Love Actually…{Part II}

“If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.”  -Prime Minister, Love Actually

where-did-you-find-that-ive-been-searching-for-it-everywhere-i-created-it-myself-happiness-1444847227In order to avoid the fate I dramatically represented here, we have to reevaluate how we define and look at the “L” word.  Yes, that four letter word that carries so much gorgeous weight…L O V E.

I really love the concept that love comes from within.  I think that is how love should be felt and seen. One thing I’ve truly learned in life thus far (and I’ve learned it all the f*cking hard way) is that any feeling we have comes from within us.  Happiness is a choice we make as our individual selves and cannot be the responsibility of any other human being, but us.  Love must be felt and explored from within before we know how to recognize it, express it and accept it in another.  Love isn’t striving for that perfection we can never obtain.  Love isn’t filling our lives by consuming information or “stuff” we generally don’t need.  Happiness isn’t those things either…

To truly live and live well is to find happiness within yourself and to learn how to fall in love with yourself first and foremost; to work at that love every damn day for the rest of your life.  To make choices.  To CHOOSE to love yourself and to love that person that you just don’t want to live without.  It’s a choice.  And it’s hard work, but nothing worth having ever came easy.  Choice.  That’s what it takes to keep the spark. Choice is the spark we have to keep alive.  The spark lies within us and too many people give it up, leave it to someone else and let it die out.  Everything crumbles on from there; relationships, self-love…it becomes a domino effect.

The act of falling in love, with another human being…falling for anything really, it’s a notion I’m not quite attached to.   Especially in this fine day and age of people swiping right to find their “happiness” and to “fall in love”.   If those are the things you’re looking to find using that method…call me.  We need to have a serious talk.  I urge you to avoid “falling” for anything on Tinder.  Use it, enjoy it, just don’t let it fool you into thinking that your happily ever after is on a screen.  This idea of falling, implies a catching of sorts and what I think too many of us are looking for is that one person to catch us.  Catch your own damn self!  What we should do in love, is BE in love.  We should BE ourselves, BE happy, just BE in love…we need to BE!

We have to be powerful in ourselves and whatever we conquer, whatever we express to ourselves within, is reflected out when we connect with another human being who has that same profoundness and acceptance within themselves.  Who knows who they are, what they want and how they’re going to take action to get it.  Light finds other light, happiness links to other happiness, love reflects love.

It’s a bloody complex thing to do; to maintain your own pursuit of happiness and take full responsibility for every single feeling you have on any given day.  It’s difficult because we’re also conditioned to play the blame game.  Well, that’s too easy.  Blaming others is a serious waste of energy.  As I continue to get older and have more friends getting married, having babies and all that grown up amazing-ness that we choose, I realize that money and children are just tips of the iceberg that can put a strain or pressure on a marriage or a relationship causing it to at times end in a divorce or a break up.

It’s the fact that we as humans have conditioned ourselves to make shifts in our priorities, thinking that we can find all that we seek in another person or by acquiring more whether that be a house with a picket fence and the nice car parked outside or creating the children to fill them.  See, I told you if you stuck with me, we’d come full circle!

We should always be our number one priority.  And that can only really happen when we have found and accepted happiness; a love of ourselves.  When we have made the choice to BE who we are.  Once that’s established, we can share that with another person who’s become their whole self.  But still, you’re your number 1.  Always.  I repeat…ALWAYS.  Your romantic relationship next.  Then the kids and whatever else you choose to have in and do with your beautiful life.

