I’d be safe and warm, if I was in LA

Today I woke up feeling a bit down, I think working from home and the lack of human interaction is getting to be a little bit. My life is literally wake up, study, work, gym and that’s about it. I need to start getting out of the house but every minute spent away from the readings and essays of uni work is a minute filled with guilt. This is the lament of a student.

When I feel like this my brain starts to miss specific places and the need to go somewhere intensifies. Today it has chosen Los Angeles which it chooses quite often to be honest. Sometime it will be London,this was especially so in the year after I moved back from London. That was a difficult year, the grieving process I went through was terrible. I know this sounds dramatic and a little first world problem-ish but I know a lot of other people experience this. My least favourite word is wanderlust because its been turned into one of those things that people who have been on one Contiki, once and think they are super traveled and cultured, get tattooed on them.  However, the actual definition “a strong desire to travel” is exactly how I feel. That actually down plays it a little- its not just a strong desire; its a yearning, its deep inside of me and it makes me depressed when it can’t happen.

Waking up today (I cant say this morning because I woke up at about 11am,
I have been doing that a lot lately, its not helping my mental health) all could think of was Los Angeles, that crazy city has a piece of my heart that I am happy for it to keep. LA is not typically the city in America that steals peoples hearts, most would feel this way about New York and it is understandable why. While I loved New York, it just felt like somewhere I was visiting, LA feels like home. I would give anything to be navigating my way through the crazies on Hollywood Boulevard with the hot sun shining on me while a cool breeze blows. I will never forget how that breeze feels  while sitting drinking a cider, watching the world go by.

My first time in LA was in 2013 and it was on the fateful trip that was essentially the catalyst to big changes in my life- came home, ended my six year relationship, moved cities and spent the next two years alone and focusing on myself. What I didn’t realise at the time that I was in a really bad place mentally, I knew I didn’t like my life but I wasn’t completely sure why or what to do about it. Looking back, I realise I was unhappy in my relationship and hated my job and I was so sick of living a life to please every body else at the detriment of my happiness. I didn’t want to be a home own living in the small town I grew up in and have babies in the near future. I wanted more, I wanted to see more of the world and just do things my way. I wanted to actually work in a career I liked and not want to cry every morning.

The first time I went to LA I was only there for one night before making our way to Las Vegas. That night we met a  couple of really great guys who we had an accidental huge night with and talking to them was so interesting. The thing that struck me about people in LA is that no one has a proper job or if they do, they are working towards something else. Everyone says they are “something but they work at somewhere” like “I am an actress  but I work in a coffee shop at the moment.” One of the guys we met was a fashion designer who said he had been to Katy Perry’s birthday party and had a beef with Kid Cuddi. I was talking with him, explaining what I did for a job and that working nine to five is pretty standard in Australia was pretty standard and he said “I just don’ know how people go to jobs everyday that they hate.” That will always stay with me because at that time I so desperately desired to do something meaningful that I loved. At the time, I was lead to believe that doing that was not viable, that I would not succeed and it would be a waste of time.

I went back to LA in 2015 after all of the big life changes had happened and I genuinely thought I was better mentally, I thought I was happier but that trip was the two months in America during which I was very anxious and homesick. This time I was in LA for four days and then another five after Coachella and getting to see more of the city just cemented that I could live there. There are just so many things to be seen and so many opportunities to delve right into whichever scene it is you’re into. LA is often called fake and plastic because of the celebrities that call it home but on the ground level, the regular people you meet are the furtherest from fake. They are 100 hundred percent themselves, sometimes to the slight detriment of their sanity. Hollywood isn’t called Hollyweird for nothing. My first night in LA, at a bar on H’wood Blvd (look how local I am being) I saw at least three girls with live snakes in their hair and watched my friend be lifted like a barbell by a strange man who called himself “Mr Muscles.” While it did eventually get to me that I couldn’t walk down the street without being spoken to or yelled at by someone (not the best of someone with anxiety who isn’t great with strangers) one of my friends hit it on the head today when she said that maybe we like it so much because we are weird too. I feel like LA is full of my people.

I have so many stories I could tell about LA and the people and sites I witnessed- like the poor homeless man on the bus from Santa Monica back to Hollywood who was wanting to be dropped off in Beverly Hills but struggled to stay awake and was sleeping in the most body contorting positions, or the man who got on the same bus and loudly asked the man next to him if he would be interested in doing some weed testing for money. Or when my travel partner and I naively spent a few hours in a Walmart shopping for Coachella supplies until I realised there were some young guys who may have been gang members watching us and upon googling later, we realised we were in Torrence which is apparently a very rough area. Or when we took a Hollywood bus tour where our tour guide was a really bad Jackie Chan impersonator until the bus broke down and people yelled at Jackie demanding money back. Or when we went to an open mic night and I made a cute musician take me home but that is absolutely enough of that story. However, this post is already pretty long and I think I could tell those stories separately when I eventually feel like it.

