Memories: thankfully we only remember the good

From travels, I remember the hot sunny days, the beautiful scenes, times when all went to plan, the constant happy buzz filling me inside and the friendly people I met along the way. I swerve to think of the overnight trains and flights, skipping so many time zones that I was so jet lagged I was physically sick, the less welcoming people, the times I’ve feared for my life, the rain, the stress of some plans that didn’t quite work out and the times I missed home.

My friend and I were discussing only the other day how this is always the case. From stages in life you only ever remember the good and always (usually) forget the bad. We remember being so sad to leave school but during our time slogging away at A-levels we were wishing we could have be doing anything but. She chose to spend the week I visited doing exciting things and showing me around when she had so much work to stress about. However, we questioned what she’d remember most about her time at college, being slightly stressed about a test or the time she showed me the amazing state that is Florida? It’s a no brainier.

This goes for people too. Whether they’re sadly no longer with us or our paths have separated for whatever reason, we rarely ever remember how they chewed annoyingly when they ate, were so stubborn it was hard to ever compromise or always thought they were right. No, we think of times we spent together, the things they did to support us and conversations we had that oozed positivity or made us laugh so hard that we cried.

So as I overcome my jetlag in New Zealand feeling human again and no longer throwing up from exhaustion, I remember this. I embrace all of the struggles along the way but I know that when I look back at this time in my memory bank, I’ll only think of the good and the bad will have thankfully vanished.


A Dog’s Purpose

If you’re reading this post and are yet to see the film, stop reading immediately and watch it. I won’t give too much away but A Dog’s Purpose is the perfect summary of the happiness and comfort that dogs bring to so many lives.

We’ve only ever had one dog in my lifetime at home, we’ve always been ‘cat people’. They say you’re either one or the other but I completely disagree. I have loved all the pets we’ve ever had and love the one and a half cats that are still with us, dearly. I say one and a half which kind of has two meanings. Lily was the runt of the litter so her growth is somewhat stunted and Frankie only decides to live with us for six months of the year, prancing around our village like he owns the place for the rest. Which one is the half can be up to you. Of course I love them, however I do understand why some people prefer dogs. When I come home, if I’m in a bad mood and need cheering up, though Lil will snuggle on my lap (or look at me angrily because I disturbed her sleeping, turn around and drift off again), it’s not quite the same greeting as you get from dogs.

I have plenty of friends with dogs and as I enter their houses, I’m instantly smothered with so much love and happiness from every one. They run around as if they’re constantly grinning and anything can make their day from a delicious treat to a stick that’s bigger than the one from the last walk. If you feel sad and enter a house with dogs you’ll soon be smiling. Or if you’ve had a stressful day and head to some open land with a bunch of merry pups, all the stresses will fly away from you.

After I watched this film I really missed all the dogs I know. The ones I go walking with most days and the ones I frequently visit, always happy to see me. The film really pulls on your heart strings and makes you warm to a certain dog and his story. It shows how much they mean to everyone and how important they are in this world. Dogs can bring even the strongest servicemen to tears through the love that they have for one another and that’s special.

In America, I’ve seen some of the cutest dogs going. To be honest I say this about most dogs I see, but then every dog I see is pretty cute. The sniffer dogs standing at work, amazingly intelligent and well trained with a sign attached to them that reads ‘DO NOT PET’, now that’s just cruel. I desperately wanted to pet every one I saw and relieve them from their shift to join me on the rest of my travels. Sadly this couldn’t happen and they had to carry on working.

I even saw some rather adorable puppies waiting in the departure gate at JFK international airport and hoped that they’d join us on the flight. I have no idea why they’d be in the departure gate otherwise, but I saw none of them on my flight.

So if you decided that my writing is more important than the film and you’re STILL reading, seriously go and watch A Dog’s Purpose. Trust me, you won’t regret it, you’ll just love and appreciate our canine friends that little bit more because they are truly amazing.

I’m gradually turning into more and more of a ‘dog person’ and feel that’s only going to increase.


My Life Right Now

Stressful. Exciting. Half of the time I am living in blissful ignorance, wine in the sun, meeting friends for brunch at 11am and pretending that student life is not almost over. But then I feel guilty. The rest of my time I’m feeling the pressure. Feeling the judgmental eyes of pensioners claiming it wasn’t as easy as I have it in their day and laughing when I tell them my travel plans. Maybe I do have it easier, but we all have different stories. 

