Hold on to the ‘driftwood’

FB_IMG_1443918953119

There are moments in your life when the fog rolls in, and you have no idea why or where it came from. The thickness is so stifling you can’t see or think straight. There is nothing you can do except wait…wait for it to pass…wait for clarity…just wait.

It’s in these dark moments that you feel that all your hard work and your perseverance thus far was in vain. You were convinced you were making headway along the Journey of Life… the days were bright and the optimism was high. The path was clear of obstacles, and the climb to the top seemed so easy. Until…until something flipped a switch which causes great storm clouds to start rolling in. The thunderstorm begins and heavy rains cause landslides along your path. You go from joy to unbelievable anger and confusion because you had no idea it was sitting on the horizon waiting for an opportunity to strike.

These dark moments seem unnatural in the grand scheme. You begin to question if self sabotage is the root. You start to wonder if there are old wounds that need healing in order to continue. You begin to wonder if life is simply a cruel trickster who lulls you into a false sense of joy…only to then pull the rug from under your feet as a reminder: earth is a horrid, painful place where struggling is the norm.

Whichever it is…whichever answer you arrive at…one thing is certain…you cannot face those dark days alone. You need someone to reach out a hand so you can simply hold on for dear life as you ride the tumultuous wave, frightened and lost. That ‘hand’ cannot shield you from your thoughts or your pain… it cannot ride the wave for you…it cannot, and will never, be on the same journey as you. That ‘hand’ can only serve as a reminder that the storm will pass, the fog will clear and the sun has to shine again. That ‘hand’ is that piece of driftwood bobbing on the harsh sea which you must cling to in an effort to keep your head above water. It is the stability when you cannot touch the bottom… or clueless as to the direction you will drift next. That ‘hand’ is the reason you keep breathing, keep fighting…

It doesn’t matter who we are, where we are going, or what journey we are on…these dark stormy days will take a hold of us and cause us to evaluate our every thought, our decisions, and even our direction. None of it will make sense! You will feel helpless, tired…you will want to give up. You will want to allow the water to consume you and allow the fog to envelope you in its arms…you will become frustrated by the stream of consciousness that creates havoc in your normally organized mind. There comes a point when you will convince yourself that you just can’t go on. Why continue? Why bother? Who cares?

You have a choice in that moment…let go of the driftwood and sink to the depths, or cling to it for dear life and trust that it will play its part in the storm…which is to  keep you afloat and provide that feeling of security and safety.

When those dark days descend (which they will), don’t be afraid to hold onto your piece of ‘driftwood’…we all have one.

Divine Feminine

feminineThroughout my 35 years on this planet I have come to the realization that women can be devious, conniving, jealous little minxes.

We as a species, have the destructive capacity to tear each other apart with one look or one snide remark. We can spend our lives attacking each other and assigning blame before looking in the mirror at our own faults. We can judge each other based on looks and we are quick to hate because the other person is different. We can spend our days dissecting our bodies and pointing out our flaws to anyone who will listen.

I’m so fat

My face is full of acne

My hair isn’t straight/curly enough

I have cellulite

My breasts are too small/big

My bottom is too wobbly

We have a tendency to look at ourselves with ridicule and disdain, all the while seeing beauty on the other side of the fence – and hating them for it. We are constantly comparing our bodies and our accomplishments with the woman next door. We often display signs of disgust if we are confronted by someone who appears to be “better” than us.

Women have the potential to be evil little beings having lost sight of what makes us unique and beautifully imperfect. We have forgotten that we are the glue that holds the balance in the universe. We have discarded the fact that we are healers, nurturers, carers, peacemakers, creators. We have turned our back on our true inheritance from Life and become destroyers, fighters, haters, war mongers.

As nations look at the events taking place all over the world…wars, destruction, racism, murders, rapes and total mayhem, we sit glued to our TVs asking ourselves how did this happen? Where did we go wrong? How did mankind become so evil? When will it all change?
The answer is quite simple…and it is staring every woman in her face as she looks in the mirror…we are the true key to renewal and restoration. We are ‘Mother Earth’ incarnate in flesh and blood.

For centuries men have been the fighters, the hunters, the gatherers. However, even though they will reluctantly be at the forefront of wars, they will easily turn around and be the best of friends with their so called enemy. Men do not harbour grudges with their brethren. They do not exhibit jealous tendencies. They are quick to praise and raise their colleague knowing they desire to aspire to the highest heights. They do not engage in idle gossip. Men respect the ‘bro code’ and are happy being a wing man if a friend needs help. They happily keep deep dark secrets in order to protect their friend.

Men are content and secure in their own bodies and everything they do to attain physical changes is for the betterment of their health or their own psyche. Men bond over their passions and can engage in idle chatter with a total stranger with ease and confidence (even if they are the shy and retiring type).

Men relish simple pleasures and feel proud when they can provide for their family based on their hard work and perseverance.

