Another year older – and hopefully wiser
Twenty eight today!
Another year older (and hopefully a little wiser.) It’s been a huge year with many highs and lows. I’ve lost my way and found a new path many times over. Over the past year I feel like I know myself better and appreciate myself so much more. I know who I am – I am happy with who I am – and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
I am a very emotional person and I had always thought of this as a weakness – but it’s not. It’s a strength and one that I am so grateful to be blessed with. Yes I am a cryer – yes I am sensitive – but I wouldn’t and couldn’t have it any other way. My creativity is fuelled by my intense emotions. I’ve done all my best work in times of great happiness and great sadness. I am no stranger to heart break. But for me heartbreak doesn’t just happen in a romantic interest. Heartbreak most often comes in the form of a friendship – someone who I love and care for and give and give and give to as that is my nature – someone who lets me down. I will never change – I never want to. I want to fall in love with new and wonderful friends every day from now until forever. I want to love and nurture them – care for them and support them in their dreams and help them achieve all the wonderful things I know that they can. If those friendships then fall apart – drift away – or go in a new direction I am now okay with that. I just feel lucky to have met such wonderful and exciting people on their own incredible journeys and adventures. I’m so happy to be a part of their journey – a character dancing like a maniac in a story that they will one day tell.
For today I am grateful and so humbled to have so many people from all around the world who have made me feel so special and so loved. I appreciate every letter – comment – photo – everything. I’m feeling the good vibes coming my way and intend on giving all that love back out again to all those beautiful souls I’m blessed to cross paths with in this period of my life.
So thank you to everyone for your kindness and your love today and every day. I am honoured to have such magical people in my life.
Until next time wanderlusters x
Tweet me @jessicaswander or follow me on instagram @jessicaswanderlust
OBSERVATIONS ABOUT ENGLISH MEN
How naughty of me – indulging in such fun generalisations. I’ve been involved in many discussions about English men over the past year and thought it’d be rude not to share my findings with you. Note to all English men – this is all based on my personal experience and that of my friends. I’m certainly not saying that you’re all like this – but there definitely is an emerging pattern.
- They are far more gentlemanly. This one particularly applies to the northerners (YORKSHIRE) – they open doors, buy you flowers and make sure you get home safe. Bless their little cotton socks.
- British men tend to have a lot more emotions (yes I’m serious – read on) that they have absolutely no idea how to deal with and certainly can’t talk about – they isolate themselves in their minds and wait for it to all go away. I’ve never met an Englishman who is capable of openly discussing what is upsetting them. They are chronically emotionally constipated.
- They are not particularly sexual beings. I’m not saying that they don’t enjoy sex , they are bad at it or they don’t want to have it. But they tend to want it less frequently and be less of an animal in the bedroom. British men have the least sex in Europe. Fact. In a recent survey English men were voted the second worst lovers in the world mostly for being lazy in bed (German came in at number one for being too smelly). However 11% of British men in their 20s-30s have paid for sex (probably because they can be lazy when they’re paying for it).
- They are terrible people during the World Cup – and even worse when their team inevitably looses.
- They don’t like it when you try to pay for dinner. I’m a bit funny about this particular point – I always like to at least pay my way especially when it comes to dating – I hate the idea of someone thinking that I owe them (I am a strong independent woman and I don’t take shit from no man).
- They avoid awkward conversations up to the point when it becomes in issue. Literally – they make it worse by not talking about it and wait for it up come to a head and then they apologise. They are very apologetic – even when it’s not needed.
- They are excellent flirts and have great banter. You can almost never get bored chatting with a handsome Englishman – oh so cheeky.
Let me know what you think wanderlusters – english men – yay or nay? Go on – indulge in some cheekiness x
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Where to Next? Working Holidays for Australians
With my time in the UK quickly coming to an end I’ve been thinking a lot about where I’ll head to next. I love Australia and there’s a fair chance I’ll end up there in the long term but life is for living and exploring and experiencing.
Ernest Hemmingway said ” It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it’s the journey that matters, in the end.” I want my journey to be a grand adventure full of laughs and love and yeah – a few palm trees, beaches and ridiculous love affairs wouldn’t hurt either.
On that note – and because I like lists here is a list of countries that have a working holiday programs for young Australian adventurers.
