Walk In the Park

a-walk-in-the-park-

I went for a walk in the park today to clear my head. I’m a worrier, but lately I haven’t been over-thinkinking, I just haven’t been listening to what’s going on inside of me. Although it’s still cold, the weather is getting nicer, and I hate to be inside when the sun is out. As I was walking, I took in my surroundings. There was a hat resting on a pole, found and placed there so the owner could see it. Leaves and twigs were scattered over the grass, which is soggy from the earlier rain. I looked down little paths that cut off from the main walking route. I know briefly where each path leads as I’ve been coming here since I was a little girl, even as a baby being pushed around in my pram.

As I walked, I realised that sometimes we don’t need to think or feel anything. We just need to acknowledge where we are in the present moment and let ourselves just be. Someone once told me that when you’re talking to someone you should give them all your attention, and when you start a task, you should do it to the best of your ability. We should never listen or do something half heartedly. So why should living life be any different. I let myself get carried away with my thoughts, sometimes negative, sometimes analytical of where I am and where I think I should be. I have to remind myself to stop, acknowledge my thoughts and feelings, then simply let them drift away if they don’t serve me in a positive way.

On my second loop around the park, I decided to get an ice cream. I watched as a little girl was handed a whippy ice cream from a woman in a truck, and I instantly wanted one. I wanted that carefree look on her face that only children carry. When I was handed my ice cream, flake and raspberry sauce on top, my insides lit up. I can only imagine what my exterior looked like; eyes wide, lips turned up at the corners as my mouth watered in anticipation of the first lick. I walked and brushed my tongue against the ice cream, letting the creaminess absorb into my taste buds.

I followed the same route as before. I noticed that there was a single glove laying on top of the recycle bin. I’m not sure if it had been placed there after I’d passed or if I just hadn’t noticed it the first time. There were too many other things that had caught my attention: the sound of a plane flying overhead, dogs barking, a squirrel who watched me as I watched him nibbling away at a small twig.

I sat on a bench as people and their dogs walk by. The sun was setting in front of me and I could feel myself getting a little bit emotional. Recently, I haven’t been making a lot of time for me. I realise now that without being aware of it, I crave these walks, these silent retreats that are filled with the sounds of nature. I watched the dogs play with one another and other humans. We should all be more like dogs. They don’t discriminate or take any care towards who you are. They just want a play and a cuddle.

I had planned to relax in front of the TV today when I’d finished at work. After my walk, I’ve come to understand that I want, and need, the space and time to stop and feel. I know that this is a trait that I possess, however sometimes I need a little reminder. I like to take myself away from the busyness and the politics of life and instead be immersed in the stillness of nature.

We can get so caught up in the life that we live, and all that is going on around us, that we forget to check in with ourselves. The birds chirping allow me to feel my own happiness. The setting sun tells me to think back over this day and give thanks that I am alive and had the opportunity to experience it. The trees remind me that even though hard times may come, just as they can withstand wind and rain, and still remain standing, so can I. To some it may just be a walk in the park, to me it’s an eye and soul opener, and a way to calm myself and my mind.

 

Advertisements

My first week in Sri Lanka

It’s funny how quickly us humans can become accustomed to something. We tend to fall into our comfort zone quickly and when we come out of it we feel a sense of panic. I had fallen into a routine while in Bali and Gili Air. In the morning I’d have a smoothie bowl, lunch would consist of a salad and for dinner I’d treat myself to whatever I fancied. I liked my little routine. I was flying to Sri Lanka to see my Aunty Jody, her partner Barrie and their two children (my cousins) Jared and Sam. When I arrived into Kuala Lumpur, my stop over on my way to Colombo, I went straight to gate L and expected to see western food. However all there was was Malaysian food, and some over priced western food. I felt my heart sink when I realised my routine would probably be totally different in Sri Lanka as it’s much less touristy than Bali. I felt a little upset by this. I told myself it’s a new adventure. I reminded myself that when I first got to Asia after being in New Zealand and Australia, everything was different there too. I had effortlessly fallen into the Asian way of life and I quickly got used to the food, so I could do it again in Sri Lanka.

When I arrived in Colombo I was met by my driver who took me to my accommodation for the night. I can’t call it a hostel as there were more private rooms than shared rooms. However I stayed in a shared room, as it was cheaper, but I’ve also become accustomed to sharing a room with people. I like the sound of other breaths, the idea of other people dreaming in the same space as me. I feel a sense of safety and company sharing a room with others. Crazy, I know. You would have thought I’d want my own space after sharing with others for so long. I crave people, I love to meet other travellers and hear their stories, and, to me, sharing a room with others is the best way to do this. When I arrived I went straight to bed, feeling exhausted from my flights. I wanted the night to pass quickly so I could see my family as soon as possible.

I was woken up at 4am by a bright light. I was sharing the room with two Chinese girls. They were both up, with their bedside lights on, staring at their laptops. I checked the time on my phone, thinking that it must be about 7am. When I saw how early it was I gave them a glare, making sure they wouldn’t see, and turned over so I was facing the wall and away from them. Ten minutes later I heard the safe doors click shut, and the springs on the bed creaking as the girls crawled back into bed. The light then turned off. What the hell? ‘Maybe they’re jet lagged’, I thought to myself. I quickly fell back to sleep. I woke again at 7am by the bright light and the girls making loud noises around the room. That was when I wished I’d got my own room. I huffed and pushed myself out of bed, awake from the lights, and also buzzing from the excitement of seeing my family again after more than seven months apart.

When I arrived at the train station I waited in the line to get my ticket to Galle. Jody was coming to pick me up from the station and take me to their friend’s house where they were staying for the last leg of their holiday. I got my second class ticket to Galle then went to the platform and waited for the train. As time progressed, the platform got more and more busy. A small local man approached me and asked me where I was going. When I told him Galle, he said “don’t got there, there’s no beaches.” He told me about a place that was about 9km away from Galle with beautiful beaches and less touristy. I nodded and said I’d have to check it out.mThe train arrived 10 minutes late and I pushed against all the other passengers, eager to get a seat. The train was full, with no empty seats. I stood in the aisle and balance my bag against a chair. There were luggage racks above the seats but there was no way I was going to be able to lift my 17kg bag onto it. So the aisle would have to do. We waited at the platform for another 10 minutes and I could feel myself getting impatient. I had another two and a half hours standing ahead of me so I willed the train to start rolling. Soon my prayers were answered and we were off. The journey was lovely, from what I could see. The windows were low so I had to duck down to see what lay outside. The sea lined one side and villages were scattered around the other. Children ran out of their small wooden huts, little old ladies sat knitting and dogs barked. The train was very busy. People stood in the aisle, and I was thankful that I’d picked the quietest looking carriage, with some breathing space.