It’s just too f*cking easy to shift focus and change the priorities.  Women tend to put the relationship first.  Put their partner over themselves.  We do this because it’s what is in our nature.  We do this to be nurturing and be the caregiver, the saver, The Feminine that fixes it all!  And trust me when I say, we get amazing at it.  We wear superhero capes that other people can’t always see.  I’ve done it {for at least a time}, in every relationship I’ve ever had.   Even some of the non-romantic ones.  It all spells trouble. You lose yourself a bit more each time.  In romantic relationships that go to marriage, the institution only changes you if you allow it to.  I truly believe that.  You can think me a fool since I’m not married, but I’ve seen people and know people who have not let marriage change them as individuals or the relationship.  It’s a thing.    They have CHOSEN to BE with each other.  And they do the work required.  They aren’t existing under the impression that they can’t live without the other person, they know they could survive.  They CHOOSE not to live without their person; they know that connection doesn’t always come around.  It’s a CHOICE to hang on to who you love, to hold onto yourself, to BE you.  But I strongly believe you have to hang onto the number 1 priority spot in your life.  Of course it’ll shift from time to time.  Of course you’ll have to put others first.  You should.  What I’m saying is that you should never open up the leading role of your life to another person and lose your sense of happiness, love or BEing.

The problem is, a lot of people are walking around thinking that they are one half of a whole when we should all be walking around becoming a whole person on our own.  Just let that sink in a moment.

That’s what makes connecting with another “whole” person so sacred, so rare and so profoundly fantastic.   And don’t get me wrong.  We are always learning and teaching, adding and taking away pieces of ourselves that we need or don’t need and that process is deeply affected by the connections we make with other works in progress.  We are constantly changing and shifting because we’re perfectly imperfect…we are humans.  But we should all be providing our own sense of “wholeness” and “happiness” and “loveableness” before ever seeking it from another person.

I personally, want to constantly be striving to become the best version of me and continue to love myself and create my own happiness.  Continue to learn about myself and teach myself.  To journey into light and into my own darkness and back to the light.  All the wonderful humans I encounter in that brilliant and uniquely mine process, well, that will be a reflection of who I am too.  Whatever my “wholeness” happens to attract is all part of the adventure.  And I guarantee, there will be love.  Always…L O V E.

Love Actually…{Part I}

“Love yourself first and everything else falls in line.  You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”  –Lucille Ball

ME_468_AcceptingSelfLoveImage Cred: The Googles

Ah, love.  The word, the feeling, the one intangible thing that has the power to build you up and also tear you down.  Lately, the universe has been bringing me conversations surrounding the topic; I’ve had some personal battles with it recently and have also had some discussions with a few important dudes in my life and it has inspired some deep thought.

It seems to me that the human condition when it comes to matters of the heart has created this idea that we must constantly seek that which we don’t have.  We want what we can’t get.  When we get it, we don’t want it anymore and continue searching for something else to obtain.  You can understand how this becomes a very dangerous game when you’re playing with people’s hearts.  We walk around, existing under the idea that the grass is always greener on the other side.  Which is completely ridiculous since most of us just forgot to turn on the bloody hose and water our own lawn…or we’ve left the hose on too long and drowned the poor thing.  In my not so extensive dating experience, I have found that women have this same mentality when dating The Asshole.  You know what I’m about to dig into…it’s okay.  Save your “monkey see” emoji for a later time and listen up.

For us ladies out there, we’ve all dated The Asshole guy.  Sometimes, we’re even awesome enough to date several…our roaring 20s are good for that.  We get kicked to shit by them, eventually inducing a wish for someone nice to come around and treat us right.  With this wish for the nice kind of guy, we throw in an added bonus wish that we’ll acquire just a DASH of common sense as we enter the next round of dating, hoping to take action with the red flags that pop up.  Enter The Nice Guy.  He can serve our wants and needs for a time, but eventually, we sabotage him and his “niceness”.  The Nice Guy is just “too nice” we tell ourselves and our best girlfriends over dirty martinis at happy hour.  We eventually just wish that The Nice Guy would be more of a dick like our dear ex, The Asshole.  But why?  Why in all the things in this world that are holy and sacred would we want to ruin a perfectly good thing once we finally got what we’d been wishing for?!

Because: society.  We’ve been conditioned by society and also conditioned by ourselves to never be satisfied with what we have; we are always striving to attain more.  Because nothing is ever good enough.  You see, we’re told that perfection is out there, that we can acquire it.  And we believe it!  So we continue galloping off on our unicorns searching for our knights in shining armor and ending up with losers in aluminum foil.   I’ll just take a moment here to remind everyone the definition of an important word:

in·san·i·ty

inˈsanədē/

noun

extreme foolishness or irrationality.

