8 GOALS FOR 2018


REFLECTION FOR 2018 


With my last post being a reflection on 2017, it feels only right to follow things up with a round up of goals for 2018. Im blessed with the fact that my schedule here in Brazil leaves so much time for reflection. With that, I`ve thought long and hard about what I want to achieve over the next year and how I want to spend my free time.

For me, January marks Chapter 1 of a new book.That feeling when you were young at school with an untouched crisp white page in front of you . An opportunity to start afresh with a newly rejuvinated mindset. Exciting, motivating and (if I'm honest, a little daunting).

This year, I`ve made a pact to myself to do something small to work towards these goals everyday. The way I see it, I will be making progress everyday; slowly chipping away at the bigger picture - whether that`s listening to a podcast, taking a lesson or reaching out to someone I admire. 

So here goes, although almost two weeks late (better late than never, eh?), my goals for 2018:






To study towards something
Constantly curious, I love learning for the sake of learning. Those who know me well will forever find me with my nose buried in a book or demanding that we pause conversation to Google something. So, it just makes sense to take advantage of my free time here and begin an online course. The only thing is that I'm torn by doing something I have personal interest in, like International Relations or instead, going down the more practical path of learning to code (#DigitalNomadLifeComeAtMe). I`m spending time over the next few weeks researching a few courses and will hopefully make my mind up soon. Any advice welcome! 


An obvious one... Become fluent(ish) in a second language
I can only guess the amount of time I will be in Brazil and with that,how fluent I will be upon my departure (uh it pains me to even think about leaving). But whilst I am here I want to try my hardest to pick up as much Portuguese as I can. It's such a beautiful language and I so badly want to interact with people on a deeper level. 

To speak up when something isn`t ok 
Grow a thicker skin, toughen up, no more Mr Nice Guy... whatever you want to call it. As I mentioned in my reflecting on 2017 post, this year I`m hoping to be a little truer to myself and voice when something doesn`t sit right with me.I need to stop being afraid of conflict and tell people if I think they`re being a little shitty. This includes being upfront and asking the questions I`m scared of - there`s been a few instances over the past year where I`ve replayed scenarios or wondered for ages what someone else is thinking (you know how it is). Now, I am going to pluck up the courage to ask. 


Look into creating a community or charity project
I discussed the idea of so many different projects with friends in 2017. From language swaps to coffee bean bag programmes and I`m kicking myself for just having the conversation and not actually looking into the feasibility of setting them up. The ´share economy` is ever present and this year, I owe it to myself to take my ideas a little more seriously and explore the idea of creating something that can make other people`s lives better. 


Conduct a wardrobe refresh
Something a little more materialistic, but nevertheless true. This year I want to streamline my wardrobe to contain only clothes I actually wear. So, in 2018 I will be saying  bye to the 2014 topshop sale dress that I *might* wear again and those badly fitted All Saints jeans I don`t wear but keep because they were a bargain. Not only will I be saying goodbye to many pieces (expect a monster Depop sale when I return to the UK), but I`ll be boycotting fastfashion and making a promise to only buy good quality pieces that will last a long time - either second hand or in store. 


To read everyday (even for 30 minutes)
Easily said and easily done but taking a small amount of time out of your day to read is such a valuable thing to do. For that precious half an hour you`re offline and training your mind to be present and focused on a singular thing - something that I (like most millennials) really struggle with. Not only this, but the amount of information available in books is so incredibly vast - you can find a career mentor, life coach or friend between the pages. For those who think I`m talking a load of rubbish, pleaaase watch this TEDTalk (Link here) - Tai Lopez puts his point across in a way 1000x better than me and it makes So. Much. Sense. 

To use my creativity more
Creativity is ingrained in my nature. When I was younger I would sketch, paint, write and loved making videos. Yet over the past few years, I think a combination of my degree, choice of jobs (and if I`m honest to myself, laziness), left me feeling like I couldn`t take time out of my day to do these things anymore. When I`m creating I feel at my happiest and most myself, so this year I`m going to be writing every day, reuniting with my watercolours and may even try to make some videos (there`s so many elements of Brazilian culture that I`d love to capture). I think this resolution even extends itself to becoming more involved with modeling. It`s something I love - becoming the character of clothes you`re wearing and working with a photographer to create a particular vision (more shoots please!) 

And finally, to write an article somewhere... 
Rewind 12 years and you would find a 12 year old Holly, like clockwork exchanging every shred of her weekly pocket money for Teen Vogue from the town centre WH Smiths. I remember sitting on my bedroom floor and looking at the journalist´s name at the end of the page and wondering what it would be like if I was to ever write an article. Although my choice of outlet has grown, I still do the same thing. I read articles from The Guardian to Refinery 29 and wonder what it would be like if I was to write about the same topic and how I would structure it. Whilst I don`t anticipate to see my name on Conde Nast traveller any time soon (although that would be a dream), I`m going to be submitting articles to online outlets. Eventually, I hope something will be published. 