About an hour and a half into my journey a lady looked up at me and smiled. I smiled back. She elbowed the man beside her on the arm and said something to him. Suddenly he was standing up and offering me his seat. I said no, that he could stay seated, but he carried on pointing at the seat as he moved away to give me space to sit. I said thank you and moved myself and my bag. When I was sitting down, with the weight off my feet, I took a deep breath and let out the tension that was building in my shoulders and my feet. I asked the lady beside me to tell me when the train was stopping at Galle. I looked out the window and soon fell asleep. It was obvious when it was my stop as everyone got off the train.

I was walking down the platform when I saw a little head pocking out from behind a wall. I smiled and Sam came running towards me, grabbing me for a hug. Jody emerged and hugged me, taking my small bag off me. We walked out the station and were met by men and tuk tuks asking if we needed a ride. Jody already had a tuk tuk waiting for us. We fought off the offers, and when our ride emerged, we hopped in. Sam told me all about Sri Lanka on our way to the house, pointing out Sri Lankan signs and telling me that there were dogs everywhere. When we arrived Barrie and Jared were sitting by the pool. They came to say hi giving me big hugs. I realised how much I’d missed the family, and even now as I write this I can feel myself getting emotional and really missing their company. The pool area was beautiful. It looks out onto rice fields, with palm trees and greenery surrounding the huge garden area. The house was also amazing. There was a lovely kitchen, and two bedrooms. The sitting area was outside, overlooking the pool. The sounds of nature were everywhere. Peacocks cried, birds sang and fluttered around. There were lots of little bugs and flying creatures everywhere. It was all beautiful. At night the mosquitos would venture out, along with lots of geckos, waiting patiently to grab their dinner. Every morning we’d get woken up by the peacocks running across the roof. There were usually two of them, scuttering around, fighting over the territory. There was no getting back to sleep after our natural alarm clock so we would sit ouside, listening to the racing birds. We’d occasionally see one of the birds flying away with his wings open wide. The colours were beautiful and bright. He would land on one of the palm trees, and perch high up, looking out over the rice fields.

We spent our 5 days relaxing by the pool, going to the beach, which was like a picture on the front of a post card. It was such a lovely 5 days spent in the company of my family. We played lots of card games and talked about our travels. We ate way too much food. Apul, the chef, was an amazing cook. For breakfast we’d have an assortment of fruits, pancakes and waffles. Lunch and dinner were usually a Sri Lankan dish, which always had a bit of spice, even when it wasn’t spicy my western tongue was on fire. The days felt long as we were up early, but time went way too quickly. When the day came to say goodbye I could feel myself getting sad and wishing that I was going home with them. Their flight wasn’t till 3am so a car came to pick us up at 9.30pm. I was dropped off at my accommodation in Colombo, the same place I stayed when I first arrived. We said goodbye and I matched as they drove off.

I’ve woken up this morning feeling really home sick and alone. This is the first time in seven months that I’ve felt ready to leave. Although I love travelling alone, learning things about myself and stepping out of my comfort zone, spending time with my family has shown me that it’s better when you have people you love around you. The past seven months have been a mixture of travelling with friends, travelling with my boyfriend, travelling alone and spending time with my family. It has been a great mixture and I’ve loved every minute of it. I’ve met so many amazing people along the way, but I miss all the people I love at home.

Now that I’m coming into my last month, I’m looking ahead at the things that are to come. I start my tour of the south of Sri Lanka on Sunday for twelve days. I then fly back to Bali and will spend three days with my cousins Louisa, Tim, Dayna and her boyfriend Corey. Then in my last two weeks I’m planning on going to Amed, which I have been told is a great place to dive. I’ll spend about 5 days there then travel back down to Ubud to finish my travels off with some relaxation time, yoga and attempt meditating while reflecting on my travels. When I split it up in my head it makes my last month seem a lot easier. I haven’t had this panicky feeling of being alone for a while. I think it’s because I’m in a new country that I know almost nothing about. When I start my tour I’ll be a lot more relaxed as I’ll have people around me as well as a tour guide. Every time I leave people who I know well behind, even if it was just for a short 5 day period, I have to learn to be alone again. I always have a moment of ‘shit what now?’ I’m taking that as the excitement of not knowing what lies ahead. These last seven months have been incredible and my last month is going to be just as amazing. Bring on the final leg of my journey.

My Underwater Adventures

The first time I went scuba diving was in Israel about 10 years ago when we went diving with dolphins. Out of my family, I was the one who enjoyed it the most, loving being in the water and playing knots and crosses in the sand with my instructor. Since then I have been diving once in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. I could only dive for 20 minutes at a shallow depth as I wasn’t qualified and so I didn’t see much. After that I promised myself that I would do my open water diving course and make sure that in the future I could dive for longer and deeper. Then I visited the Gili islands. The first time I visited Gili Air with Michael we went snorkelling. The fish, coral and 2 turtles we spotted were amazing and I could only imagine what lay deeper below. I decided that when Michael left I would return to Gili Air and gain my open water diver certification. And that is just what I did. I am now a qualified diver to 18 metres. I loved diving so much that I decided to go one step further and do my advanced adventure diving course which allows me to dive to 30 metres. The advanced adventurer comprised of 5 dives, 4 of who were technical dives, including a perfect buoyancy dive, drift dive, navigation dive and a night dive to show us how to dive with minimum visibility.

Before I started the open water course, I thought about the other dives I had done in the past. From what I could remember, I knew I loved diving; the feeling of being totally weightless and free, seeing another world that most only skim the surface of. I didn’t realise just how much I would love diving in Gili Air. After doing my hour in the pool to learn the necessary skills, we headed out to the sea. I was nervous to say the least. Anything could happen under the water, and after learning about the many conditions that could occur, including non-decompression, nitrogen narcosis and bends, I found myself thinking about the worst case scenarios. Soon we were gearing up and preparing to do a backwards tumble into the water.

When my body hit the warm waves I took some deep breaths to calm my thoughts and my racing heart. We made the ‘OK’ signal and then let the air out of our BC (the vest which helps aid in buoyancy). As I exhaled my breath and sank down, my worries seemed to stay above the surface. I thought to myself “why was I ever scared of any of this?” I was instantly surrounded by colourful fish and beautiful coral. It took a minute or so to regulate my breaths and allow myself to sink deeper but soon I was down with the other divers in my group. Kimmo, my amazing Swedish instructor, lead the way. We followed looking around us at the curious fish that edged closer to us, trying to work out what we were. I struggled to stay level as I hadn’t yet got the hang of how to control my buoyancy. A deep inhale would make me float, while a long deep exhale made me sink. The key was to manage my breaths in order to stay neutral. I saw some amazing fish including clown fish and Moorish Idols but the main attraction for me were the beautiful green turtles. They are just as relaxed as they are portrayed in Finding Nemo, gliding effortlessly through the water. We went to a maximum depth of 12 metres, which felt deep for my first dive and I frequently had to pinch my nose and breathe out to equalise the pressure in my ears.

