The days we'll make..

Glen Iris, Australia


Today I’m going to talk about love, tolerance and acceptance. You may be confused as to why I’m talking about this.

Picture the scene.

You’re invited to a friend’s houseparty. So, you go and have a couple of drinks. You see your friends, and you talk to them. You have a good time, the conversation is flowing smoothly, the people are on your level, the night is just right. Then.. you spot someone and you feel compelled to smile at them. They smile back at you. You acknowledge the smile and continue talking to your friends. You try to listen to them – you see their lips moving and hands flapping about, but nothing is registering in your mind. Why? Because you’re still thinking about that person. You feel butterflies flying around in your stomach, your pulse quickens and your tongue feels dry, just like the Sahara desert. ****. What is this? You turn around to look at them and you see that they’re already looking at you. You quickly turn back and feel embarrassed that they caught you looking, but you feel slightly glad that they were already looking at you first though, and a small smirk appears on your face.

“Hello? Earth to (insert name here)..? Are you listening? The lights are on, but nobody’s home.”

Your friends notice that you’re paying no attention.

“Ah, sorry. I guess my mind was elsewhere.”

“Pfft.. I can see that. Go and talk to them. Do it.”

Your friends encourage you. You take a huge gulp of your Vodka and lemonade and slam it down on the table. The alcohol goes to your head a little bit, and the intoxication gives you the false courage you need. You smoothly turn around and swagger your way over to them.

You trip over and fall flat on your face, directly at their feet.

“Oh ****, that must have hurt. Are you alright?”

They ask if you’re ok and help you up. You’re finally face to face and you try to respond to their question. You want to say something smooth like..

“Do you have a plaster? Because I just scraped my knee falling for you.”

But you can’t respond because your heart is in your mouth, your blood rushes to your face and you’re dyslexic in the head.

“Ow. I fell.”

Well done. Real smooth.

But it works. They laugh.

“A person of many words, aren’t you? Come on, lets get you a drink, and I’ll have a look at your knee.”

You talk all night. You feel so comfortable, so you tell them about what a retard you are. You tell them about the time when you were 6, and rode your bike into a metal portable goal and split your lips open. You tell them about the time you played strip poker at school. You also tell them about how you felt when your friend died. They tell you about how they broke into the staffroom and drank the teachers bourbon, they tell you about the time they broke their ribs playing softball, and they trust you enough to tell you how they felt when they found out their mum had cancer. The bond is made, the trust is there. The attraction is undeniable, you want to kiss them but the moment isn’t right. It’s late – it’s 3am, there are people shouting, jostling and drinks are being spilt all over the floor, much to your friend’s disgust. So, you ask for their number, give them a kiss on the cheek and leave, promising to set up a date.

You get home, and you have an argument in your head about whether or not you should text them now, or play it cool?

Screw it.

“Hey you.. it’s (insert name here).. I’m home. Did you get home ok?”

You wait, and 30 seconds later, you get a reply.

“What took you so long to text?”

A smile appears on your face, and you reply.

You have your first date. You take them out on a boat, you bring a blanket, a flask of hot chocolate, marshmallows and Milky Bar buttons (because you remember them saying they loved it) and… you take out a jar and put a rose in it and you set sail. You talk about everything – your hopes, your dreams and your aims.. you also talk about the past and the pain you’ve both been through. The moment is right – you kiss, and it’s everything you imagined it to be.

The weeks goes by so fast. Dates after dates, kisses after kisses..

The months goes by so fast. Dates after dates, sex after sex.. romantic sex, quick sex, angry sex, make up sex.. all kinds of sex.

One night.. they utter the words, “I love you.” and gone is the awkward person you were that very first night you both met. You know just what to say this time. “I love you too.”

Everything is just right.

You move in together. You go to IKEA, and you jump on the beds, they pretend to take a shower, you potter around in the kitchen, and both pretend to take a bath in the bathtub and you kiss, much to the children’s amusement.

“Mummy. Look at them! They’re kissing in the bath!”

“Don’t look. They’re just being silly. Come on, now.”

She scolds the children, gives you a dirty look and walks away.

“Boy.. some people need to lighten up.”

Slowly, but surely, the house you moved into becomes a home.

You know the time is right.

You take them to the first place you had your date. You get into the boat, and you sail away again.

“I love my life with you. I love how we go out to work and rush back home, just so we can see each other. I love how we hold hands and go to parties that we end up ditching to drink wine out of the bottle in the bathtub. I love how we go to the cinema and end up kissing in the back row like children. I love how we slow dance in the bedroom with an unmade bed and candles on the fireplace. I love it. I want to do it with you forever. Marry me.”

“No.”

And just like that, with one word, your world is shattered.

“Why?”

“It’s illegal. We can’t marry. The government won’t let us.”

……………………

Yes, I know that the romantic story was slightly random. But I wanted you to get sucked into it, to experience love in its purest form. Notice how I never once mentioned whether or not they were female or male? I did that because I wanted you to forget about gender for a while, and just appreciate the story for what it was, an amazing story about two people falling in love with each other.

Last week, the Australian government overturned the ACT (Australian Capital Territory) legislation that was passed on December 7th, which had allowed gay couples to marry inside the ACT, regardless of which state they live in. They declared it invalid because it created confusion with federal legislation that defined marriage as a union between only a man and a woman.

Around 27 couples had tied the knot since December 7th. Their marriages are now null and void.

This makes me angry. How dare you tell us who we can or can’t marry. Love is love. Full stop.

People say it’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. Really? If you want to get all biblical, bring it on.

In Deuteronomy, a marriage is only valid if the woman is a virgin, and she should be executed if she is not. Anyone who commits adultery should be stoned to death. In Mark, divorce is prohibited.

In Leviticus 18:6 –

“You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female, it is an abomination.”

A similar verse occurs in Leviticus 20:13 –

“A man who sleeps with another man is an abomination and should be executed.”

Leviticus is a holiness code that was written 3,000 years ago. It also includes prohibitions against round haircuts, tattoos, working on the Sabbath, wearing garments of mixed fabrics and even playing with the skin of a pig – there goes football.

Some think gay marriage will threaten the institution of marriage.

Umm.. Britney Spears got married and annulled in less than 55 hours. Kim Kardashian’s marriage lasted 72 days.

Ivan Hinton and Chris Teoh, the first couple to marry, have been together for 11 years.

Where’s the justice in that?

This is
where tolerance and acceptance comes in. You are not born homophobic – you are taught. Fair enough, we are all free to feel or believe what we want. But for me, I believe in morality, which is doing right, regardless of what I’m told – instead of doing what you’re told, regardless of what is right.

Everyone is entitled to have their The Notebook story.

Wake up Australia, we’re human beings too.

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It's a wonderful life

Brunswick, Australia


I’m sorry that it’s taken me so long to write another blog. I don’t know why, but for the last month, I’ve felt like I had.. I guess you could call it writers block?

So, where did we leave off the last time? Ah, yes.. the house that I didn’t move into. Yes, as I watched the guys jumping around, all excited, I felt good, I had trusted my intuition, followed through with it, and this was the outcome. Happy people. Yay.