A note: Reading over these goals again, it`s so apparent that 2018 will be a year of words for me. Absorbing new words in the form of researching new opportunities and more importantly, expressing words - whether thats language related, speaking my mind or putting pen to paper. And with 2017 still fresh in mind, I can`t help but think that it will be a year of words for the rest of the world also.  2017 brought us all so much change - political earthquakes and more people using their voices than ever. It`s so important that we carry this on in 2018 and continue to collectively use our voices to evolve so that the future is brighter and fairer - not just for ourselves but for others who haven`t been gifted the same platform as us, too.


So, here`s to 2018. Let`s see where the year takes us. 

Holly x 

A Reflection on 2017



Wow, 2017. I can´t argue with you. You´ve been an incredible, full-on, whirl wind. 

When I first sat to write this post, I was overwhelmed. How do you even begin to dissect a year of laughter, tears (yes communal crying sessions in the uni library toilets were a thing in final year), and quite obviously, change?

I even Googled `How to reflect on a year` and was faced with a load of psychoanalysis techniques that I don´t have the patience or brain power to digest (the post-lunch slump has hit me hard). So, I´m just going to freestyle and hope for the best. 




I guess, as a whole, this year hasn´t brought a huge epiphiny moment (and in reality I don´t think something like this exists). I´ve not had a wave of self discovery, and to be honest - I still don´t know what the F* I´m doing (as evidenced by my quarter life, moving to Brazil crisis). 

Instead, this year has been made up of tiny ´ah-hah´moments, where I´ve come to realise something small about myself and surroundings; likes, dislikes, limitations, ambitions - even becoming comfortable with my personality. 

Achievements.

2017 brought a pretty incredible cocktail of major life landmarks as well as tiny fear-facing moments, all of which I'm so so proud of. 

Incessant hard work paid off and in June I graduated university with a first class degree in Marketing. After a 3 day break between my final university deadline, I skipped back to East London (the best city in the world) and worked for 6 months in a grad job at a film studio before setting my sights on Brazil and embarking on the biggest adventure I've had to date. 

Most importantly, this year, I've made the move to do something I have always dreamed of and left comforts (my flat, job, friends) for something unknown on the other side of the world. I've independently set myself up in a new country with an income, a growing ability to speak Portuguese, a flat and the most hilarious group of friends. An achievement that is so reassuring and has brought new confidence - No matter what happens I know I can rely on myself. 

And as for those tiny, fear facing moments - This year I've stood up for what I believe in and voiced my opinion on a subject close to my heart. 

I worked with an incredible community project in Nottingham, IEN (Immigration Education Nottingham), ran by a girl-crush and now friend, Shannon. With them, I helped organise protests on behalf of child refugees effected by the revoke of the Dubbs ammendment. Expressing an opinion publicly is a daunting thing but I am so glad I did it. I've learnt that it's important to use your voice for people less priviledged and not to accept something simply because ít's an issue 'bigger than yourself'. 

Health.

Although I got a first in my degree, rewind to January, and I was half way through my final year and fast headed towards burnout. I was  (stupidly) taking Spanish, a Google marketing course, working as a waitess, student ambassador, volunteering, and trying to maintain a social life *and breathe*

I´d become so stressed working all day that I fell into a cycle of doing a waitressing shift until 12am and then going straight for a night out with friends to release the pressure. 

It was really short sighted of me and ended up impacting my health. By April I was totally exhausted from being pulled in so many directions and not taking time to rest, I was overcome with chest infection after chest infection and had lost so much weight. 

At the time I was frustrated that I couldn´t keep up with it all but now I see that burn out is a real problem (even in your early 20s).  And on the contrary to Lindsey Lohan in Mean Girls, the limit really does exist. 


Relationships.

Above all, I think this is the first year that I feel secure in my adult friendships. What I mean by this is that 2017 has built the most incredible bonds with friends - all of which different in their own way. I can safely say I´m surrounded by a group of people who I admire greatly for different reasons (albeit metaphorically now I´m in Brazil). 

My friends are so encouraging and inspiring - they´re breathing advocates of ´If you can think it, you can do it´ and it is something pushing me to set my ambitions even further afield for 2018. (U guys r da bomb xox). 


Regrets.

Ugh a tough one to write. 

Looking back on those close relationships I've built with friends has emphasised to me how important it is to walk away from enironments that are negative or uncomfortable. 