On my last night in LA, I geared myself up to get a tattoo but by the time I made it down there the shops were all closed. I was going to get a tattoo of a palm tree- I know, cliche right? Right now, if I didn’t have about $100 to my name, I would make a booking and go get that palm tree done.I know LA has been orchestral in the changes I have made in life, the want to do something I love and follow my dreams and here I am working in social media, studying and trying to get into writing for a job. So while life is definitely on the track to how I want it, today I am definitely California Dreaming (good one right?)

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I’d be safe and warm, if I was in LA

Another week away, my greatest fear

I have had an interesting few days, I have been through the worst anxiety I have had in along time but I have also done amazing things and had a lot of fun.

Basically the anxiety stems from the my ex being pretty awful to me. When I left we were friends and used to talk all the time and tag each other in things and essentially just do what normal friends do. He had been ignoring my messages though, which made me really mad because its incredibly rude, so I asked him what was going on. He said I was messaging him too much and he was ‘copping a lot of flack’ for it. He also told me he was seeing someone and it was hard to justify why he was talking to me all the time. Just to be clear, I am not one of those crazy ex girlfriends that messages constantly and pines for him. Fair enough, I get a little bit sad and sent him a message telling him I was missing him, but that was because I was very sick and been driving all day and its my first big road trip without him. I’m honestly not that sad about him seeing someone, although I do get scared that I won’t find anyone, but I am mainly upset about how he treated me. All he had to do was nicely say to me ‘I have been seeing someone’ and I would have backed off. I understand that he is going to move on but the way he went about it made me feel so stupid and embarrassed and like I mean absolutely nothing to him. It’s silly but I just feel a little worthless at the moment, and lonely. Not having a significant other is not something that I am used to even though it has been a year and a half since we broke up. I guess its all a grieving process, I am sad that I have lost him, I am sad he has changed and I am so sad that this all happened in the first place. I just have to keep thinking that everything happens for a reason and things will get better.

Unfortunately, my brain just gives up on positivity sometimes and I fall apart a little and that is what happened after the conversation with my ex. I could barely talk and just wanted to stay in bed. I had several breakdowns to my travel partner who was so amazing and looked after me so well. Yesterday, she was very worried about me but I slept a fair bit yesterday and felt a lot better.

Today is my birthday so last night (after I slept off my anxiety) we went to Light Nightclub. Last time I was here, I went to Light and it was one of the best nights out I have ever had. That is also where I hooked up with the American boy who I eventually fell for. Light is incredible, it has Cirque Du Soleil performers that perform throughout the night and Alesso was playing so the music was amazing! We both had such a fun night and I had bought myself a really nice fancy dress to wear. It was a cute wiggle dress from a pin up store and while it was clingier than I would normally wear, I felt really sexy in it. Light was an amazing way to see in my birthday.

One error we did make was booking the Bellagio from the 24th to the 26th meaning we had to get up, pack our bags up and walk over from Flamingo with our terrible hang overs. The walk was rough with our huge bags and the random crap we have accumulated and then when we got to the Bellagio the check in line was huge and we both had to concentrate on not vomitting. Once we got to the room we had a nice nap and enjoyed our amazing view of the Bellagio fountains and the rest of the strip.

After chilling out all day in the room, we ordered room service and then got ready to head to Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas. Fremont is the slightly seedier, crazier part of Las Vegas but that makes it the much better part. We were greeted with an eighties spandex band who were incredible, playing Guns and Roses and Kiss songs. From there we walked down Fremont street, taking in the crazy buskers (one of which was just a guy in underwear bopping to music) and went to a cool bar called The Griffin. A friend of mine described The Griffin as looking like Hogwarts and thats exactly what it was like, very English pub which low lighting and a fireplace.

Other than the amazing day 24 hours of my birthday, the other thing we did in Vegas was the Grand Canyon but we did it by helicopter instead of the 10 hour, round trip bus ride. The helicopter option is much more expensive but we decided to fork out. I have actually done this trip before when I was here last time but I was perfectly happy to go again. This time the tour included a limousine transfer to and from the airport and it was in the Limo that the most incredible thing happened. When the Limo picked us up, the driver apologised for being late and said that he had to wait for ‘The Jenners’ who were in the car. We just thought he was making a joke and so we jumped in. Then we realised, he was not joking, there in the seats were Brody Jenner and his mum Linda, his girlfriend Caitlin and her friend. They were so incredibly nice and introduced themselves to us straight away and asked where we were from. Linda said it was her birthday on the 23rd and that Brody had gotten the tour for her as a present, I told her my birthday was 24th. They went in a separate helicopter but when we actually landed in the canyon, when Linda saw us she said “Hey Brisbane” and they asked how the flight had gone. On the way back, another couple squeezed into the Limo (I think purely for the fact that Brody was in there) and during the drive they asked if they could get a photo. Straight away Brody’s demeanour changed and you could tell it was not something he was comfortable with and fair enough. It would be bizarre having people taking pictures of you when you are just trying to celebrate your mum’s birthday.

