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a restless spirit

travels, trials and trivialities

Welcome

Welcome to my brand, spanking, shiny new blog, where I plan to share with you my many adventures, travel tips, experiences, and undoubtedly the odd rant.

In answer to your question – the name of this blog comes from one of my favourite songs, ‘Witchy Woman’ by the Eagles, and the particular line is ‘she’s a restless spirit on an endless flight’, which sums up my mission in life perfectly. I’m all about adventure, and if you’re reading this, I’m guessing you are too. I have recently graduated from a two-year law degree at university and I have a dream to spend my life writing, creating and you got it, travelling.

I’m about to head off on a ski season to the French Alps for 6 months and I’d like you all to join me, of course the logistics of doing this physically aren’t quite manageable so you’ll have to make do with reading all about it. (Sorry).

I am also in the process of converting a 2005 Volkswagen transporter into a campervan so that I can spend next summer touring Europe, writing my first novel and finding out what life is really like on the road.

I hope you’ll enjoy this little journey of mine, I hope you might keep reading – and I hope it might even inspire you to embark on an adventure of your own.

 

 

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Featured post

5 Reasons Why it’s Completely Okay to Not Have Your Shit Together

Okay, so I’ve felt this post has been coming for a long time, I’ve felt completely un-inspired, life keeps throwing some challenging obstacles into my path, I’ve been changing my mind every 2 minutes and quite frankly, I’ve had enough of everything.

To the outsider, it might look as if I really have my shit together and my life is pretty sweet. I have a law degree, a sweet-ass van and a rough plan to travel the world. Well, if that’s the case, you’ve been fooled my friend. At university, about £9,000 and a student finance contract later, I realised law was completely the wrong choice for me. I was stuck in a hole, but I saw the degree through. I’ve been somewhat stuck in that hole ever since. Instead of setting me up for life, like so many people tell you it does, all university did was confuse the hell out of me and leave me well and truly SKINT. I said to myself, at the end of university, my life will start, I’ll be able to travel the world, I’ll get the job of my dreams and all will be well in the world of Holly Price.

All is not well.

Well, that is slightly over dramatic, I have my van on the road (albeit making a worrying noise which I suspect is the clutch thrust bearing) I have a boyfriend that loves me (even if he is 200 miles away) I have my parents (who have absolutely funded my life for the last year) and I have a job that means I actually write for a living.

But…. it’s not enough for me. I want heat, sunshine and the sea 365 days a year, I want to make a difference in the world somehow, I want to spend a year (or more) discovering the most wild, crazy places on the planet, and most of all, I want it all now. But, I’m succumbing to the rat race because of my financial situation, and because it’s realistically what I have to do right now, in order to do the rad shit I have planned for later. Truth be told, I really don’t know what to do next. And I think that’s perfectly okay, mainly for the following reasons:

1. Life is Backwards

Who the HELL is lucky enough to know what they want to do for the rest of their lives at 17? You might not even find your true passion until you turn 40 for christ sake! There is so much pressure on people to find something and stick to it, to ‘fit’ into box and be stacked nicely on the shelf of society from such a young age. So many older people have regrets and ‘if only’s’ and second thoughts about how they have spent their lives, because they were scared or limited or told what they should have done. Instead, I think young people should be encouraged to mess around for as long as possible, until something comes along that they are 1234873648723461% sure about.

 

2. Does Anybody Really Even Have it Together? 

You might think people do, they might have an impressive job and a nice car or even just a really cool insta – but I GUARANTEE something is eating at them, there may be something missing in their life, they could be fighting a battle, or they could have an illness nobody even knows about. I strongly believe even the most content, organised of people have their down days, days when they struggle to plaster on the smile and keep the composure.

Speaking of insta, and speaking from personal experience, I think it is SO important to keep instagram and reality in two very separate boxes. We only put the good things on social media (unless someone is looking for Facebook sympathy) and we advertise our lives as if it’s some sort of weird ‘I’m cooler, I’m more attractive, I’m having a better time’ competition, and none of it is even real life, yeah sure, I’m guilty of insta spamming and stalking, but sometimes it’s essential to press the pause button and not get caught up in that very dangerous, complicated and edited-to-perfection cyber world.