Women are none of those things. We are quick to bicker, back stab and claw at anyone who we feel is standing in our way. We are quick to anger and blame it on hormones. We are vindictive and conspire to annihilate any other woman who dares to stand in our way or look in our direction for too long. We are jealous and suspicious of friendships and we trust no one – not even our so-called best friends.

How and when did women morph into such beasts? What caused us to feel the need to become crabs in a barrel and eat each other alive simply to prove we are better, stronger, prettier and skinnier than another?

Women have lost sight of their role in the universe and have tried to be men with very little success. They have caused men to feel belittled and emasculated. They have turned themselves into warriors instead of being the heart that men try hard to woo. Women have abandoned their compassion fofemininityr cruelty, they have traded their creativity for sterility and their understanding for indifference.

I’m not saying that women  should be strapped to the kitchen sink and open their legs in the bedroom. I’m not saying that women are only good to birth a football team and do nothing except to be on the PTA. Women are strong, ingenious multi-taskers. They possess the innate ability to create something from nothing. They are teachers, guidance counselors, nurses and dedicated to the cause they believe in. Women are the epitome of perseverance.

Being a single mother, I am trying to plow my way through the minefield of balance – from parenting, working, building and maintaining a social life. I surprise myself how dedicated I can be and how much power I possess. I juggle a part time job, freelancing gigs, wedding planning and being a mom. When I am asked how I do it…I simple say “I just do”. I have to play the role of both a man and a woman, all the while finding that perfect balance – I do it with ease without sacrificing my creativity, my tenderness, my compassion and above all without relinquishing my dignity.

I guess you could say I am too busy to look in the mirror and critique my looks, or bitch about anyone elses’ looks. As far as I am concerned my cellulite and baby belly doesn’t control my creative abilities to plan a wedding for a complete stranger. My acne doesn’t  make me a bad nurturer
to my daughter, nor does my bad hair day ruin my forgiving nature. It really boils down to the fact that I refuse to partake in the bitching and backbiting. I refuse to allow myself to degrade a fellow woman who has her own insecurities, her own demons and her own ambitions. I refuse to allow myself to add to the pain and suffering of this planet. We were not created to judge anyone. We were put here to be what a man CANNOT be…a Divine Feminine.

divine feminine

Holiday Rep Life…the things they fail to tell you about Greece!

Life as a holiday rep is awesome! Every 3 to 6 months you are off to an exotic location lapping up the sun and living a life that dreams are made of. Your friends are envious, your parents are excited and you feel like you are on the most fabulous adventure…and being paid for it! What more could you ask for?! As a newbie, they don’t tell you much before heading to toiletresort….to be honest I think we are too overwhelmed to even ask the right questions. The only thing truly worth caring about was getting packed and getting out of the cold, dreary, wet UK as soon as freaking possible!!

Yeah…sunshine and sun bathing all year round?…that’s only a pipe dream kids! These resorts have a winter too! On numerous occasions I got caught out believing it was going to be flip flops and sleeveless tops for 6 months. Oh heavens forbid the company should give you a heads up that it is FRIGGING FREEZING in April/May, intermittently during the summer (depending on the resort), and then totally baltic by the end of August into September! My company windbreaker was my lifesaver many times – I was grateful I had two – sometimes they had to be worn together for better effect.

What was super hilarious was that reps became acclimatised quite easily – so while guests were walking around shirt less thinking the weather was fantastic, there would be a group of reps shivering in a far corner praying their shift would end so they could defrost the icicles which had formed around them.

To be honest, prior to being a rep   I stayed in nice hotels…even nice self-catering apartments in the center of the towns. Wherever I stayed was always furnished pretty nicely (even if it was basic), everything worked, it was comfortable…but who cared…it was only somewhere to have a quick kip before spending most days on the beach and most nights checking out the nightlife. Accommodation for a week or 2 wasn’t something that registered high on the radar…until becoming a rep! As a rep you are no longer a “holidaymaker”, you are now a “local”…and that means you live how they live.

Nothing quite prepared me for my first time as a rep in Greece. I had read the guide books and learnt a bit of the language…but nothing prepared me for the most bizarre situation of my entire life….putting the toilet paper in a bin instead of flushing it!!!! What the hell??? Where the hell had I ended up and what was this nonsense!? Funny thing was even though it took some getting used to, soon you fall into a routine and it becomes quite natural…until you forget that you haven’t taken out the garbage for a while…then the smell no longer seems natural. *yuck*. Yeah – don’t play the fool and think you are going to flush the toilet like most guests did – all the pipes are connected – because the drain in the middle of the bathroom is going to remind you why you shouldn’t have flushed the toilet paper in the first place!!

Greek bathrooms are altogether quite strange, if you have never encountered one before. I will admit it was my first time having to use what is known as a ‘wet room’. For those of you who have no idea what that is – it is quite trendy to have one – but not to me. The bathroom is tiled from the floor, walls and ceiling. There is one drain and it is in the centre of the room (yes…that same one!). It means that you can shower without a shower curtain (usually because there isn’t one) or without physically stepping into a bath tray or a bath – and the entire room can get soaked! To me …that’s just not high on my agenda as trendy, considering I could slip and hurt myself…and nearly did…many times.