Having said that, there was a slight uneasy feeling of doom circling its way around inside of me, and I knew what it was. Work. I love to work – I’d get up at 6am and travel for 2 hours to work, with a smile on my face. Well.. sometimes that would depend on my fellow passengers – their hygiene routine and their respect for the elderly and the pregnant. God knows how many times I’ve had a go at random strangers for not giving up their seats. Oh.. that one time I had a go at a man who was sitting down whilst a 70-80 years old lady was standing up.

“Please give her your seat.”

“Oh.. don’t worry, dear. I’m perfectly fine. I’m getting off soon.”

“No, it’s not right. How can you be so rude? Give her your seat.”

“No, no.. leave it,”

•squints my eyes and snarls at him•

“I’m pregnant.”

“What the…?”

•shows me the ‘Baby on board’ badge•

“Oh my God.. I’m SO sorry.”

It was actually an very unattractive, pregnant lady with excessive facial hair. FML.

Yes, I appear to have gone off track here, but the moral of that little story is, ALWAYS give up your seat for the elderly and the pregnant because one day, you’ll be pregnant and old. Not at the same time, though. That’s like, biologically impossible.. unless you’re thinking about the 69 years old lady who gave birth in India five years ago.. or a man.

Abigail. Get back to the story.

Oh. Sorry.

Anyway, I wanted to work. As much as I loved prancing around Melbourne without a care in the world, I needed to be productive. For me, I used to have a ‘work to live’ attitude, and I thought that people who had a ‘live to work’ attitude were just.. sad. But then, I grew up. I realised.. yes, you can work in order to earn money to do whatever you like. But where’s the satisfaction in that? You work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 4 weeks a month, 12 months a year with roughly about 26 days off thrown in..? If you work to live on that odds, you’d be depressed. I’ll put my hands up and admit that my early 20s were spent faffing about – I went about my work in a half-hearted way, and lived for the weekends where I’d go out and get drunk and have to drag my equally as drunk friends out of the Southern Fried Chicken place from our house in Dalston, especially a certain person who once screamed, “1p?! 1 ******* pence?! Is that all you think I’m worth?! I’m not that cheap!!! **** you, you *******.. and **** your chicken! I didn’t even want it!” to the poor guy who was just trying to give her change back from the pound she had given him for a 99p chicken at 3am.

But I wouldn’t change it. No. Looking back, those events resulted into me moving to Ireland, where I made lifelong friends, and then I went on to work for the VSO in Preston, Manchester and Nepal. I can honestly say that those two decisions I made absolutely changed my life – the butterfly effect and all that jazz. The people I met, the communities I became involved with, the love I received and the values I learned made me see that there was more to life than stumbling out of Heaven at 5am. Those experiences instilled a strong work ethic and determination within me, and I’m glad.

Truth be told, I actually applied for a job with Vicdeaf the day after I arrived in Melbourne. I just didn’t want to say anything in case I was unsuccessful – pride comes before a fall. I was quietly hoping that wouldn’t be the case though.

A week later, I heard back from Vicdeaf, and they wanted me to come in for an interview. Great.

The next day, I went shopping for clothes for my interview. I had found the perfect outfit – now all I needed to do was to go and sit down and do some research on the company, my role and so on. So I went to a bar and ordered a glass of wine and set about researching, only to find that they had no wifi. So, I drank wine and did some writing instead. Now.. there’s one thing you need to know about me – when I drink wine, I get all smirky (my closest friends will know what this particular smirk looks like, unfortunately.. and winds me up to no end about it), a mischievous glint will appear in my eyes, and I will lose all of my inhibitions.

So I decided to leave before I did something stupid.

Little did I know what was coming next..

There I was, strolling down the street, smirking and minding my own business when I happened to meet what seemed to be an angry mob of students protesting against the federal government’s plans and threats to slash funding to student organisations, to remove participation targets for disadvantaged groups, and change the current number of university places offered.
There were placards everywhere with ‘**** FEES, **** CUTS’, ‘TAX THE RICH, FUND EDUCATION’ and so on typed out on it. This intrigued me, I observed for a minute and then walked on by. 10 seconds later, the glint in my eyes appeared and I couldn’t help but halt, turn 160 degrees and smirk with a raised eyebrow (you know, like Jafar from Aladdin when he comes up with a wicked plot? That.) and walked towards them. I had no idea what they were saying but I got the gist of it. There was a strong police presence, but they were outnumbered by the protesters. There must have been about 100 people or so. They were really passionate and opinionated, and obviously cared about their education. It’s a shame that we have to fight in order to learn.

They then decided to march onwards to Parliament. I watched them walk into my direction and I decided to walk along and observe too. It didn’t take me too long to realise that I had actually inadvertently got myself caught up in the protest. I was surrounded by the protesters and flanked by the police on both sides.

Now.. it would’ve been VERY easy to just say..

“Excuse me, could you just let me through? Thank you very much.”

But.. this is me we’re talking about. I started giggling and decided to march along and shout with them.

“**** Tony Abbot! **** the cuts! ****.. whatever! YEAH! **** THE.. WHATEVER-NANANAH.. BLAH, BLAH.. yeah.”

The police made some unnecessary arrests and were very aggressive toward us at times for no reasons whatsoever. There were a couple of times where I actually almost got caught up in the fracas – luckily swiftly moving away at the very last minute by chance. There was one moment where I had a gut feeling telling me to instantly walk away from the march, so I stepped into a shop and watched them go by. Straight away, 7 or 8 policemen literally jumped on a man and ripped him to pieces – that guy was the same guy I was just walking next to a few seconds earlier..

When we got to Parliament, I decided it was time to leave and prepare myself for the interview – I didn’t want to get arrested and be deported back to England. So I found a cute cafe, listened to Paper Aeroplanes (so in love with them right now – check them out) and chilled out.

Interview day – I got all dressed up and went to Vicdeaf to meet Brent and Phil. We had a pleasant interview – I spoke about the weather.. how very English of me. They spoke about barbecues.. how very Australian of them. In fact it was probably one of the most comfortable interviews I’ve ever had. I felt very at ease with them, and hoped that I would get the job.

As it turns out. I did.

I’d say that it’s probably the main reason I haven’t been writing as much as I have – it’s because I’ve been working, and I’m incredibly grateful for that. When I came out here, I came out with the notion that I’d just stroll onto a farm and say, “G’day
cockie!” and the farmer and his wife would open me with wide open arms. She’d bake pies, he’d crack open the beers, I’d have my own wicked way with their daughter, and we’d sit around the kitchen table where I would regale them with tales of my series of unfortunate events. I’d live off the fat o’ the land and earn enough money to go back and buy a house.

No. Life is not like that.

Apparently, according to my friends who have done the compulsory three months work in order to get a second year visa, farming is cold, wet, windy, stressful and depressing. Having said that, some have also said that looking back on the experience a while down the road, it was also one of the best times they’ve had. It’s also very competitive – MILLIONS of backpackers are competing for a place. I decided I would much rather go for a job in the city, because I wasn’t sure how long I would be staying in Australia for – I would much rather explore the city, the food, shops, bars, etcetera, just in case I decided to go back before the year was up.

