Who, where, why, what…s app

Today I got added to yet another what’s app group! Entitled ‘reports’ and clearly about work, when I saw I’d been added my first thought was ‘but I don’t want to be in this group’ STOP ADDING ME TO GROUPS!!!

In reality I love what’s app! I check it approximately 3456 times a day (not in work time obviously) not only do the groups keep me connected to some of my besties but they’ve helped me meet new people and helped organise several events! 

So I checked and I’m currently in 46 what’s app groups (some of them don’t appear to be very active these days) and it got me thinking….so here are…

20 whats app groups you’ve probably found yourself in….

  1. The one that is a full time job to keep up with.
  2. The one you couldn’t live without,
  3. The one that constantly makes you late because your reading it. (also keeps you up way past whay it reasonable on a school night)
  4. The one operating on a different time zone and therefore a hive of activity when your asleep.
  5. The one that’s full of people you’ll never meet and who never contribute… who are these people?? What do they do with their phones?? Are the groups muted? Why don’t they leave?
  6. The one your not sure you want to be added to.
  7. The one you stay in because you know you’ll be judged if you leave.
  8. The one you literally never read.
  9. The one you opened accidentally when you don’t have time to respond (dam you blue tick)
  10. The one that you messaged accidentally. (sorry wrong chat)
  11. The one you don’t want to contribute to but you’d feel left out of if you weren’t a part of.
  12. The one that continually drains your battery (also the one approximating 300+ plus messages a day).
  13. The work one (that you mute).
  14. The one you’ve heard about and secretly want to be part of.
  15. The pointless one that was created but never used.
  16. The dormant one that served a purpose once but hasn’t been accessed in well over a month.
  17. The one that you thought you’d removed yourself from until a random message appears.
  18. The one where everyone else is in on the joke.
  19. The one which someone is desperately trying to keep alive.
  20. The one which seemed like a good idea at the time.

I’m sure there’s loads more and I’d love to hear about them…..

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I think I can, I know I can

So this week marked the first workout in my new role as one of the leaders of November Project Hong Kong! It’s quite a momentous day for me to be honest! A lot of people know how much November project means to me: how much I love the people who started it here, how much I value it as a concept and how much I respect the commitment to free fitness and community! To be part of it at all is a genuine honour! To be running it actually blows my mind!

I am overwhelmed to be running a workout when I’m definitely not the fittest person in the group! When it was first suggested I thought I’d take a role organising social events and posting on Instagram – that seemed to suit me far better! After all I was the girl at school having asthma attacks in PE lessons or missing them altogether due to dodgy hips! I’m the girl with arthritis in my knees and joints that don’t always agree with my exercise routines! PE was the only subject I failed to get an A In at school; I once achieved an A- for the sheer reason that I had overcome my fear and managed to catch a ball; seriously, it was written in the comments and was a momentous achievement at the time! I was about 8 and up until that point I’d always ducked when someone threw one ! Let’s just say PE was definitely not my strongest subject so how could I lead people in exercise? 

I know I’ve come along way since then! Exercise is a huge part of my life and I’m even on a netball team (still full of pride every time I catch the ball – just ask my teammates)! But lead people? Run workouts? 

And yet this week I did just that! I’m still not the fittest person in the group or the fastest! But I will always try and be the most enthusiastic and I’ll always give it all I’ve got! And I’ve come to realise that that’s far more important than comparing myself with everybody else!

I have a friend who’s an awesome pole dancer- she’s a joy to watch: athletic, graceful and incredibly strong! Oh and she happens to only have one arm! I’ve pole danced for quite a while and I’ve never met anyone who thinks it’s easy! It’s definitely a sport that most people would assume requires all four limbs! 

Deb Roach isn’t most people! And I’m pretty sure (knowing her) that if anyone ever told her she couldn’t do it she’d use the hand she does have to stick her finger up at them! She’s a dam good pole dancer and she’s proved she can do it. I think we all need to be more like that! A huge reminder that you can do whatever the hell you want to do! And if you believe you can you really are half way there! 