I’m not claiming that student life isn’t awesome because it is. And it is an easy life too, to a certain extent; the lengthy holidays, lack of contact hours, cheap drinks – the list goes on. We are all allowed to joke about it, but I do think that sometimes people misunderstand the ease of post graduate life in the job market. I do live a lovely life at the moment but I also work, constantly think about my future career, still have studies going on and with only a month of Uni left (as I’m constantly reminded) I find myself repeatedly answering the question: ‘what’s next?’ 

Well, lady who’s granddaughter is such a success and walked straight out of uni into a job, it is not always that easy and no I am not going travelling to waste time, find myself, or bum about. I want to be a journalist, a writer, entertain you all with posts like these, give my imprint of thought into the world’s media. I am also just 22 years of age. The pressure to leave university and immediately walk into an amazing job in London which pays phenomenally well is high, but it is also extremely competitive. This does not make university a waste of time, it’s just not how it works. 

Having a degree in the industry that I’m entering is necessary and the jobs I’ve researched require one. Many jobs out there do not and for people in those circumstances, university would indeed be a complete waste of time, but for me it certainly wasn’t. I also don’t see the need to completely stress myself out by rushing, strictly planning my life to the year and diving head first into exactly what I want to be doing for the next fifty years of working days, but this doesn’t make me lazy. I visited careers at Uni the other month (amidst high levels of stress) and had a minor breakdown about future plans. The lady was so calming and basically advised me to slow down and chill out! She told me that I probably will come back from travels jobless because jobs don’t often work on a six month in advance basis, but its no problem and there are plenty of options. I am only 22. I keep reminding myself.

Travelling was something that was always in my mind when finishing Uni and I know there are plenty of opportunities to jet off at any age. However, this time in life really is the only time when responsibilities are next to nothing, you have saved enough money and can get away with budget backpackers and sacrificing food for alcohol. SO GO. Yes, I am a little nervous about being alone but as I sat in the chair in STA Travel about to hand away most of my savings on flights alone, I thought to myself – if I don’t do it now, when else will I? GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE. So I’m going, and the more I tell people about it the more I get comments back as if I’m not taking life seriously, but I am. It’s something I need to do and I have my career in mind each day that I search travel magazines and think of pitches for articles that I can write during my time away.

As I’ve said, this puts a bit of a spanner in the works on the graduate job front. It will be very rare to find a job advertising now for intake in mid-November and so all I can really do is wait. Nope, man who constantly laughs at my plan and lack of job at the end, it doesn’t mean I’m sitting on my arse doing nothing. Most days I browse sites looking for things I’d like to do, scanning the industry and keeping up to date with developments. Being aware of writing around me and where it has come from. I also write and volunteer for companies, getting feedback on articles on a professional level but I will stop there. I don’t need to explain myself. 

Yes I’ve gone to Uni, no I don’t yet have a graduate job lined up but come November I won’t stop until I find my dream. No I’m not saying a degree is everything and there are plenty of other avenues and good on you whoever you are, but for me it was right. For half of my friends and family it was not for them, but for ME it was right. This age is both stressful and exciting whether you’ve been to uni or not and if I’ve learnt anything about this period of life it is the old cliche thing – do what’s right for you and do not listen to those who judge. Whether you went to uni or didn’t, whether you drink alcohol or don’t, if you like dressing up as a bloody unicorn or running the marathon in slippers – do it and do it for you. The people who matter to you the most will support you the whole way and those who don’t can quite frankly do one because there will always be someone judging no matter who you are. Most importantly, keep your head. You’re young so don’t forget to enjoy the amazing years, be excited about your future and don’t let the stress get the better of you (easier said than done, I know!)


I’m not alone, you are not alone

thought about the idea of being alone a lot this morning as I sat in Heathrow terminal 3 waiting for my flight to America. Though I’m meeting friends along the way, much of my trip is ‘alone’. I’m probably the biggest wimp going so I was wondering why I wasn’t scared. 

As I found myself smiling to myself (partly because I was eating pizza for breakfast and food generally makes me happy, but partly out of appreciation) I realised that actually I am never alone. I was continually receiving texts from friends and family sharing love and wishing me a fabulous trip which helps to get rid of any loneliness, but I soon realised that this isn’t needed to know how far from alone I always am.