Despite this ‘trendy’ bathroom situation in Greece, a reps accommodation is basic. By basic…I really mean empty! I never fully understood the meaning of ‘home comforts’ until I was in Greece. I had seriously taken my flat for granted in the UK. My bed, duvet, fresh sheets of all varying colours, my telly, DVDs, my oven, pots and pans, hot water, a living room…who really thinks about these things in all their wonderful glory? Who even stops to appreciate the wonders of hot water, much less access to a telephone to chat to a few friends? My first rep accommodation was NOT what I thought it was going to be. I wasn’t expecting a palace, but I certainly wasn’t expecting a 16ftx 16ft studio with a single bed, a desk being propped up by a book, a chair, walls covered in blue tack residue, a double hob hotplate (???), 1 pot (?), 1 pan (??) and a small fridge. The sheets were off white and so starched I was afraid they were going to cut me! OH…did I fail to mention there was NO HOT WATER!!!

It was as I was sat on the razor sharp sheets staring at my 4 blue tacked walls…and shivering because I had no jacket (except my poxy windbreaker), I understood why I saw other reps with TVs, duvets and George Foreman grills! They weren’t being obnoxious – they were being serious about their home comforts! I vowed that I wouldn’t go to another resort without some form of electronic device, a few posters to hide the grossness of the walls, and winter clothes!

I believe the pain I most felt was probably the lack of TV and the total lack of English channels (even when I did have a TV). How the hell was I supposed to keep up with Eastenders and Corrie – or watch the latest season of Big Brother?? I felt quite lost – because as a self-professed TV addict I now had to find other activities to keep me entertained. I guess Quiz Nights and Greek Nights at the hotels my colleagues worked at was my highlight…but I still strongly believe it was a ploy by the company…they didn’t want you hiding away having quiet time – they wanted you out and about with the guests building a presence and getting high scores on CSQ’s. *damn them and their conniving ways*

How many of you have turned to your washing machine and give thanks for its existence? How many of you have felt lost and confused when the wonderful machine decides to kick the bucket and you have to wait a couple days for a new one? Now imagine NOT having one of those wonderful machines for 6 MONTHS!! Washing was a major hurdle! It took some getting used to in my first season. I couldn’t believe there weren’t any washing machines! Shock! Horror! I was supposed to wash my clothes for 6 months BY HAND…bent over the basin on of my sink! I remember clear as day that the trick was to only wash the armpit – because sweat and deodorant is NOT a good combination at the best of times on any type of clothing…much less the uniform shirt. Ok, ok…I will own up to my dirty little secret…I don’t think I did much washing that first season…only if it was ABSOLUTELY necessary.

Upon returning to the UK after my first 6 months away as a rep – I felt that I had returned to civilization in more ways than one. I remember standing in front of the aisle of nothing but pure sugary goodness , simply mesmerized by the beauty of the chocolates, cakes, sweets…hhmmmm. 6 months away felt like a regimented sugar-free boot camp. Don’t get me wrong – the Greeks loved their syrupy sweet desserts…but they did not compare to a good bar of Cadburys chocolate, or a gooey crème egg. *yum*. Before being a rep, simple pleasures like buying jam filled donuts at Greggs or bars of chocolate from ASDA were taken for granted. Who knew that 6 months away from such delectable goodness could be so heartbreakingly traumatic?

Despite an initial rough start in a new resort with a new lifestyle to adapt to, I was quick to realise that everywhere was indeed different. Some resorts had British supermarkets, some had English TV channels, some apartments were fabulously furnished (including a washing machine), and some were simply hotel rooms with no windows. The real test as a Holiday Rep was being able to adapt and making the best of what seemed like impossible situations.

Fellow blogger “lisalovessunlife” summarised the basic things you miss as a rep – check it out. http://lisalovesunlife.com/2015/05/19/strange-things-you-miss-when-living-in-the-sun/

The start of Summer season for all Holiday Reps

reps 2May 1st was the official start of the summer season for holiday reps dotted all over the world. It was the day that the first flights and the first load of holiday makers arrived. No amount of preparation ever prepares you for that first airport shift, that first coach transfer, or that first complaint. You are even surprised that an entire village/town that was shut for 6 months can miraculously reopen and be prepared for a deluge of pasty white holiday makers eager to see the sun and drink cocktails.

Regardless how many seasons you may work, it will still baffle you why the locals wait until the last minute to tidy up, open up and repair things. As you bring your first coach load of guests into resort you close your eyes and get prepared to make excuses for the mess – until you see that Miguel or Giannis has somehow waved a magic wand and the bar or restaurant or hotel lobby has been transformed into something majestic.

You spend your first 2 weeks trying to communicate with your hotelier by sign language because apparently he doesn’t speak English…until those first guests arrive and you realise that he speaks better English than you do!  All these things are what make a reps life a fascinating life…an envious life…a dream come true.

