And Just Like That Two Years Went By In A Flash
Two years has gone so fast – the last 8 months has been the best time of my life. I’m so grateful to all the wonderful people who made it so amazing.
I’ve learnt that you can choose your family – that people are generally kind and loving, that home does have a heartbeat, that sometimes love is tragic and magical all at once.
My heart is split in two. I’m glad to be back in Melbourne for the time being but I miss my soul brothers and sisters more that even I can believe. Family dinners and adorable little sleepovers, late nights and early mornings, I miss the way our lives just seemed to flow effortlessly and intertwine. I miss the jokes and all the laughs.
But most of all I’m just grateful that I had them in my life at all. This eclectic group of people make my heart sing. I’ve learnt so much from each of them and love them all so deeply. One day I’ll see them all again – but I just don’t know when.
Sending love and sunshine from the other side of the world.
I’m Not Ready – Leaving London
It’s only 18 days until I leave lovely overcast ridiculous London to go back to Australia – and I’m not ready. It doesn’t feel like I’m leaving. My visa is coming to an end and I failed to find a way to extend it. London feels like home now and with only a few short days left reality is starting to set in.
My heart is breaking for having to leave all my friends and this city that I love. I want to stay and play and explore some more in this part of the world.
I guess we can’t always get what we want.
Time for the next adventure.
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Letting Go Of Fear – Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid
Fear is human.
We’re afraid of the things we do, of the things we don’t, the way we feel, the endless things that could happen and the things that are out of our control. We’re afraid of our potential failures and we’re afraid of our own success, we’re afraid of the unknown.
We all feel it – albeit some more deeply than others. But too often we let our fears control us and hold us back from all the wonderful things we could be and do.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid. But I won’t let my fears control me and stop me from doing all that I want to be and do and feel.
I could be afraid of leaving London – but I won’t let that ruin my last few weeks here. I’m diving in to everything head first and experiencing all that I can.
I could be afraid that I’ll never see some of the wonderful friends I’ve made here again – but I the time we’ve spent together here has been incredible. This has been one of the greatest times of my life and I owe that largely to the wonderful people I’ve met and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I now find myself appreciating every adventure and every giggle shared over every coffee, wine and dinner.
I could be afraid going back to Melbourne – terrified that everything will have changed – or that everything will be the same. I could be afraid that I won’t fit in like I once had. I know I’m different now – i’ve changed since I was last there. But I’m excited – it’s a new adventure – and I feel like a new person. I know myself even better – I’m more in tune with myself, I’m looking forward to rediscovering the city with fresh eyes and new faces amongst the old. I’m excited for old friends on new paths – and new friends yet undiscovered.
I could be terrified of not knowing what’s next. I’m launching a new business when I get back to Melbourne – but i don’t know if I want to stay there. I don’t know how i feel about all of this yet. But I’m not afraid. I’m excited for the next adventure. I’m enthralled at being able to put myself in a new sink or swim situation knowing that I’m now a strong swimmer and can handle anything this wild ocean of life throws at me.
Going with the flow.
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Looking forward to hearing from you xx
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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Duck & Waffle London – what a view
My gorgeous wandering gypsy friend Simone Smith came to London for a visit so we decided we’d go check out the mad view of London from Duck & Waffle located on the 40th floor of Heron Tower. Unfortunately my phone died and I didn’t get to take many pictures but you get the idea.
Later we ended up somewhere in Shoreditch drinking cocktails and dancing like absolute mentalists. Rad views. Rad people and all in all a wicked night.
Rome: The Colosseum
Rome is an incredible city with loads to see and do – but you just can’t go there without visiting the Colosseum.
The colosseum is absolutely thought provoking. For those of you with active imaginations like myself it’s easy to see past the seas of selfie stick wielding tourists and imagine the horrors that took place in this incredible amphitheater. Make sure you either get there early to line up if you don’t like waiting or buy a skip the line ticket (or book a tour). Entry is free on the first Saturday of the month – but get there damn early.
€7,50 for EU passport holders (lucky bastards) and people between 18-25. Make sure you have your ID with you.
€12,00 for everyone else (like me)
FREE for people under 18 years old and on the first Sunday of the month.