My personal favorite: The definition of insanity, is, doing the exact same f*cking thing over and over again, expecting shit to change. That. Is. Crazy.  Thank you Urban Dictionary.

This is why women of a certain age start settling.  We settle for the “good on paper” guys.  Type A personalities who seem to have their general shit together, are nice, practical, planners.  In my personal translation {please take no offense you good on paper people out there–the world needs you too!}, boring as f*ck.  I only speak from my personal dating experience here.

Women my age who have dated The Asshole Guy or the emotionally blocked guys… hopped on the roller coaster of adventure into the unknown world of spontaneity, risk and inevitably other unsafe emotional places…eventually get tired.  Like we get so damn, EXHAUSTED of the let down, the not knowing, the hurt, the general asshole-isms…all of it.  So we settle for safety and security with someone that we love…but that love might require us to convince ourselves it’s really there half the time.  Unfortunately for thrill seeking women out there in dating land {hey girl heyyy!}, the good on paper guy isn’t random, spontaneous and full of adventure.  We’re going to pick The Nice Guy we maybe aren’t head over heels in love with out of fear that the roller coaster Asshole Guy won’t ever grow up, make you a safety harness that works and get his shit together enough to be with you.  And women get scared.  Get ready to clinch your teeth…it’s coming…in overly dramatic form of course…

Eventually, the hard and sad truth of it, is that a lot of women just want to be “rescued”.  Plus, there’s that whole biological clock ticking thing that happens right around age 28 for most of us with ovaries.  The Nice Guy is the one who can provide you with the picket fence, the golden retriever and the 2.some random decimal that doesn’t exist, babies.  You’ll have sex once a year for the rest of your marriage.  {YAY! Insert thumbs down emoji here.}  Then possibly wake up one day in your early 40s or 50s, the kiddos are living their own lives, and you realize that you have nothing in common with the person you’re sharing a bed with in your house with the picket fence that your tired, old golden retriever leaves hair all over.  This is one of the many reasons spouses start to resent each other’s very existence and why many marriages end in divorce.  Isn’t it a happy cycle?!  *Disclaimer: as mentioned above, this is a dramatization.  I am not a marriage counselor or licensed therapist, just one of those female homo sapiens who is intuitive and has opinions.*

Before you stop reading, thinking this is just a cynical rant dripping with “relationship hate”, stay with me; it’s going to get good in part II.

Highlight Reel…

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“A lot can happen in a year…” –Unknown

Welp, kids.  Another year has come and gone.  You’ll start to notice some changes over here on // Little Talks {capital letters, anyone?!}  I will be launching a new blog soon…STAY TUNED PLEASE!  With a new year and a coming of a new age // decade…hello, 30?  Can you hear me?!  I decided it was time to make a serious shift in my blogging and really take my writing to new heights.  With that being said, I always find it very important to remember where you’ve started and all the punctuation and grammar in between.  So without further ado, I’m keepin’ it real, with my 2015 highlight reel.

My blog was viewed 1,000 times last year.  Not a huge number in the grand scheme of the interwebs, however, for this little blog, that was a MASSIVE improvement from it’s past years in existence.  HUGE SHOUT OUT TO MY READERS, however, few and far between you may be…THANK YOU!