Life as a rep is about balance. With so many potential reps signing up every season, the turnover can be quite high as the demands of the job increase. But nothing gives you greater satisfaction that lying in the sunshine on a day off and looking out over the ocean and realising that this is your life. This is the life that people want to live every day. Here you are living the dream. A dream that is now a reality. Embrace that reality, enjoy every moment of that reality and savour all the memories the season has to offer.

I had written this blog before, but now the season has started, it’s only fair to revisit the all too familiar scene that is the airport…

You could always spot a holiday rep at the airport. They were usually pushing an overloaded trolley which had 2 grossly oversized suitcases, a brand new duvet, a small television and more often than not, a George Foreman grill perched precariously at the top of the pile. We took the term ‘creature comforts’ literally – especially if we were newbies. I can guarantee by the end of the season however, that tv was being used as a table, and the grill was probably holding up something that had fallen down…like the bed.  By the end of the season we realized that there was no need for half the things we brought – including the 20 pairs of shoes ‘just in case’. Every season that ended we vowed to NEVER carry so much stuff. Inevitably every season that started, our suitcases were heavier than before – and instead of 2 – they suddenly multiplied to 3 or 4. I don’t know about anyone else, but I envied the reps who were doing second seasons in the same place – why? They had left all their stuff behind knowing they would be back, and there they were, breezing through baggage claim with a cute little hold all. Curses my overloaded trolley and my blistered fingers!!

A newbie rep is fresh and green. Totally unaware of the perils that lie ahead. They are innocent and naïve, and they honestly have no idea that the moment they walk through the arrival doors looking all giddy and excited – their fate is sealed. No amount of training will ever prepare you for the doom that is ….. AIRPORT SHIFT!!!

A newbie rep turns up to their first airport shift looking all smart. They open the cellophane packets that have kept their uniform pristine and neat. Excitedly, each item is unfolded and put on in a sequence. The final piece to complete this fabulous look are the shoes – the oh so wonderful court shoes! Every season the instructions are the same when it pertains to the style of the shoe! Shoes on, ensemble complete and feeling great! Board the coach to the airport and the shift commences….

..… 12 hours later those same newbie reps look like they were steam rollered, bulldozed and then scraped up and thrown in the garbage. No amount of prep could have prepared them for reality of an airport shift.

Every season we were instructed to wear a specific style and shape of shoe as part of our uniform. We were told the heel should be a specific height – and yes, the height and the style of that shoe does make you look more like Daisy Duck instead of Daisy Duke. But it’s the company policy for a reason. The reason is not quite clear until you have your first airport shift and you spend roughly 12 hours…standing! Those sexy spike heeled shoes or the ones with extra length in the heel ARE NOT SUITABLE SHOES!!! At the end of the shift feet would curse obscene language, refuse point blank to take another step. Blisters developed…and mutated into at least 3 more! If you dared to make the mistake of taking those shoes off for only a second – forget it! Those feet would fight to the death to go back in. As a more senior rep at the time (after having my first, and ONLY, shoe-catastrophe), I would see the glances from the newbies as they eyed my rather unstylish and hugely unflattering footwear. The joke was on them though, because I knew they would be begging for mercy in another couple hours – *cue evil laughter*.

Airport shifts were hit or miss… and most of the time it felt like sheer chaos and mayhem! Depending on the resort and the country, it would be more senior reps trying to coordinate buses, drivers, flights, delays, guests, reps…total mess! However, if you had the pleasure of working in Tenerife, you had fallen from hell into heavens playground! Tenerife airport was managed with precision. It was structured, orderly and efficient. Every shift – even if there were delays or long hours – was a pleasure to work. The airport was a nice comfortable size. It wasn’t horrendously humungous like Mallorca airport and it wasnt a tiny tin can like Thessaloniki (Greece). It was an airport that was easy to get from point A to point B, and not feel like your feet were waving the white flag of defeat.

We become reps because we go in search of continuous sunshine… that wonderfully intense heat that could dehydrate a donkey and leave him dead on the edge of the road. However, being a rep this was how it felt wearing the full formal uniform in the height of summer…like a dehydrating donkey. The summer heat was unbearable and the sweat that flowed was unstoppable. Can you imagine, we would have to endure that heat and then present at our welcome meetings and hope to god that the sweat stains on our shirt were not off- putting to our new guests. I remember many occasions when it was time to turn the flip chart, I didn’t! I knew if I raised my arm I would only be endangering my safety. The guests sitting there in their bikinis and shorts made us look like sweating pigs in a meat shop. As lovely as that glorious sunshine was, and as much as we craved its warmth compared to the bleakness of the UK, we knew our limits when we were scared of our own sweat.