3.  You Never Know if You Don’t Go 

In the wise words of Smash Mouth, you never know if you don’t go. I could have easily chickened out of my ski season, I could have not took the risk of spending all of my savings on a van, I could just be living a very comfortable, sensible life here. But where’s the fun in that? People who don’t take risks are BORING and I would take a confident guess that most of them have regrets. Experiences make you wiser, not weaker. So what if the job doesn’t work out? At least you had the balls to try it. Nobody is going to sit on their death bed and say, ‘Do you know what, I am so glad I didn’t kiss that girl at 25 years old, I’m so glad that I ignored my best friend when they said they had a business idea, I am so glad I didn’t write that novel, I’m so glad I didn’t catch that flight.’

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

Hunter S. Thompson

4. Happiness is Essential 

So i’m not saying the meaning of life is to give everything up and travel the world – travelling and transience is just what makes ME happy, personally. I understand that some people are creatures of comfort, they like one place, stability and security. Honestly, that’s great, if my crazy brain could settle for that I’d love it too, it really is whatever floats your boat, I dig seeing people happy, ecstatic to live and be alive. The thrill of seeing someone discover their passion, their purpose, is what gives me my kicks, (that and dogs, writing, sunrises, sunsets, the ocean, my van, travelling….)

5. We’re All Going To Die 

It’s sad, but it’s true. No one unlocks a bonus level when they earn a six-figure salary, no one is granted immortality when they have everything in line, all we can hope for in this life is happiness and love, and we can only get those by doing whatever the hell we want to do. One day I’ll be content, well-travelled, and spending my time writing and exploring somewhere hot. If there is anything after this life, memories are all we can really take with us. When my time is up, I want to look across at the love of my life, smile, and be grateful I did all of that crazy shit when I could.

 

 

The Van Plan

“The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure”

– Chris McCandless

One thing a lot of people have asked me, apart from “how much did it cost?” is “what gave you the idea to convert a van in the first place?” And, to be honest, it’s not a question I find very easy to answer. It could have been when I first stumbled across the incredible the rolling home on instagram, it could have been in one of my law lectures when we were studying just how much you pay back with a mortgage (and I almost passed out with dread), it could have been when I finished reading Into The Wild or On The Road, utterly infatuated with a life more travelled, more wild, it could have been the influence of my parents or, it could have been a combination of all of the above.

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I have had a very adventurous and active upbringing. For years in my family, my parents and even in generations above that, have taken a lot of delight in camper-vanning and caravanning.  Summer for me started at about 4am of a morning, when the Landrover would be packed to the brim, the coolbox inbetween me and my sister in the back, parents apprehensive of travelling 6 hours to Dover or Portsmouth port with two young children. France, we were headed, for what felt like the entire summer, and I loved it. We would travel all over the place to sightsee and spend days on the most beautiful beaches. We also went across the UK too, going on rallys with hundreds of other likeminded families and also just to tiny farms. We made our own entertainment, usually with several groundsheets, a hosepipe and plenty of fairy liquid.

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I don’t think I have ever really been a materialistic person, I always got much more joy out of building dens and jumping waves than feeding my tamagotchi or tending to the incessant bloody crying of baby annabelle, and once when attending my primary school’s end of year fancy dress, I was adamant that I would be dressing up as my future occupation… the fantastic explorer, David Attenborough. I was obsessed with places such as the amazon, the temples of Angkor Wat, the watery depths of the Titanic wreck, maybe it was too much Lara Croft, or maybe I was infact just born to explore.

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Initially, I wanted a Volkswagen Autosleeper, because they came with an already high top roof, plenty of windows, living facilities and were fairly new but still with a retro look to them. But, they were each about £8,000 to buy on average and my dad had other ideas, and he was the person I needed to convince to let me spend my savings.  I searched and searched and searched for months, often finding what I thought was ‘the one’ only to find out they had too many miles or were absolutely rotten underneath. And then I found it, about three hours away, sky blue, on sale for £6,000 with just over 35,000 miles. It was nothing short of a miracle find. A few days later, I had left a deposit and was looking forward to picking it up.

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That was in April 2016, fast forward almost 18 months and me and my Dad have completed a full conversion. (Even with me on a ski season in the middle of it all) We have dealt with a leak that we attempted to fix at the beginning but recently came back to haunt us, my dad has wired in all the incredibly complicated (and overwhelming) electrics despite him being colourblind and my mum has even made the seat cover and curtains. It has been a real family affair, which only adds to the value in my eyes.