My most viewed posts:

  1. vanishing acts… Apparently some of you can relate to falling prey to the Houdini’s in the dating world.   The value of putting down the technology that pulls us in and looking up to see the love and magic surrounding us on a daily basis is immeasurable.  I don’t want it to ever pass me by.
  2. sea of cynics…  It would seem that I have a squad.  Those of us who refuse to settle for the millennial versions of dating and are still attempting to hold onto the {now} old fashioned ways of dating and believing in love.  “When optimism, positive vibes and love prevail so begins the death march on cynicism, negativity and rooted hate.”  I’m glad I wrote this post to help remind me.
  3. adulting 101…  Not much needs to be said.  I had a feeling when I posted this {short} series, it would resonate with my fellow 20 somethings out there trying to navigate the road of adulthood.  Cheers to us for surviving and creating our own stories to tell through it all!
  4. adulting 201…  Not shocking that this follow up post got some more viewing love.  As we continue growing up and into who we’re going to become, it’s important to remember to revel in the struggles as much as the victories.  So buy the heels and enjoy that shower beer, you’re an adult!
  5. frisky business…  Relief is the word that comes to mind knowing this post was a well viewed one.  It’s nice to know that those of you who do follow me, support my goals and are part of the community that helps propel me forward towards my writing dreams.

Although my post comments are most frequently received from my darling grandmother {thanks Grandma!}, I am so grateful that your eyes reached this blog.  Hopefully our // Little Talks have inspired you in some way or another, to live your truth, continue learning and loving and laughing through the adventure of life!

I can’t wait to write what happens next…

xx

out with the old…

“a mind that is stretched by new experiences can never go back to its old dimensions…” –Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

this quote couldn’t hold more truth for me as 2015 comes to a close.  it’s been a whirlwind; a crazy and beautiful 363 days of learning, living, loving, growing and a whole lot of one of my favorite “F” words…you can feel free to quietly guess the others…forgiveness.  it’s been the most pivotal and important lesson i’ve learned this year and it’s never without its struggles.

as it turns out, change will show you periodically in life that you can never go back.  sometimes, we’ve experienced so much newness that the oldness just won’t do any longer.  i went through my fair share of shifts and changes and trials and tribulations this past year.  i found out just how hard post travel life can be; it’s a serious challenge.  you see, after you’ve explored the world outside of your comfort zone, seen the moon on a different side of the planet, gained perspective on culture and people and places and things, felt things you didn’t know you could feel, your mind {and inevitably, your heart}, just can’t go back to the old that existed before you left.

in true “me” form, i learned all these lessons the hard way…nothing ever comes easy when you’re a student of the universe.  with good humor and a {mostly} unwavering optimistic outlook, i conquered the battles of 2015, in matters of mind, body, heart and soul.  i earned some new scars on my shield and have holstered my sword for now.  i’ve stated before how i don’t really do the whole resolutions thing…at least i haven’t written any down since college.  this new year being the clean slate that i need it to be is completely up to me.  i’m choosing to let 2015 things, stay there.  i’m not bringing any of the old baggage with me into 2016.  with forgiveness, i’ve allowed myself to let go of the feelings, states of mind, people and things that don’t serve me.  they are to remain in this year, as i dance {a little more weightless} into the new year.  i encourage anyone reading this who has some baggage to tend to, to attempt the same.  2015 was my year of forgiveness and letting go.  2016 has yet to be defined and i couldn’t be more thrilled to ring it in.

so tomorrow night while i’m serving myself a nice chilled glass of champagne, reveling in the company of old friends and making some new, draped in glitter and gold, i’ll be kissing my glass at midnight, cheersing away another year gone by and drinking in all that is yet to come…

SLAINTE mates!  good tidings…& always peace…to conquer all life throws your way.

xxFullSizeRender

#DoYouIndie Travel Challenge: consciousness…the way forward…

“we don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors. we borrow it from our children.”            -David Brower

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D A Y 16 of this BootsnAll Indie Travel Challenge brings up a lot of feelings that i just began to share in my D A Y 15 catch up post.  although having only really explored AU for longer term travel, i have adopted the responsibility that i strongly believe ALL travelers should exemplify.  we are borrowers.  nothing is guaranteed or owed to us in this life.  as we exist on this beautiful, but wounded planet, i deem it a crucial component to survival that we make impacts that don’t scar.  be eco-conscious and make your footprint small.