When we surfaced after our 3 minute safely stop at 5 metres, I felt so buzzed and totally dazed. It was a struggle to get onto the boat as I had no energy to push myself out of the water. When we were back on the boat, I let out a breath of joy but also relief. I had proved to myself that there was nothing to worry about. I was too amazed by the fish around me to think about the worries of sharks or running out of air. Kimmo gave me a pat on the back and a big smile. When we were back on land we debriefed and spoke about the dive. The following 3 dives got better as I got more and more confident in the water and with my breathing. Kimmo and I covered more safety requirements, including how to signal if I was out of air and the actions that followed, how to remove my mask and clear the water out, and how to tow a struggling diver. On one of the dives the current was so strong that I had to swim against the pull in order to stay with the group. This is where being a strong swimmer definitely came in handy. My final dive was the best and most relaxed. It was just Kimmo and I which I loved as I didn’t have anyone else to concentrate on. I could just look around me and take in all the beauty the sea has to offer.

The day I started my advanced adventure course, I felt really nervous about the depth. 30 metres was considerably deeper than 18. Kimmo assured me that once I was under I wouldn’t even notice the depth due to the fact that the biggest pressure change happens between 0 and 10 metres. He was right. My first dive was just to get used to the increased depth. Once we were sinking in the water, I looked at my dive computer (like a watch) and we were already at 20 metres. I used up a lot more air due to the depth but once I regulated my breathing and got used to being deeper and seeing bigger fish, I managed to level out my air consumption. My next dive was all about achieving perfect buoyancy. For this Kimmo had to holding a 1kg weight as I tried to keep myself level in the water. He then asked me to knock over the weight, which sat at the bottom balancing on the sand. For this I had to position myself upside down and control my breathing to get close to the weight and knock it with my regulator. I managed to do it first time, and this is when I realised that anything I put my mind to, I could I achieve. This left me on a high.

The next day, the first dive in the morning was a drift dive. This was to work on my control in the water. I had to assess the current and know when to turn my body sideways or backwards in order to stop myself from getting swept away from the strong current. I then had a break before my afternoon dive. I saw I had a message from my family about the attacks in Barcelona. I didn’t know what had happened so I searched it on Google. I read about the terrorist attacks and I was almost brought to tears. Being on Gili Air is almost like a retreat of sorts, a little bubble away from the rest of the world. There I was on an island where everyone was so kind and looked after each other, reading about killings and humans doing harm to other humans. I couldn’t understand how people could harm each other in the name of religion, power or money.

When Kimmo found me, I had tears in my eyes. I told him how I felt. He said, “do you know what the cure for that is?” When I shook my head he said, “let’s go diving.” Our fourth dive was a navigation dive. I had to use my compass to determine our line of course and then to navigate myself around for a short time. I got confused with which way to turn my compass and I found myself a little lost. I turned around looking for Kimmo and when I found him he gestured a squiggly circle to me and pointed to me telling me that that was what my navigation looked like. I was supposed to be navigating a square. We then went for a relaxing dive. A huge green turtle came and swan beside me. As I looked it it, it looked back. I got lost in its deep black eyes. I felt such a connection to it. I thought how amazing nature is and while humans are out hurting and killing one another, under the water fish and other creatures are living in harmony.

I could stay under the water for hours if my air consumption allowed it. It’s so peaceful and freeing. My last dive of the course was the night dive. Kimmo wasn’t feels my good, so I had a different instructor. We were both a little upset that we didn’t get to finish the course together. I thanked Kimmo for everything he had done for me and when I told him that he had made me into a better diver, he said that its all in me and he was just there to assist. He had even already printed out my certificate card because he knew that the confidence and skills I had achieved throughout the course would show in the night dive.

At 5.30, as the sun was making its descent towards the sea, we geared up for the dive. Milo, the instructor who would be leading that dive, talked us through what would happen. We would use her go tech torches in order to see. He told us about the fish that came out at night. Then we were off. The sun was setting as we got into the water and soon it was dark. We sank below the surface and began our dive. My torch wasn’t as bright as the other’s so I followed them and looked at the fish and creatures through their light. It was strange adapting to the dark all around. The activity of the fish was a lot calmer at night. We saw lots of crabs scattering across the sand, trying to escape the light. Milo asked me and Evan, another guy who was completing his course, to carry out the lost buddy procedure. For this we had to swim away and then navigate a 180 degree turn to find our way back to group, who had their torches pointed towards them so we could see them until we got closer.

Although the night dive was great, I definitely prefer diving during the day, with the light of the sun shining down in the water allowing us to make out all the wonderful fish below. When we surfaced I felt really dizzy and it took a while to get my head to stop spinning. The Stars were amazing as there was no light to pollute the sky. When we got back to land Milo handed me my advanced adventure card and we all said goodbye. I slept well that night knowing that I was now a qualified diver and could dive anywhere in the world to a depth of 30 metres, only 10 metres off from the maximum depth for recreational divers. The water has such an influence on me. It gives me energy and I always feel such a buzz when I’m in it. I’ve even woken up a couple of times thinking I’m under water.

It has definitely been an achievement for me, and although I am sad to leave this beautiful island, I have one more dive booked for before I leave. Diving has shown me that there is nothing I can’t do. Anything is possible if I believe in myself and push myself to do the best I can do.

The journey begins.

I haven’t written a lot since I started travelling. Mostly because I’ve been so distracted by the constant flow of people and the new places I’ve visited that I haven’t had a chance to stop and think for myself. I’ve almost pushed my thoughts to the back of my mind to focus on what was right in front of me. However, now that I’m alone, my thoughts are sometimes all I have.

When I was waiting at the airport to say goodbye to Michael, and catch my flight to Bali, I was feeling a whirlwind of emotions. I knew I was excited about meeting new people, getting my diving certification and exploring for myself but I was also absolutely terrified. I was sad about leaving Michael. I was also scared of what lay ahead; would I meet like minded people, would I be able to travel totally solo? Up until this point I had constantly had someone I knew well with me, whether it be Katie, Naomi, Abi, Harry or Michael.