I always have the wonderful memories, both recent and more distant, to think about and cherish. I’m surrounded by so many people and we share so much love for one another, so much that it doesn’t need to be expressed. I’m both supported and a support by and to so many people also. The excitement of returning to all of the wonderful, familiar faces in two months will only grow stronger and I’ll have so many stories to share. These are things that no time or distance can ever take away and I fully realise how lucky I am. 

Not only do the brilliant people in my life help me to never feel alone, strangers do also. It takes only a smile at someone on the subway, a shared smirk to someone who’s thinking on the same wavelength. Perhaps you help someone who is even more clueless than you are, but you are never alone.

So, as I continued my voyage to my first destination in New York city, stomach churning from time to time both through excitement and one or two nerves, I thought long and hard about this network of support and love that I have surrounding me and hope that I contribute to many others, strangers included.

I hope this applies to everybody reading this. If ever you feel a bit ‘on your own’ and you may well be, physically, but not really. It takes a text or a call to a loved one, a browse down old messages or photos, a thought about the memories both distant and near, a smile to a stranger on the street who smiles straight back, or when you lend a helping hand.

Never feel alone, we all have people who need us and we need them too.



University, I’ll be forever grateful.

When asked the other day what my ‘best bits’ of Uni have been, the natural response that I returned with shocked me. Now, it may have been the wine talking but I was impressed with the answer I gave. An answer more than ‘this one time I was sh**faced’ or ‘that really good result I got’. No, the answer I gave made me realise how beneficial my university experience has been on a deeper level.

Firstly, it’s made me realise and take pride in the fact that I don’t need to change around people. I mean, I’ve made so many friends at Uni don’t get me wrong, but I act just as mad around them as I do at home. I’ve realised that no matter how bonkers or random you are, there will always be people who love you for that very reason. If you’re a plain Jane, quiet and to yourself – people will love you for that too. I lack a filter, get a bit loud when I drink, wear my heart on my sleeve and sometimes overwhelm myself with my emotions, but I’m still surrounded by people who I love and love me so there’s no need to apologise. Just don’t change for anyone (unless you’re really horrid), there really is no point and whatever you’re doing or wherever you are in the world you will always find people who appreciate you.

Another best bit was how my perspective has changed for the better. This has happened totally subconsciously but I recognised it recently. I mean, I still stress about the tiniest issues, but I think that’s just human. However, so many things that would have eaten me up inside back in September 2014 no longer affect me in the same way. I used to have zero confidence, but now I have become confident in who I am. I used to freak out about being away from home, but I now appreciate both my homes in Suffolk and York so much and realise that they will always be there, holding a place in my heart and bringing nostalgia whenever I return. The littlest things bothered me and I couldn’t stop worrying, but I can now see the bigger picture.

I am ready to explore and open to new opportunities. Who knows where my first, second or third job will be? Who knows who I’ll marry or when I’ll meet them? Who knows what I’ll be doing this time next year? All I know is that university has enhanced my life for the better, brought so many new people in and made me appreciate those who were already there. It’s made me relax more and take things in my stride with an open mind and an open heart. It’s made me worry less because I can think more rationally so that things that once seemed huge now aren’t so important. It’s made me acknowledge the need to put the brakes on sometimes and stop planning every single stage. It will all work out. Just chill. It’s made me grow.

I’m not for one minute saying that you have to experience Uni to gain these benefits, but I think that in life sometimes an experience like this one coming to an end can make you notice the ways in which it has developed you as an individual. I’ve loved every minute of university and if I were to do it all over again I would and I wouldn’t change a thing. But the best bit about it has been what I have learnt about life more than my academic studies. It has been discovering qualities that I never knew I had and seeing the world in ways that three years ago seemed alien. 

I’ll leave you all with one of my go-to quotes to live by at the moment from a song by Noah and the Whale – “What you share with the world is what it keeps of you”. I think that’s a great way to put it. It’s a statement to keep in the back-burner as something to remember. And it’s so true, embrace who you are people the world needs a youSo as I pack up three of the greatest years of my life into my tiny Fiesta and head back to Suffolk, I smile at my achievements both academically and personally. University, I’ll be forever grateful.