Also, I had underestimated how expensive Australia would be – I was well on my way to becoming flat broke. To get a job within two weeks of setting foot in Melbourne is pretty damn good, if I may say so myself. *pats my back*

So.. I’ve been in Melbourne for a month and half already. How has it been? It’s been brilliant. I’ve had the most amazing time so far, and I honestly do believe that the best is yet to come.

What’s next for me? Well, I’m currently staying with a friend in Brunswick – if I had to explain what it’s like, a mix of Camden Town and Brick Lane – no wonder why I feel very at home here. But next week, I’ll be moving into my own place. Yes! Finally! I’ll be moving in with a girl called Steph and a guy called Nikhil. It’ll be nice to finally be settled for a while. As much as I love travelling, packing can be an ****, you tend to worry about whether or not you’re overstaying your welcome and the lack of privacy can get on your tits. Getting changed in your bedroom aka the living room, continuously living in fear and praying to God that Christopher Joy (Penny’s husband) won’t walk in and see me naked and end up curling into a ball, screaming, “MY EYES! MY EYES!!!”.. actually, to be fair, that happened a fair bit when I lived in Woodford with the boys. I’d catch Mark about to step in the shower and felt like someone had just thrown Napalm on my eyes. Lee having a **** and felt like someone had just stuffed Napalm up my nostrils and they’d catch me walking around in my bras and knickers – music to their eyes, but they won’t admit it. Our bathroom lock works just fine, but for some reason, we never used it. God.. we had NO privacy in that house, but when you’ve known someone for 15 years, those kind of things don’t matter.

Big thanks to the guys in the T.A.R.D.I.S apartment – Janelle, Penny, El and Christopher Joy.. Actually, thanks to everyone who has let me stay with them – Danny, Liz, Andrew and Mija. I honestly do believe that you are meant to meet certain people. Each person has something to teach us, regardless of how long they’re in your life – they may stay for an hour, a day, or 10 years or even forever.

I also realise that when you think of success, you tend to think about from an academical or a wealthy point of view – “Oh, my son has just graduated from university with a 2.1 in Psychology.”, “Oh, my daughter has just been promoted to Marketing Executive.” or “I’ve just got $10,000 Christmas bonus. Suck on that!”

But for me, I measure success very differently. I measure it by how happy I am. I measure it by how proud I am. Notice that I’ve used bold ‘I’s.. that’s because I’m trying to emphasise that it’s important that whatever you do, you’re doing it for yourself, not anyone else. I know that my family will be happy with whatever I do, as long as I’m happy. In fact, if you ask my mum and nan what they’re most proud about, they probably would say the fact that I’m a strong and independent woman? If After all, when my grandchildren ask me what I’ve done in my life, what would I rather say?

“Oh yes, your nanny Abi worked her socks off. I became a Marketing Executive when I was 32 and CEO when I was 40. My proudest moment was when I made my first million. Look at my big house. Granted, I’m divorced. Your grandma left me and took your mummy/daddy because I was never at home, didn’t pay them enough attention and thought too much about what other people thought about me.” (Ok, that’s a little bit extreme.. but you get the picture.)

OR

“I lived on a farm in Ireland.” (Ok, we didn’t have animals, but we lived next to several farms. It was a very farmy area.)

“I lived in Nepal in a house with 15 people and three dogs.” (I NEVER have any privacy.)

“I got thrown off a plane with 22 people, because we were deaf. We kicked up a fuss, and all the news stations got into touch with us, and we made national news. Never stop fighting for your rights, by the way.” (True story.) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/engl and/berkshire/3919249.stm

I had fly to Egypt on my own and stay in a Mafia area because you know that annoying woman who sometimes comes around, Seeta..? Yes, her.. she thought it would be a great idea to sleep walk and throw her passport on the day we were due to fly off.” (I still think you’re a ********, Seeta.)

“I volunteered at a human rights organisation in Nepal, and I created accessibility for deaf people, so they could get information to LGBT issues and AIDS.” (One of my proudest achievements.)

“I was an amazing aunty to all of your aunties and uncles.” (Ok, that hasn’t happened yet, but seriously.. hurry up, will you?!)

“I lived in Australia.” (OR it could be, “I was born in England, but Australia stole my heart.. that’s why you’re all Australians..” who knows..?)

I also believe that everything happens for a reason, but that doesn’t mean you can just sit back and wait for things to magically appear in your lap. No, you have to get out there and make it work. How successful I’ll be by the time I talk to my grandchildren, I don’t know.. but so far, I’m happy with what I’ve done so far.

But most importantly.. learn to appreciate what’s in front of you, instead of romanticising what’s yet to come.

I’ll sign off with an article written by a nurse, Bronnie Ware.

For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.

People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female
patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.

Why you no husband?

Camberwell, Australia


I spent the week exploring Melbourne.. well, apart from that one morning I got locked into the apartment by El.. I loved what it had to offer – the shops were quirky, the cafes were warm and inviting and the food was delicious! I swear, all I do is sit in cafes, drink hot chocolate and stroke my imaginary goatee, trying to look all wise..

Friday came, and Sofie and I decided to go to VCD for their street day where organisations came and explained what services they provided. Sofie is the girl I met in the hostel In Cairns by the way, remember..? Turns out she lived around the corner from Janelle! Such a small world. I’m glad I went because I met a guy I knew from my days in Nepal when I worked with the VSO, Ramesh – he came over for the WFD, and decided to visit his sister in Melbourne. It was lovely to catch up with him and hear about how everyone was doing over there. He was surprised to hear that I was single. “Why you no husband? You pretty.” He insisted that I ditch Australia and come over to Nepal to live with him for a year, and he’d help me find a husband. I guess he didn’t get the memo..

Afterwards, we went to Prahran Hotel for a few drinks. It’s never just a few drinks when it comes to the Melbourne boys though.. shots after shots, drinks after drinks and I was starting to feel rather tipsy and I made my excuses and went home. They pleaded with me to stay, but I was moving into my new house the next day! I had to go home and pack. This would be the first time I travelled around Melbourne in the evening on my own. True to form, I got off the wrong stop and ran like a headless chicken all the way home. Thank God for Google maps.

The next day, I packed all of my things and went to The Tradeblock cafe to meet some others to talk about DYV – Deaf Youth Victoria, a youth association that would set up workshops and social events to empower the youths, provide them with information and encourage them to socialise with their peers. It was an interesting morning with a lot of debates! Afterwards, Janelle and I made our way to JB’s house, where the boys were currently staying until we would move into our new house. When I arrived, I was told that we had no gas and electric as everyone was too busy to call the provider. Umm. hi? Unemployed person here, I could’ve called them up? Because it was the weekend, we wouldn’t be able to get anything done until the following Friday. I was not amused, but such is life. Sofie, Janelle and I got into the car and made our way over to the house in Burwood. As we drove, I can’t explain it but I had a strange feeling. I wasn’t entirely comfortable with moving so far away. I had NO problems with the people in the house – they’re all wonderful, but something didn’t feel right. I thought I would wait until I arrived at the house before I made a decision.