Now is when the real adventure begins. Now is when I am really stepping out of my comfort zone and into unknown territory. When Michael and I hugged and kissed goodbye and I watched his red bag retreating, I cried. I could have howled but there were people all around me and I knew that if I started, I might not have been able to stop and I didn’t want that. So I took a couple of deep breaths, in and out, and plodded along.

When I arrived into Bali it was mayhem. Tia (a woman who owned a travel desk on the street, who Michael and I had met during our time in Bali) and her husband were coming to pick me up. Due to the shitty wifi connection, I spent the first 10 minutes after I arrived searching for a stronger connection, pushing past loud taxi drivers desperately trying to lure helpless travellers into paying way too much for a ride to their destination. When I finally managed to get ahold of Tia and arrange a place to meet, I dropped my bags, which were somehow still heavy, despite the clothes I’d sent home with Michael, and took a long deep breath. “You can do this,” I told myself. “Breathe, take it all in, and enjoy.” I found Tia, she introduce me to her husband, whose name I can’t remember for the life of me, and together they guided me to their car.

On our drive to my hostel we spoke about their daughters, my family and life back home. Tia’s husband kindly offered me a place to stay at their villa and a home cooked meal, and I was gutted that I had already booked accommodation that night. The car turned up a side street and Tia told me that my hostel was behind. We hugged goodbye and she told me not to hesitate to message her if I needed anything. I walked inside the hostel, which was small and quant and very different to the pictures I had seen. I told them my name, and handed over my passport, but they couldn’t find me in their system. I showed them my booking confirmation and they told me I was at the wrong hostel. I was staying at M Boutique Hostel and the one I’d been dropped at was M Hostel. I laughed to myself as I walked back to the main road to grab a taxi to the right hostel.

After being shown to my little pod bed, which had a pull down blind for privacy, I nervously walked down to the outdoor common area and sat down with my phone. I looked around. There was a girl sitting on the sofa with a dog perched beside her. I was instantly drawn towards its sleeping body.
“Do you mind if I sit here?” I asked, gesturing towards the empty space beside her.
“Of course,” she replied with a warm smile.
Her name was Zara. She was from Liverpool and travelling with her sister, India. They were both lovely girls. I sat with them while they ate dinner, my mouth watering at how good the food looked.

A tall man walked in and spoke to them in a lovely Irish accent. We introduced ourselves and I couldn’t help but laugh when he said his name was Kieran as all the Kierans I know are Irish. Straight away we got into those deep and wonderful chats about life, death, travelling and our hopes and dreams. The kind of conversations you only find yourself having with strangers you meet in hostels. Kieran and I had a lot in common; he too was spiritual and on a more in depth journey. We ended up going for dinner and drinks (non alcoholic of course) together, sitting for hours in deep conversation. We arranged to go to Tanah Lot together the next day, a temple that was recommended as a ‘must see’ while in Bali. I went to bed feeling optimistic about travelling alone, and no longer scared about what was to come. Not only did we spend the whole of the next day together, we also went for breakfast on the day he left Seminyak, to venture to another town.

Kieran had given me a safe place to open my mind and throw all my thoughts his way. He challenged me and questioned me, filling my mind with ‘what ifs’ and when I told him that I was nervous about being alone he told me to use the nerves to push me further. I was sad to see him go, but excited for what was to come. I know he’s one I’ll see “again and again and again” as he recently said in a text.

I realised that when I am alone I am much more approachable than when I am with another. I get a huge buzz from talking to strangers, who then become friends. This is something that I didn’t always feel the need to do when I already had company. I’ve only been alone for a couple of days, but I’m already starting to see things straight. For so long I’ve had someone else’s energy around me non stop. Most of the time I haven’t fully had the chance to sit and think about what I thought about a place or assess how I was feeling. All I knew was that after Katie left Michael was coming out and when Michael left I was alone. Any time I thought about what would happen when he left my throat closed up, my eyes watered and I went into panic mode.

I have been so used to planning ahead of time, and not allowing myself to just be in a place. If I’ve liked a place I haven’t been able to extend my time as the next place was already booked. If I hated a place, I couldn’t leave as I’d already paid for the nights. Now that I’m alone I can take it one day at a time. I can decide for myself what I want to do that day, and where I want to go. It’s a strange feeling being alone after 6 months of constant company. At times I find myself panicking and wondering what I’m going to do with all the hours ahead of me. That’s when I take a deep breath and remind myself that I don’t have to know, I just have to be present in my body and in the place I am in and just enjoy it.

 

A very quick, and late, update.

I call myself a writer but I haven’t written in about 9 weeks. I’ve taken notes of my thoughts and feelings towards things we’ve done but up until now I haven’t had the time to sit down and really put it all into logical sentences. When I left home I promised to write this blog. The most important piece of advice I took from uni was to write something every day. Even if it’s just a thought or idea or even a journal entry. I knew that if I didn’t keep that writing muscle working I’d soon lose the spark and need to write. In these last 7 weeks I’ve been feeling exactly that. Part of me has felt ashamed that I worked my ass off for 3 years at uni, to get the best grade in Creative Writing that I could, and yet I’ve written nada. Somehow I thought I’d be able to update this every week or, at a push, every couple of days. But I’ve just been having way too much fun. Any chill time I’ve had has been spent getting to know the amazing people I’ve met so far, exploring and venturing deeper into the places we’ve stayed, or just closing my eyes for a moment and letting myself take in the non stop, sometimes overwhelming, amazingness that is travelling. And what an incredible 7 weeks it has been.

I’m sitting on the flight from Christchurch to Melbourne writing this. It’s the first time that I’ve actually been able to sit down and put my thoughts down on paper, or iPad. Originally I’d planned to write a weekly update of my whereabouts, the exciting things we’ve done and my thoughts towards travelling as a whole. I still plan on doing that in the future, however, in order to look back on my weeks in New Zealand, I’m going to mesh them all into one and just share my highlights. Bus journeys from A to B took up a lot of time and most of them were spent sleeping, so not much to share there, unless you want to hear about the times I was woken up to a bump in the road and my head whacking off the glass window. I also discovered that I can sleep anywhere, a blessing, but also a curse as I missed out on some amazing landscapes along the way. I made up for it on the hikes to the top of mountains where no view could go un-missed.

As I’m writing this I’m so thankful that I took notes. When travelling, seeing so many places and constantly meeting new people, days seem to blend into one. And yes, I know that’s why I should have kept a blog from the start, but past me has been out gallivanting and taking advantage of being a 22 year old on her trip of a lifetime. Sorry mum and dad, but better late than never, right?