With the heat of a blistering summer sun beating down on us as we stood in the coach park directing guests to the right buses, we could feel that first bead of sweat form on the brow and start a slow descent down the forehead. Once that first sweat bead was formed it acted like a signal blower to the sweat bead army, because within seconds the entire body goes damp. But that sweat bead army had an alternative agenda. They knew we could handle a little body odour, but they knew that we couldn’t handle one thing in particular…stink shoes!! Oh man!! Rep work shoes were to be handled with caution…preferably wearing a hasmat suit. No amount of spray, sunning, baking soda or stockings/socks could rid those shoes of the funk that emanated. I remember I had a pair that was so stink – I felt embarrassed talking to guests. The stench was so bad it was like a big old elephant was sitting there staring at us. Granted, the guests did bid hasty retreats mid conversation when that elephant decided it wasn’t moving…I guess the stink shoes did have its merits after all (SMILE).

Irrespective of the burning shoes, the sweltering heat and the stink feet – Airport duty was kinda fun. It was an escape from sitting in the hotel dealing with complaints or listening to some of the guests moaning about the breakfast and why the bacon and sausage weren’t English. It was also a chance to catch up with other reps based outside of the resort. Above all it was a chance to scope out the ‘fresh meat’, potential hotties, and suss out which guests were going to be big spenders, tight wads or whinging gits.

As I had mentioned before, most of the new arrivals were gormless and lost. They confused their name with the hotel they were staying in, and they thought their name was the airport they were coming from. They were confused little creatures in need of great assistance. Problem was, reps had a practical joke side – and instead of assisting the gormless lost fools – they would often send them on a wild goose chase looking for non-existent coaches.

As the new arrivals started to come through, it was ‘’tits and teeth’’ (chest out and BIG smile) time. We were poised and ready for action. With clipboards high in the air, loud voices boomed through the airport as eager holiday makers pushed and squeezed to get to the first rep they saw. They were like prisoners making a mad dash to freedom. It was there in the arrivals hall that outlined the rest of the week for the reps. It was the arrivals hall that determined whether or not the preceding week or two, were going to be shitty. It was here that the inevitable issues would begin – and if it started with lost luggage then forget it… simply be resigned to the fact that the rest of the week was going to be a total nightmare.

No matter which flight came through those doors, the questions were always the same…

“How far is it to my hotel?”

“Will we be dropped first?”

“We are staying on a platinum package. That means we HAVE to be dropped second! Will you make sure we’re dropped off second?”

“How long do we have to sit on the coach and wait on other guests?”

“Does the bus driver speak English? Does he know where I’m staying?”

“Does the coach have air conditioning? We need to sit at the front”

No matter the resort, no matter the country, no matter where in the UK the guests arrived from – they ALL thought the same, spoke the same and behaved the same.

The airport was where every season started and ended. It was an integral part of our lives, and if we weren’t in a hurry to escape a particular resort, then it was also the place where the most tears were shed as we said good bye to strangers who had evolved into close friends.

Have a wonderful Summer 2015 to all the reps – new and old. Live the dream!

Is everything an illusion?

Freedom-Quotes-25

My mind is currently going through a – ‘I’m not sure what to do next’ – stage.

I have to start making a few decisions that can affect my future and the future of my daughter – but I am not sure which road is the right road. Should I even be travelling down any road right now, or should I just remain stationary in the hope that the road will somehow change like a train track and end up going right past my current position…*sigh*.

Am I just frightened about taking the next step? Am I just frightened that I will make the wrong decision? Am I just frightened that I won’t be able to manage or support myself and my daughter? Why am I being so fearful when I know that there is nothing to really fear?

Fear is the root of all concerns. It is the most powerful emotion that can prevent a good opportunity from becoming the greatest opportunity.

I need to stop being afraid and just do what I know is right!

But how do I know if I am doing the right thing? How do I know that my decision is the best decision? I am told to trust the Universe…it won’t let me down… but I can’t pay my bills or buy food with promises, hugs or with leaves. The world we live in requires money…real live money…not monopoly money!

The joke really is on us if we stop to think about it – what is money? Isn’t it as fake as monopoly money? Isn’t it just as pretend as drawing on a piece of paper? Who said it was ‘real’? Who gave it value?…. In effect, we did! We were told that it’s legitimate. We were told that it is what we need to use in order to survive. So that is what we did. We believed what we were told, and in turn we hold it as the most valuable commodity in our life. But wonder if we were told monopoly money was legitimate? Doesn’t that equate to the same thing? We as human beings, who have free will and a free mind, are the ones who have decided that this simple piece of paper holds value. A value, which causes us to exhaust ourselves working. We work long, hard hours. We slave night and day. We ‘hustle’ to make ends meet just to make enough of that paper to give away to someone else. Why didn’t we use leaves? Or dirt? Or water? Or sand? There are so many of those elements, and they’re all FREE!  Mother Earth is rich with soil and plants and water. The earth replenishes itself every day. There would never be a shortage of her wealth, and she wouldn’t turn us down because our credit rating wasn’t    good enough, and she wouldn’t lock us up because we couldn’t afford to pay her back.  When did we decide that we had to be slaves to earn paper that has no value, except the value we have placed on it?

