You can achieve anything…

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Okay, so for a while I’ve been feeling a bit rubbish about myself. Well actually, for the last few years I’ve not felt fully happy with my health and my body. I drink way too much generally and I’ve been drinking even more since in Canada as it basically feels like a holiday.

When I drink, smoking comes. So despite doing some inadequate exercise here and there, my general health feels absolutely crap. Two weeks ago I was walking home from university up a slight hill, wheezing and puffing, and I realized, I’m 20! This is a total joke!

I knew I needed to make a complete change in my life, and that I wanted to feel healthy and happy with myself – both inside and out. So I joined hot yoga classes, which have been totally amazing and I will go more into that in another blog post, but this blog post is going to be about how sensational I have felt whilst hiking.

I’m the sort of person that would never usually enjoy hiking or walking, I’m actually incredibly lazy when it comes to walking anywhere especially when there is effort involved… but I thought I’d give it a try and it has honestly been so refreshing for me.

Last week to start off I went with some friends to Geoffre Lakes hike. The hike was a 4 hour round trip and to make things harder, it was out in Pemberton which is extremely snowy at the moment, so the hike was very tough and slippy.

There are three lakes on the hike, and the further up I got, the harder I found it to breathe (as I have slight asthma) and the more tired I found myself getting. I had given up smoking only 3 days earlier and it was totally taking its toll on my lungs. It was actually ridiculous how much I was puffing and panting and I thought my lungs were going to burst.

I even considered turning back at one point I found it so challenging. But I’m so glad I didn’t. When I reached the top, I have never seen a view like it. It was breathtaking. I felt like I was in Narnia it was a complete winter wonderland. At that point I was like, fuck, I just did that hike and I made it up this hill (despite nearly collapsing) to see such an incredible view that I would probably never experience anywhere else.

It really changed the way I felt about my life. I felt so empowered after it.

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I went home that night with such a different take on things. I was so proud of myself for doing what I didn’t think I was capable of.

It was almost an addicting feeling in fact, because today, only a week later, I hiked up the ‘Grouse Grind’ which is one of the most challenging hikes in Vancouver, apparently. I’ve not smoked for around 10 days now, been doing quite a considerable amount of yoga, and I felt ready to take up the challenge.

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My legs did not have it.

This hike was verging on too much for me. It wasn’t even so much a hike, but a vertical climb up steps for around 2 miles. It wasn’t the sort of hike that was pleasant that you could speak to your friends on and enjoy the scenery. It was just constant steps.

My friend and I started the hike at 3pm and we were trying to make it up the grind for sunset in order to see the view. The climb took ages. I was worried after a while that I wouldn’t make it up to see the view before it got dark (because it gets dark crazy early this time of year) and I decided to power on as quickly as I could.

I thought, theres no way in hell I’m putting myself through this without having a worth while view at the end. So I pushed past the tiredness and felt like I’d basically became a monkey pulling myself up these stairs as they were so vertical. Eventually, I saw the end, 1 and a half hours later, feeling so tired I felt my heart pounding out my chest, and turned around and saw the most stunning sunset I have ever seen.

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The water was like glass reflecting the sky and the clouds were like marshmallows and I looked out at it and thought, oh my god, I cant believe I actually made it up here. I felt so in love with the world at that moment and believed that I can literally achieve anything after that.

I cant even describe how different I feel just two weeks after making this change within myself. It’s nothing too extreme or anything, and I mean, I know I cant do a hike every week of my life, but its definitely something I’m going to take up more. Pushing myself in a way I never usually would and it really made me understand why people push themselves in this way because its so rewarding when you reach the top. And if the view is beautiful, its even better.

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Anyway, thats all for today, but a message for you all reading this is is to challenge yourself! Push yourself in ways you don’t think you’re capable of. You will shock yourself and realize how strong you really are. And it feels so good. 