 

To start with, it was quite difficult, the van was a blank canvas and I was overwhelmed with ideas, I had full creative freedom and knew I wanted something different than the standard rock’n’roll bed conversion, with a bigger, more comfortable bed. The first job was putting the windows in, we bought kits from Van Demon and Dad bought an air nibbler and with slightly shaking hands we cut into the sides and rear of the van. Dad also took it upon himself to install a new radio with reversing camera because he doesn’t have a lot of faith in my driving. (Like, seriously, this is my LIFE SAVINGS on wheels, I’m really going to crash it!?!) After the windows were in, we had to insulate it, and carpet the ply on the walls. Then there was the floor to cover, which I did so with patterned vinyl flooring from Burts Carpets using the ply as a template. We designed and built the bed using sections of steel that were welded together and then cutting down slats from IKEA to fit (a very painstaking job). At this stage, it was time out for 6 months whilst I completed my ski season.

After returning from my ski season, the only way I was able to finish the conversion was with a £1,300 commission bonus from the company I worked for, this allowed me to buy the very expensive bits such as the fridge, (who knew camper fridges were worth £500 a piece) a sink and hob unit, and the electrical control system, known as Sargent units. Of course, there was a lot of ply needed to build the cupboards, and a lot of head-scratching on Dad’s behalf on how he was going to cut and shape it. I have to say, I am incredibly lucky to be blessed with the powerhouse that is my Dad, we have had no outside help (apart from a friend of a friend who could weld) or tools whatsoever in this conversion, and he has done it all from his own knowledge. There has been many shouting matches, tools flung across the garden, and enough expletives to make Gordon Ramsey wince, but this has absolutely brought us closer.

And now, finally, I am at the stage where it is all complete, it has been reclassified, and it is ready to insure. The first planned trip is Edinburgh at New Year and across Europe to Greece next summer, with lots of spontaneous adventures inbetween. My own personal vision is to live a life of freedom, minimalism and absolute spontaneity, to wake up with views people pay £1,000 per night in a hotel for, to climb onto my comfortable custom-made bed aching after a days surfing and exploring a foreign place. To be limited to the amount of ‘stuff’ we carry around  with ourselves, to live and be happy with just the essentials. To have no definite ‘start’ and ‘end’ to an adventure, to find likeminded people with their own dreams and their own alternative living spaces. To never lose the little girl who wanted to be an explorer when she grew up. My plan, in essence, is to have absolutely no plan at all, except maybe a rough idea of a route somewhere – and that is what I call The Van Plan.

sidenote: if ANYONE is thinking of completing a conversion themselves, or if you just have any questions at all about any of the above, or cost, or where to source materials, please feel free to hit me up in the contact page!

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“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”

– Jack Kerouac, On The Road

 

10 Truths About Long Distance Relationships

So, just like perhaps most of you reading this, before I actually became involved in one, I was incredibly cynical about long distance relationships. Yeah suuure you’re content to wait 2985756593 weeks to see your loved one, good luck with that one Dear John. But seriously – they can work. I met a wonderful human being whilst on my ski season in France, and we decided we liked each other enough to give it a good go back in the UK, despite being 200 miles apart; and these are 10 very honest lessons we have learned.

1. You ain’t getting anywhere if you haven’t got trust

 Probably the biggie here, and the one I’ve struggled with the most due to a previous psychotic individual planting stories in my head. Nonetheless, it is important that you don’t engage in anything that would make your partner question your loyalty, you will both have a past, yes, you will have friends at home that your partner has never met, there will be exes, just like any other relationship, and you have to be able to deal with this from miles away. It’s important that you trust each other from the outset because as the legend himself, Drake, once said, ‘it’s harder building trust from a distance.’

2. Communication is key 

Teamwork makes the dreamwork, and it has to be fair on both sides. I am so guilty of rushing around intending to sit down and send a cute good morning text but never actually getting around to it – then before I know it it’s 7pm and my boyfriend doesn’t know if I’m dead, ran off with someone else or mad at him for something he doesn’t even know he’s done. Just the smallest of texts throughout the day make all of the difference. When there’s no communication, the overthinking starts, and when the overthinking starts, the doubt grows… you can see where I’m going with this.