Societies, governments and individuals tell us we are free thinkers. We have free will to do what we want, think how we want, and say what we want. But are we truly ever free? Take a moment to consider your so-called ‘free will’, and name one thing that is free about it.

We will forever be chained to our own mental slavery as we are continuously force fed lies and deceit. We accept hatred disguised as wars against terrorists. We accept fascism and racism, disguised as religion – a highest form of love they tell us. We are told the sky is falling every day, but instead of looking up to see if it is true, we run and cower in terror. We are quick to accept what someone else says. We are quick to believe the other person, instead of questioning for ourselves.

Fear isn’t real! Fear is manufactured just like the drugs Big Pharma keep forcing down our throats. ‘Fear’ is what the controlling powers consider their ‘pill’ – used to manipulate and control us. By instilling fear, it keeps us believing that the system they designed to help us, is doing just that. When in truth it is harming our every movement, our every thought. It is harming the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat. It is harming how our children are taught, and the chemicals that are injected into their fragile little bodies under the guise of being a ‘vaccine’. It is the education system which has been regurgitating the same information for centuries. The manipulation, the lies, the deceit and the fear is instilled from childhood. As we grow, we learn to accept that being spoon-fed information and believing everything without question is normal. We are told that if it is written in a book it is fact. If the man who is leader of the nation says it, then it’s true, and if it is seen on TV then it is real. Time, and time again, all this has been proven to be propaganda used to limit our movement and control our freedom. The very same freedom which ‘they’ tell us we are in complete control of.

We are solely responsible for allowing ourselves to be controlled and manipulated. We have allowed ‘them’ to dictate to us what they consider right and wrong. We have allowed whoever ‘they’ are – to promote their propaganda – which are merely sugar pills. We cry out that we need to be governed so we elect idiots to have control over us and then complain they are idiots. NO! We are the idiotic sheep scrambling around looking for the leader of the pack – who happens to be the wolf dressed in lambs clothing. We can clearly see that something is not right. We can clearly see that things don’t add up – but because we are afraid of just being true to ourselves, we humbly accept the wolf as one of our own – as he later laughs with his friends at our gullible nature.

I know I ended up on this rant because of my inability to make – what I would consider-  the ‘right decision’. I too admit that I am a product of a fear based society, who has to rely on the same monopoly money to survive. This is the course which has been chartered by nations before me , and I must accept that I too must succumb to the powers who hold the purse strings. But what I will not do is succumb to the fear based tyranny that has poured its poison over the nations, societies, peoples and individuals. I will not allow myself to be lured in by the glitter and gold of false promise of hope and prosperity. I will not be drawn and trapped by the web of deceit that abound , like clouds in the sky.

Today I take that stand against fear and all the shackles it has over me. Today I tell myself that I will no longer be held captive by the thoughts that keep me enslaved. Today I am finally fee. Today I am free to choose the path that best suits me and my life. Today I am free to be me!

freedom_quote_2

Strangers connected through blogs

image

Today I have chosen to digress from how my travelling adventures began. This afternoon I had the time to read other blogs (since its the weekend) and one thing hit me…we are all complete strangers on separate journeys, but totally connected by our form of expression.

We all started blogging for various reasons, but each of us had the same reservations. We didn’t know where to begin or if we would be judged. We were all unsure if anyone would like – or even relate to – our stories or adventures. We were all wary of what to say or how to say it. One thing is for sure though…once we started, it became the most exhilarating experience.

It is a form of artistry in black and white. It is a form of cleansing and a rebirth. It is an opportunity to be a voice for people who may still be afraid to let their truth be heard.

I’m not sure why I really started to blog. My entire life my mother told me I should be a writer…who listens to their mother anyway, right? Then I used to have crazy experiences on my travels, and when I regaled my family with stories, they would laugh, and tell me I should write a book. Again, who listens to family…they are probably humoring you anyway. There were those quiet moments when I had lot on my mind and Facebook status updates were not always the appropriate medium to air them. So they would remain locked in my head bubbling away like a volcano about to erupt.
It was a work colleague that told me about blogging, because she had started, and for her it was liberating. I was a little skeptical at first, but I signed up, totally unsure of what I should or shouldn’t say. What was the correct “blogging etiquette”? Were there rules to follow? Were there codes of ethics or guidelines? Wonder if I sounded retarded, and total strangers didn’t think I was witty, or humorous or sensible enough? Lets face it, a blog is a public diary. A diary where all your thoughts, beliefs, pains, experiences, failures, ups and downs are aired like dirty laundry. You are leaving yourself open for ridicule and judgement. Who really has the guts to do that??

However… once you say “fuck it! This is me, take it or leave it”, then you have accepted the challenge to allow every stranger into the darkest recesses of your mind – to scrutinize as they see fit. But in doing so, you are standing proudly with your dirty laundry waving it like a white flag saying to the world, “look at me! I am perfectly flawed and beautifully created. We are all the same, and I am happy for you to join in my travels – physically, emotionally or spiritually- so that you can be part of my magical experiences”.