We arrived at the house and it was HUGE! It had 5 bedrooms, a study, two bathrooms, and a conservatory with a kitchen and pool table. As we looked around the house, I kept thinking to myself, ‘It’s amazing, but it doesn’t feel like home..?’ It was too far away – I should have looked at the house first before agreeing to move in. Janelle took me aside and said, ‘We all make mistakes. we learn from it, and we move on.’

My gut instinct was telling me not to move in. I thought back to when I was looking for a house with my boys back in Woodford Green. We searched high and low for a place but never seemed find a place that was just right.. until the estate agent told us that she had to make a quick stop at a house that had been deserted by the previous tenant. As we climbed over the pile of bills, into the dark and dingy kitchen and living room, we all had a funny feeling. Despite how dark, smelly and dirty it was, there was a certain charm about it – we felt strangely attached to it, and we told the estate agent that we would take it. After a couple days of scrubbing and hard work thrown in, it was gorgeous, warm and inviting – we had made it our home. All because we had THAT feeling, and I didn’t have it with this house. Thankfully Janelle and Sofie persuaded me to tell the boys how I felt, I felt bad about letting them down. But they were understanding, and told me to do whatever made me feel happy. I realised.. you have to give yourself permission to immediately walk away from anything that gives you bad vibes. There is no need to explain or make sense of it.

Jarrad and Senja were also admiring the house, and an idea formed into our heads – what if they moved into the house instead? So, with some gentle persuading, we persuaded them to move in, and Sofie would take their place at their house because it was only a 3km bike ride to her university. We could feel excitement rising in the room, I could see everyone’s eyes darting across the room, excited and nervous glances were exchanged. I could see they were all thinking, ‘Are we doing this? Is this really happening..?’.. it was all so sudden, but it felt so right.

It was settled, they would move in. We spent the next hour chattering excitedly, and as I looked at the smiles on everyone’s faces, I smiled and thought to myself..

‘Wow. Everyone’s lives changed in an instant, for the better. All this happened, simply because I said no…’

A warm glow came all over me. Life is about learning from the past, trusting your intuition going forward, taking chances, finding moments of happiness, and realising that everything is simply a lesson that happens for a reason. You have to expect the unexpected because life is always full of surprises. (I now have Cilla Black jumping around and shouting in my head. Great.) There will come moments in life where things will happen that you can’t prevent from happening, because they’re meant to happen – but instead of running away from it, you should embrace it, solve it and learn from it.

I also realised this meant I was still homeless and unemployed. But you know what..? I’m in Australia – I threw caution to the wind, and set sail. If things don’t work out, that’s ok. I have a home, I have a family that I love dearly (and at times, would happily beat the **** out of), and a fantastic group of friends. Whatever happens, I know I have them all to come back to – I can say that I tried, and had fun. As I once said before, despite whatever adversities we might face, we’re still capable of enjoying life when it gives us that opportunity. I always thought that the ‘enjoy every moment’ line was cheesy, and maybe it is, but we all have times in life when we’re allowed to just be happy. We don’t always know when they’re coming or when they’re going, but they exist.. and there’s a lot to be said for that.

Run Geoffrey, run!