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I’m determined to do a good job with November Project! I’ve got great co-leaders and an amazing group of people dedicated to the work outs each week! I want to keep this community going for them and for the amazing people who started it! But I also want to prove that you really can do anything you want in life! If you’ve got passion and commitment you really can achieve great things and so I’m taking on this incredible new challenge with pride and self belief that I can do it (well mostly)!

So do things you never thought possible! Try the things that people say you can’t do! Go out and rock it! Who knows what you’ll achieve along the way! 

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New Year…Old Me

So in the interest of the New Year I decided it was about time I get back to my blog, having neglected it significantly over the past few months. I’ve actually had posts and ideas swirling around my head, but, as with a lot of things, life got in the way and those ideas never quite made it to paper (or screen as it were). But that’s the things I love about New Year; yes you’ll never completely change who you are, yes resolutions will be broken by next week, but its always good to set goals and new challenges and the New Year is a great time to reset and do that. I for one, am all about that.

So as with all new years I stopped and wondered what I’d like to achieve this year and writing was high on the list so here I am, back at the keyboard. And it feels good.

This morning I was particularly inspired to write again after winning the ‘Positivity Award’ at the workout group I’ve been attending over my past few months in Hong Kong. Its a group known as November Project and I’ve been working out with them since July. November Project is a worldwide initiative designed to keep people active during the coldest months of the year. It originated in Boston and its now in 36 cities in ten Countries throughout the world. Not only is it fun and a great way to keep fit but, phenomenally; its also free.15875337_10112575962701824_6930712374777622178_o.jpg

November Project Hong Kong was set up by three absolutely awesome people who have put their hearts and souls into creating a community in this vast City where it could be so easy to get lost. I for one was feeling somewhat lost a few months ago and its definitively one of the reasons I was struggling to write for a while. After battling for months to come off the anti-depressants I’d been on for years my depression returned with avengeance. (in fairness it never really left). Panic attacks and a constant stream of tears were just two of the side effects that I tried desperately to ignore, in fear of having to go back on the tablets I was desperate to be free of. I was silly to be so scared, but depression has a way of drowning out reason and so I fought with my inner demons for too long before conceding that I needed to be back on medication. Now, I wonder why I was so reluctant, because once again the fog has lifted and I feel like myself again.

And during those dark days, when I desperately didn’t want to get out of bed, one of my saving graces was definitely ‘November Project’. I cant underestimate how much I needed something to motivate me and dragging myself out of bed to early morning workouts soon became my favourite part of the week thanks to the awesome people whose enthusiasm at the sessions was so infectious.

It felt like it marked a real turning point to be given the positivity award this morning as right now, I really DO feel positive. Life isn’t perfect, its never going to be. But as 2016 drew to a close I felt happy and I felt back to the person I was, the positive person who sees the possibility in the future and the joy in life. I’ve no doubt I wont spend the whole of the year feeling like this but its nice to be back to this place again and this year I’m more than happy to be the old me.