As far as my story goes, I’m pleased I started. My mum was right (as usual), it is such a liberating experience to recall your memories or to share your passion with people who ‘get it’. To be part of a community of like minded strangers who suddenly aren’t strangers anymore because they have welcomed you into their world like long lost friends.
My blog is recalling my travels in my late twenties, it will be interspersed with reblogs from fellow writers who have hit a chord

and I’m sure I shall digress a few times with my personal rantings.

Blogging is beautiful! Namaste fellow bloggers and future friends! 

How my wanderlust adventures began

never give upEveryone decides to travel for many reasons. But usually the main reasons are they are running away from something or someone. Sometimes they are running from bad relationships, bad debt and maybe just a bad life. Sometimes people travel because of genetics – their DNA is comprised of the travel bug. Whatever the reason, the eclectic hodge podge of persons that end up becoming friends thanks to their mutual interest and a similar lifestyle, makes for amazing memories and great stories.

My adventures started after living in the United Kingdom for 5 years. I was working two jobs – one was a typical 9-5 preparing personal pension plan annual reports, and my evening job was working behind the bar in a nightclub. I really hated my day job. It was so boring. It was so boring that I had the most sick days ever – so much so, I was summoned to head office in London to explain if there was something wrong with me. It was at that point that I knew I was not destined for a life behind a desk, behaving like a robot. Every other day I was being reprimanded for being too loud, laughing too raucously or talking too much.

I decided it was time to quit! Enough was enough. I wasn’t going to allow my personality to be beaten out of me. I would find a job that would allow my personality to shine…problem was…there was none! I had to move back in with my dad to try catch my feet in the meantime. While I was home I was still bartending at night just to keep me going, but I was actively job hunting on the internet. I applied to hotels in London, I applied to be cabin crew for Virgin Atlantic, I researched working in the US as a camp counselor, and I was even tempted to try my hand in a travel agency.

After a couple of weeks of actively trawling and emailing CV’s to no avail – I finally got a response! It was as an assistant concierge in a VERY affluent hotel London. The job requirements sounded pretty snazzy and it definitely suited my personality – I could talk, laugh and be personable and engaging – that was after all, the job of a concierge. My family was pretty thrilled that I found what was going to be my dream job. I would be in the heart of the city, meeting and greeting, schmoozing with the big wigs and generally having a blast as a 20 something young woman just starting out in life….one small problem though…where was I going to live?

In that instant of trying to figure out where I would live, my beautiful dream started to unravel. Something so simple as a roof over my head was quite a daunting idea. Where did I begin? How could I afford accommodation in London plus transportation costs and food ? Oh dear – it wasn’t looking very promising. Until my knight in shining armour swooped in and saved the day….ok, well he didn’t swoop in, he definitely wasn’t wearing armour…and he wasn’t a knight…he was my grandpa! He called to tell me that he had a friend who lived one commute on the tube train away from the hotel. It was a great location. I could lodge with his friend and pay her a little sum for a month until I found my feet and found somewhere of my own. This was it! My dream was back on! I started seeing myself touring museums, eating in trendy restaurants, meeting famous people and simply feeling like a Carrie Bradshaw out of ‘Sex and the City’. Heaven!

The day had finally arrived! I was going to become a real woman! I was going to live the dream in the city! When I turned up at my temporary new home I was thrilled. It felt like something out of Oliver Twist – and not the slum part where Oliver lived with Fagan – but where he lived with the kind old man who ended up being his grandfather. Oh yes! Talk about landing on my feet – great location, nice comfortable house – I could have gotten used to that lifestyle easily. It was certainly where I felt I belonged. As I lay in bed that night – I was excited about my first day – I knew was going to be just perfect!

I woke up the following morning bright and early to catch the 6am train. Luckily the train station was around the corner and the hotel was one stop away. It was all really convenient – I couldn’t have asked for anything better – or could I?

I was taken on a tour of the hotel, and shown the ropes as best as possible in a couple hours. Little did I realise I was about to thrown into the deep end…without a safety device. Until that moment, I had no idea that the bowels of a hotel was where it all happened.

Beneath the hotel it was a sea of passageways, exits and entry points, where hundreds of staff traversed on a minute by minute basis. It was a whirlwind of faces as news traveled that there was a ‘new kid on the block’, there was ‘fresh meat in the market’, or whatever term of reference was used. I will be honest, I felt very intimidated – I felt like I was the freak at the circus that everyone wanted to look at. I didn’t realise I could have felt so alone, lost and frightened. The first couple of hours were daunting – my immediate thoughts were – “if this is how I felt now, how was I going to get through the rest of the day, much less the first week?”