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3. You appreciate time with each other

Not to say that couples who live together don’t savour every second together, but there is something so precious and special about only having a weekend or a short amount of time together. It’s like being a child again, and saving your money for something you really want, by the time you get to the shop you’re basically drooling with excitement. You can’t get complacent, or start to take each other for granted, which is such a killer in most relationships.

4. You have your own space

Leading on from 3, it’s also really nice to have your own space and your own time to do your own thing. It’s also really common to lose yourself (IN THE MUSIC, THE MOMENT, YOU OWN IT) and who you are in a relationship, because you stop making time for yourself and the things you like to do. It’s also really easy to lose friends in a relationship because you want to devote all of your time to your new found love, but when you cant physically do that, you can keep everyone happy, most importantly yourself.

5. Saying goodbye never gets easier

No, Sam Smith, we’re not too good at goodbyes. The dread begins to sink in early on the Sunday morning, when you mentally count how many hours you have together until the long drive home begins again. I’ve probably shed more tears on the M6 than anywhere else on this planet. Sure, you’re being incredibly melodramatic because you’ll see each other in about 2 weeks and this isn’t the bloody Notebook for christ sake, you’re not Rose nudging Jack off of that door, but that person is your best friend, that person is home, and saying goodbye to them is always going to be hard, no matter how long for.

 

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6. You do have to make sacrifices 

You have to be realistic and adult about everything. Some weeks, even though you had planned on seeing each other, life might have other plans for you. Your car might need fixing, your parents or a friend might desperately need you, you might have made other plans even though you haven’t seen each other for longer than usual. But the hard thing here is, you just have to get on with it, yes, it hurts, and whoever said ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ was on the right track but should have said absence makes the heart fucking hurt. If it’s love, you will both be able to wait and see each other when you can really enjoy it, without any other problems getting in the way. Of course, there is also the flip side of this, when your relationship is going to have to come first – Sally’s big girls night out can wait if you have recently had a little argument and need to see your other half to resolve it, if you have good friends, they will understand.

7. The arguments are way, waaaay worse

The golden rule is, you can’t be stubborn when you argue in a long distance relationship. You need to man up and resolve that shit straight away – there is just no point, and don’t do it over text unless you plan on incorporating about 600 emojis so your partner knows what tone of voice you’re using. In the same way, if something is bugging you, don’t just keep it quiet because it will get worse and worse the longer you don’t talk about it. Security is so important, and knowing what the other person is thinking is essential when they aren’t right by your side everyday.

8. You can do ridiculously soppy shit and it’s acceptable

Write them 100 love letters? Go for it! Send them flowers every day for a week? Feel free! You can verge on borderline stalker behaviour and people think its cute! Not that you can’t do this in any other relationship, but it’s so much more acceptable when you don’t live anywhere near each other. Even the littlest of things that stem from personal jokes, so many everyday items I now have that put a smile on my face when I come to use/see them because they hold a memory of us.

9. At least one person will tell you it won’t work out

They might be jealous of your happiness, they might want to get in your pants themselves, or they might just not believe that people really can go the distance. This is a particular shout out to Jasmine, who told my boyfriend at the beginning that ‘it’s a holiday romance, it won’t work out’, well here we are babycakes, 6 months after returning from France, and better than ever. If anything, these people will really just make you want to prove them wrong, so thanks Jas, I owe you one.

10. It will make you stronger as a couple

I’ll admit, there have been times when I have wanted to give up, that it would be less painful to walk away, but overall I’ve realised that a person comes into your life for a reason – and why should we tell ourselves it’s not going to work based on our locations on a map? Love has nothing to do with distance, love has nothing to do with time, it’s about two people and their dedication to one another. We are as realistic as we can be about things. We drive each other crazy, just like any other couple, we argue because we are brutally honest with each other, but most importantly, we both put in the effort to make it work.

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Wild Swimming in Snowdonia

With what was, (by my standards), a disappointing summer coming to an end, I find myself itching to get those last hits of warmth on my skin, of sand between my toes. The nights are getting darker, colder and the urge to sit inside with an XXL bar of galaxy in a knitted jumper listening to Michael Buble on loop is growing more prominent. (I’m warning you Mike, get back in ya cave.)