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Time to Cherish

It’s funny isn’t it! We don’t appreciate things until they’ve gone! I know it’s a cliche and a bit of an obvious opening statement but hey cliches are usually cliches for a reason!
Anyway the reason I’m making that statement is that I’m sat here tears streaming down my cheeks because my sister has just left after visiting me for two weeks! I’m not going to lie; I genuinely didn’t expect to feel so sad about her leaving! Sad yes but not this sad!
Suddenly it feels strange not to have her here and my heart aches knowing that we won’t be hanging out every day! But, whilst she was here, although it was great, there were times when she wound me up and grated on me! Where the silliest things she did would annoy me! I’m pretty sure I annoyed her too! I know that that’s the joy of siblings… Can’t live with them… But I think I genuinely appreciate my sister more than I ever have after these two weeks and I wish I could do them again with just that little bit more appreciation for her!
To be honest I think I actually need to start appreciating a lot of things at the moment! I’ve just spent 10 days travelling around Indonesia and had the privilege to visit a stunning dessert island whilst I was there! It was a dream location and a genuine paradise! I loved it so much that I just wanted to stay… And although I did appreciate every second; there was a part of me that was sad I couldn’t stay longer! I should have just been grateful that I got to go there at all! A lot of people never will!
It’s definitely a lesson I’m learning as I spend so much time away from some of closest friends and from my family! I want to appreciate every second and every new experience here even though it’s hard sometimes as my heart aches for those I miss so much at home! Once again I’m going to be missing the wedding of a very close friend in a couple of weeks and I get a lump in my throat every time I think about not being there!
FOMO is harder and harder in this current generation as we trawl through Instagram pictures and Facebook profiles depicting perfect holidays and envious lifestyles! I know I genuinely agonise about the things I miss out on and the things I don’t get to do! I’m pretty sure I spend far more time worrying about that than I do being thankful for what I have! Even when I travel, I’m always looking forward to the next adventure, racking up a list of further places I want to see and experience! There’s nothing wrong in that but In the interests of introspection and life lessons and bettering myself I’m going to try and appreciate everything I get to do this year (even when it means missing out on other things too)
I’ve spent a long time missing home over the past few months and that definitely makes you appreciate it all the more! I definitely have a whole new appreciation for all things English and familiar! I just hope I can start to appreciate them without the pain of missing them! They say it’s better to have loved and lost rather than never loved at all well I also think it’s better to have experienced and have a treasured memory rather than never experienced at all! image

All play and no…substance?

Hong Kong is basically a playground! This is the main thing I’ve discovered after two months of living here! Now I was no stranger to a Wednesday morning hangover whilst living in London (or Thursday, or Friday) Basically, when you live in a big city, every night can be a pub night! But in Hong Kong the nights seem to stretch out longer and my sleep pattern had at one point diminished to a few hours per night!

Last week I made a promise to myself not to drink mid week in order to get back into the grueling exercise program I’ve subjected myself to in order to lose atleast  some body fat before my upcoming holiday (I have to lie in a bikini next to my goddess of a sister whose stomach could be used to grate cheese… Needless to say I’m a little conscious about this prospect) I lasted till Thursday… A solid effort I felt, especially considering my early return home on Wednesday evening in order to get up at 5.30am for boot camp! I’m still not sure it was worth it! 

And Hong Kong’s playground stretches far beyond the bars and clubs selling cheap drinks along the streets of Lan kwai Fong. The outdoor playground of beaches, hikes, kayaking and climbing means there’s always something to do for an adventure lover such as myself.

But in the playground that is Hong Kong, men find themselves bouncing from one sweet shop to another! With a wide selection of expat westerners, stunning Philippines and Thai girls, they really do have their pick! When you’ve moved to a new city, with a buzzing nightlife and the opportunity to party every night of the week; most people are only after one thing… A good time!! I’ve discovered, to my horror, that as they enter the sweet shop business men are renowned for hiding their wedding rings ( should I be so surprised, maybe not?). And in keeping with this theme I found myself propositioned with the offer of a threesome this weekend. It was a serious suggestion and one that had me fleeing in horror. Maybe this lifestyle is normal for some, and maybe the opportunity to experiment is exciting for many but for me, there are days when I wonder where on earth I’ve found myself.

I’m definitely living in a bubble far from reality. Most of the time I still don’t feel like I’m living in the real world! I’m 33 years old with 0 responsibilities past holding down my job and paying my rent and I’m spending my evenings drinking prosecco in one bar or another! Not a bad life, I’ll admit. But the problem is that as much as I can enjoy a break from reality, there’s a part of me still very much aware that reality does still exist! And the girl inside who remembers reality also knows she still wants to find the love of her life settle down and have a family.