Sydney, Australia


Still recoiling from Trousergate, I flew from Cairns to Gold Coast to meet Andrew the Aussie. I made my way over to the carousel to pick up my backpack, so I could start another new adventure! Ten minutes later, I was still at the carousel. Round and round it went, and still.. my bag was nowhere to be found. In my carry on bag, all I had was my purse, passport, 5 books, eye-liner and mascara. That would NOT get me very far. I could feel panic rising inside of me and worried thoughts were whizzing about in my head at the speed of lightning. ‘****.’, ‘What am I going to wear?’, ‘Why is my life so difficult?’, ‘That’s it. I’ve had enough. I’m going back to England.’, ‘Where’s my insurance form? Oh, ****. It was in the bag too.’, ‘Shut up, Abigail – don’t be a drama queen. You have an email copy.’, ‘Don’t tell me to shut up. My life was in that bag.’ ‘YOU shut up. Shorts that people often think is actually a belt, six generic black vests, slutty dresses, rugby tops that you will soon come to regret bringing because it’s too hot for Australia – you dumbass, and 600 contact lenses.. that’s your life? Really? You materialistic *****.’, ‘I swear to God, I would punch you in the face if you weren’t me.’ After I snapped out of my little dramatic Jan Brady moment, I realised that my bag had arrived. Phew. I made my way outside and waited for Andrew to arrive. He arrived soon after, with a husky in tow.. I instantly fell in love. With Jess the husky, that is.. not Andrew. Gold Coast was amazing. We went for a stroll on the beach and saw about ten whales splashing around.. or maybe it was two whales jumping up and down five times..? We had a couple of drinks, more strolling, a bit of perving, strolling and drinking – it was just what I needed. Afterwards, we made our way to Byron Bay, which was as equally amazing. The views were to die for. I saw some more whales and felt quite smug, as Rikki had gone whale watching a few days before for $80, and here I was – surrounded by whales in close proximity, for free. Then began the long and arduous 10 hours drive to Sydney.. well, for Andrew – I just slept in the passenger seat, mumbling and dribbling. We soon washed away the stress and pain by taking a dip into the Jacuzzi.. bliss. Sydney! The first week passed quickly as Andrew showed me the beaches, a Mustang garage, the city, pubs, restaurants and so on. The weather was glorious and I enjoyed myself a lot. The first weekend was the International Fleet Review, which meant up to 40 warships, 16 tall ships and 8,000 naval personnel from more than 20 nations would converge at Sydney Harbour and celebrate. Celebrate what exactly…? I wasn’t sure, but as long as I saw some sexy female sailors, I was in. Oh boy.. little did I know. Andrew thought he would start off by introducing me to his drinking ground, The Rocks. I’m not proud to say we chugged an unreasonable amount of alcohol, made acquaintances with some strange people (like I said to someone earlier on, I always tend attract the weirdos, the elderly and the middle aged transsexuals) before I dragged him to a gay nightclub with Laura, where I jumped into a cage with 6 half naked gyrating men and a lady, and started dancing and twerking. The shame.. the next day, I could not move, speak or eat. Served me right. PLUS, I saw no sexy female sailors. The week after that was a chilled out one, I went to a BBQ, visited the city, curled up into a ball and watched TV, chilled by the pool. It was a nice week, but too much time on your own can make you think about everything and nothing. More to come about that later on at the end. The weekend, however, was a different story. Sydney brings out the animalistic side in me, it would seem so. I decided to go out with Sammy and Laura to a lesbian nightclub – Snatch and Grab. I was responsible for getting the goon. Goon? What’s that? Well, most people in Australia know it, most backpackers drink it almost daily – it’s basically wine in a box and it ***** you up. What was meant to be a 5 minutes walk to the shop ended up being an hour’s journey – aimlessly walking around the city in search for the goon. I was sent on a wild ‘goon’ chase, I guess you could say.. finally, goon was purchased and chugged – we made our way to the club and danced all night. Shots after shots, spirits after spirits.. the night ended with me trying to break into a massive JCB digger. I told you, the goon ***** you up. On Sunday, Andrew said he would be visiting a guy to sort out his hearing aids, and then he would watch cricket. I jumped at the chance of visiting an audiologist – I hoped he would be able to fix my hearing aids.. so, I hopped in the car and we drove to see the audiologist. The audiologist was NOT helpful, despite his best intentions. “This is a rubbish hearing aid.” “I was told that it was the top of the range?” “Well, it’s not. There are better hearing aids out there.” “Well in England, this is the best one?” “Well, in Australia, it’s not. Let me see, which is the best one..?” “Ok, so it’s not the best here. That’s fine. However, can you fix it?” “No. Here’s the number of a guy. He might not be able to fix it, but..” I tried my best to not cry and hit him for luring me into a debate about my so-called ****** hearing aid and then demolishing me by saying he couldn’t fix it. However, before I went to see him, I did prepare myself for the fact that he might not be able to fix it, but I wasn’t banking on my reaction on the way back.. I was surprised because I got a bit teary. Functioning on just one hearing aid that I’m still not used to because it hasn’t been programmed properly in a new country full of strangers is overwhelming. I slapped myself out of it and tried to enjoy the sunny day. Andrew pulled up at the North Sydney Oval ground. When he said he would be watching cricket, I had assumed that we would be watching on the television. He had tricked me and there was no escape. I thought it would be fun to watch Queensland play against Victoria for an hour or two. How wrong I was.. During the fifth hour of cricket..! I was sitting in the back of the stadium, next to the Victoria team, when I saw a guy in his forties with learning difficulties making his way up the stands. He was clutching his bag and a notepad. It was obvious he was an avid collector of signatures, having made his way around the Oval earlier with the Queensland team. He sat in the row next to me, nervously holding his notepad. I could see him glancing at the Victoria team, hoping to make eye contact. They were all engrossed into the game to even notice him. He started muttering and fidgeting, and I could feel my heart strings pulling. It was obvious he was very anxious and nervous. He stood up, and took a few steps and halted – turned around and saw down. He had lost his nerves. All the while, I was sitting there – watching.. willing him to take that extra step, but he couldn’t do it. He repeated this about 3 or 4 times, and every time he stood up, I felt like an anxious mother at the first day of school – watching her little boy nervously approaching a group of children, praying he wouldn’t get rejected. At that moment, I realised at some point in our lives, we all were that guy, We’ve all faced rejection, we’ve all been judged, we’ve all been laughed at (me more than most, that’s for sure) and vice versa. We’ve rejected people, we’ve judged people and we’ve laughed at people, sometimes without realising and we don’t realise the repercussions of it. Sometimes, we should hit the pause button and take the time to reflect on our actions before we react. It could make all the difference to a person’s confidence, their attitudes and their lives. What happened in the end? Well, the guy was like Thomas, the little engine who could. He ignored his anxiety, his insecurities, stood up and walked over to the team and asked for their signatures. I felt like Jenny in ‘Forrest Gump’ – I was silently shouting, “Run Geoffrey, run!” in my head (I don’t know what his name was but he looked like a Geoffrey to me) and smiled as he returned to his seat, proud as Punch. Travelling on my own has certainly given me a lot of food for
thought – there’s no sense of familiarity, no support network and no set routine. Therefore I’m constantly analysing myself and my actions, current and past. By doing this, I’ve come to realise some ugly truths, about myself and others, irrational and not so irrational doubts and issues reared its ugly head. I’m constantly doubting myself and my confidence has taken a battering, what with my hearing aids not working. It hasn’t been easy and at times I’ve felt like a **** – why am I putting myself through this when I could easily be back at home in England, with my family and friends..? But.. every time I start to panic, I take a deep breath and remind myself that I’ve also realised my strengths, I’ve come to admire my morals, my convictions and determination. When you travel, you learn a lot about responsibility; you become very aware of people in terms of kindness and respect – towards yourself and for them, you become aware of safety – your own for the sake of the people who care for you, and others. You become aware of every action and it’s good. As time goes by, you’ll analyse, cry, laugh and peel back layers and layers of yourself, and you’ll find the person you’re meant to be. It’s certainly character building, and will hold you in good steed for the future. When you’re travelling, you are what you are, right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road. Make the most of it. With that being said, I’ve enjoyed Sydney, but it’s time for me to fly once again. Next destination? Melbourne.

Hi Maureen..

Coolangatta, Australia


It was time for me to spread my wings and fly away to Cairns. As I said my goodbyes to Rikki, I was instantly struck with the feeling of.. I don’t know how to describe it, but maybe I was feeling a bit displaced..? I was truly on my own, but I knew it would be an experience.

I found several ways to amuse myself whilst making the trip from Perth to Cairns. Taking a peek at the name of the woman in front of me and saying, “Oh, hi Maureen! How are you??” and then going to sit in my seat and watch her try to figure out how the hell I knew her. Yes, I am aware I am evil.

I downloaded a film on iTunes called Les Invisibles, which is a French documentary about the LGBT, which documents the trials and tribulations the elderly French people went through back in the day when homosexuality was frowned upon, and seen as a psychiatric disorder. They were forced to defend their dignity and fight for acceptance. I was heartened by the courage, articulacy and openness of those people. I don’t think the lady next to me appreciated seeing a clip of several naked gay men walking around the beach with their dongles hanging out. Well, it’s my iPad, don’t look at it, you nosey cow. I highly recommend it – it’s touching, and amusing. I especially loved the kind of relationship Bernard and Jacques have – I would like to have that kind of relationship with my wife when I’m at their age. Watch it.

I landed in Cairns, and they weren’t lying when they said it was a tropical place. I was instantly hit by the humidity. I picked up my bag was looking forward to meeting everyone at the hostel. The bus arrived to take me and another girl to the hostel. As soon as we got on the bus, I decided to go in for the kill – I knew I had to say something or we would ride in awkward silence. One thing you should know about me is that I hate awkward silences. I will always try to fill it – I will talk non-stop about ANYTHING, and I mean ANYTHING. Or I’ll just say, “Well.. this is awkward.” Too honest for my own good. So, if you find yourself sitting next to me in complete silence, be flattered. It means I’m comfortable enough to sit in silence with you.

So.. I said, “Hi! I’m Abigail! Where are you from?” and as just when she was about to reply, my hearing aid, very much like Ellie, decided to have a heart attack and broke down. ***** sake! So, there I was, in a minibus in the dark, with a girl who could talk for Sweden, and I had NO idea what she was saying. Cue a lot of deaf nodding. For those who don’t know what that means, sometimes when deaf people don’t understand what is being said, will just nod to avoid having to ask the person to repeat what they said. This works successfully most of the time. SOMETIMES, this can be awkward.

“So, my grandfather died, I was really upset about it.”

*chuckles* “Oh yes, I know what you mean. Yes.. very funny.” *carries on nodding, oblivious to the fact that they’re absolutely raging with you*

Turns out that the Swede wasn’t even staying at my hostel. FFS.