- Republic of Cyprus
- Hong Kong
- Republic of Indonesia
- Republic of Ireland
- Republic of Korea
- United Kingdom
- United States of America
Where is your next adventure wanderlusters? Have you lived in any of these places? I’d love to hear about your experiences so please get in contact and tweet me @jessicaswander.
**Keep in mind that the visa requirements are different for each country so you might not be eligible for every one.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas (Apparantly)
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas apparently – but for me (being Australian) I’m still trying to get my head around the fact that it’s freezing cold and I’m wrapped up like a mummy for most of my waking hours.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Christmas recently – mostly because it’s December but also because last weekend was my annual family Christmas party. 70 of my relatives head to a caravan park by the beach to wish each other merry Christmas, celebrate the silly season, play volleyball, tunnel ball, beer pong, announce the winner of supercoach, and see how Santa makes his entrance for 2014 (previous entrances have included fire trucks, speed boats, Harley Davidson’s, tractors… the list goes on!). The family Christmas party is hands down my favourite day of the year. My family are completely mad in such a loveable way – functionally dysfunctional and the most loving, caring, kind, hilarious people I’ve ever had the good fortune of knowing and it was the first time I’ve ever missed it.
This will be my second icy Christmas in the UK – last year I spent it with the Pleasance family up on the North Yorkshire moors in a very sweet little place called Fangdale Bec. It was all so foreign to me. I’d never experienced cold like that before. I was out walking with my friend and his beautiful little sister and their gorgeous little puppy uno and I saw one of the things that makes my inner child smile more than anything else in the whole wide world ; a giant puddle. I was wearing borrowed wellies (gumboots for my Australian readers) and a Barbour wax jacket (they took pity on me for not having any idea just how cold it gets up there – it’s practically north of the wall you know) with a big grin on my face i did a big run and jump in to the giant puddle. I was very surprised to find that it wasn’t actually a puddle – maybe it was at some stage in its life – but it now was just solid slippery ice. I fell and slid across the ice and then stumbled around like an awkward baby giraffe until I made my way to the edge and back on to solid ground in a giant fit of giggles. We took walks through the forest and up on the the seemingly endless moores – it was a little bit of magic.
Christmas Day was everything I thought a British Christmas should be. It was cold, we had hot cups of tea, two open fires and were all huddled around the Christmas tree handing out gifts one by one and watching them open them. I love buying Christmas presents – it makes me so happy to see someone enjoy a gift that I spent time (weeks) searching for. I bought Ell a vintage film camera and film, a hand pressed flower necklace in resin for his mum, a turquoise ring for his sweet little sister, and a selection of craft beer for his brother. With the exception of Ell I’d not met any of them before – so it was nice to see them open and enjoy their presents. We all are our fill of Christmas food – and I ate Yorkshire pudding for the first time. I am so grateful that they took me in to their home and let me spend Christmas with them.
This year I’ll be spending Christmas with my cousin Cazz, her husband and their three little girls at their home in East London. Spending the day with family including three little sugar filled devils will be fantastic! On Boxing Day we are going to see the local Panto too. Such fun!
Stay jolly wanderlusters – sending love and happy Christmas vibes to you all x
Express Your Gratitude Workshop – Clapham North
Breathe deep – let all the air out of your lungs and think of all the wonderful things you already have to be grateful for.
Last night I was lucky enough to attend the first Express Your Gratitude Workshop in Clapham North. Put together by two beautiful and inspiring women – yoga teacher Adrianna Zaccardi of Infinite Beings and Emily Riggs of The Gratitude Journals.
The 2.5 hour session started with a sitting meditation where each person was asked to focus on just one ting they were grateful for that day – we continued to focus on our breath and hold on to that feeling of gratitude. This really helped me relax and let go of all that had been worrying me before entering in to the studio that day. I was lost in the rhythm of my breath and the gratitude in my heart.
We began to move – all the while focusing our breath and Adrianna reminded us to focus on what we are grateful for. It was a truly wonderful class – physically challenging and giggle educing. Adrianna has an incredible ability to describe how to get in to each of the poses correctly – allowing us to focus inwardly and on our breath. It was time for shavasana – I closed my eyes and surrended my body to the mat. Adrianna came and covered us in blankets and talked us though a guided meditation focusing on each part of the body and what we could be grateful for. We finished by chanting Om three times – feeling the energy vibrate through us almost bought tears to my eyes.