Sometimes I worry that moving here is simply delaying that (Not that I was having any joy on this front in London, so maybe not). People tell me to live in the moment, live life to the full and enjoy myself. And that’s exactly what I’m doing…I came here for an experience and I’m certainly getting that. But I do worry about the future and whether all this playtime will lead to a lonelier existence further down the line. It’s no secret that I don’t want to be alone and I’m pretty sure that Hong Kong isn’t the best place to find romance…let’s just hope I’m wrong. In the meantime I guess it’s back to the prosecco and a good bar….I’m certainly not going to complain about that.

I am an immigrant!

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Last night when I got home my house was spick and span to the point where even everything on was dressing table was lined up neatly. No I haven’t developed OCD. This is just one of the perks of living in Hong Kong where hired ‘helpers’ are an everyday part of most people’s lives! Hired FOREIGN helpers!
Women who work as helpers in Hong Kong are hired from the Philippines and Indonesia! And help is cheap! Ridiculously so!
I have to admit it came as a shock when I got here! To see the majority of children at school being dropped off and collected by women other than their mothers was a little hard to get my head around! Yes, people use nannies and childminders in the uk but over here a ‘helper’ is a standard part of any family, so much so that they account for 3% of the whole population! They cook, they clean and they take care of the children!
To be honest I’m not quite sure where I stand on the whole thing…. As with any disadvantaged group; women employed on low wages are far more likely to become victims of abuse!
Yet the women who work here do so because they’re looking for a better life for themselves! They send money home to their families and they work damn hard! You can fault the system that employs them but you cannot fault them!

Just like them, I also came to Hong Kong to make a better life for myself! Not because I was living in poverty but because I longed to broaden my horizons, experience new things and expand my mind! I’ve also been extremely fortunate to be furthering my career whilst I’m here! And when I looked to move abroad, I was entirely selfish in my intentions, this was about my experience and about my life! I certainly didn’t have any sort of overwhelming desire to make great contributions to the Hong Kong economy! In actual fact, I hadn’t even considered Hong Kong as an option before I applied for the job here! I was happy to move anywhere in the word as long as I could work and see something new! I didn’t spend a year learning a new language or researching the culture! So here I am, living as an immigrant in a country where I don’t even speak the language!!

I’ve been here two months now and my Cantonese stretches to about two words (I’m not kidding) and my mandarin is similar! I actually learnt more Turkish when I was on holiday there for a week! And the reason I haven’t learnt anymore… I don’t really need to! I’ve landed in a country, thousands of miles from where I live and yet they speak to me in MY language (and what’s more I selfishly come to expect it)!
This is one of the many benefits of being English! Of being born into a country that colonised so much of the world that we don’t have to learn to speak anything else! And yet so many English people expect those that come to the UK to speak English! How dare they speak anything but!
I spend a lot of my time out here with immigrants…. (Except that we call ourselves expats!) Sometimes I genuinely forget I’m not in London! We stand in our groups, eating western food and chatting in English! And no one has once shouted at me to go home or to speak in Cantonese ( actually maybe they have but I wouldn’t even understand that)

As a white British national I try not to take too much for granted! I recognise that I was born into a privileged position! Even the fact that I get referred to as an expat and not an immigrant highlights my privilege. I was born into a country where no one tries to bomb my home, where I’ve never struggled to put food on my plate and where I was blessed with a free education system that, for all its faults, served me well! I can’t help but feel that this is total luck of the draw ( well actually I think God put me where I’m meant to be but I can’t be political and religious in one post 😉 I can’t help but wonder why people think that being born somewhere gives you rights that noone else should have! I was born into one of the wealthiest nations in the world, in a country that could provide me with everything I could ask for… And I’ve still chosen to leave! Because I see how big the world is and I want to experience all it has to offer! And why should I be allowed to do that just because I’m educated and have been handed opportunities, and other people shouldn’t! Why shouldn’t everyone be allowed to pursue their hopes and their dreams and experience all that the world has to offer, regardless of what opportunities they just happened to be born into!