I arrived at the hostel and I loved it. It had a tropical feel to it, palm trees, swimming pool, bar, pool table, etc. I went up to my bedroom and tried to resolve the hearing aid situation. It would be okay, I had brought four hearing aids. Turns out.. three of them didn’t work. You cannot imagine the anger I felt at that moment. Imagine the Incredible Hulk having period pains. Something like that.

Nevertheless, I could hear Chumbawamba chanting, #I get knocked down, but I get up again. You’re never going to keep me down# (why do I constantly feel the need to use song lyrics as references to my ever-changing moods?) floating around in my head and resolved to not let it get me down, and went downstairs.

Instantly, I was dragged into a game of beer pong by a 6ft 4 Mancunian called James. We won.. I think. Drinks and shots followed after that.. Agwa – amazing. I then got chatting to Daniel, a guy from Crawley, which is near Brighton. Typical, I go half way across the world and end up talking to people who live 45 minutes away from me..?

11pm, and everyone in the hostel bar announced that they were going out into town. What?? Why?? I had just landed an hour ago and had to get up at 6.30am for a rainforest tour. NO WAY JOSE. I decided to stay in, even after some pretty impressive pleading from James, Daniel and the hot red haired Canadian girl in my bedroom. I said my goodbyes to them, and felt slightly guilty for being a party pooper. I went into my bedroom and saw a blonde girl getting changed. “Excuse me, are you going out with the others into town?” I asked her.

She pointed to her ears and signed, “Sorry, I don’t understand. I’m deaf.”

What are the chances of that happening?? I immediately shouted “You sick ****er!!” at her. Please don’t ask me why I said that. I seem to say that quite a lot recently, and I need to stop doing that. So, it was decided. We would go out after all. I have no idea why we decided to go out. We were obviously quite ready for bed, but somehow, after realising that we were both deaf – we would go out and get drunk. I mean.. what is even the rationale behind that? It’s not like an one legged person would walk into a room to discover another one legged person chilling out, and they would decide to go out and get legless.. I’m sorry, please excuse that tastefully offensive pun.

Her name was Sofie from Denmark. She went to Gallaudet University in America, and was now studying in Melbourne – she was in Cairns for Spring Break. Sofie, Daniel and I, along with 20 people from the hostel went out and got completely rip-roaring drunk. Happy hour was at a strange hour and was possibly my downfall. It was a good night.

I woke up the next morning in a state of panic. “What time is it? What time? 6.50. ****. Coach leaves in 10 minutes. Shoes. Jumper. Bag. Run. Now!” I ran outside and got into the coach that would take us on our rainforest tour. It wasn’t until I talked to the Irish girl next to me, that I realised I was very much still drunk.

****.

The first stop was the wildlife zoo. Now, I love the zoo. But.. the zoo and a drunk Abigail? Bad idea. I roared my head off when I saw this bird that looked like it had a block of wood glued to its head. I have no idea what it was, but I swear to you, it wasn’t a hallucination. I saw koala bears, and they are ******* cute.

I fed and stroked the kangaroos, and was transfixed by their feet. They have MASSIVE feet. So, I was just staring at a particular kangaroo’s foot for about a good minute or so, (I am easily amused when I am drunk) when I decided to bend down to get a closer look.

RRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIPPPPPPPPP!!!!!

My trousers had ripped. I had a huge ******* hole, thus revealing my **** to the whole world and his dog. Thank God I’m not the commando type. ******* typical. As Rikki so eloquently put it when I sent him a text later that evening, ‘hahaha wtf dude only you.’ Yes, indeed. Instead of trying to hide and cover it up, what do I do? I decided to tell the girls in my group what had just happened, much to their delight. Again, too honest for my own good. Shut the **** up, Abigail. Luckily, I had a jumper to cover my modesty.

We saw the crocodiles, and instantly, I wanted to cuddle them. It was at that point that I realise I was definitely still VERY much drunk. I mean, who the hell wants to cuddle crocodiles? I thought to myself, ‘Go drunk, you’re home.’ before realising I actually meant, ‘Go home, you’re drunk.’ and then realising that I couldn’t go home cuz home was 9,457 miles away and even if I tried to go home, I would probably end up in Timbuktu.

30 minutes later, and my hangover kicked in. Big time. I wanted to be enveloped in a huge hug (not by the crocodiles, obviously) and have ‘soft kitty’ sung to me. But instead, I had to spend all day listening to a guy talk about ******* trees. I thought we would be going on a rambling tour, climbing rocks and waterfalls and all that **** – it turned out to be a very civilise
d stroll through a constructed rainforest.

“Fjksdfn aksdvsdk vin skdjfns… poisonous.. Fdkjh jsdjc is dus ddmdm dkdfg.. natural.. Klpo thwen tnfj dnsm.”

That was what I pretty much heard all day. It wasn’t all bad though, I met some pretty cool girls from England, went for a stroll down the beach and saw some amazing sights, especially the Aboriginal rainforest, and went on a crocodile cruise.

I got back to the hostel to find Daniel, the red haired Canadian, the bar woman and the dreadlocked girl all STILL suffering at 6pm – I was pleased to know that I wasn’t the only one suffering. They all admired my dogged determination to go on the tour and ****** themselves laughing when I showed them the hole in my trousers. Why did I have to do that? It’s like… I have no shame.

Things I’ve learned this weekend.

* Never ******* drink the night before a tour.
* Wear sturdy trousers.
* Always throw yourself into unfamiliar situations, matter how shy or uncomfortable it may make you feel – it only lasts a few minutes. You never know who you may meet.

Now, I’m on my way to the Gold Coast to meet Andrew, an Aussie, who has kindly offered me a place to stay at his house in Sydney. We’ll be going on a little road trip to Byron Bay and Brunswick Heads first. Lets just hope it isn’t Wolf Creek all over again.

UPDATE: Sofie read the blog and emailed me to let me know that I had already ripped the trousers the night before. So, basically.. I bared my **** to the world and his dog, the hostel people, the people in the nightclub, the taxi driver and the tour bus people.

Things I’ve learned in the last 5 minutes.

* Always check what you’re wearing before you go out, no matter how drunk you may still be or how much time you have.
* I can’t ever go back to the Calypso Inn backpacker hostel.

Hi. Can I join you?

 

Hi. Can I join you?
Cairns, Australia

Cairns, Australia


When Ellie-gate happened, Rikki decided to jump ship. I would be on my own. I thought it would be an excellent liberating experience – I could hear Yasmin singing in my head..

#And although the road is frightening, I’m gonna make it on my own.#

Cue some poignant uplifting music playing in the background as I gazed out across the field of trees, contemplating life.

As it turns out.. no.

In fact, if I’m honest, when I realised I had to decide on what to do with my life in like, a few days, I probably looked a bit like this..

http://25.media.tumblr.com/326765959ac4 68cd2e2e4adb383eec8b/tumblr_mrfu1jPy5J1 ran7b9o2_500.gif

Then maybe I looked and felt a bit like this,

http://24.media.tumblr.com/eef2775c97a7 c2317bfaf4756372a9b5/tumblr_mrfu1jPy5J1 ran7b9o4_500.gif

My head was so tangled up. Imagine excitedly opening the box of Xmas decorations at the start of December, and then remembering that you had just thrown the whole lot in without any consideration for your future self – 15ft of tangled Xmas lights. That. That’s what my head has been like for the last few days.