Now we are into our last day in vegas and there has been a bit of a change of plans. I have realised I do not have enough money to get through the next three weeks and so I am heading home on my original flight next week. Its actually really annoying because I was homesick and talked about heading home but now that I have no choice but to head home then, I am really disappointed and annoyed at myself for not looking after money better, nothing I can do now though. My poor travel buddy has now had to change her flight for the THIRD time because of me and it has been a bit of a stressful day. The only upside is- NEW YORK TOMORROW!!!!

Another week away, my greatest fear

Okay, I feel better now…

So the title is actually the name of an AFI song which came on in the car while I was driving today but I thought it was quite fitting as I am feeling a lot better today. Today was one of those days that made me remember why I travel, one of those days that reminds you that the temporary missing of home and friends and family is all worth it. I will get to today in a moment, first of all I will let you know what has been going on the last few days. San Francisco ended amazingly! I have actually had the best last few days. Our room-mate in our hostel was an awesome girl from Bombay who was with her work mates for a conference. They came to America for a couple of days before the conference to have a bit of fun before starting work. We ended up partying with these guys and they were such good fun! It is great for me as well because I am planning to head to India in 2017 (yes, I have already planned my travel for the next two years) and it will be amazing to have local tour guides.This another of my favourite things about travelling, meeting new people, keeping in contact with them and then finally somewhere down the track meeting up again. I have met so many amazing people and I will definitely be making that a separate post as I have so many great stories. Yesterday we left San Francisco and headed to Yosemite National Park where we stayed for the night. The room cost $300 for the night but it was the most delightful little cottage in the woods with a fireplace, so we didn’t mind forking out the extra money, especially because we’ve been in hostels for most of the trip. This morning we set off to Tonopah in Nevada and to get to it we basically had to drive through the very middle of Yosemite. Cue the most scenic and breath-taking drive I have ever witnessed. While I was living in London, I did a week of driving through Scotland, sleeping in a Wicked Van. It was one of the best and most relaxing weeks of my life and the scenery was unlike anything I had ever seen. I honestly thought I was never going to see anything that would top Scotland and today I did!! It went from beautiful cliffs and lush green forest and then as we elevated to 9946 feet above sea level, suddenly we were surrounded by snow-capped mountains and there was snow on the ground. It was a little unexpected and we were caught off guard clothing wise, getting out to take photos in a short skirt and t-shirt was a fun time. After coming out of Yosemite, the landscape became an odd mix between forests and mountains and desert as we inched closer to Nevada. Both Kristy and I had read about a town in Nevada that had motel that was clown themed and also had a really old cemetery next to it. I am incredibly scared of clowns so logically, I thought it was a great idea to head to Tonopah and check the Clown Motel out. Tonopah is exactly what comes to mind when I think small town in the middle of the Nevada Desert. To be completely honest, it creeped me out a little but this is a result of watching way too many horror movies set in the middle of nowhere in America (The Hills Have Eyes anyone?) Then the scenery changed to very long, straight roads with nothing much around and homes with way too many old, beaten up vehicles in the yards. Eventually after an incredibly long but fantastic drive, we could see the Vegas lights glowing in the distance, and for the second time in my life I drove into the craziness that is the Las Vegas strip. I came to Vegas in 2013 and that trip was the catalyst to massive changes in my life. I am a different person to who I was last time I was here and it is weird to be back here after everything that has happened (I will explain this in a separate post as it is a whole saga in itself) I am very excited though as I will partying here for my birthday, if it is half as eventful as my last trip, I will have the most amazing time. Birthday week is my favourite week of the year!!

Okay, I feel better now…

Alabama, Arkansas, I sure do love my Ma and Pa

I am homesick. I am desperately, ridiculously, pathetically homesick. I miss my sister, I miss my bed and I miss work. How sad is that? Let’s back it up a little though, so you can get an idea of why this is especially embarrassing, I am only on a two month trip. It was supposed to be a three month trip but I have already cut it short by a month and now all I want, is to be at home.

At the moment I am in San Fransisco, which is amazing! Such a vibrant, beautiful city with so many things to do and see and here I am, after a month away from home, having panic attacks and crying in the shower because I miss home. So why is this happening and what can I do to combat it? Because I am determined to enjoy myself and not let anxiety and homesickness get on top of me.