Many people are currently calling for a ban on immigration into the uk, or atleast tighter laws! The country should only accept those with a degree or certain qualifications! I find the notion absurd! The concept that only certain jobs are worthwhile or can make a contribution is slightly crazy in my mind! Not everyone is fortunate enough to have qualifications to support themselves and some of those
people are a lot stronger than me! I moved here with a good job, my flights were paid for as was my first months accommodation! And yet it was still bloody tough! Missing home was a killer when I first arrived! I can only imagine how hard it must be to try and make a better life without any of the privileges that I was afforded!
The people that make the decision to leave their families and friends in search of a better life should be applauded! They should be welcomed with open arms and offered a shoulder to cry on in times of distress! All they are trying to do is make it in this crazy, disorientating jumbled up mess we call life!
And yes there will also be someone somewhere trying to abuse the system! But it’s not just ‘immigrants’ who do that!

For me immigration has made my world a more beautiful place! I love living in a multi cultured and multi coloured world! On Sunday night I went to watch the France vs Ireland game with some of my new French friends in a bar where I was so surrounded by French people, I could have been in Paris! The night before I watched the Switzerland game with two friends I’ve met; one from Switzerland, one from Belgium! I feel blessed to be living in a place where so many nationalities live side by side! It’s one of the best ways I can think of to learn about other people and learning is the best way to help us grow!

Now I know people will disagree with some of my opinions! I genuinely don’t mind! I actually think it’s a great thing that we all have different thoughts… I’ve never fancied the idea of living amongst robots! But I hope that in the days and weeks and months to come, In a time of ever growing uncertainty, that maybe people will see things from someone else’s point of view, that people will listen to another and take on each other’s thoughts with love and tolerance! I didn’t agree with all of my friends in the recent referendum but they’re still my friends and I respect their opinions! Because we’re all different! But at the end of the day we’re also all people!

 

Out of the darkness

 

 

 

Depression is boring! And i for one am probably the most bored of it! It’s the main reason I’ve struggled to write a blog post in the six weeks that I’ve been in Hong Kong. Because the only thing I can think to write about is the one thing I’m most scared to admit! I should probably start a blog about gardening or knitting instead of one that pours my heart out but unfortunately I don’t have the millions of dollars required to own a garden in Hong Kong and I’m really bad at knitting so here we are! …..(Actually if truth be known when I did have a garden (small concrete yard) in London, I hired a gardener to clear the weeds after I discovered just how many spiders can live in the undergrowth!)

I’ve been in Hong Kong for six weeks and at a time when I should have been brimming with excitement, the depression that has plagued me for well over half my life reared its ugly head and threatened to take a hold! When I arrived here I wanted to be happy, I wanted to be excited, I wanted to breathe in everything the city had to offer! I knew the skyscrapers were amazing, I knew the beaches were beautiful! Yet the pain in my heart cast them all behind a fog that I struggled to see through! And I couldn’t understand why, after years of wanting to move abroad, it hurt so damn much to be here! Yes I knew I’d be homesick but this was something more! I had to admit that the depression, that black dog was definitely here in Hong Kong! It snuck up on me before I left and was probably the reason my case weighed so much as I headed to the airport! Ok it’s also possible that the amount of clothes i’d crammed in took me over my weight limit, but Depression definitely took up way too much of my baggage! It brought with it fear, self doubt and self loathing; three things I definitely didn’t want to pack, not least because my measly 20Kg already meant I’ve had to leave many pairs of much loved shoes behind (I miss them daily)!

So there, I said it! I’ve had depression for over half of my life! And I think even those close to me might be surprised to read that! Because it’s not something I talk about, it’s not something I dwell on and it’s not something I like to admit! Even now I’m scared that I shouldn’t be writing about it! I’m scared it will make me seem pathetic, miserable and weak! That people will read this, roll their eyes and tell me to cheer up! That people will think I’m a weirdo, a freak and not someone they would want to be around! (And yes I am a bit of a weirdo as one person likes to point out…but only in a weirdo chic way…. Like geek chic but without the need for fake glasses)
I think those insecurities probably go hand in hand with the depression but it doesn’t make them any less real!

