Street Art- And Why I Love It So

Street Art in Cologne

I recently wrote an article about the beauty behind Street Art and what a powerful artistic medium it is; what it can symbolise, and the impact it has on a place, for the magazine and label, Public Pressure. In particular I look at; Bristol, Prague, Varanasi and Malacca in Malaysia.

Vangeyur

Read it by clicking this.

My Highlights of 2016

2016 has been an emotional roller coaster for me, honestly.

With it being my first whole year actually embracing the real world and trying to tap into my future career- after being a student and someone working just to save and scarper for so long, I have found life challenging at times. Challenging, because I am just starting out on my journey of life and for many of my friends, they are already successful within their careers and well established.

At points I’ve wanted to pack a bag and run to South America, to avoid the idea of paying for a mortgage or having to deal with those awkward chats at work at the water fountain- or in my case, the kitchen. At times I’ve questioned, is this something that I really want to do, to settle down to routine and normality?

Shark Cage Diving

I’ve come to the conclusion that no matter where I am or what I do, I will never be “settled”. I will always want to go on adventurous trips abroad, to explore far flung corners of the world rather than an “easy” holiday. I will always aim to try and challenge myself with new hobbies or new interests, to push myself in a new way.

Just the challenge I have to face now is getting a full time position doing what I love. As I have realised, all the fun interesting jobs- have high competition. What doesn’t work in my favour is that I am not someone to push another human out the way for a job opportunity; I am more likely to offer to help them up and encourage them to go for it, which obviously, isn’t the best frame of mind in the media industry.

Eagle Radio

Although 2016 has not been as filled with travel as much as I had hoped, and a year of endings and new beginnings, I am thankful for being able to spend it with my wonderful boyfriend- which is a new aspect for me to have in my life, finally being with a prince charming after so many ugly frogs.

In short, 2016 you have been one of the best years of my life, and below are my favourite moments of this year.

Travel

  1. Taking my boyfriend to my favourite tapas restaurant in Spain. I love the tapas there and I never thought I would bring a date there!
  2. Driving a rental car through the windy rural roads of Iceland with my mum. The scenery was stunning and with good music playing, the atmosphere was perfect and we easily pulled over whenever we wanted to take a picture.
  3.  Snowboarding in Val D ’Isere was a definite highlight this year. I haven’t      gone snowboarding properly in 10 years and it was so nice to be able to       carve and slide down an incredibly scenic part of France.

Stunning View Over The Town

 

Life

  1. Being given the opportunity to present on both Eagle 3 and Mi-Soul, allowing me to flourish as a radio presenter and have fun!
  2. When I officially became a freelancer and to have various companies want to work with me. It’s not only made me realize my self-worth; my intelligence and creativity, but also is an integral step in establishing my career.
  3. On one of my days off I was looking after my boyfriend’s puppy and was walking him in a national park near to me. The break from work and computer screens, the smell of fresh air, and the silence made me fully appreciate that moment of complete bliss: the smells and sights of nature, a happy puppy and me.

Walking Duke

Although 2016 has been tough for me at times, I look to the future with hope and optimism. With regards to my career, it can only improve whilst I continue to explore areas of work I enjoy, growing and learning what is right for me. Which means… more money to travel; have adventures, and enjoy more gigs, and more importantly, less financial stress!

Here’s to 2017!

Reminding Me Of Home

I wrote the following piece of Creative Writing for a Rough Guides Competition, based on the theme of “home”.

The thick humid air envelops me as I step into the sun and start to wander through the town. I embrace the sweltering heat whilst I slowly begin to wind through the maze-like medina, immersing myself into the chaos. The call for prayer is melodically echoing through the town’s sand coloured walls, mosaic studded doors and dusty streets. Street sellers beckon for the attention of tourists busy fanning themselves, attempting to barter a deal with them. Women in abayas flock together, adorned with intricate henna on their hands and feet, perusing the goods that are on offer, hunting for a specific gem to add to their treasure chest of jewels. Camels grind their gaping teeth standing bored and tired, using their tails to impatiently flick flies away.

Lantern ShopI lose track of time and meander through the souq, passing ornate stained glass chandeliers and curled toe shoes dusted in gold on either side of me. My back begins to accumulate droplets of sweat.  I speak causally in Arabic to persistent street sellers who catch my attention with pleading eyes and cheeky smiles. My heart begins to soar. The language seems foreign on my tongue, yet I feel the most comfortable I’ve been in a while, hearing it around me. I don’t understand the full extent of what they’re saying but shake my head in acknowledgement anyway. I take a deep breath and smile. I feel at home.

Unlike many other blonde, blue eyed, fair skinned tourists that venture into the loud vibrant souqs of Marrakesh, I feel more comfortable here than I do walking on my way to work through rush hour in London. Here, old men smoke on street corners with aged wrinkled faces watching the world wander by with content. Here, life is at a different pace.

ShoeshoppingSpending my childhood in the Middle East has prepared me for Marrakesh. When I studied in Manchester and regularly passed through the Curry Mile, it would send me in reverie to my real home, millions of miles away, where strong perfume is lit on incense sticks and gold shops are in abundance. I crave the dry scorching heat, the wafting fumes of Shisha smoke and the crunchy yet smooth satisfying taste of hummus. I miss the rush of the souqs and the solitude of the desert.

The air hangs with excitement and buzz as the sun begins to set, exploding on the horizon in an array of colours, the shades and hues merging together as the bright stars begin to gradually appear and illuminate across the darkening night sky.  I listen to my growling stomach and stop at an open air café, sitting outside, taking in my surroundings. I breathe in the fragrant aroma of lamb tagine and I vouch to order one for my dinner. I ask for the renowned Moroccan mint tea which arrives with fresh mint floating on the surface and cubes of sugar on the side. The sensation is sweet yet refreshing. I order another.