Travelling, for me, is about the people you meet along the way, and the experiences you share with them. A huge part of me came travelling to find my people, the people I could be completely myself around and never hold back. The people who made my soul sing by just being around them. Likeminded people who had the same mindset as me, and the same aspirations in life; to be happy and to have fun, with a fiery passion for life. I met the most amazing people during my time in New Zealand. Some of them I will hopefully have in my life for a long time. Others I met in passing, whether it be at the top of the Sky Tower in Auckland where I connected with a 50 something year old man who turned my whole attitude around, or even the American lady who made me cry telling us her life story, and who reminded me so much of my grandma Sky. I have found myself speaking without even thinking, and laughing, tears streaming down my face, because those are the people who have brought out the best in me, and shown me that when I find people like that, my inner core feels light and bright. A couple of nights ago in Lake Tekapo, we lay under the stars. Tekapo has a dark sky reserve above it which means that the stars are clear and twinkling. It was as if outer space was floating feet above us rather than an immeasurable distance away. Beside me were Celtia and Hannah, two girls we started our trip in Auckland with. We had crossed paths throughout the trip and we had all unintentionally drifted back together for our last couple of days in New Zealand. Katie and Naomi lay together further down the line with Dan and Celia, who we also met on the Kiwi Bus. I was lying in silence, after a long singalong of our favourite musicals, when a warm feeling washed over me. Even though it was freezing outside, something inside of me felt like it was glowing with heat. I felt totally at home with the people who surrounded me. I had a group of people who felt like family and who made me happy to be alive and sharing that moment with them. We all watched the shooting stars together and gasped at how beautiful they were. I went to bed with a huge smile on my face that night, because I realised that no matter where I am in the world, no matter how good or bad times will get, there will always be people who I can connect with, people I can laugh with and cry with, people who make me feel like I was meant to meet them and that I am on the right path. Every stranger is just a person waiting to become a friend, to teach us a lesson or just to make us smile.

It’s also the many things I have done that have made my time in New Zealand so special. I worry about a lot. Maybe it’s my wild imagination playing tricks on me, or my fear of hurting myself, but sometimes when I do something for the first time, get scared of the consequences. We went sand boarding in the Bay of Islands, our first stop. All I knew about it was that you grab a boogie board, lay on your tummy and fly down the steep sand dune face first. What could go wrong with that? In my mind I could go tumbling off the boogie board and break my neck. We were even told that it is dangerous and if done wrong could result in broken bones, as experienced by people before. Nevertheless, I grabbed a boogie board from the bus and followed the others up to the top of the dune, which was a massive workout. When I reached the top I was panting and I could feel my pulse in my temples. The only way down from there was face first. As the line got smaller and smaller and I got closer and closer to the front, my heart started to race. I couldn’t figure out why I was nervous. Everyone before me had made it to the bottom safely with huge smiles on their faces. The person before me went flying down and I was next. The bus driver asked me where I was from and with a shaky voice I replied “Scotland”. He helped me get on my board and before I knew it, I was flying down the dune, the wind sweeping my hair back, leaving me wondering what I was worrying about just seconds ago. And I didn’t break any bones. Success. It was from that day on that I promised myself that I wouldn’t let my fear hold me back like it had done many times before.

A couple of days later we did a skydive. If I thought sand boarding was scary, this was something else altogether. Although I was jumping out of a plane 16,000 feet in the air, I wasn’t scared. Maybe it’s because I had someone with me who would do all the work and all I had to do was relax. Or maybe I’d grown as a person in my first couple of weeks of travelling. We got picked up form our hostel in a wee mini van and taken to the sky diving base. We were split into 2 groups and then fitted with our jumpsuit, harness, a hat to keep our hair back and our goggles. We watched as the first group went up in the plane then one by one returned to the ground on their parachutes. Before we left we were shown a short video of what would happen. There was no safety video, something we were all surprised at, as back home it would be a huge palava with countless safety checks. We then met the men who would be our parachute pullers and calm keeping gurus for the jump. My guy (let’s call him Paul) was from America. He was very tall and had a lovely open face. I instantly felt calm when he shook my hand. He asked me some questions as I’d opted for the video package so my jump would all be filmed. We were first on the plane which meant I would be last out. Once everyone was in we took off. It was the slowest 20 minutes of my life as we ascended the 16,000 feet. The views were amazing. Everything looked so small as we made our way higher and further away from land. Paul showed me his altitude watch. 6,000 feet, 10,000 feet, 12,000 feet. We were given oxygen masks then and I knew we were close to our target altitude. The men all started to get themselves ready. Paul asked me to sit on his knee so he could fasten me to him. Then the door opened and I felt the rush of cold air. I put my goggles on and watched as the first person jumped out the plane. Then it was Katie’s turn. She was beaming the whole time, then she was gone. Paul told me to work my way down the plane towards the door as the people before us jumped, or fell, from the plane. Naomi was before me. I watched her go and my tummy turned knowing I was next. I took a deep breath as Paul positioned us at the edge of the plane. My legs dangled out. I started to look down but Paul tilted me hear back into his shoulder, pointed the camera at me, then launched us from the plane. I got that horrible feeling in my tummy so I scrunched my eyes shut, but a second later it was over and I opened my eyes to see the land coming towards us. Paul tapped me on the shoulder to give me the signal that I could open my arms out. We were falling but I felt like a bird soaring. The feeling is unexplainable. It was amazing. The air was cold against my skin and I could feel my lips flapping in the wind. I never once stopped smiling. We fell for 70 seconds. I could see everything whizzing past me, but I didn’t feel like I was falling. I felt totally weightless, almost like I was floating. There was suddenly a slight jerk as the parachute opened behind us. My ears popped and I swallowed to un-pop them. Paul told me to take my goggles off to make it more comfortable for myself. My eyes started watering from the wind but I’m also sure that a tear trickled from my eye in response to how beautiful it was and how incredible it felt. He told me to pull the the harness under my bum towards my thighs to give myself more of a seated position. Then he handed me the handles of the parachute. I guided us round for a bit as I gazed out at the sea and the surrounding islands. The sun was beaming down and I was in heaven. Paul took the handles of the parachute back and glided us closer and closer down to land. Everything became bigger and more life sized. We came in with a thud and I landed hard on my bum but I didn’t care. All I could think was “I just did a skydive!!!!” I felt so buzzed and pumped after. I thanked Paul and toddled off towards the building to meet the others. I took my harness and jumpsuit off then went to collect my video and pictures along with my free t-shirt. What an accomplishment. Doing the skydive brought me one step closer to kicking fear in the ass. I would do it again in a heartbeat. When the adrenaline wore off, I slept soundly knowing that I had fallen from a plane 16,000 feet in the sky. Not many people can say that.