Trust me when I say, it’s not that easy to just cheer up! And that’s what makes it so damn boring! There are only so many times you can admit you’re not really ok when you’re asked, without sounding miserable, without sounding ungrateful for your blessings or without sounding like you just need a good kick up the ass! And I hate that! I hate that depression takes away part of who I am and replaces it with someone I don’t like or recognise! I hate that in the past few weeks I’ve felt lost! I hate that I haven’t felt like me! Because without depression I’m fun (some would even say funny), happy and ridiculously cool to be around 😉

I’ve spent most of this year talking about and trying to ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ and so I finally decided that maybe this post had to be written! If for no other reason than for me to be confident in who I am and to face it head on! Yes I’ve suffered with depression, yes it still causes me a problem but no I’m not miserable, or boring or pathetic! As someone who’ll always like a post on Facebook if it supports mental health, as someone who’ll share posts that talk about removing the stigma and raising awareness I think it’s about time I raised some awareness by being honest! I shouldn’t be ashamed of something on the one hand whilst claiming to support it on the other!

In a lot of ways I hope I’m stronger because of this! Before I moved to Hong Kong I spent well over a year weaning myself off the anti depressants id been on for 16 years! Physically, it was a horrible process! The withdrawal made me sick and dizzy as my body struggled to adapt without the medication. Finally being able to go a day without a tablet and not feel sick was an incredible feeling! So much so that I failed to recognise the emotional impact it was going to have. For weeks I was incredibly teary ( even more so than normal) and feelings of insecurity plagued me! This probably wasn’t the best time to be moving to the other side of the world! But, despite the timing and the impact of going without medication I’m determined to stay off them if I can! Being physically dependant on tablets is not something I ever want to experience again!

And despite the fear, I think I’ve put my all into my first few weeks here! Ive battled to ignore the feelings of misery and instead I’ve gone out and got involved! And I’m starting to feel better; At least for now…I’m still definitely scared of those feelings! I know that sounds ridiculous; feelings can’t hurt me… But then again some would argue that neither can the cockroaches I found in my bathroom, yet that didn’t stop me screaming the place down and squirting them with the shower head when I discovered them! And I still tread tentatively when I enter…. Note to all…. Check your shower curtains before you get in the shower!! (Shudder shudder)!
But I’m determined not to let the fear win…. After all I still need a shower at least once in a while!

I know I’m blessed, I know I’m fortunate, I know I’m having some amazing experiences right now and Hong Kong is an awesome place! I’m definitely starting to feel happy about my decision to move here despite the £10 average for prosecco (seriously it’s bordering on a violation of my human rights) and the lack of real dairy milk…. Australia what do you put in it?? Ruining dairy milk is an actual crime!

I’m still scared of being forgotten, I’m still scared of losing my friends at home but I think this might be just what I need! After all if I can get in a netball court for the first time in twenty years and live without false nails (I know I’m achieving so much right now) I can pretty much do anything!image.jpeg

Finding my focus 

Sometimes all it takes is one night. I’d been feeling a little bit out of sorts when I first arrived in South Africa. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m incredibly lucky to do all the travelling that I do but there’s a part of me has that started to hate doing it on my own. When I was on my last trip in Mexico I really had thought it might be my last trip alone, that I was going to get swept off my feet when I got home and finally be able to share my adventures with someone. And I think the problem has been that I’ve been so focused on that, on what I’m missing or what hasn’t happened that I’ve stopped focusing on what I have and how amazingly blessed I am. I almost got to the stage where I thought I’d trade my free spirit for one that was content to sit on the sofa snuggled up to the man I love, and part of me thinks I still would. 