“Would you not consider a round the world trip?”

“Go and knock on the doors of farms, see if they have any work?”

“Go to Sydney and see the girls.”

“Book a tour.”

All those suggestions were from my dear and closest friends – as much as they meant well, all of their voices chattering all at once in my head – NOT helping me (some were by text, but that’s not the point) and I was starting to feel like I had made a huge mistake..?

So I spent the next few days walking around in a fugue state, wondering what my next step would be..

I knew I had to decide soon – as lovely and hospitable as Liz and Dan have been to me, I didn’t want to overstay my welcome, even though they had insisted it would be OK. A 3 course meal at the Dragon Palace City restaurant voucher is on the way to you guys, by the way, as a massive thank you for being the perfect hosts.

I had finally decided! I would go to Darwin to see a friend.

But then again.. a three months train ticket – unlimited train trips all over Australia sounded great. That was settled.

Actually.. A 25 days tour from Perth to Darwin, learning all about the Aboriginals culture, etc.

I just couldn’t decide.

After a lot of shouting and swearing with Rikki, (that’s our normal way of communicating, don’t worry) and some gentle coaxing from Liz, I had decided.

Cairns.

“Book your flights. Book your hostel. That way, you can’t change your mind, so do it now. Do it. I SAID DO IT!!” Rikki shouted at me, like a coxswain.

I knew I had to do something. So.. **** it. I booked it. I booked my flights. I booked my hostel. Done.

Yes, a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders, I admit. But there was something niggling at me. My confidence.

“Pfft. Confidence problems? ********.” I hear you say. “This is the girl who without a moment’s hesitation, took her top off and sat in her bra for a good 5 minutes at Burlesque, simply because the dancer told her to.” “Yes. This is the girl who went up to a Horse Guard and gyrated her booty in his groin just because she thought it would be a fantastic photo opportunity.”

Yes, yes.. I know.

But you see, on the day I flew off, I was fitted with brand new Oticon hearing aids. The last time I got new hearing aids was in 2006 – an upgrade was obviously needed. The quality was amazing – I could hear the tiniest details in voices, the pneumatic drill from 50 miles away (OK, slight exaggeration), the ******* birds chirping and many more. A cacophony of sounds.

What seems to be the problem then? Some of you may say. You can hear everything. Brilliant!

No. Not so brilliant. I have been used to hearing in a certain way all of my life. Now, I have to teach my brain how to process different sounds. Yes, the sounds are much more clearer, but what are they? The audiologist said it would take me a while to adjust to it and I would probably feel overwhelmed.

Brilliant. I always have to make life difficult for myself, don’t I..?

So, the last week, I’ve been trying my best to familiarise myself with sounds, accents and so on. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m trying. Hence, my confidence problems. When you’re not able to understand someone, asking them to repeat themselves repeatedly can knock your confidence.

Which is why I’m sort of dreading Cairns. I have to throw myself into a situation where I know nobody, might not be able to understand them, and not worry enough to amuse myself.

As a particular smart aleck said to me in a text today.. 😉

‘You’ve literally got the world as your oyster, and you’re not sure what to do with it. Lol.’

At first, I thought to myself, ‘I doubt you’re actually laughing out loud.’ and then I thought.. “She’s right. I have the world at my feet – why am I scared?” This is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (well, twice for Rikki) not many people get to experience, and I’m spending it worried about whether or not I’ll be able to understand some dude banging on about how he took some ‘shrooms at a full moon party and had a threesome with two awesome chicks with great racks. Actually, I’m not sure his motor skills would be functioning adeptly under the influence of magic mushrooms enough to have a threesome – I suspect fatigue would be caused by over-arousal..

ANYWAY. So, yeah.. travellers. There’ll be people from all over the world. English may or may not be their first language. Understanding and being open-minded is vital if you want to become a traveller.

So.. I’m taking the plunge. I’m flying off tomorrow. I’ll arrive at the hostel, drop my bags off and go to the bar and say..

“Hi. Can I join you?”

Wolf Creek…

 

Wolf Creek…
Pinjarra, Australia

Pinjarra, Australia


So, I landed in Perth on the Friday morning. As we queued up at border patrol, every single episode of Border Patrol came flashing through my mind.

‘Do I have rice in my bag? No. Have I been anywhere near freshwater in the last 30 days? No. Do I have drugs inserted up my anus? Well, unless one of the girls snuck it up there whilst I was sleeping, I think it’s safe to say the answer is a resounding no.’

As it turns out, it was relatively easy. We were out within 5 minutes. Apart from getting dive bombed by a parrot (according to Laura), the journey to our hostel was a smooth journey. We arrived at Banjos backpacker hostel, dropped our bags and left to sort out our bank accounts.

So, we sat in the bank, all excited about our upcoming travels when the girls decided to create a backstory that would have the all the girls swooning and falling over at their feet. The army. Yes, they’ve decided that if someone asks them what they do back home, they’re going to reply with, “We were in the army. I don’t want to talk about it – it’s too painful.” and then turn the crocodile tears on. I think if you know me, you’d know that the thought of me being in the army is quite laughable, so we had to come up with a different backstory for me. “I think you should say you’re a glamour model/porn star back in London.” Sammy said as the bank teller called us to come and open our accounts. “That’s believable, look at my tits.” I told her as we approached the counter. “I’ve done a bit of it before, by the way.” I whispered. “WHAT?! YOU’VE DONE PORN BEFORE?!” Sammy shouted quite loudly in my face. You could hear a pin drop (well, I wouldn’t be able to, but..) as Ben the bank teller turned crimson red and tried to ignore what had just happened. “Modelling, I meant.. not ******* porn.” I hissed at Sammy. Looks like all my transactions will have to be done online from now on.

Within 15 minutes of leaving the bank, we had decided we weren’t too keen on Perth. It was too quiet and boring. But to be fair, it was only 9.30am – we had to give it a chance.

Later in that evening, we decided we would pay a visit to Perth deaf club which was only 5 minutes away. 2 ******* hours later, we found it. Don’t ask, I don’t want to talk about it, it’s too painful.

We met a lovely girl called Drisana who introduced us to the youngsters, explained a bit about the aboriginal deaf people, gave us tips on what we could do in Perth and reassured us that we wouldn’t get chlamydia from koala bears at Perth Zoo.

We said our goodbyes and made our way to The Court, which is meant to be one of the best gay bars/nightclubs in Perth, where we were rejected. In Perth, you HAVE to have ID with you all the time, regardless of how old you are. I even tried sticking my breasts out, but to no avail. I also showed him my GAY membership card hoping that that it would have some standing. Apparently not. Sorry Jeremy Joseph, it means nothing to them. So, we went back to the hostel to get a good nights sleep.