The Travel Triangle

After hearing that my best friend has booked a one way ticket to Australia in September, I am a little shell shocked.

A part of me wants to cry out and say no “stay here in our suffocating town of Guildford with me, so we can see each other, go out and dance our twenties away”, but another part of me knows exactly what she is going through.

How can I pressure here to stay with me when I have already gallivanted around the globe, jumping from country to country living each moment as it comes. How can I, when I have grown up abroad and even when I have lived in Guildford, spent most of it studying at a university in Manchester or in a faraway distant land? I know she craves for excitement and adventure and no job or partner holds her back. Now is the perfect time to travel I tell her, ringing off the list of places she should go to as natural as reciting a night prayer.

It’s scary how real life suddenly becomes. How friends move away for a job; which either they love or merely do to satisfy their want for expensive things and luxurious holidays, for love, they move away to please their partner, or for adventure, to explore a new country and take each day as it comes.

The latter is what many of us millennial’s do now. My Facebook is filled with images of friends who are unsure of what to do so they travel the world, hoping to find love or a life choice. Why shouldn’t they? I’ve been doing that for the past 6 years, my mind constantly organizing long trips to satisfy my eternal hunger for travel which has been embedded into my soul since the very day of birth. I’ve even been travelling (not backpacking) for even longer than 6 years, so I know full well, that some will never be able to rest until they have seen what they want to see. For me travelling will always be a part of me, I will always travel. It may not be for as long as I used to travel for before, but I certainly won’t ever stop because I love exploring new places and learning more and more every time I do so.

Which introduces the problem which many travellers are aware of but rarely speak of: The Triangle. Travellers that travel for an extended period of time do so because they obviously love to travel, but they also haven’t found a fantastic enough job or partner to root them down into one place. Of course many solo travellers travel the world to purely see, to explore, to roam and to ramble, whilst some travellers might hit the jackpot and find a partner who also loves to travel and are able to work as they do so (the ultimate goal for many).

triangleBut for those who have a partner or a job they love, they must deal with the triangle, balancing their job, their partner and their burning desire to travel. Which is the next chapter of my life. Since posting “Whats the Rush” and “Starting Out in Radio”, as well as coming back from the biggest adventure of my life- both emotionally, physically and mentally, I am finally surrendering my soul into a career. I am jumping on the bandwagon, the rat race and climbing that mountain.

Starting from the bottom and working my way up with no savings and working 6 days a week is tough. I’m not gonna lie, it’s really tough. Especially, when your friends are already on large pay checks and are constantly inviting you to go out for dinner/drinks/clubbing or even a mini break in Europe, when you are struggling to make ends meet to pay for basic needs. You might even ask why am I even bothering to work four jobs, only which of two are paid and minimum wage, why not work for a company that’ll give you a fat pay check so I can travel like I want to or pack it all in and travel forever?

But I am working towards a dream. A dream which quite frankly, I won’t give up on. I want a job I can wake up to and love doing, which isn’t seen as work but something I enjoy doing. Something which I won’t mind missing out spending a year travelling around South America for, something which will make me stay.

This is the case for many others who love their jobs but also love to travel, they make it work by balancing their schedules, by freelancing, by living for those 28 days of holiday and making sure they count. I know that this is the next stage of travel for me, one I used to sneer at and feel pity for. I am now one of those working warriors.

This type of traveller is a large majority of the tourism market and should not be treated harshly like I once did, but rather admired and acknowledged. It is easy to pack a bag and walk out a door without looking back, to unseen lands and foreign faces. It’s harder to commit yourself to a job you love whilst satisfying your hunger for travel. To not book an easy holiday in some sunny shores of the Caribbean, but trek the Inca Trial in Peru and then make it back in time for that certain meeting which could benefit your work for the better.

Another element within the triangle which many remain in the comfortable confines of their home town or country for, is love. Love is powerful and once it hits you it’s not something you can rewind. For years I didn’t believe in love, and after one disastrous date after another I thought it wasn’t for me whilst I racked up a lengthy travel list and plotted destinations on my map. But love works in mysterious ways, it hits you when you least expect it.

Which is what happened to me, I left on my most recent adventure after having a first date with someone, only later for him to come and visit me for a few days on the other side of the world. With all the obstacles in our way (me not having a smart phone being a massive one) everything still worked out smoothly. A year and a half later we’re still happy.

The Highest PointBeing in a relationship and wanting to travel is doable, I for one am an example of that, but travelling for lengthy periods when your mind is on another, does make things a little distracting. You hike up an ancient bubbling volcano to see a stunning sunrise explode on the horizon- and you think how amazing it would be if they were with you too, seeing what your seeing. You can push them out of the back of your mind whilst you learn about the heritage and culture of a country that has suffered years of conflict, but later, your mind will drift back to them at some point and you’ll wonder what they are doing at that precise moment, just because.

However, if I wasn’t in a happy relationship, or striving to reach the goal of my dream job, I wouldn’t feel inclined to stay and merge into the rat race, counting down each day till my next holiday. I would, most definitely, be exploring the world, one country at a time and loving it.

So hats off to my best friend, like I said before, now is the time to go. With no partner that will infiltrate your thoughts, or no career path to steer your journey, definitely take advantage off your youth and energy. Grab life and explore as much as you possibly can as your life is your own personal adventure, and you can live it however way you want to.

In reflection, there are all types of travellers out there, walking the world and loving it. Some travelling blissfully for as long as they please, working wherever they go to fuel their travels, others are digital nomads, making money from their adventures, whilst others are short time travellers, balancing elements from their life and are loving it, and some are even holiday makers. Whatever type of traveller you are, embrace each trip to the full, you never know when your next one might be.