Travelling teaches you the appreciation of home…

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“Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

So in my blog I have written about what travelling has done for me, and how great an experience it has been so far. But I also need to highlight how much travelling truly makes you appreciate your home. Wherever you come from may not be the most beautiful place in the world, and this is definitely true for me, but it makes thankful of it in a way you’ve never been before. Home isn’t essentially just about the location you come from, but about the people that come from there that are special to you.

To start off with, recently I have found myself with a new found love for my parents and my brother. I don’t see them all the time when I’m at home anyway, but I definitely phone them a lot to see how they are and vice versa. Due to being in Canada I can’t make phone calls to Britain without it costing a fortune, so for a long time now I’ve only been able to email them, and to be honest I really miss the sound of their voices. Email just doesn’t cut it. When I’m sitting here now writing this I realize how much I miss the company of my brother, and how I’d love to have a catch up with him. I also realize how incredibly good my parents have been to me, and of course I value them at home, but being away with barely any contact shows me how much I miss and cherish them and how having supporting parents is one of the best things you can you can be gifted with.

I’ve been in Canada for two months now, and before I came on this study-abroad exchange I was told by the study-abroad officer in my University that around half way, you can experience a sad cloud due to missing people at home. They say the initial excitement can fade, and as you start to feel more used to your surroundings you can start to miss whoever you’re close with at home. I find this in particular with my boyfriend (Michael). I’m not going to lie to any of you who plan to go travelling without your partner at some point in your lives, that long distance is hard. I can safely say it has been a massive challenge for me so far. Initially, for around 2/3 weeks being here, I was totally fine. Everything was new around me, and it didn’t really feel real that I would be away from him for 4 months. It only really started to sink in lately. It is definitely a difficult process and if you plan to have a long distance relationship, my advice is, go into it knowing that it won’t all be easy sailing.

I have found with my own experience that there can be great days. For example, last week me and Michael had a “Skype Date” where we both dressed nicely and had wine and beers over a Skype call and it was actually so fabulous (Cheesy I know but don’t care hehe). But other times can be more difficult because of things such as lack of communication due to time difference, or misunderstandings due to texting, and I think what can make things most frustrating through everything is that all you want to do is see each other, and know that you can’t.

So yeah, is can be hard, but it is all so worth it though. I would never give up my time here and go home because I’m homesick, because Vancouver- Canada is the place of my dreams and I know Michael will be there for me when I return. And if anything, all that the distance away from him has taught me is how much I completely love him and how I truly can’t wait to have him back in my life.

As well as this, friends are so precious, and distance has highlighted to me how much I adore them. The friends I have back home are the sort of guys that will always stay the same with you no matter how many months or years go by, and they feel like a family to me. I’m actually surprised by how much I miss them in a way because I’ve never properly missed friends like this before, but I think when you’re in a place that is so completely different from what you’re used to, with all completely new people, it’s hard not to reminisce on fun times you’ve had with your friends at home, especially if you’re like me and you know they’re absolutely going to be your friends for life.

This blog today is not a negative post in any way, it is in fact quite the opposite, it is a blog to express that no matter how much we don’t think we do it, we all take home for granted from time to time, and travelling allows us to truly appreciate those little things at home that before we may have just taken in our stride, and if anything, it improves our bond with those that mean the most to us.

No time like the present…

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I have an extremely busy mind. This might relate to yourself and your life and may play a huge role in the way you relax, or in the way you don’t relax.

The biggest flaw we have in humanity is our inability to be in the present and enjoy doing absolutely nothing without feeling guilty. I don’t know if it has to do with the way we are brought up or the way society is, or maybe technology, but we always find ourselves having to fill our time with distractions.

Whether we go to the gym in our spare time, read a book, watch television, go to the movies, finish up chores, we are always filling up our minds with something, and not  allowing ourselves to be in the present moment.

This sort of practice can come a lot with meditation, and I’m realizing more and more so, that it comes with travelling.

Travelling teaches you to live in the present.

There is no concern about mundane tasks and worry over problems because you’ve already left that behind you before you came. Nothing that is around you is yours to worry about. I mean, you ofcourse have a bed to sleep in and you have you’re belongings that you take with you, but apart from that, what is there to worry about?