Travelling is one of my favourite things in the world to do and so when I was presented with a month off work I knew I had to use the opportunity to see more of the world. And yet as soon as I booked it I started questioning my decision….I’m already moving to the other side of the world, why would I want to spend even more time away from the people I love? It felt like a ridiculous decision. In fact I’ve been questioning a lot of my decisions recently, wondering if I’m making the right ones. Wondering if I’m giving up too much by moving away, am I leaving people and opportunities behind when I should be staying? 

But then I had one of those nights where you meet people who reaffirm your choices, people who understand where your coming from, they understand your doubts and your fears and suddenly you feel you belong in the world again. There was one girl Imparticular whose outlook was so similar to mine and we laughed at how much we worry when we’re travelling about all the things we don’t have time for or the choices we’ve made….what if that tour would be better? Or that hostel? Should I have flown to that place instead……and so it goes on….it’s ridiculous I know. To worry about these things instead of appreciating all the things I’m getting to do…but meeting someone else who felt the Same was such a relief. And suddenly I was able to focus again. On the amazing things I’m getting to see and do.

Meeting like minded people is one of the most comforting things. When you meet people who you really connect with. And it always amazes me when I’m away and strangers become friends. It’s one of the reasons I loved living in London and it’s one of the reasons I do love travelling so much. Making new friends, meeting new people, learning about how other people live their lives definitely opens your eyes .

And atleast my worries confirmed that I made the right decision to come away again….because now I’m immensely jealous of everyone I’m meeting whose away travelling for months on end seeing even more of this beautiful continent. 

But I’d still rather be sharing my world….travelling alone is exhilarating, you meet more people than when you travel in a pair, you can do what you want. You have to rely on yourself as you negotiate different languages, travel systems and customs. It makes you stronger and I’m grateful I’ve been able to do it. I’d highly recommend it. 

But I’ve done it now. A LOT. So I’m ready for something new, an adventure shared with someone, where you have to compromise, where you don’t have to just rely on yourself. 

I’m hoping there’s a travel buddy waiting somewhere around the corner….someone whose shares my passion and wants to see as much of the world as I do….but someone who once in a while wants to snuggle up on that sofa too.

Any takers? Get your passport ready…..

Missing Out??

The past few weeks have passed in a total blur where nothing has seemed real. I accepted a job in Spain, only to be invited to Hong Kong two days later for an interview. Four days later I was on a plane to Asia having been finally offered the redundancy I’d been threatened with for 18 months. A week later I’d accepted the job in Hong Kong and passed on the job in Spain. Two weeks on and I’m sitting at my parents house having  finished work and left London. Is this really my life right now?

My final week in London was filled with tears. People kept asking if I was excited about Hong Kong, but every time I uttered the words that I was actually moving there it felt like I was reading a script…lines written for me that had no relevance to my actual world. And I couldn’t really think about the future as the present was suddenly filled with goodbyes. And each goodbye seemed so strange, on the one hand it didn’t feel real…I couldn’t get my head around the fact that I might not see the people I hold so dear for so long. And yet on the flip side the sadness was palpable. I cant be excited about the future when I can’t see past the pain of right now. And don’t get me wrong…no one is holding a gun to my head, this is my choice and I’m not going to feel all ‘woe is me’. I’m blessed by such an amazing opportunity and all the possibilities that it brings…but I do feel sad right now. And that’s a testament to the friendships I hold so dear and the people who have such special places in my heart.

I honestly hadn’t expected it to hurt so much as I packed up and got into my car yesterday. I hadn’t expected the gut wrenching heart ache as I waved goodbye. I hadn’t expected to miss Peckham and Tooting and Clapham Common with such severity. But as I drove through those places I was hit by how much I’m going to miss. Pub quizzes and Sunday Roasts, climbing walls and pole dancing classes, church and theatre shows, festivals and gigs, football matches and rugby games and cheerleading competitions. And most of all…the friends I’ve made. London is full of so many incredible memories and I hold each one so close. I’m so grateful to all the wonderful, interesting and unique people I’ve met there and who have made my world that bit more special. Maybe I’d underestimated my emotions, because when you leave something so momentous behind its going to hurt.