Another highlight from New Zealand, apart from the whole 6 weeks, was the caving in Waitomo. We’d been told that we’d see glow worms and boy did we. After we made our way down into the confided and dark spaces of the caves, we lay back in our rubber rings and drifted down stream with the flow of the water. We turned our head torches off and looked up. Above us were hundreds, maybe thousands of glow worms. It was like looking up at the nights sky. The water was freezing against our hands but no one seemed to care because it was so beautiful. It was definitely a challenge to many people who were scared of the dark or claustrophobic. I’ve never struggled with claustrophobia and the dark has become a friend of mine, but even I felt a little constricted being underground in black water and confined spaces. Seeing the light at the end of the caves was both an excitement and disappointment as 3 hours in the water was enough, but it was a great overall experience.

Next came a big achievement for all of us- the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. A 19 km hike complete with treacherous uphill climbs, loose and steep rocky down hills and the famous Mount Doom from the Lord of the Rings. There’s even a steep section of steps called the Devil’s Staircase, if the name isn’t enough to put you off then I don’t know what is. Yet somehow we pushed on. We stopped often, drank a lot of water and had an obscene amount of carb based food. I’ve never been very stable on my feet going down hill. I get scared that I’ll fall and hurt myself. But the only way of getting down from a long hike up was a long hike down. We had been told by someone who had done the crossing before that the down hill was not pleasant; the loose rocks made it hard to manoeuvre without slipping. So I was pretty scared before we even got there. And then we saw the steepness of the hill. I wanted to get down on the ground and cry. I took a deep breath and pushed on. Taking one step at a time, Celtia, Kelsey and I made our way down. Groups of people overtook us on either sides, some running, some a little more weary, like us. On either side of us was a huge drop. I knew that if I fell and didn’t get back up, I’d most likely go flying off the edge and it would be bye bye Sarah. After my legs stopped shaking, I managed to work out a system for myself. The ground was made of sand and rocks. I would slide one foot forward, placing it firmly in the ground and then bring my other foot to meet it, steadying myself. This seemed to work for a long time until my feet started to ache. I was doing well, telling myself that I could do it, and that I was so proud of what I was doing, and then I turned around and saw that Kelsey had stopped. She was crying and freaking out. I knew that I could either go back up to her and risk falling, or I could stay where I was and spur her on verbally. I went for the latter, telling her what I had been telling myself; that we didn’t have much further to go and that she was doing great. When we got to the bottom, Celtia was waiting for us, having gone ahead earlier. We practically kissed the flat ground. I looked back up and gave myself a pat on the back and a fist pump for getting down and pushing my fears away. I definitely conquered a fear that day. 8 hours, 3 litres of water and a huge pasta salad later we were back on the bus after a long treacherous day.

We’ve walked on Franz Josef Glacier. I feel so grateful to be able to say that. There’s not many places in the world where you can walk on glaciers, let alone see them. I was pretty nervous doing this. Anyone who knows me well knows that I hate ice. I hate slippy surfaces because my balance isn’t great at the best of times. I couldn’t understand how I’d be able to walk on the glacier’s pure, beautiful, reflective ice without falling and breaking my neck. My question was soon answered when we got kitted up. We were given waterproof trousers and a jacket, gloves, a hat and big snow boots equipped with snow spikes that would stick in the ice and create a good grip for us. After my first ever helicopter ride, which was amazing, up to the glacier we got our spikes on and then we were off. I felt like bambi for the first 20 minutes or so. My legs were shaky and I couldn’t get it through my head that I wasn’t going to fall. And even if I did fall, I’d pick myself back up. There were stairs made for us to make it easier to manoeuvre ourself up and down the glacier ice. Our guide had an axe to hack away at any loose ice. We were totally safe. After I realised this is was bouncing about the place taking full advantage of both the spikes and this amazing opportunity. It felt like a huge achievement when we finished our hike 3 hours later. I had looked fear (the ice) in the eye and said “you’re not going to control me”. I pushed through and had an amazing time. And the sights were magnificent. That’s one of the things that travelling has taught me so far. Take advantage of opportunities and life. There are so many amazing things to see and do all over the world. Even if you’re scared to do something, say yes and deal with the fear later.

I had always said that I would never, ever do a bungy jump. I’d jump out of a plane, I’d get a tattoo, I’d even go on the worlds highest rollercoaster. But I’d never bungy. Then we hit Queenstown. The adrenaline capital of the world. Bungy Central, the birthplace of the world’s first ever commercial bungy jump by AJ Hackett in1988. Fast forward 29 years, and we were standing looking out at the Kawarau bridge, a 43 meter bungy jump. “Hell no”, I said. “Absolutely not!” Then we watched a video about bungy jumping and I could feel myself getting excited. The logical part of me was telling myself to suppress the idea. The daredevil within me was telling me to do it. We had decided to do a the Nevis Swing; a 70 meter free fall followed by 300 meters of swinging back and forward, making it the biggest swing in the world. As the queue got shorter and we got closer to the desk, I turned to Katie and said “you know, I’m tempted to do the bungy”. She said she was too. We swithered between leaving it till we were 100% sure of our decision, or saying fuck it and doing it anyway. Before we knew what we were doing, we had put our names down for the highest bungy in New Zealand, the Nevis Bungy. 134 meters of pure terror. The man behind the desk told us that once we paid there was no going back. I looked at him for a second, took a deep breath, then pushed my card into the machine while I said “fuck it”, two words which have become the most used phrase of our trip so far. We could have gone for the baby one, but why start small? If you’re going to do it, you might as well do it big, right? In a matter of minutes I had gone from “never in a million years will I do a bungy” to “I’ve just signed up to a bungy!” Looking back over this paragraph I realise how many times I’ve used the world ‘bungy’. But I feel like I can go against all the rules of writing, because I did a freaking bungy jump. 3 days, and countless hours of sleep lost to falling nightmares, later, Katie and I were on a bus up to the Nevis bungy and swing site. I was more excited than scared at that point. I chatted to people on the bus about the upcoming events, trying to take my mind off it all. When we arrived we were helped into our harness and given a brief explanation and safety talk. Then we were ushered into the cable car that would take us to the platform which hung 135 meters above ground level. I have no trouble with heights but boy was that high. That’s when the sensible side kicked in. I started to question what the hell I was doing. I’d proved to myself that I could sign up for a bungy and maybe that was enough. Maybe I didn’t have to go ahead with it. There was a girl in our group who had gone up the day before to do her jump but had chickened out last minute. I was determined not to do that. Taking deep, deep breaths I powered through. Once we were on the jumping deck we were placed in weight order. Heaviest at the front, lightest at the back. I have never been so thankful to be the weight I am. I was middle in the line. Katie was last. As each person before me jumped, I could feel myself panicking and shaking. Then my name was called. “That’s me”, I said with a shaky voice as I raised my hand and gave an awkward half wave. I was guided to a seat where I sat as my legs were tied together and my hardness was attached to the bungy rope. The man did the best he could to distract me from the fall. He helped me to my feet and led me to the edge. I made the mistake of looking down. “Nope” I said and walked away, covering my mouth. You know the feeling you get when you look down and realise you’re about to throw yourself off a platform and trust that a rope is going to catch you after falling for 134 meters. No? Well neither did I before that point and I did not like it. The man took my arm and told me to jump before I thought about it too much. So I was once again taken to the edge. I was told to smile for the camera and then I somehow jumped. There’s no words to describe the feeling of falling through the air head first. There wasn’t really any feeling. Adrenaline took over and it wasn’t until the rope caught and I felt myself being pulled back up that it hit me. I had just done my first bungy jump. My body was flung about the place as the rope adjusted and I bounced up and down 2 more times. There was a rope by our feet that we were told to pull after our third bounce that would release our feet and bring us up right. My rope wouldn’t budge and so I had no other choice but to let myself hang like a helpless fish that had been dragged out the water. I was pulled back up to the platform where the bungy team laughed at me and asked why I didn’t pull the rope. “Well I did try”, I told them. “I didn’t want to come up upside down.” I was back in my feet on the swaying platform. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. What a buzz. Katie looked terrified and I reassured her that it was amazing. She too leaped from the platform and the look on her face when she returned was what I imagined mine to be like, pure and utter proudness and joy. Fear was no longer part of our vocabulary. The swing was nothing compared to the bungy. My adrenaline was pumped back up by the height and the feeling of being totally free, flying through the sky. To say we were tired at the end of the day was an understatement. The rise and fall of adrenaline in my body made me exhausted but I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Time and time again, I have proved to myself that I can tackle any obstacle I’ve been faced with by pushing fear aside and letting myself be fully immersed in whatever it was I was feeling. It was perfectly fine to feel nervous and scared. Any normal person would when jumping out a plane or throwing themselves off a bridge with just a rope to catch them. The important part has been not letting that fear take hold of me. I acknowledged it was there, then let it drift away. And that goes for everything in life. The apprehension of meeting new people, long bus journeys, days where all I want is to be at home in my comfort zone. I’ve learnt to let myself feel whatever is arising, thank the emotions for being there, then give them a light shove in the right direction in order to carry on with this amazing adventure I’m on.