QUESTION: do you try to travel responsibly? how do you define ecotourism and how important is it to you? (be honest.) what are some ways you can travel responsibly and how you can tell if a company/tour is actually eco-friendly or not?

i do try to travel responsibly.  leaving my love of fashion behind for a year, i committed to a life with only the clothes and gear i deemed necessary to live.  knowing i wouldn’t have to cart my pack far most of the time, i still aimed to keep things simple and pack “light” to eliminate unnecessary weight.  part of traveling responsibly to me, means letting go of frivolous items and allowing yourself to be freed of the ideas you previously held before you left your comfort zone.  it also means that you allow yourself to contribute to the places you’re experiencing as opposed to taking from them.  travel gifts us something that money cannot buy, but it also teaches us the importance of where we spend our money.  ecotourism to me is truly appreciating the nature spaces you seek.  it is in allowing yourself to experience it in its purest form, giving back to it as it gifts you a memory nothing and no one can take from you.

as i mentioned in my previous eco-travel post, i aimed to give back to the communities and national parks and beaches in Australia that were allowing me the experiences i will never forget.  it is so important for us to take only what we need to survive and leave behind only dust.  in this day and age where money and power and information are rulers, we have to decide for ourselves where we stand and what issues and causes we contribute to and believe in.  as with all things, moderation seems to be the key.  pack out what you bring in is a nature aficionado motto…why we don’t all strive for this in our day to day lives is a mystery.  i’m certainly not perfect at it, but i really do try my hardest to be conscious.  conscious as a consumer and as a human being.

being able to tell if a company is eco-friendly or not seems easy enough.  i try to exist under the notion that all people are good and that i can trust them…until they prove me otherwise.  seek out information.  take personal testimonies, but also do your own research.  it’s important to form your own opinions in everything in life and it comes into critical play whilst traveling.  read reviews and ask questions when you’re looking into destinations and activities, etc.  read labels for your food and clothing and other products you use.  i have improved on this practice GREATLY in my travel experience and it’s something i continue striving for in my day to day life.  nothing and no one is perfect, but if we choose to be forward thinking as travelers and as humans, remaining conscious and in tune, we can contribute towards saving this planet for ourselves and for our future generations.

#DoYouIndie

tell me how you choose to be an eco-conscious traveler in the comments below!

#DoYouIndie Travel Challenge: eco-travel…

“travel is the only thing you buy, that makes you richer…” -unknown
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halfway through this BootsNAll Indie Travel Challenge and D A Y 15 has me feeling tired.  not of writing…but sort of in existing.  i won’t go into my cocktail of emotions right now with all the things going on in the crazy and beautiful world we live in, but today, although happy and choosing positivity like most other days, i also choose exhaustion.
with that being said, i take to the page…
QUESTION 1: what are three ways you can make an effort to give back to the local economy when you travel?
one of the best ways i chose to give back to the local economy in the places i traveled to in AU was to connect with and support local businesses.  i found favorite cafes to frequent, gaining wifi access to keep up on this blog and keep in touch with family and friends back home, but also gaining a new network in the owners and other patrons.  coffee is life.  food is life.  people are life.  when you can find the trifecta in a hip locale, you will always get my coin.
i stayed in hostels.  the quirky, artsy awesome ones.  {mostly} avoiding big chain hostels and campgrounds, i aimed to take up accommodation in places where i would find like minded travelers…open minded and open hearted…with experience over possessions their priority and saving money where they can a necessity.  it was in these places, i built my tribe and ended up traveling with 5 different nationalities by my final brilliant month in Australia.  giving back to the local economy through booking a bed to sleep in always felt good…and a bonus was avoiding bed bugs, WIN!
i’m a lover of nature.  a beach bum at heart, raised among mountains and national forests, i have a true affinity for preserving nature.  another way i gave back to local economies was staying in national parks and camping on public beaches, paying my fees and packing out what i brought in.  it always feels good to be a responsible and respectful camper so abiding by rules and contributing to the safety and preservation of the lands that were contributing to my trip was important to me.  i also donated to an AU non-profit organization last Christmas to give back to the pieces of earth that gave so much to me on my road trip last year.
QUESTION 2: how does buying from a smaller local place differ than going to a big chain? what are some benefits of giving back versus some potential issues with buying from small, family-run businesses?
i sort of touched on this above…sometimes chains are unavoidable.  i was a poor backpacker so at times, heading to the chain store to spread my money further was survival…same went for buying gear.  whenever possible, i chose to splurge at a local health food store or buy a handcrafted gift for someone back home.  although i stayed in hostels and the rare hotel, for the most part, i participated in home stays, farm stays and house shares.  this was a win-win for all involved.  i contributed my time and physical energy to help a family or farm get work done around the place, whether that was helping a family with childcare and laundry or mastering a riding lawn mower or learning about all things sheep shearing, i gave back and in return, i saved money on accommodation, had a safe place to sleep and was well fed.  i absolutely struck gold with the families i stayed with in tamworth, NSW,  snug, TA and coomba, VI.
giving back by way of shopping farmers markets and local boutiques is essential to travel.  guaranteed you’ll find more unique, must-haves that you can’t get anywhere else.  supporting local artisans and farmers feels great and you are contributing to an eco-conscious movement which is always the right thing to do.  we may have to resort to giving our money to a big chain every now and again, but if we remain knowledgeable in our spending and think compassionately about where we buy and what that may really be supporting, we are a smaller footprint on this planet we could all love a little more.
how #DoYouIndie when you’re traveling?  do you support local businesses vs chains?  share with me in the comments below.