And of course the doubts have snuck in. I believe everything happens for a reason, I believe in doors that are opened and opportunities that arise. I believe in taking those opportunities and walking through those doors. But I’ve realised I’m still allowed some hesitation and a few worries.  I’m realising that just because moving abroad is something I’ve wanted to do, the reality is still scary. The reality still comes with pain. Amazing experiences in life, though they should be appreciated, don’t have to come without sadness.

At the moment I can’t help but ask if I’m definitely doing the right thing? What if I’m leaving things behind that I should be staying around for? What if I’m missing an opportunity right here in the UK? What if what if what if…..

I need to remember that I cant live on ‘what if’s’….a wise person keeps telling me that no-one knows what the future holds. He’s also been right when he’s reminded me that every time I’ve been scared about a change in my life, its moved me to a better place. And although I’m recognising that I’m allowed to have doubts, I’m also recongising that maybe he’s right.

So for now, I’m going to try and appreciate the now. I’m going to take a few deep breaths every time the pain steps in and the tears fill my eyes and remember it only hurts because I’m blessed with such great memories…and I’m going to accept the glass of wine my mum has just offered me.

Once upon a time…

So its official…and by that  I mean its on Facebook. I’m moving to Hong Kong….Moving…to…Hong…Kong. Actually MOVING there….to live!!

It totally doesn’t feel real.

Moving abroad is something I’ve thought about and wanted to do for so long and yet now its happening, I still don’t quite believe it. In fact I doubt it’ll sink in properly until I’m sitting on the plane out. But it is happening.

One of the reasons it doesn’t seem real is because, despite contemplating it for years, I’ve had to wait for other things to slot into place and for the timing to be right in order for it to happen. And I’ve certainly had to be patient over the past few months as the situation with my current job worked itself out. (OK, OK I wasn’t always  all that patient in the last few weeks but a person can only take so much)

And now I have to believe that everything that’s happened over the past few months; all the unknowns, all the waiting; has all been for a reason. Because I do believe in timing.

Last night I happened to be at a friend’s house and the friend in question lives on the very street in London where I first moved nearly 8 years ago. Now London is a big city and there are a lot of streets so to find myself back there felt quite poignant. After I left his house I decided to take a trip down memory lane and so, feeling sentimental, I drove to my old flat and pulled up outside. Instantly I was back in that moment in 2008 when I pulled up outside that flat for the very first time. I could almost taste the memory of being there, on the verge of something new, at the start of my London adventure.

As I drove home, I drove past Canary Wharf, The Walkie Talkie, The Gherkin and the Shard and finally I crossed over Tower Bridge. Iconic sights. And yet familiar sights…because, this once new City is now the place I call home. (Sorry to all my Northern girls…but I truly believe you can have more  than one home…Blackburn is home too fear not).

It was a gorgeous drive and I drank in the sights. I never get tired of driving over Tower Bridge, I never stop appreciating how privileged I am to live in a city where these things are all on my doorstep. Its one of the many things I’ve loved about living here and one of things I’ll definitely miss.

And when people ask why I moved to London my answer is always the same…I always wanted to live in London but I moved when I did because the timing was right. And prior to the move my dream seemed almost unobtainable…I’d managed to rack up quite a bit of a debt and the soaring rents in London seemed an impossibility. But I was determined to live here because it felt right, it felt like I was meant to live here. Its proof that dreams are nearly almost within reach if we want them enough because I found a way, even though my rent more than tripled after I moved.

So I suppose sometimes we just have to be patient, sometimes we have to wait. But never ever ever give up on your dreams.. they wont all come true at once but sometimes waiting for the perfect time means they’ll be all the more amazing when they do.