But, I guess, as part of my personality I'm very soft natured and avoidant of conflict. With that in mind, I think theres been a few times where people have said or done something hurtful/unfair and I haven´t had the courage to say ´Hey that´s not ok with me´. Something I´m so aware of now and although I dread the thought of causing any form of tension, will be working on in 2018. 

   
                                                                                                                                    



So, that's it. 

2018, I have a very good feeling about you. 

Wishing you the very best for next year and that you go after everything you dream of. Happy New Year!!

E para minha amigas Brasileiros, Felizidades - espero o ano novu trago coisas boas!!!


Holly x 

HOW I AFFORD TO TRAVEL THE WORLD




Aside from rent, I have no doubt that I spend the majority of my money on travel.

In 2014, after coming home from a summer school at a university in Strasbourg, I had met people from every stretch of the world; Lebanon, South Africa, Columbia... It's no surprise that the plethora of stories I had heard - Kruger Park in South Africa, the countryside of Columbia and the streets of Washington, had planted a seed in my mind and the idea of being able to physically see all of the places quickly became romantisised to me.

Later that summer, with the ideas of travelling to new countries fresh in my mind, I went for a drink with a mutual friend. Over pints of Guinness (yes my pint of choice then was Guinness - you can blame years of going to the pub with my Dad for that) we both mentioned that our friends had dropped out of travelling Europe. I think we both had the same amount of spontenaeity in our personalities, because a few days later we had a booked a month long trip to travel around Europe together.

Whilst the majority of people would think that spending a month travelling with someone you don't really know is crazy/odd/reckless (pick your choice of adjective), it's one of the best things I've ever done. I still laugh when I think about the accidental hungarian haircut, the dodgy croatian nightclubs and those German guys in Berlin. References which are completely contextless to you, but I promise are hilarious (stories for another time perhaps).

Fastforward 3 years and I've made countless trips to Europe, backpacked through Asia and have now hatched a semi-permanent home in Rio De Janeiro, spending my weekends travelling to new cities in Brazil. Lottery Winner? Money from parents? Heiress to Russian fortune? Living off plain rice and water? I hear you ask... Nope. The reality is far from riveting.

I am just really good at making my savings work hard for me.

So, here's my commandements for affording to travel the world. From a someone who still loves to be able to afford a few too many nights out and shop impulsively 😜


1) Travel commandment number 1: Tho shalt NEVER believe the first flight price they see.

Repeat after me: "The incognito tab is your friend."

I feel so bad for people who simply book the first flight price they see. Don't do it!! There's always a cheaper way. Always look on flight comparison sites like Skyscanner and use the first price you see as a bench mark. Following that, delete all of the cookies on your browser and open up a new incognito tab. From here, go back to SkyScanner and search for your flights across a wider bredth of dates (Sky Scanner has a month option). With this you can compare flight dates across a month without the price being hiked up because of your previous browsing history. The cost of my Bangkok flight halved when I followed these tips.

2) Commandment number 2: Thou shalt be flexible

If you want to save money you need to be flexible. Be flexible with dates, the modes of transport you're willing to take and the journey times. You can save a lot travelling mid week rather than at the weekend or taking a bus rather than a flight. Aaand even if do decide to take a flight bc the journey is longhall, take a  look at the non-direct options - you will likely save and may even be able to extend your stopover in a layover city for a few days (2 locations in the cost of one ticket!). Through doing this, my friend just spent a night in Miami on the way back from Rio to Denmark.


3) Commandment 3: Thou shalt use separate bank accounts and make one of them Monzo

If it is there, I will spend it.

Frustratingly, I have to baby myself and give myself spending money every week. When I was saving for South America, All of my wages would go directly into my saving account. I would take out a set amount of spending every week and credit it to my Monzo bank account/debit card. This way, I knew that I could spend the amount on my Monzo on whatever I wanted, whilst the rest of the money was for saving and rent.

P.s If you've not heard of Monzo, check them out. Their bank account tracks your spending realtime via an app and tells you which vendors/forms of entertainment you spend your money on. This way you can see how much nights out etc really total up to.

P.p.s It's also a great way to keep your savings safe whilst travelling.  I only ever top up my card by 30 pounds, so if someone steals it, I will just have to deal with wounded pride rather than a wounded bank account.


4) Commandment Numero 4: Thou shalt use night buses to travel

A night bus is a scary thought for some but honestly, it's fine. It's not comfortable - expect to have the person infront recline their seat so far back that they're basically laying on your lap. And then be trapped in an internal debate whether you recline yours equally as much and irritate the person behind you.

Buut it's cheap. I paid 100 reais to travel from Rio to São Paulo  (£22) and was able to sleep for the 6 hour journey.