The next day, we decided we would make the most of Perth before leaving. The girls were eager to leave to go to Sydney when the weekend was over, but I wanted to wait until Rikki arrived and then we could make a decision together. So we waited. We decided to go to Fremantle, which is on the coast. It was a delightful day (‘ow very Eliza Dolittle do I sound?), we went to the pier, had some ciders, and took a stroll down the beach, We found a market, and knowing it was the AFL match between Fremantle and the Sydney Swans that afternoon, in my tipsy stupor, I purchased a Fremantle top, walked into a bar and chanted “FREOS! FREOS!” with the best of them. The girls supported the Sydney Swans. Traitors. Fremantle won. In your face.

We went back to the hostel to get ready for our big night out at The Court. We were all glammed up – single, and ready to mingle.

How was the night?

Well, imagine a place where all the inbreds, bogans, heifers and buck-toothed people were wearing your grandmother’s curtains from the 60s, and that’s exactly where I went. I’m not going to lie – I was VERY uncomfortable. I stood there, tapping my foot and downed my Vodkas like there was no tomorrow. I did this for a good 3 hours or so. Why we stayed there for so long, I have NO idea.

We got back to the hostel and the girls were adamant that there was money to be made in Sydney, we were haemorrhaging money like Bob after two plates of vindaloo on a night at the curry house.

So.. they booked their flights to Sydney. I decided I would stay behind wait for Rikki and look for farm work.

Rikki arrived the next day and told me he would be staying with an Irish couple called Liz and Dan, and that it was the All Irish Final and they would be going out that evening. That was settled. I would join him and go out the Irish lot – I always end up gravitating toward the Irish. So, I said my farewells to the girls and agreed to meet up with them in Sydney when I arrived.
Liz, Dan, Rikki and I went out. We had a great night – Dublin won. Up the Dubs!

The next day was spent relaxing and figuring out what we would do. We decided we would buy a car. So, we did. A Toyota Echo called Ellie. My very first car. I felt very maternal towards it (yes, I’m aware I’m very broody right now) and was looking forward to our road trip the next day to see our friend Loranc in Manjimup. We would try and look for farm-work.

ROAD TRIP DAY! We eagerly packed our things into Ellie, and set off on our first road trip.

One hour later. ******* lost. We spent 20 minutes trying to find the service station (which we found out later it didn’t exist anymore..) before Ellie had what I would describe as a heart attack. She threw a wobbly fit, spluttered and started singing Roy Orbison.

#As I travel down this road, it’s a heavy load, it’s a heavy load#

She had decided that enough was enough.

The road-trip was short lived and my relationship with Ellie was the shortest relationship I’ve ever had, apart from going out with Sebastian Cunliffe in year 7 and dumping him after an hour.

#R.I.P to the car you used to see. Her days are over, baby she’s over..#

Rikki and I couldn’t help but laugh. Hysterically. It could only happen to me. So.. we sat in the car for 4 hours, waiting to be rescued.. contemplating life, and watching the cows moo. Whilst I was getting ‘Wolf creek….’ messages from my friends, Rikki decided that fate had intervened and that Australia wasn’t for him – so he’s running off to Asia.

As for me? Well, that’s still a mystery.

I might make mistakes, but I will take them as learning experiences. I’m human, not perfect.

Until next time, folks.

And so it begins..

 

And so it begins..
London, United Kingdom

London, United Kingdom


Well, where do I start?

I’ve always had a desire to travel the world.. I suppose you could call me a hobo.

‘hobo; hobo is an itinerant worker, a career which sprang up during the depression. A hobo, unlike a bum or a tramp, is more than willing to work, but mostly for a short duration, as their main impetus is travel, the love of the journey above the actual destination.’

“Why Australia?” was the main question several people asked me when they found out I was going. My answer?

“I haven’t been there yet.”

Yes, it was that simple. No, I hadn’t read books about how Captain James Cook claimed it and threw all the convicts over there. I wasn’t fascinated about how the Gold fever lured in a chaotic carnival of entertainers, publicans, illicit liquor-sellers, prostitutes and quacks from across the world. I certainly had no idea that the Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of an Allied expedition that set out to overtake the Gallipoli Peninsula, which sadly claimed many lives. Lest we forget.

No, no, no… it was really just a, ‘Ok, looks like it’s a snow day today. I’m bored. What shall I do? Ooh, let’s have a look at Australia. Oh, that looks nice, lets see how long the visa application is. Not bad.. No, I do not have tuberculosis. Yes, I do have a job. No, I do not have a criminal record, unless you consider a telling off from the police officer when we were 5 yrs old cuz Ben and I accidentally ran over his foot with our bikes, is enough to refuse me entry. Card details? Hang on, this is all too sudden. Abigail, stop typing. No, Abigail. Stop it. Do not press. ****, I pressed it. ****. I have an approved Australian Working Holiday Visa now.’ kind of moment.

So, I told my mother. She took it surprisingly well. I told my friends. Some took it well, some laughed in my face and said I wouldn’t leave, some attempted a Swanton bomb wrestling move and said they wouldn’t let me leave. I told my nan.

“YOU ARE NOT GOING ON YOUR OWN.”

Awkward. I’m a grown woman, and she still treats me like a child (she still cuts up my sandwiches into little pieces)..

So, I had to find a travelling partner. Cue Samantha Lauren Smith. I was drinking in a fine establishment, otherwise known as The Pyke in Soho when Samantha walked into the joint. The conversation went like this.

Abigail: I’m going to Australia.
Sammy: Really? I’ve always wanted to go there. When are you going?
Abigail: Mm.. I’m thinking, September or October..? Do you want to come?
Sammy: This is fate. We were meant to meet in this bar, and have this conversation, and decide to go to Australia together!!
Abigail: Well, it’s Emma’s birthday party, so it was kinda obvious that we’d bump into each other, but.. **** it. Lets go to Australia! SAMBUCA!!!!!!

The next morning, I sent her a text checking to see if it was still on. It was so very much still on, on like King Kong.

Fast forward to August, and Richard Harte and Laura Simpson are now part of the crew.

So, it’s September.. and I start to freak out. I’m going to miss my babies. I’m going to miss my friends. I’m going to miss my family. I’m going to miss Revenge! Daniel finally knows who Emily is! How I met your mother! Who is the lady in the yellow umbrella?! I’m leaving a perfectly good life.. for what reasons exactly?? But I calmed down. There’s always FaceTime – I can easily talk to my babies, my friends and family. I can always FaceTime Lee and Mark, and get them to place the phone in front of the TV and watch Victoria’s twitching eye..

As for why I’m leaving everyone, I tried to appeal to my rational side and told myself that you only live once. I want to get married to the woman of my dreams, to have children and create a home with a warm, comfortable and loving atmosphere. I don’t want to one day realise that I have essentially signed over my life to my wife (which I am more than happy to do, for the record) and my children, and that everything I do will be for our children – I can’t just one day up sticks and leave everything behind, and I do not want to resent them. So.. as much as it pains me to leave everyone, I’m doing it so I won’t kick myself in 10 years time.

Travelling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose all sight of that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things: sleep, dreams and ambition.