#DoYouIndie Travel Challenge: money on my mind…

“do something today that your future self will thank you for…” -unknown

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D A Y 14 of this BootsNAll indie travel challenge.  today happens to be a question that i put some serious thought and execution into when i was gearing up for my launch to Australia.

QUESTION: when you are getting ready to travel what can you do to cut back on your expenses? is there anything you do differently before you travel versus during?

one of the biggest things i cut back on pre-travel was eating and drinking out.  again i will state that this is a “to each their own” situation…we all know where we want to spend our hard earned money and we all have different goals for our savings.  for me, once i booked my ticket, i was determined to save where i could and pinch as many pennies as possible before i flew half way across the world.

if i went out with friends, i would choose to be social and stay sober to save money on drinks.  sometimes i would indulge and treat myself to one drink out, but generally speaking, i would try to eat before meeting up with friends so that the temptation to take care of my growling tummy would be eliminated as an option.  another expense i cut back on was having my company pay for my cell phone.  this allowed me the chance to save over $100 a month and although it meant a sacrifice of my “after hours” time, it was worth it to me since i knew it was temporary.  i also found someone to sublet my studio and take over the use of my furniture so i could save on rent.  with my nanny family launching into their RTW trip a few months before i left for my year away, i was fortunate enough to organize living at their house for an amazing win-win situation.  that helped me save about 3 months in rent costs before my launch.

i got better at meal planning so that i could make sure i wasn’t wasting money on groceries that wouldn’t be consumed.  i also avoided going to the store when i was hungry so that i wasn’t indulging on frivolous items in my shopping cart.  i stopped spending money on clothes for work and going out because i convinced myself i couldn’t justify ANY wardrobe purchase that i wouldn’t be taking with me in my backpack to AU.  i was still making a car payment, plus insurance, a credit card payment and paying towards two student loan accounts.  those expenses add up fast and took a pretty intense sum of money that i would have much rather banked for my trip, but reality is a thing…you have to face it.

pre-departure, i really started talking myself into this new mentality i would need to adopt while traveling.  i told myself that i could only afford a certain price per day for my life and anything outside of that was not allowed.  a lot of budgeting is about changing your mental game…the change in your finances will come once your mind set shifts about how you’re managing and spending your money.

no matter how you prepare yourself and your finances for your next trip, make sure you budget for the essentials you’ll need while you’re out there in the world and realize that more often than not, you can buy a lot of necessities out there on the road.  prepare for what you can and just ride the wave…

let me know how you change your spending game before a trip in the comments below!

join the indie travel challenge with me here