We all sat cross legged in a circle – enjoying some home made healthy snacks and herbal teas while Emily introduced us all to the wonderful world of gratitude. Craft supplies were passed around and soon we were each making our own personal gratitude journals – complete with gratitude mandalas. It took me back to the craft days I remember having at my aunties house as a child.
After the class I walked home – full of appreciation and child-like enthusiasm – ready to use my new gratitude journal for the first time.
I can’t wait to see what their next workshop will bring.
Big love wanderlusters – I am grateful to each and every one of you x
London Street Art
One sunny day in London Drew and I went off to explore some street art.
It was a Saturday and neither of us had any plans – which was a nice change.
So off we went on a little adventure – this is just the tip of a very large iceberg that is London street art…
What and where is your favourite street art?
Leave me a comment below or tweet me @jessicaswander or instagram @jessicaswanderlust xx
My secret hobby isn’t a secret anymore…
I love photography. Phew – there I said it.
I’ve been around cameras for years and years. I guess it was bound to happen. I was a little bit embarrassed to tell people that I had been taking images because I thought that no one would take me seriously. But recently as part of my job I’ve been taking lots of photos and have even had a few of them published!
I went to Peter Andre’s album launch last Wednesday and took these…
Sadly I can’t take credit for this one… Peter Andre took this one.
AAAAAAnnnyways, I always love to hear from you so leave a comment below or tweet with me @jessicaswanderlust
Urbex + Fashion Photography
Photographer: Rebecca Litchfield
Model: Jessica Nicole Griffiths
Gowns: The Couture Company
Location: Bull Manor
With help from the ever marvellous Richard Gowen and Matthew Adams
Let me know what you think – leave a comment below or tweet me @jessicaswander
100 Days of Living Out of a Bag
Oh dear wanderlusters, it has been a while… I’ve missed you dearly I promise.
I’ve been mega crazy busy – I finally found an incredible job! I’m working in digital marketing and events management for a company called Gertrude & Ivy in Battersea. It’s a big career change for me but a very welcome one. If someone wanted to pay me to be a full time wanderlusting gypsy princess/blogger then that would be fantabulous – but until that day comes I’ll content myself by organizing super fun events and creating engaging content for our clients.
Settling in to London is taking a lot longer than I thought it would. I’ve been looking for a flat and viewing lots of places that seem promising – which means I’m still living out of a bag and staying at friends places. I’ve learnt to accept peoples kindness – which was a surprisingly hard lesson to learn. I wasn’t really accustomed to people giving so much and I’m eternally grateful for the lesson and to them of course.
Another surprising discovery is my desire to have a place to call my own. I have always been a little bit nomadic with my sleeping arrangements even when I was settled in Melbourne and working full time – I’d sleep over at friends houses or go visit family for the night and then commute back in to the city the following day to work but I always had a space that was entirely mine to call home. It was a tiny space in a tiny room… but it was my space. It’s where I kept my treasures – my photo albums, my journals, my sentimental belongings. It’s a comfort that I didn’t realise I so desperately needed.
As always I do love to hear from you, so please leave a comment or tweet me @jessicaswander
Settling in to London life
As of today I’ve been in England for 45 days.
I’ve been up to York and walked along the walls, seen York Minster, Walked up on the North Yorkshire Moors, been to lots of pubs, been welcomed in to people’s homes to spend Christmas and New Years. I’ve been driven through old towns, slept the night in a dilapidated manor in the name of art, wandered the streets of London, partied till dawn and practiced yoga with one of my idols and made lots of new friends…
Needless to say its been a wicked time.
But now I’m ready to get settled in to living and working in London. The whole reason I decided to move here was because I just wanted to change the focus of my life to what I wanted rather that the life I was leading previously which was wholly focused on what other people wanted. That might sound a little selfish but I know that changing my life focus to be on what makes me happy I will then be in a position to actually help others more.
So now the challenge has been finding something that I want to do and finding someone who will give me the opportunity to do it. My work experience has been mostly in Finance Administration and not much else but I’m hopeful that the right opportunity will come along.
I feel like I am exactly where I need to be right now. I love London. I love my new friends. I love my old friends who have settled here and I love getting to know my cousins. Now is the time to get settled in, put my backpack away and create the life that I think I deserve…
Now back to finding the perfect flat…