FUN FACTS (so you don’t have to pay for a tour guide)
- It’s the number one tourist attraction of Rome.
- Building started in 72AD and was completed in 80AD (olllllld!)
- Also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre – something about the Flavian Dynasty Emperors.
- It’s the biggest amphitheater in the world and is listed as a wonder of the medieval world.
- This giant concrete and stone building is considered to be one of the greatest feats of architecture and engineering.
- Could hold between 50-80,000 spectators.
- The last gladiatorial fights took place in 435AD.
- Festivals and games sometimes lasted up to 100 days (now that’s a party!)
- Mini naval battles were held there.
Italy will probably make you fat
Hoorah! I have arrived in Italy – one day in and I already love this place to bits!
However – I’m pretty sure that I’m not going to look the same when I leave as I did on arrival. The food here is AMAZING and there’s just so much of it! I mean – all the best foods are Italian ; Pasta, pizza, gelato, canolli… the list goes on.
Sorry Mum and Dad – looks like i’mma be single for a little while longer.
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John Respondek – Surf Photographer
I find it endlessly interesting to find out what people love – what inspires them – drives them and what feels like home. Everyone has a wonderfully different way of experiencing the world. I recently asked Sydney based surf photographer John Respondek a few questions…
Jessica : How long have you been a surf photographer?
John: Umm… about 15 years now.
Jessica: What inspired you to pursue it as a career?
John: I have been a surfer since i was very young and then got into photography in high school… so it was just a natural progression to mix them up.
Jessica: What is it about surfing that you love the most?
John: Thats tough. There are some many good things. But just simply being around and in the the ocean is best. And then surfing in it is so thrilling.
Jessica: What has been the highlight of your career so far?
John: I couldn’t really say there’s one highlight. Just the ongoing fun travel adventures are all highlights.
Jessica: Who inspires you the most and why?
John: I really couldn’t say a couple of names that inspire me. Its always changing. It depends on where I am, who Im with, what I’m doing. Etc. I am inspired daily by different people for different things.
Jessica: What does home mean to you?
John: Home is the best. You really learn and appreciate that when you spend so much time on the road.
Jessica: Where is your favourite place in the world?
John: Australia is the best country in the world… but other than that I love Fiji and Indonesia. For hanging, surfing and shooting.
You can see more of Johns beautiful photography on instagram.
Who do you find inspiring wanderlusters? Let me know – I’d love to ask them a few questions too.
One more reason why travelling changes your life.
I had an “ah-ha moment” a few years back when I was in Bali for one of Eoin Finn’s YES (Yoga Ecology Surf) retreats.
It was the final day of the retreat and I was getting dressed for our last dinner together in one of the bigger houses. I’d already packed up my backpack in preparation to move on to beautiful inland Ubud for the next week or so and I realised just how little I had with me and just how little I actually needed.
Fast forward to November 2013 when I was packing up my bags and getting rid of all my possessions. It was absolutely liberating. I don’t want to waste money on trivial things like more handbags, ornaments, clothes, shoes, jewellery, cosmetics or perfumes. When you really think about it how much do those things actually add to your life? How many hours working did you spend to be able to afford that watch your wearing to make sure you catch your train on time? Now I’m not saying I’ve gone all minimalist and have gotten rid of all my material possessions because I haven’t. I just realised that some of the best things in life are not all that expensive and I’d rather spend my money on a grand adventure than a grand gown that will sit in my closet until I find somewhere to wear it. I’d rather work hard at what I love doing then spend each day commuting in to a job that I don’t enjoy just so I can afford the Claude Maus jacket I’ve been lusting after.
Less is almost always more,
p.s. I always love to hear from you guys, so please leave a comment below, or tweet with me @jessicaswander
Exploring Koh Phgangan by moped
What an incredible day this was. Breakfast on the beach at Coco Gardens where I’m staying followed by exploring the local area on the mopeds. We swam in waterfalls, stopped off at random beautiful beaches, ate lunch on the beach, found random tire swings and watched the sunset from Amsterdam Bar. I’m really appreciating my time here. I definitely needed a break and a bit of a holiday! Now to create a life that I don’t need a break from…