With not much travelling taking place this summer and being stuck at home finishing the van, I found myself lusting over everywhere from the Whitsunday Islands to Joshua Tree National Park. And then I became marginally obsessed with the National Parks of the U.S…. seriously, it was borderline unhealthy.

And then I stopped for a second and appreciated what is RIGHT HERE on my doorstep. In a land that has inspired everyone from Tolkien to Stevie Nicks, a magical land that is home to the highest peak in England, Wales and Ireland; a land containing lakes, glens, waterfalls, a coastline both dramatic and beautiful enough to rival Big Sur. In this land, lies Snowdonia National Park.

2,132 square kilometres of breathtaking forest with valleys and peaks carved out by glaciers millions of years ago. Trickling streams hidden in depths of woodland, dappled by precious sunlight spying its way through the leaves. This is my homeland, and it’s beautiful, it’s enough to make anyone believe that the mythical creatures depicted in traditional Welsh folklore might have actually wandered these lands years ago. Anyway, I digress, with summer still on my mind and the weather looking suprisingly June-esque, I stuffed a few things in my trusty backpack, told my friend to get ready, checked out a few of the 100 lakes of the national park online, and stumbled across ‘Llyn Elsi’ – just over an hour away, and absolutely stunning.

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Of course, it was freezing, I gently climbed in from a generous slab of rock, cladded only in a seriously impractical bikini, breathing calmly over the cold water shock (trying to, anyway). After about two minutes, I was back at home again, body weightless, limbs sprawled, content and blissful. I made sure I took time to really absorb my surroundings, before swimming to one of a few small islands scattered about the lake, passing some rather bewildered onlookers on the way.

For the 28th September, the sun was warm enough to penetrate the shallows and warm my skin, making me truly nostalgic for warm summer days spent attempting to surf and throwing myself from small cliff edges.

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Llyn Elsi itself is in fact a reservoir, providing water for the village of Betwys-y-Coed below. Formerly two naturally occuring lakes, it was then made into a dam in 1914. Despite it’s pretty name, I can’t find anything to suggest that it may have been named after someone. After our swim, we dried and dressed rather precariously on the waters edge, trying to avoid flashing any innocent dog walkers. We set my instant camera up on my rucksack, and managed to get a perfectly timed shot of us to commemorate our first wild swim and then ate goats cheese, spinach and chutney wraps whilst gazing out across the incredible vista before us. I have always adored this homeland of mine, but perhaps not enough.

Here’s to many more wilder days.

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Catch 21

Okay, so, you’ve probably been wondering where I’ve been and what on earth I’ve been up to – the truth is, absolutely nothing worth writing home about. I left my job and went to Suffolk in pursuit of an easy life living with my boyfriend instead of being 200 miles apart, which ended in me crying because my uniform was the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen and because I found living with 3 humans, 1 spaniel and 4 chihuahuas way too intense.

Needless to say, I’m now back home and so unemployed it hurts.

So, my catch here, is being 21 years old, having spent thousands of pounds on a university degree and not being able to find a job that doesn’t suck the soul out of my brain like a demonic dyson. WHERE ARE ALL THE OTHER 21 YEAR OLDS? WHAT ARE YOU DOING? HOW ARE YOU COPING? WHAT IS GOING ON? ARE YOU ALRIGHT?

I have a car to sell, a van to insure, tax & MOT and that’s before I’ve even thought about the diesel. Guys, I need a job.

But then, on the other hand, if I was to find my dream job, it would restrict me in the sense that I’d have to keep a short leash on The Van Plan, which involves me packing my life up and driving across Europe to hopefully settle for a while in Greece. Which is my dream – and in this world it seems that people who push their dreams to one side in pursuit of money end up the most bitter at the end of it all.

And so here I am, in pursuit of adventure on four wheels with the desire to tell the world about it – would it be so crazy to think I could get paid for doing so?

The Traveller’s Curse

Please note: This is not some spooky tale about gypsies or anything of the like, it is in fact, more of a public apology to those who deal with my aggressive wanderlust on a day-to-day basis (Yes beb, you) And it is also, a personal note to myself of what I have accomplished purely to fluff my ego. (More like to pacify myself, like a physical straight-jacket to prevent me booking flights that I can’t actually afford.)