Your normal way of living is now so completely different and you have left everything such as relationships and work, so what you have when you’re travelling is essentially complete freedom.

And it’s incredible.

You made the decision to leave your normal life behind for some time when you travel and sure, you can pick up where you left off when you return, but this time, wherever you may be, is for you to be you. And thats it.

It’s the most refreshing feeling in the world.

I hiked up a trail out in a place called “Deep Cove” outside of Vancouver, and this was a perfect example of when I realized this living in the present theory. My friend and I hiked up the hill for around an hour and a half, chatting, and keeping our minds busy, but when we reached the top it all completely changed.

The view was absolutely sensational.

All I could see for miles was a beautiful ice blue lake, birds singing, endless mountains and trees and the most clear blue sky I have ever seen.

After the initial first few moments of classic photo taking, I put my phone away and just sat there.

There were many other people there too but this cliff edge rock that we all sat on had plenty of space for sitting  and I could tell the people there were feeling the same way as me, in complete awe.

I just sat there looking for over an hour and thoughts came into my head like, ‘Wow, I am so damn lucky to be alive and to be here’ and ‘I wish everyone could see how stunning this is.’ I felt any sort of trouble I had melt away and realized that I didn’t need to do anything, I didn’t need to think about anything, I just had the absolute freedom to sit there and enjoy the surroundings. It was a feeling like no other.

Travelling changes the way you relate to the world.

If I hadn’t came to Canada, I can imagine myself not envisioning much past the world of Scotland and my comfortable little bubble. It allows you to break that bubble and leave all of those worries and fears behind and really allows you to see the true beauty of the world.

There is more beauty in the world that I can ever imagine and I am strongly passionate now that I want to try my hardest to see as much of it as I can.

A note to end on is that I strongly suggest to you if you lead the same sort of lifestyle as I did and you always have a million thoughts on the brain, to say , you know what fuck this! 

Pack up your things and go travelling and you will experience the wonderful calm that comes with living your life in the present moment.

Get Over Yourself…

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I grew up in a small town in the South of Scotland with not much diversity and not a great deal of people. I mean, it was a really nice place to live in for a few years of my school life, but I wouldn’t have wanted to stay there for too long. In small towns it’s common to have ‘Small Town Syndrome’ where people look and act the same, and everyone is involved with each others business. I was even guilty at the time of falling into a certain way that now when I look back, I didn’t like at all. I was very sure of myself, nothing else mattered apart from this small town and these people, I didn’t branch out because it wasn’t the thing to do. Felt quite robotic in a sense.

Travelling allows you to get over yourself. It essentially slaps you back into reality and opens your eyes to the fact that the world absolutely does not revolve around you. I have been away from home for many years now, and I have learned this lesson greatly. Even when I moved to Aberdeen a few years back things changed for me, I was pulled out of my comfort zone, I felt very scared and uncomfortable for a while because no one knew me and I was used to everyone around me knowing who I was, it opened my eyes to the difference in the world and it inevitably did me a power of good.

Aberdeen is 4 hours away from my town and I now consider this city my home, I have met the most special friends in the world there, ones who share the same views as me and the ones I can be ultimately comfortable with, I fell out of any robotic pattern I once had because I realized I didn’t have to pretend to be a certain way, I was just exactly who I wanted to be and they enjoyed me for being me, it was extremely refreshing.

Currently I’m sitting here in Canada and thinking about how my comfort zone has been further stretched by moving across the continent and meeting entirely new cultures of people. People who look and act absolutely nothing like me.

