Dear 2016…

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Dear 2016,
You start with impatience as I count down the days to a big awaited adventure that’ll take me away. Your days are long and dull and I wish away the rain soaked pavements and too familiar faces. When I leave he runway at Heathrow you instantly become my most favourited year as my life long restlessness stays waiting at the terminal. You teach me from the get go what it is to be cemented in your intuition, to believe and trust in only yourself. Your the year that me, myself and I meet and become a woman with wistful ideas and brave ambition. Your the year my best friend becomes my sister, the year I learn what real friendship is, that bonds can stretch beyond language barriers, ages and backgrounds. Your the year my anxiety becomes a part of me but not something that defines me. Your the year that I become enough.

We see the most surreal sunsets, dreamy beaches and landscapes the most talented of creators couldn’t do justice. We give in to recklessness, do things we should regret but manage only to empower us. Together we take on challenges we never could of anticipated as our reality and within those challenges comes a peaceful groundedness, a serene acceptance of what this world is, how it works, its quirks, it’s issues, its abundant diversity. I see things that shatter my naïveté, make me notice my privilege. In my independence I think of home, it’s comfort and support. Gratitude becomes a familiar nuance. I learn what it is to have money and to lose it, to struggle to keep yourself a float on next to no wage in a laborious job. I learn just how much I can cope with. And it turns out that’s a lot. You, for me in my little bubble are the most influential twelve months of my life. You are the epitome of ‘happiness’ means to me.

Meanwhile you strangle the world, deprive it of its free voices, better talents, destroying the idols who matter and make a difference. Whilst the worst of the living take power, you let our race digress years in its equality and peace. You ruin nature, humanity, hope. You slam into the lives of millions with terror and injustice. And I can’t help but be taken back by your heartlessness, your ignorance. You sweep over continents in a tumultuous reign, ripping at any developments we’ve made. I look back on you in an anxious rage.

Thank you for your encouragement, your life-fullness. Your actions discourage my excitement but don’t dull the euphoric journey I took on this year. I found my bliss in your chaos and as selfish as it is I’m thankful for your days.

Love and confusion,
Nikki

Visuals: Watson’s Bay Walk

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Words on my mind: Intuition

screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-15-02-27A thing I’ve learnt in recent months is that you have to give yourself credit for the decisions you’re forced to make on a daily basis. Knowing whats right and wrong for yourself when you’re in a situation that could go a multitude of terrifying ways is a big ask and you’re all you’ve got. Taking risks is more than just a deep quote about only having one life, and a friend departed from the circumstances saying a flippant “just go for it” it’s putting everything you are and all that you’ve accomplished up until that point on the line. Asking yourself repeatedly “is this worth it?” without really having any definitive answer to act on. It’s such a lonely place to find yourself.

But we all go through it whether it’s deciding to pack up and move to the other side of the world, or leaving one job for another or even something as human as honestly confessing your feelings. We don’t quite notice the pressure and the magic of taking a chance like we should. When someone asks us advice on their predicament its easy to just brush it off without fully registering what it actually must feel like to them. I know I do it all the time. I pride myself on listening to my friends and their problems but when it comes down to it I can’t quite weigh the situation to the correct extremes. With this I also notice how much I take for granted that intuitive core I regard so highly in my own life. I’m always meditating on ideas and listening to that sacred little voice in my “soul”. Is this what I need? How is it making me feel? Let’s leave it to my instinct and follow that invisible little fabled creature into the unknown. It’s thrilling.

When you talk about intuition it’s often mocked or regarded as illogical, a dreamers trait. The problem is the conscious has so many outsider influences, it’s the machine behind fear and repression. The more we think the more they become a decider. The people around you, the external situations that could interfere with the present one you’re deciding on. It’s not that your intuition wont lead you astray and I’m not saying it’s always guaranteed to take you down the most successful path but likelihood is it is more connected with the present and who you are and what you need in this moment. That is never wrong. You can’t live in the past or the future, they aren’t tangible, not set in stone. Dwelling on tomorrow is the best way to ruin today and contemplating yesterday is the best way to stay stagnant. The way I regard intuition, is as a portal to who I should be, who I am right now. The only me that really matters. If it makes sense in this second and the feelings it unravels are positive then what other “reasoning” do you need? Trust a little in you.

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You’ve caught the virus

the one they spread

of toxic thoughts

and social dread.

 

Your bright eyes heavy

dulled in vain

from all the insomnia

thoughts that stain

 

Your mind it’s anxious

a trembling thread

of wicked voices

you cannot shed.

 

Your body is weary

from sleepless nights

your thinning limbs

a pitiful sight.

 

Your lip it quivers

a trembling shame

hollow cheeks

depressions claim.

Working the World…

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I’ve become very aware that of late my social media has become some glamorised version of my life. Honestly? A lot of my travels have been pretty spectacular but I have spent 70% of this year working and I think it’s important to discuss that. My travels haven’t been handed to me, I haven’t just spontaneously boarded a plane to the other side of the world and filled my days with abundant adventure. Actually other than the marvellous first month of my Working Holiday Visa the rest of the time was spent working one to two jobs or worrying about getting work and staying afloat. I’m currently being paid very minimum wage on a blueberry farm,  where I’m constantly anxious about not having the money to pay my rent and eat. There was a point earlier this year where I was down to just $60 in my bank which may not seem very little but when you’re three months into your independent adventure on the other side of the world it’s super scary. Just last week I was stuck on 62 cents for four days, living on rationed cereal. It’s not ideal but its part of the adventure.