You might be wondering where the hell I’ve been since May, and what the hell I’ve been doing. Truth be told, I don’t really know. The end of my ski season to now has been a blur of crying, working long shifts, working on my van, making life more difficult for myself by bashing the side of my car after a 12 hour shift, more crying and frequent 4 hour car journeys just to get a decent hug from my number one.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I know I’m lucky. By lucky I mean I have my complete health (except maybe being slightly deaf and practically blind in one eye) I have a stable family that love me (most of the time) and I would say that every now and then a fantastic opportunity does pick my door to knock on.

My real problem, is my complete and total incapability to wait. Everything I do, I do it fast. I write fast, I talk fast, I drive fast, I walk fast, I read fast and I try my best to think fast. Therefore, when things in my life are moving less than 100mph, I drive everyone I love and myself absolutely crazy. I ache for adventure, I long to see something new, the same old sights are enough to send me insane. I have had the absolute gift in the last three years to see so many places, and even throughout my childhood my parents would take me on adventures across France, and all over the UK. Since coming back from my ski season, I have felt an abrupt stop to all of this.

Working on my van has literally been blood, sweat, tears and a shit tonne of expletives. Things have gone wrong lately more than right; I’ve waved goodbye to money I know I could have spent on adventures when instead have had to spent it on things like hinges, cold water taps and trips up and down the M6 to see my better half. My problem is, I can’t see the bigger picture. My van is going to enable me to see all of Europe – but because I can’t go RIGHT NOW I’m having a bitch fit and throwing my toys out of the pram.

And that’s what I call the travellers curse – once you’ve tasted the freedom of constantly being on the move and planning the next adventure, slowing down is hard to take. I appreciate that this is a ridiculous ‘problem’ to have, (poor girl’s having a barmy because she’s not constantly travelling, bless her heart) but in this generation, when every man and his bloody dog are out there travelling the world and posting candid sunset pictures on instagram, it’s hard for the more restless of us to sit still. There are so many obscure places I want to see on this planet, I just want to get there before everyone else does.

In times like these – I try to remind myself to try and see the bigger picture for a change, just because I’m not playing with Orangutan babies at a sanctuary in Borneo right now doesn’t mean I never will, once it was my goal to graduate, now I’ve done it. Once it was my goal to complete a ski season, now I’ve done it. Once it was a dream to see Thailand, I’ve done it. Once it was a plan to go to Paris with one of my gal pals…. if you didn’t already see the pattern emerging…..I’ve done it. So even though my life right now feels a bit boring and slow, that’s probably because it’s getting me ready for take off again.

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Tignes, France, 2016/17.

 

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Portmeirion, Wales, September 2016.
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Graduation, November 2016.

 

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Amsterdam, June 2014. 

 

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Formentera, Ibiza, July 2016.

 

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Koh Phi Phi, Thailand, September 2015.

 

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The beginning of my best adventure yet, Manchester Airport, November 2016.

 

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Krabi, Thailand, September 2015. 

 

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My favourite beach of all, Top Secret, September 2016. 
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Wondering if my boobs will ever be that big, Budapest, October 2015.

 

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Insulating the now almost complete van, Summer 2016. 
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Shitting Myself, ‘The Eye of the Needle’, Tignes, France, March 2017. 
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Watergate Bay, Cornwall, August 2015. 

 

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A Tuk-Tuk in Patong, Thailand, September 2015. 
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‘Festevol’, Liverpool, May 2016. 
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Happiest girls alive, Disneyland, Paris, May 2015. 

‘You want to live a champagne lifestyle on lemonade wages.’

Dad, keeping me practical, annoyed and grounded since 1996.

 

Dear Mum and Dad 

Dear Mum & Dad, 

Happy 28th Anniversary!

Getting older, spending more time away from you and the current events in the world lately have provoked some thought about the both of you and what you have done for me in the last 21 years. 

The more people I meet, the more places I see, the more stories I hear – the more grateful I am of all you have done for me. There’s no doubt, I have tested you, sometimes to your limits. I have disobeyed you, I have gone against your words of advice and I have learned some valuable lessons from these rare occurrences. 