I realize these different cultures are so enriching and its absolutely okay that they aren’t like me, because it brings me out of my comfort zone even more as I embrace these new people and their ideals. I have met so many people here who I aspire to be like and who are insanely interesting. Due to the friendliness of the people over here, a girl named Carly asked me if I wanted to go for drinks with her a few nights ago. Gagging for a drink of wine and eager to meet a new person, I accepted the offer and we ended up getting very merry (possibly too merry as I don’t quite remember getting home). I found out so much about her that I was literally astonished by. She lived across the other side of Canada in a place called ‘Yellow Knife’ and decided that she wasn’t happy with her life there, she found herself depressed, low and drinking all the time, she found her life wasn’t going anywhere and that she was just wasting her time partying and leading a crazy lifestyle. So she left her home, and came to Vancouver completely alone, rented out a small little cabin out of town by the lakes and mountains, and she now lives there ready to take on her next chapter in life. How brave is that?!

Listening to this girl talking reminded me of how amazing people are and how there is so much more to the world than our own little bubbles. She carried on to tell me that she travelled around Europe alone and that it gave her time to find herself and meet new people and hear their stories. She inspired me so much and gave me an inspiration for this blog because it’s so incredible how much an individual can learn about themselves from travelling.

Travelling is humbling, it empowers you, and allows you to truly express who you are. It allows you to find out about yourself, and question yourself like you never would stuck back in your comfort zones at home. Vancouver is already opening my eyes so much to the beauty of the world and to the different cultures before me.

I am realizing that there is more beauty in the world than I have the ability to see in a life time, but I have the ultimate desire to explore as much of it as I can and fully open my eyes to what the world has to offer.

The confidence to speak…

It is an interesting phenomenon that when we speak to eachother, more often than not it comes naturally (unless you are speaking to a crush for the first time). But when it comes to speaking in front of a room of 20 or more people, things change, and speaking naturally becomes a lot more difficult? Even if you have 100% faith in what you’re saying – it becomes so much more challenging to say in front of a crowd. It’s a very strange thing, and I found this in my first public speaking class I attended on Friday, that there is so much more to speaking in public then you may think. I have always been interested in broadcasting as a potential career goal so I thought this public speaking class would give me some essential practice and help that I would need to get into the field. I also feel I’m pretty confident person and thought the idea of speaking infront of a class of people wouldn’t be too bad at all. I was totally wrong. Don’t get me wrong, after I gave my piece I got some praise from the teacher (who by the way was pretty harsh but I’ll come to that), and was complimented on the pace of which I said things and the pitch of my voice which is always a good thing right?

But weirdly before I went up to speak I thought I was going to have a heart attack. My heart was beating so fast, and my hands were getting warm and when I was up there (I don’t think it was noticeable to the class) but I felt myself trembling like an alarm clock that had just gone off. It was such a weird sensation because I really wouldn’t consider myself a nervous person but even my close friend noticed that she’s never seen me so nervous before. Which got me to thinking what a strange concept it is that we can speak a lot more comfortably in a smaller group but as soon as people start paying attention to only you, the only thing you can think of is how other people must see you. Do I sound okay? Do people like my accent? Wait, do people like my outfit? Oh no I picked this in a rush today. I have better style than this!!! Is any of what I’m saying interesting…? These thoughts come racing into your head all at once and it’s such a bizarre sensation – But also quite a thrilling one. After we gave our speeches we heard feedback from the class which allowed us to see what they thought of our performances. I spoke earlier about my teacher. And I already love her. She’s kinda like Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada (if you don’t know who I mean by this I am saddened). I found her very to the point with what she meant, and sometimes not so nice. She said to one of the guys in the class that he looked too serious and scary when he spoke, and that another girl looked “like she didn’t give a shit.” I was totally surprised by such harsh criticism but I think this is what everyone needed and you could see everyone was ambitious to do well for her. I know I left the class feeling inspired anyway.

I suppose I wanted to write about this because I never really considered how much it takes to public speak and how body language is so important. If you don’t stand up straight people don’t take you seriously. If you fidget people think you’re nervous and don’t trust you. If you use too many hand gestures people get distracted and lose interest. If you are monotone and don’t use expression in your voice people get bored, and on the opposite end if you are too theatrical people think you’re “a joke” as our teacher told us (actually secretly found her hilarious).

So there is so much science to it that I never really realized before and what I believed came natural to us, is infact, a lot harder than it seems. Hats off to those who present award shows such as the Emmys, they must be putting on a seriously brave front!!

