

Why do we do it to ourselves? Why is self doubt something that is even ok? There's no way you'd walk up to a friend or a stranger or anyone and tell them they're not likely to be happy because their nose is too big, or their eyes are wonky, or they talk too much, or not enough and frankly that makes them a terrible person; that's not ok. So why do we do it to ourselves? Continuously. We all deserve our own happy. We all deserve to be exactly who we are meant to be. I feel like forever I've been taught a way of life and you just take it for what it is that, this is inevitably what you need to be happy. That's wrong, just fyi. I don't know what I want to do with my life, that's ok. I don't know about a career, that's ok. Sometimes I do talk too much or not at all and that's ok. I don't have a goal but there is something in me screaming to go away. It's not finished and I need to go. It might be what I've always wanted and it might not and that's also ok. Happiness isn't the end goal, it's the all the way along goal. It's being satisfied with nothing and everything and knowing that change is the only thing that will get us ever closer to forever. I could be in Cambodia for a month or forever. I might find the next step along the way, it could be an endless rabbit hole but I'm so ready. I can't believe I ever listened to the small voice telling me what if. The small voice saying that perhaps I'm not good enough and I should just accept the way that things are. I let that small voice tell me the wrong things because what if this is going to be amazing? What if I find what I've always wanted to do? What if I continue to fall in love over and over and over with the sun coming up every morning and the infinite blue of the sky and the endless horizon of the ocean? It might be dreamy and sound unrealistic but letting the fear go and taking the jump is the only way to find out. I'm ready I'm ready I'm ready.



Saturday, 27 December 2014

She may contain the urge to run away...

Don't let anyone ever hold you down with soggy clothes or breezeblocks.

This has been without a shadow of a doubt the best year of my life. So why not tell as many people as I can about it?! I've spent 5 and a half months of 2014 out of the country; 2 months in Canada, a month in Thailand, a month in Cambodia, a month in Vietnam and two ish weeks in Laos. I'll fill in the gaps as posts go but for now, I'll try and keep it short and sweet.

So how does one start a blog, based mainly on travel experiences and not sound like a pretentious gap yah idiot. Who knows. Maybe what other people think isn't what it's all about....