It would be nice to have unlimited money to fill your life with careless travels but there is no feeling quite like earning your way in this world. You appreciate what you work to afford so much more. It can be daunting when the people you meet have already achieved so many cool things. Everyone I know pretty much has already done the east coast and I’ve just burned through all my east coast savings flitting around Australia following farm work leads. It’s a very personal thing travelling and you can’t measure your “success” by other peoples standards. I haven’t done any long term travelling through the outback or week long road trips on the great ocean road but I will. In the meantime I’ve fallen in love with Sydney, created a little family amongst my colleagues and fellow city dwellers, experienced some amazing beach days and found solace in my adventure craving soul on day long beach walks and intercity getaways. I know Sydney pretty well, have come to call it home and I’m now in a desperate enough state to be able to charge on through 88 days of brutal, heated, back breaking farm work to stay another year. In the meantime I’m back to earning my way, advancing the boundaries of what I can cope with, giving back to the country I love.

I needed to put this out there because there was a point not too long ago that I thought travel was an impossibility, I was lost and uninspired in England. It has taken a lot but I’m here now and no matter how many hours I sacrifice to work I regret not one decision I’ve made this year. It’s been the best year of my life and I’m ever grateful to myself for making it happen. So if you’re reading this from a similar state of indecision and fear, here is your push. Give yourself into the risk because I promise it will be a risk worth taking.

N x

 

Soma

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I threat majorly about eating vegan when I head out of my home security and into a whole new place. When I mentioned to people that I’d be taking a trip to Bali those who new me well feared for my ‘selective’ diet. They couldn’t have been more wrong. Ubud is by far home to some of my most favourite vegan spots ever! Yep, ever! So I’m gonna pop up a few reviews to help y’all out whether you’re vegan yourself, have vegan friends or just want some yummy wholesome food.

First stop, Soma. Not 100% vegan, but making a good go at it, soma is located on ‘Jalan Guatama’ my favourite little side street in Ubud. The place itself is beautiful, a peaceful vibe with water features, lanterns and peaks of nature everywhere. When I thought of Bali I had this specific Buddhist, hippy, type image and this restaurant for sure lives up to that. We sit in the centre of the place and take it all in, gushing at some of the items on the menu. There’s a good choice for vegans, vegetarians and health food fanatics. My friend is not vegan but something in me sees it as a challenge, luckily she’s won over by pretty much every place we try. She opts for a raw pad thai and I go for the Gado gado rolls.

One thing about being vegan and into travel is that you can’t always experience the culinary aspects of a place. Luckily Indonesian and Balinese food tend to be quite vegetable based, so even if they aren’t originally vegan friendly it’s pretty easy to substitute and remove items to make it so. The gado gado rolls are traditionally vegetarian, and often times advertised as vegan so its a win win! I get to care about the animals and experience some local flavours. This dish was so fresh and yummy and the peanut sauce is something I crave still now. I could have eaten this every day.

Happy Eating!

N x

Words on my mind: Spirituality

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“Spirituality is rebellion; religiousness is orthodoxy. Spirituality is individuality; religiousness is just remaining part of the crowd psychology. Religiousness keeps you a sheep, and spirituality is a lion’s roar.” – Osho

Sometimes I become obsessed with words and ideas, things that make a big bang in the chaos of my thoughts. I’ll read a quote, a definition of a word, I’ll overhear a conversation on the bus and something in the deepest part of me just twinkles alive. Why are humans so scared of feeling? So scared of connecting with the heavy energy of our world. We reach out to each other everyday when our gazes meet, when we brush past a stranger in the street, when we like a post on instagram. But we never build on it, we keep it secret and brewing inside, we turn it into poetry, into a dream we have no control over. We are scared of what being human inherently means. To feel. We let other people dictate who we should be, what we should pursue, where we should go. We let our worth be weighed up by the people society has taught us to view as higher than ourselves. This pollution of power has always seemed to be such an intrinsic problem in religion.

Take, for example, this guy in Newcastle city centre who would stop you in the street and ramble about God, about his divinity, his goodness and his forgiveness. After this forceful speech of God’s righteousness he would move onto racist slurs and homophobic jibes. It was so backward. “Oh I’m such a devoted follower of this holy spirit full of light and beauty but shame on these people and the things they can’t help being. Judgment and punishment to anyone outside of this ludicrous assessment the bible has taught me. God has no room for them, but he has room for me and my blind hatred, in his master plan for a peaceful love centric world.” Come on now.

When I was in high school our religious studies teacher used to talk about how the church was an archaic memory, about how England had lost it’s religion. He’s right. Unfortunately for England and America people have taken judgement, unfair dictations and severe hatred and use a loose passage in the bible to justify it, they’ve just forgotten all of the goodness. We carry with us those archaic discriminatory views first implemented by the church and it’s such waste of what could be, and oftentimes is, such a pure kindness filled belief system.

With spirituality I’ve found the lightness of being, the intricate web that connects you with her and him and them. A deep energy filled existence that stretched out tendrils of knowing and connects you to a greater purpose. I toyed with the Christian way of life when I was thirteen and the Buddhist way in my later teens. But like everything, the labels are just labels, humans trying desperately to categorise a bunch of thoughts to make life less scary. But it isn’t scary it’s mysterious and we need to remember the core of all the hundreds of beliefs around the world, whether aboriginal spirit or the holy divinity of the church. We want kindness, we want unity, we want a fair place to live, let our light spark up and when we die? Well we’ll deal with that when it comes. Make your energy vibrate with kindness and forgiveness, with creativity and passion, take all you are, all you hope to be and push it out into the world. At the heart of every faith is love, act on that.