Anyway, that’s what inspired and interested me this week. I have been shown that you do truly need a new level of confidence and inner calm to public speak – and I am really excited for what the rest of the class has to offer. 💫💫

Lost…

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I was thinking for a long time on how to start off this blog, and what to write, and what would be interesting for people to read, just thinking and thinking, and it brought me to the thought that it is SO crazy that I’m at 20 years of age, and I have absolutely no idea what I want to do with my life, or which path to follow. 

Its such a strange thought if you think a lot into it, (like I tend to do) that we cannot see the future and more often that not end up going down paths we never thought we would. This got me to thinking further about writing a blog. I have a “ramblings” book that I often write thoughts and random feelings into, but I thought, why not make it into a blog and see if people can relate? I have always wanted to write one, but I was never sure which direction it should go, I could never think of one specific idea. But the idea is this, I have absolutely no idea what I truly want in my life, and I want to find out.

That’s the truth. I know I want so many different things from life, but when I think about it over and over, I can never quite answer the question that often pops into my head of “How am I going to make a difference to this world?” or “What will truly bring me the most joy, more than anything else?” 

Truthfully, I feel I would be the happiest person in the world if i could just bum around and pick strawberries from fields and travel and surf and take photos and just enjoying being free. But of course, that can only be the case if you have an unlimited amount of cash, which I unfortunately do not. It then occurred to me that I love to write.
Even in my spare time if i could just get out my thoughts, and “find myself” (cheesy) along the way then that would clear up everything for me. I suppose you find yourself through train of thought and reflection right? I don’t know.

But it has been a over playing thought in my mind recently and I need to figure out where I’m heading and where I want to be – to be completely and utterly content with my life.
I mean, I’d like to say I’m very happy with my life so far. I’m at the prime of my life, I have the best group of friends, a supportive family, I have my boyfriend who I love to bits, and I go to University in Aberdeen in Scotland studying media, so I feel I have a lot going for me and a lot to be grateful for. But I sometimes look at people who have done these great things, and I wonder how they have been so inspired to do what they have done, some of them younger than me, and it makes me wonder what that one special thing is that I can do that’s different from every one else.

I suppose a lot of people of 20 something can relate to this, even at older ages, people are still wondering what that one thing is that makes them shine out over others. Some people can sing and decide to pursue that, or can play an instrument and join a band, or are very athletic and join a team, but I often find myself sitting here like, I want to do all of these things, why am I not doing them?

I always find myself saying “Oh, I really need to teach myself Spanish” or “Oh, I really want to learn how to play the violin” but never find myself properly pursuing it and wind up in the same spot again – wishing I was pursuing them all. This is why I really need to figure out what I really want and what I feel so passionately about that its the only thing I want to do.
So this is what made me apply for study abroad, and so far I feel it has been the best decision i have ever made. I am currently sitting writing this in Vancouver, Canada, and it was the first time I have ever decided to properly sit down and type what comes into my mind.

I decided that getting out of my comfort zone in Aberdeen would give me that push and make me truly seek out what it is that I want to do, and what I have been brought into this world for. I mean, I’m here without my family, without my friends, without my boyfriend, and to be honest, totally disconnected from the life I have in Aberdeen. I feel I can be free to be who I want and do what I want, and experiment with new ideas and experience new cultures. 

I study Media, so I suppose I can say my real passion is all things like documentary, photography, reading, film and of course I love to write. I brought my camera over here to potentially start a documentary of my life here in Canada and keep it as a souvenir for myself because without it, I would forget a heap of the stuff I’ve seen and done, and who knows, I could really start enjoying filming out of it. 

Basically, I want this time to free my mind (as lame as that sounds), to enjoy my surroundings, to record and write down on here anything I feel inspires me, moves me, changes my mind, I will write down if I have done something I regret, or something that’s made me happy and proud, or any new ideas I have, and hopefully within it all, I will calm my frantic 20 year old mind, relax, and find own unique path.