The older I become, the more I see how selfless you have had to be in order to enable me to have a fantastic life; and to build a solid platform for me to launch myself off, into the real world, reaching for the stars. The more time I spend working, dwelling on disappointments and letting myself get down about things – the more I try to remind myself how lucky I am because of you both. 


The reason I write this to you both on your anniversary is because of what you have both done for me and Amy – you were both once individuals with dreams of your own; and it is becoming more apparent to me that you set aside a lot of those dreams to become parents, which a lot of people do; but what you have both done is remain a family; a solid, loving unit for me to return to no matter how old, disobedient or well travelled I become. 


There are little things in life you learn to appreciate – like a fridge that is always stocked, a bed that is always warm, an ear that is always willing and a door that is always open. You both have provided me with these and so much more, you have instilled in me a desire to travel, no doubt stemming from the years of adventures you have taken us both on. You have taught us to be kind, well mannered, punctual and thoughtful; all invaluable attributes that are not easily learned. 


Mum & Dad, you might think I sometimes don’t appreciate things, that my head is in the clouds, or that I’m only concerned with my next destination instead of where I am in the moment – and while this may be true a lot of the time, please please remember that wherever I go, whoever I meet, whatever I do – I’m your daughter, with your traits, your thoughts, and I’ll always be thankful for that.  

I love you

Holly

5 Reasons Why Toxic Relationships are Important

We treat them a bit like a speeding ticket or that embarrassing moment; most of us have had one, but in good old British fashion, we never ever talk about it. That awful experience that we have suppressed to the back of our minds and locked away forever. The toxic relationship.

DISCLAIMER: What I’m about to put out here on the internet is not romantic in a tragic, Nicholas Sparks-esque way – it is lies, deceit and emotional torture.

I made the mistake of falling for someone who I am not sure really even exists – someone who I worked with who had the whole girlfriend/house/dog shebang going on and who also was apparently fighting cancer. To cut a long and boring story short – I did everything I could for this person, I put him before my own personal wellbeing and spent every last penny of the money I had at the time on making him happy and making things easier for him; only for cracks to start appearing in his tales and his ‘diagnosis’. I lost a lot of money, friends and quite frankly, sense. Someone who told me they were dying and unable to ever have children 8 months ago is currently still alive and kicking with a baby on the way. Funny how miracles happen isn’t it?

But – this post is not about him, it’s about me. It’s about why that whole episode was very important in making me who I am.

1. You know exactly what kind of person to avoid 

After having someone lie to you in the most painful of ways, you can spot a white lie a mile off. I’ll admit, it makes trusting someone a hell of a lot harder, but you learn to protect yourself rather than just assuming everyone is looking out for your own best interests. When you do finally begin to trust a person again, it means so much more.

2. You know how you should be treated

Things that you used to let slide just to avoid an argument are now unacceptable, and when someone does do something for you – you appreciate it a whole lot more. It can make you question why the hell someone is being nice to you for no reason but eventually this confusion passes and you start accepting it again.

3. Trust is established before anything else

Instead of being infatuated with someone because it’s exciting, or wrong, or whatever other stupid reason we find ourselves involved with someone for; trust is the focal point before you really let them in. On the flip side of this, it can make trusting someone hard, lengthy and maybe even impossible – after being lied to repeatedly, it makes it difficult to believe anything anyone ever says; but I’ll admit, I see this as a good thing, because then it is only a bonus when it turns out to be the truth.

4. It takes you from bitter to better  

I’ll admit, I spent a long time being angry, bitter and determined to get revenge – the best decision I made in all of this was to escape to the mountains on a ski season. I realise now more than ever that actions have consequences, particularly getting involved with someone else’s boyfriend (big mistake) and I have a much more adult perspective on life itself and what we can do as humans to avoid hurting others.

5.  Self worth

I know now that I’m better than him – better than that. I know that I deserve better and that I will have a better life in general without his existence anywhere near me. I put myself first a lot more than I used to and after having my heart broken what felt like every single day – I feel strong enough to walk away from someone if I feel like they aren’t treating me right.

Not that I would in any way recommend getting out there and looking for a lying, manipulative psychopath – but if you do find yourself going through hell for someone who wouldn’t bat an eyelid if you dropped dead right in front of them; get rid, ride it out, be strong, and you will come out better.