I'd also recommend using hitch hiking app, Blabla Car. I've not used it yet myself (but intend to soon) but all of my friends swear by it. Just be cautious - only grab a ride with people who have Facebook connected to their profile and have reviews.


5) Commandment 5: Thou shalt avoid hotels and stay in hostels or use house swaps

A few years ago, the thought of sharing a dorm with strangers would have seemed totally gross and to be honest, a little unsafe. Today, I'm sharing a dorm with 8 guys and am nursing a hangover with free coffee from the hostel kitchen. We went out last night and are all exploring the city of São Paulo together today.

Staying in a  hostel is always the cheaper route and such a great way to meet people. I've never had a bad experience and would recommend to anyone... just be prepared to shower in flip flops and fear for your life if you have to climb down a top bunk ladder.

For the fearful, doing a house swap is a great way to gain free accommodation. I know someone who swaps their flat in the Netherlands with friends in Europe for cheap getaways. Super easy!

6) The 6th and Final Commandment: Want a longer trip? Thou shalt work abroad

Australia, Europe, South America, China... the opportunities are endless. Working abroad enables you the to exchange your skills and time, for an experience to really soak up a country's culture. I know people who teach, work in bars/hostels/farms or even do work remotely online (things like Web design).

So, for example, right now I work 3 or 4 days a week through teaching English. I have long weekends to explore Brazil and can finance a flat and a social life whilst doing so. It's perfect for people who want a more realistic experience of a country and not to be uprooted every few days like when you're back packing.

I'd also recommend volunteering abroad. When I volunteered in Greece, the volunteer apartment was something like 5 Euros a week.  A lot of projects also give free accomodation and food to volunteers too and you get to do something really great for other human beings 🙌💕

NB - I want to add a new recommendation for working abroad here; I've recently heard a lot about a site called World Packers. You sign up to the site and can work for hostels in exchange for food/accomodation. You can read more on their site here -www.worldpackers.com . I would definitely recommend for those who have a smaller budget and want to go away for a longer period of time!



OK, so they are my 6 commandments for affording to travel the world. Bottom line is that what you sacrifice in comfort, you gain in experiences and savings...

 If you have any tips, write them below - would love to hear!


Bye for now.
Holly x




Desculpe, sou Inglês - Sorry I'm English










It's been little over a week since moving over to Rio.

The phrase I've used most?  "Desculpe, sou inglês". And it's soo frustrating. I am desperate to speak the language. People here are uber friendly but it's rare for Brazilians to speak English. So there's a massive barrier between me and whoever decides to initiate conversation. Waaa

Whilst my Portuguese is abominable, I have (surprisingly) managed to sort of few things out.

Room? Check.

Teaching work? Check.

A language swap? Check.

Fall completely in love with the city and already consider options to gain a permanent visa? Check.

Including considering marrying a local? Check.

Passport swap anyone?



OK so, the room. I think I've managed to find the 💎 amongst the rubble. And believe me there's a lot of rubble when searching for a room in Rio. Prices for gringos can easily be seen as akin to daylight robbery. A lot of people quoted me London prices for box rooms that smelt like old toasties. Thankfully, by chance I heard of a friend of a friends girlfriend (try saying that three times fast) that was moving out of a room in Arpoador. A beachfront location nestled between the neighbourhoods of Ipanema and Copacabana. I immediately fell in love with colonial style building (there's a front door fit for a princess), the apartment and the idea of living with the 5 Brazilian girls currently staying there. I moved in last night and aside from a few homely touches (I can hear my friends shouting me to me across the Atlantic ocean 'YOU NEED PLANTS AND ART GIRL, PLANTS AND ART') it already feels so comfortable being here.

Teaching work... is getting there. After an interview, I was given a role teaching English at a NGO school in a favella community for two days a week. It's full on but incredibly rewarding. Being able to give less privillidged kids the chance to have a fairer start in life is something very special. The kids are balls of energy that bound into the classroom. Not to mention, I'm learning so much from the experience too. Whilst it's not paid, I'm being given so much life experience and happiness that I feel a lot richer than I would from a physical wage. That said, I'm going to have to pay my rent somehow if I want to keep the princess front door! So I will have to find private students...

Language-wise my prayers were answered a few days ago, when I was introduced to someone looking to do a language swap. I'm going to teach them English in a coffee shop once a week and in return they will teach me Brazilian Portuguese. The good thing is that they're an advertising student, so I can pass on any marketing jargon on from my degree. Plus, I'm also planning on paying for Portuguese lessons once a week. Again, by chance when I rushed into the lift this morning I got talking to an old lady with an incredible sense of style. It turns out she's my neighbour and she spends some time teaching Portuguese to gringos. Very lucky and super convenient. Yippee.

So, that's week one. A home, a little work and some lessons sorted.



Holly x