My first day was certainly eventful. I answered questions, booked reservations, delivered packages and newspapers to rooms , and I was sent on a mission to find stockings, insoles and some kind of perfume. I accompanied the concierge assistant manager – who I was shadowing – and he was quick to warn me that next day, I was on my own. As result, I was told to pay attention to the road signs, the landmarks, the stores and above all, I was to make special note of where the hotel was so I didn’t get lost. Now, if anyone knows London (which is similar to New York), every road looks the same, there are people, more people and cars. If you don’t keep your wits about you, you can go for a stroll and end up MILES and MILES away from where you really need to be. My first day was definitely filled with lots of movement. By the time I got home at 6pm, I was pooped…no trendy restaurant for me…a box of Kentucky Fried chicken and bed was as trendy as I could manage that night.

Day 2 and 3 took on a similar feel. Concierge I came to learn, is actually a nice term for a ‘slave’. A concierge does nothing except be at the beck and call of the guests 24/7. Concierge must have a permanent smile plastered to their face and they must always be at their station and paying full attention. They can’t be seen idly chatting to other members of staff. There were a ton of rules and regulations to adhere to, and even though I didn’t feel like my personality was being stifled – just yet – I was beginning to wonder if I had made the right career choice after all.

The hotel staff was comprised of a rainbow nation – there were Africans, Serbians, Russians, and tons of eastern Europeans. On this particular day however, day 4 to be exact, a pretty high profile guest needed a job done urgently – a job I thought was VERY simple, but turned out that no one volunteered for – either because they didn’t know how, or because they knew something I didn’t – either way, I volunteered.  Even though I had to stay 5 hours after my shift had ended to complete it, I got it done –  and I was given a tip of 100 pounds (US$145) – not bad I thought.

By day 5 I was starting to feel comfortable maneuvering through the underground passageways of the hotel, and had even made a few friends in various areas – from housekeeping to maintenance. I was definitely feeling more ‘at home’ – for want of another word. But day 5 was not going to start out as an ordinary day – and it sure wasn’t going to end like one – it was going to be the catalyst for change!

I woke at 5am as usual, to catch the 1st train to work. As I had said before, the hotel was only one stop away from where I was staying. Which is great, because there are same crazy whackos that seem to venture out at all sorts of hours – and the longer you are trapped on the train, the more opportunity they have to approach you. I guess this particular morning was just not my morning to escape the loonies. As I was sat on the train that fateful morning I was approached by a very friendly young man who told me I was very beautiful and if I had ever thought about modelling. I thought to myself this could be my big chance to be discovered by a model scout – I would become the next Naomi Campbell, or someone equally as fabulous. How wrong was I! This young man kept going on about the virtues of a beautiful woman and asking me if I would model for him – in my naive mind I thought he was probably a new up and coming designer, trying to proposition potential models to work for free – be broke my meandering mind when he  said – ‘I’m a student, and I am looking for models to paint… posing nude’.

Gasp! Shock! Horror! I think he saw the look on my face which was one of complete disgust because he laughed, and told me in a very assertive tone I shouldn’t look so shocked. Thank goodness my stop was next – I darted out of that train and ran as fast as my little legs could carry me. My day had got off to a rocky start but little did I know it was gonna take a turn for the worse.

I had finished work at a reasonable hour that day and after such a shocking start, I decided I was feeling very homesick and missing my friends. I had been in London 5 days and I hadn’t seen a museum, spotted a celebrity or had a drink in a fancy bar like the girls on ‘Sex and the City’. I was feeling pretty sorry for myself so I decided that I was going to pop into the internet cafe near the house and catch up with emails and hopefully if any of my friends were on instant messenger, I could have a little laugh and a giggle.

I was in this nice internet cafe for about an hour – I had sent emails and I was gossiping with my friend, and feeling much better than I did earlier. I started to notice that the noise level had intensified a little, and I looked up from my computer and scanned the area. There were a group of guys by the door and they were laughing and joking around, but their decibel level was a little on the high side, especially for a quiet internet cafe where heads are bent in concentration. I was a little annoyed that they didn’t have much consideration – until it happened….

I looked down for what seems like a split second and the next thing I knew, 25 guys had circled my little cubicle and they were leering at me. After what felt like an eternity, the crowd parted like the biblical reference to the Red Sea, and this short guy (not a midget), with gold chains hanging around his neck, gold bracelets around his wrists and gold rings on almost all his fingers, came and perched on the end of my table. He looked me straight in the eye – considering that wasn’t too difficult given his height – and asked me what a beautiful girl like me was hanging in a place like this. Please remember that while this gold-dripping-short-man had cornered me in my cubicle, this friends/bodyguards/minions were still surrounding us like a protective barrier. My first thought was I needed to escape, while my second thought was not to offend goldman in the process. I will admit, I turned on my charm and I used the timeless classic , “I’m sorry, I just need to pop to the bathroom real quick. I will be right back”. The only back he saw was mine, as I hightailed it out the door and ran as fast as my little legs could carry me (for the second time that day).

Lets just say that my time in London was short-lived. That night I called my dad and told him the city life wasn’t for me – I was a small town girl, with small demands. Who needed trendy restaurants and cool bars anyway.