 

10 End of Season Thoughts

tignes sun up

Out of nowhere, end of season is upon us. That bar you called home every night is closing, guest numbers in resort are radically dropping, more and more green across the mountain is appearing and your mum is sounding more excited every time you talk to her.

It’s a weird time. It’s made even weirder by the conflicting emotions and thoughts circling round in your brain….

1. Am I happy about this… or really sad? 

Of course, it will be nice to go home, see the family, catch up with friends, relax a little bit – but I guarantee when the band at apres decide to start playing R.E.M – It’s The End of The World, you will be holding back the tears wishing you could stay forever in this little bubble where car insurance, student loans and general adult responsibilities don’t affect you.

2. Will I keep the weight off?!?!?! 

Being a broke-ass veggie in the alps has meant some days its just been easier to go without dinner ….. and lunch…… and breakfast….. I’m not going to lie it’s had a fantastic effect on my shape, but now I’m thinking when I get home and there is halloumi and cadburys (not together) at my disposal, how will I control myself?

3. What if I don’t see these people again…..

Being in a resort for 5 months and socialising, working and living with the same people forms quite a bond. We are a tight-knit, large, dysfunctional and somewhat incestuous family; How can I possibly go from seeing these people everyday to potentially never again in my life? Every day towards the end of the season is a constant battle of pushing back the thoughts of ‘this is it, this is really the end.’

tignes 17

4. Where did that time actually go though? 

Seriously, am I going absolutely mental or did I just miss the entirety of February and March? I felt like I was just beginning to settle in and get comfortable and now your ripping the bloody rug right from under me?!

5. I hate cleaning even more than I did before

Working for a tour op has given me many opportunities, I’ve lived abroad for five months, I’ve fallen in love, and I’ve also scrubbed a shower tray with a toothbrush, oh and picked out some lovely clumps of hair and dead skin from obscure places with a toothpick. I have put in enough elbow grease to envy Elvis’ hair and it’s safe to say I don’t think my hands will ever be the same. Shut down week, you won’t be missed.

6. What will I actually do when I get home?

Sure, it’s going to be fantastic for five minutes and then the tidal wave of the biggest comedown of my life so far will hit me. If I’m already struggling to hold back the tears now, I am sure as hell going to be taking orders in-between sobs at the restaurant when I get back.

7. Shit… this is really happening

Everything that has been my life for the past 5 months is now over – brutally over just like that, we get on a bus, or we get on a plane, and we just return to normal life as if none of this ever happened. It’s heartbreaking and I was not prepared for this.

like, at all. 

8. But…. I didn’t do enough snowboarding! 

Okay, so I may have gotten a bit lazy towards the end of the season… or middle…. and neglected the sport that brought me out here in the first place. I had countless opportunity to snowboard but now that I no longer have that luxury, I find myself suddenly pining for one last trip out.

end of ski season

9. How the f*&k am I going to make this relationship work…. 

If you did meet someone on your season or, like me, were silly enough to fall head over heels, I guarantee they live the other side of the country to you. Technically, my boyfriend doesn’t even live in the same country…. I’m in North Wales and he is in Bury St Edmunds. Fan-bloody-tastic. If the end of the season isn’t already depressing enough, throw in saying goodbye to the best friend/soulmate and I promise it’s a barrel of laughs.

10. This was the best decision I have ever made

Despite the fact I wanted to quit, despite the fact I’m devastated it’s over – If i could do it all over again 10 times, I would. It has been hilarious, I have learned many important lessons, I’ve found someone who can make me laugh on demand and fell in love with me when I was the most tired and pale (and generally unattractive) I have ever been in my life; and I have met people who have changed me forever. Ultimately, I have grown in more ways than I thought possible in 5 months. Despite me writing this with tears ready to fly from my eye sockets, I am so incredibly happy and grateful.

Just over 5 months ago, I came out here as not only a reward to myself for finishing uni, and to start my mission of seeing the world, but to escape a life full of lies and deceit, with someone who I was prepared to lose everything for. This has taught me an important lesson – we should always put ourselves first in the big decisions we make. If I had made the terrible mistake of staying, god only knows how miserable I’d be now. I came out here 5 months ago an absolute mess, and I’m going home a whole person with a clear mind. Tignes will always have an important place in my heart, and so will those I met out here.

whole crew

Now for the next adventure….

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