Let’s back it up again and I will tell you whats been going on with me and how I got to this point to give a little bit of context. This is not my first overseas trip, I actually lived in London for twelve months, travelled through Europe and have done two and a half months around South East Asia. The massive difference is, those trips were done with my boyfriend and this is my first ever trip single. It has been a bit of an adjustment for me as we travelled so much together and travelled incredibly well together. Travelling with a friend is different, at the end of the day you go to bed alone instead of squishing into the same bunk until he decides its time  to go up to his. Annoying habits are much more noticeable because you aren’t in love with your friend.

In the December of 2013, after 6 and a half years together, I made the incredibly difficult decision to end my relationship. This was the man I thought I was going to be with forever and who I still think of as my best friend and soul mate but we had grown apart. For now lets not open that black hole of emotions because that is a large explanation all in itself and I am sure I will eventually lay it out, when I am ready. This trip was something I wanted to do, I wanted to go off without him and had been planning it since my return from America in November. I had been bitten hard by the travel bug and wanted to travel a lot. This was part of the reason the break up happened. We wanted different things, he wanted to be responsible with a house and I wanted to be able to flit off whenever. I dreamed of a travelling gypsy life. The problem was because I had to move towns, get a new job and learn to live on only one wage after years of living off two, I couldn’t afford to travel until April of this year.

So while I waited for it to be time to come on this trip, I got used to my life in Brisbane, actually I didn’t just get used to it, I came to love it. My sister and I were always close but me being single has meant I now spend all of my time with her and we have gotten even closer and for the first time ever I actually love my job! I have started to think about career progression and decided I want to buy myself an apartment in a few years. Low and behold, I was wanting to settle and no longer wanted the gypsy life style. My original plan was to quit my job and travel america for six months but the love of my life in Brisbane made me decided to cut it to three and work were nice enough to let me have three months off.

I still very much wanted to go on this trip though, especially because I am having an incredibly hard time getting over my ex and moving on, so I hoped this trip would help in that. When it came time to leave though, I got very down about being away from home for so long, I wished my ex was coming with me and wished my sister was coming with me but I was still excited.

Now I am a month into the trip and I feel like I have spent a fair bit of it anxious and homesick.  My travel buddy and I have also had a few set backs, she got the flu in LA, we hated our hotel in Cancun and got a bit of Mexico belly. We then had our drinks spiked in Mexico city and I spent three days with very, very bad food poisoning in San Diego. I know I am being a sook but I know that I would have come through these bad situations a little better, if I had someone to provide love and affection. I am trying very hard to be the strong, single, independent woman but there is only so much a person can take. Couple all of this with the fact that I have suffered from depression since my teenage years and quite bad anxiety since the break up which I take anti depressants for.

So what am I going to do about it? How am I going to not let my anxiety and homesickness get on top of me and ruin my trip? The first thing I have had to deal with is missing my ex and the constant sadness that he isn’t here. I was driving myself absolutely mental thinking about him, thinking about our break up and pining for him. Can I just add that although we have been broken up for almost a year and a half we still see each other quite a lot and have sex (yes I know how self-destructive that is, trust me) and in the week leading up to me leaving we actually spent a massive amount of time together. So although its been a long time since we were a couple, the feelings of leaving him are still very fresh and raw. So to stop driving myself completely insane with the grief of him not being here, I have adopted the Eat, Pray, Love method. This being that every time I think of him and my mind starts to wander and I miss him, I repeat to myself; miss him, send him love, move on.  I repeat this in my head this until I think it is safe to stop.

In regards to the homesickness, I am not really sure what to do. At the moment I am simply taking it one day at a time. I wake up, do the days activity and before I know it I am one day closer to going home. I also talk to my sister all day, every day, I got myself an American sim so no matter where I am, I can Facebook message her. When I am lonely and bored, I write in my travel journal and load my photos onto my computer and Facebook. I am going to Skype my mum and FaceTime my sister. I am also going to use writing as a way to cope. When I am feeling super anxious or down, I am going to write about my feelings. The most important thing I am going to do is not beat myself up. I will stop being annoyed at myself for feeling this way, being annoyed at myself only makes me anxious and then I ended up anxious about being anxious. I am just going to keep going and before I know it, it will be time for me to head home and I will be sad about that and wish I had longer. I can do this, I have made it through one of the most emotional periods in my life and come out the other side. I have spent a year away from my family and friends, 16,000 kilometres away from home in another county ,so I can spend another month travelling around America. I also keep thinking to myself, as the meme goes “If Britney can get through 2007, I can get through this day” or month in my case.

Alabama, Arkansas, I sure do love my Ma and Pa