I’m now trying to catch up with my writing on the bus journey from Melbourne to Canberra. It’s an 8 hour journey which gives me time to reflect on our 6 days in Melbourne. I’m holding my nose to fight off the smell of the onboard toilet, trying to distract myself with the views of the passing country. Melbourne was a lovely place. Very artistic in places with beautiful green areas dotted about and a lovely botanical gardens. However it reinforced the fact that I’m not a city person. I love the odd visit to the city to take in the vibrancy and the hussle and bustle of it all. But it drains me. The countless amount of people wondering around and the constant noise takes all my energy and I find it hard to shut off. When I’m in a place with nature I feel myself relax into it all. I love the peaceful sound of birds and the leaves rustling in the wind. I’d take that any day over the angry sound of horns and the dodging people just to cross the street. Being in a big city again has made me realise how much setting can influence my state of mind. I want to be able to get to the point where I can still my mind in the middle of a city instead of getting swept away by it all.

We have done some exciting things during our time in Melbourne. We did a trip of the Great Ocean Road. We had planned on hiring a car, and driving but we were told that it was cheaper and more relaxing to book a tour. We saw the 12 apostles, which are limescale rocks in the sea, 4 of them have naturally eroded and there are now only 8. The scenic beach drive was beautiful. We went to an outdoor ‘moonlight cinema’ to see Kong: Skull Island. It was in the middle of the botanic gardens and by the time we’d found it, we’d missed the first half an hour of the film, which none of us were particularly bothered about as it was a terrible film. The experience was lovely though. We sat on a blanket, underneath a tree whose branches hung over the massive projector screen. As the air became chilly, the three of us shared a blanket and ate our dinner and pop corn. The wind seemed to time it’s flows perfectly. When there was a gust of wind in the film, the branches above us would sway creating a beautiful atmosphere. I didn’t pay much attention to the film as my eyes and mind were wondering around the setting and the romantic ambiance of it all. We went to a comedy act to see Jenny Eclair’s show on ‘how to be a middle aged woman without going insane. She was hilarious. She cracked jokes left, right and centre about what it was like to be a woman. Although I couldn’t empathise with some things as I haven’t hit menopause yet, I laughed and laughed. It made me wonder how the men in the room must have felt. We went for a lovely meal in Chinatown after, then back to the hostel to pack up all our things and get ready to leave Melbourne and continue on with our journey up the East Coast of Australia. Hopefully the weather will pick up and we’ll have some nice beach days along the way.

There’s no such thing as wasted time

Watching a TV show gave me the insight I needed to start believing in myself again.

5 Minutes

When I get hooked on a TV series, I get hooked. And I mean dreaming about it, wishing I was the main character, staying up late to watch it and even putting off uni work just to find out what’s going to come next. But something terrible has just happened…I’m now up to date, all caught up with live TV. I have no more left to watch!! I went from having 2 series to catch up on to having none. How did this happen?

The TV show I’m so madly in love with is Jane the Virgin. And for those of you who don’t know about it, the plot is pretty much that; Jane, who’s a virgin. But she’s pregnant…accidentally inseminated. And then a whole bunch of stuff happens in between, I don’t want to ruin it for you! But my gosh, if I didn’t know what a love triangle, plus a baby, plus a famous dad can do to you, I do now.

Watching it has got me thinking about a lot of things. It makes me question what love is, what it is to really live, the importance of telling family and loved ones how much they mean to us, and of course, writing. Jane’s dream is to be a writer. And so is mine. She writes non stop; on the bus, while feeding her baby and at stupid hours in the morning after waking up with a burst of inspiration. When inspiration strikes, she has no option but to write, in one episode she even loses track of time as she sits on the bus writing, and then is told to leave as it’s the last stop of the night.

I’m a lot like her. I sometimes struggle to write without being inspired by something. I know what you’re thinking; how can a creative writing student only write when inspiration comes knocking? I can always write, but it comes so much more naturally when I have that spark. That feeling that doesn’t go away until I’ve jotted down the idea, or the character that demands to be created. They won’t leave my head until their story has been told. And that’s what amazes me. Every amazing novel, encaptivating TV show or beautiful song started as just an idea, maybe even as a single word. And then it’s built upon and built upon, until it’s what we read, or see, or hear.

Watching Jane the Virgin has reminded me of my dream of being a writer. I lose my way sometimes. I forget why I want to write, or why I take the time to get invested in a great book. To get to know the characters until they feel like my best friends. I love losing myself in a good book, looking at the clock and seeing that hours have gone by, and I haven’t even realised it.

I went to see The Choice last night at the cinema with a friend. I’ve read the book, one of Nicholas Sparks’ masterpieces, and as I watched, balling my eyes out, I asked myself how he managed to do that, to make me feel such strong emotions, to feel for the characters and want to help them through their moments of crisis. My friend and I were later discussing it and she said to me “that could be you one day.” I let that sink in. I’m still letting it sink in.

I have a dream. To be a writer. To create stories and characters, and to bring them all to life. To render my readers to tears, to make them laugh, to make them yearn to want to know more. I want them to cry when they turn the final page, just like I used to do after finishing a book. I would always take a day to mourn, to allow the message and the beautiful words to embed themselves within me, and then I’d start a new one, and repeat the process all over again.

Sometimes we find something, be that a person, a place, a song or even a TV show that puts us back on course, and helps us to remember why we are doing what we are doing, why we’ve chosen this road to go down. And for me, it was Jane the Virgin. So I will now go and patiently wait for the next episode to appear. And in the meantime I’ll keep thinking about what it is that I want to get out of life, because that’s just the kind of thing I think about when I’m not engrossed in a good book, or TV show. So moral of the story: there’s no such thing as wasted time. If you learnt something, or it resinates in some way within you, or if it simply makes you smile then it was worth it.

I’m getting old.

Who knew that a couple of coffees could give me an insight into how far I’ve come and just how old I’m feeling.

First year was a time of discovery for me. Sure, I learnt more about myself and about writing. I even learnt how to live in a crammed space with seven other strangers. But most importantly, I was introduced to the world of boys, partying and alcohol. I’d be lying if I said that there weren’t nights that ended with my head down the toilet. Some are even a complete blur.

Fast forward three years to the present time. Being a busy third year, with all the assignments due and the dreaded dissertation, a heavy night out is a rare occasion. I aim to be in bed by 11 so I can get my 9 hours sleep. I’ve even been known to turn down an alcoholic beverage because I have an early morning class. And when it comes to boys…well, let’s just say I’m focusing on me for now. Oh, how times have changed.

The life of an almost graduate third year is very different to that of a care free first year. It had never really occurred to me just how different they were until about a week ago when I met my friends Sarah and Jess at Costa for a coffee and a catch up. It’s important to let you know that I don’t drink coffee often, and any time I do I have double, even triple the amount of milk. So it’s more of a milkshake than a coffee.

As I stepped out the door and headed to Costa, I never imagined that I would wake up with a hangover. A hangover that wasn’t even caused by alcohol. My night inspired me to write about the changes throughout my uni career, so I’ve decided to provide you with an hour by hour comparison of a night out in first year versus a night out in third year.

FY= First Year                         TY= Third Year

FY, 6pm- Our excitement of the night ahead is getting the best of us as we frantically run around the flat. We jump in the shower to start our beautifying regime. The boys have set up a playlist for our pre drinks, while the girls have cracked open a bottle of wine. I wonder if the guy from last week will be there as I twirl my hair in my fingers and realise that I have to look super hot tonight. I run into each of my flatmates rooms to see what they’re wearing.

TY, 6pm- Emergency meeting called at Costa. Jess has a crush and we must rid her of this sin. I deliberate whether I should put a clean pair of jeans on, or brush my hair maybe? Nope, this will do. We’re only going for one coffee after all.

FY, 8pm- We’re all dressed, with a couple of drinks down us. I can still taste the bitterness of that last drink. Maybe I put too much vodka in it? Oh well. A hair curling line has started in someone’s room. The boys have put on dubstep. As always they are ready hours before us. We’re blaring Jason Derulo’s ‘Trumpets’. News has come down the line that the boy will be there…shit, I better change my outfit, this one isn’t short enough. People start to challenge each other. “You have to get off with him, and you have to get off with him”, and so on. Toast goes on because SOMEONE has peaked too early again.

TY, 8pm- Just left Costa after two hour, and two coffees. We’re walking home in the freezing cold, but I have seven layers on so not to worry. Yet somehow, I’m still cold! We’re going travelling after we graduate so we’ve started to set ground rules. They’re mainly related to bringing guys home, and the dangers this could bring. If this had been first year, we’d be laughing at ourselves right now. Toast comes out because someone’s getting hangry.

FY, 10pm- Just got into the club and we all head straight to the bathroom. All six of us. We leave the boys hanging outside, because us girls must go together. I bump into a random drunk girl, who’s complaining about her looks and I proceed to talk to her for about 20 minutes, complimenting her, creating a life-long bond. I even get her number and hear her life story, but I’ll never see her again after I leave the bathroom. We head to the bar en masse. Shots!! No sign of the boy yet.

TY, 10pm- The mood has dampened. Coffee jitters have started to set in and we’re all feeling a little headachey. Jess confesses her undying love for a boy and we all sigh and laugh into the usual tirade of “but you’re better than that!” Cue an hour of listing the things we like about each other, in an intimate circle time. If I didn’t know better, I’d think I was drunk! Wow, this caffeine has gone to my head!

FY, 12am- He’s here!! I’m drunk. I want to talk to him, but…fuck it, ill do it. Walking. Ok shit, I’m here. He’s here too. It can now go one of two ways. Either my witty charm and drunken ramblings appeal to him, or he’ll walk away. Either way, SHOTS!

TY, 12am- We’re all knackered but the caffeine has well and truly taken hold. None of us can stay still and Sarah is having a hot flush in the corner. We decide we should probably go to bed. It’s far too late anyway and some of us have 9ams.

FY, 2am- Stumbling home with boy who’s agreed to come back with me. Woo! I pull him into bed with me. Not sure if I should be doing this, but fuck it, why not? Our bodies rub awkwardly against one another, trying to co-ordinate movements, fuck, I head butted him. Okay, he’s alright…continue.

TY, 2am- Lying in bed, wide awake, wishing I could sleep. Wondering why my skin feels so tingly and sensitive. I feel completely parched and want water but I’m scared to move in case I fall asleep in a minute. Caffeine has never done this to me before…could I be getting old?

The next day…

FY- Hungover, my head is pounding, I feel like I might throw up. Boy is still asleep. I need to make myself look presentable, but finding it hard to move. Fuck it.

TY- Hungover…without the alcohol. This is so not okay.