Tuesday, 10 January 2017

for my plans for 2017

Since announcing to many family and friends that I was coming home at the end of January after a 6 month stint teaching English in South Korea I have been repeatedly hit with one question and one question only....

What are you plans for when you get home?

Some of this hit me with much frustration as I still had some months to go to enjoy my time in South Korea and also because I thought.... why do you want to know? why do I need a plan? and why can't you just let me enjoy the present rather than worrying about the future?

I realised that I know the answer to those "whys" and it's because they are my friends and my family and they care and they are concerned and interested in my life.  Some even thought that the reason I am coming home is because things "didn't work out" over here for me.... and that kind of annoyed me to... Absolute, hand on heart truth is that I came here with no expectations of how long I would stay and came with the intention to enjoy and experience every moment and go with the flow and see what happened. I have absolutely LOVED my time in South Korea. I have met some wonderful people who I am sure will become life long friends, I have experienced living within a whole other culture (which hasn't always been easy and there have been many "what the fuck have I done moments"), I have done things (and eaten things) I never thought I would, I have been pushed out of my comfort zone. Most importantly though I have had many many moments of reflection and clarity over what I want my life to look like and the person I want to be moving forward. Truth be told I need to be at home for things to happen and when push came to shove and I had to make the decision to sign a new work contract here or not it came down to the fact that I wanted to stay here... but I wanted to go home more. 

So to answer the question... what are my plans for when I get home... here goes

I plan to run more - running is always something I have done half-heartedly, I never really enjoyed it that much and always seemed to focus on time and distance rather than just running for enjoyment and health. Since being here I have found a new enjoyment in running and ran because I wanted to. I even ran 10km in a fun run event over here and it was one of the best things I did. So I am hoping to continue to run for the joy of it when I get home.

We just ran 10ks!

I plan to hike - hiking is like a national sport in South Korea and with 22 national parks and amazing landscapes and views it's easy to see why. Whilst some of the hikes I did were challenging, there was this amazing sense of accomplishment standing at the peak and soaking up the view and the atmosphere! I loved being outdoors with nature and again, I hope to further indulge this new passion of mine at home!

At the peak of Wolchulsan

I plan do all the things I have said I have wanted to do but have made up excuses for not doing them - make sense! lol... I have said many times that I want a new tattoo and have had a photo saved on my phone of what I want since September 2015, I have said I want to try stand up paddle-boarding, get my grandmother to teach me how to crochet, run a half marathon, donate blood, go on a retreat, do another course in photography but for some reason I have never followed through on any of them....This year I am going to do them!

I am going to jump into doing all the things I've said I always wanted to do!

I plan on seeing more of my own country - I have managed to squeeze so much into such a sort period of time here. There are so many things to do and places to see and that is true of my own country as well. When there was a festival in another town that I wanted to go to but was 2 hours away, I didn't even give it a second thought, I jumped on a bus and I went. I went on so many day trips and explored so many areas that I really want to do that when I get home as well! So many times I have sat at home on weekends and said there was nothing to do, when the truth is there is plenty to see and do, I just, for whatever reason, didn't do them!

I took 2 buses and a taxi for 1 hour and 45 mins  to visit the Damyang Bamboo Park all by myself and had a wonderful day!

I plan on maintaining my positive mental health - for so long I have focused on all the things I don't have and on how I thought my life should be and what I should have. Since being here I have been able to work on my mental health and feel good about the things I have done and the good things in my life. It's not roses here all the time but my positive mindsets have been outweighing my negative ones for quite some time now and I know it MUST stay like that for me to attain all the things I have planned. I know this one will be difficult to sustain but I need to make sure those little voices in my head maintain a positive dialogue and that I don't get drawn back into the negative. 

Spending time focusing on my mental health will take a priority

So there you have it.... my plans for when I get home....

Obviously these aren't really the plans they want to know about, they are asking about other plans ....the big ones.... the ones that they think matter the most... 

where am I going to live and what am I going to do for work

and I have plans for that as well which will come in time but for now I am not focused on them because I know that if I focus on the above mentioned plans, those will fall into place as well. 

Monday, 26 December 2016

to make a comeback...

I got overwhelmed, I started drowning from information overload. I thought I had to be something I was pretty sure I could never be and wasn't even sure I wanted to be. I lost sight of why I even started in the first place. 

I got lost in a sea of terminology that made no sense to me... of Facebook 'support' groups and blogging courses that had a mould I wasn't sure I could fit or could be bothered to fit.

I was reading blogs that were of no relevance to me and loosing hours of valuable time doing so. It wasn't that they were boring  they just weren't where my life was out but I was reading them anyway out of a sense of obligation. I was linking up to link ups and feeling overwhelmed with rules and regulations but did so because that was the right thing to do, the 'blogging' thing to do. 

Don't get me wrong it definitely had its benefits. I met some amazing people, some I've even managed to meet in real life and now I call my friends and for that I am grateful.

For a while there I thought that was the life I wanted. I started focusing more on travel blogging, writing articles about my trips, sharing photos, hoping to inspire others. Watching from the sidelines as other travel bloggers were getting fully paid trips from travel companies for exposure, making a living off of travelling and for a while I wished that was me! I wanted to be the one jet-setting off to exotic destinations first class on fully funded trips and really thought (somehow) I could make that happen, but that it would somehow find me. I knew/know it's bloody hard work and not every one who tries makes it and after a while it dawned on me that I was never going to make it, partially because I didn't really know how and didn't have the time to learn while working full time but mostly because I didn't really want to. 

So after some time away I've decided to come back... sort of. I'm going to blog on my terms. When I want, how often I want, about what I want and not get caught up in what I think I should be doing but enjoy what I want to do and hope that some of you out there will also enjoy it! 

So... what have I been doing since I stepped out of the blogging world all those months ago... here's a brief update...

I applied for what I thought was going to be my dream job and was super excited at the prospect of what may lie ahead, but jumped the gun a bit and was bitterly disappointed when I didn't get it.

I signed up for a health and fitness challenge and kind of failed miserably. I felt I gave it my all within the boundaries of my abilities at the time but was not overly happy with my results. I started a new Instagram Profile to share my journey as well as general things from my life as my It's Time one has become more about my travel.. If you want to stalk my life away from my travels you can check out my second Instagram Profile here.

So feeling like I had failed at two things that I thought I wanted so badly, I took up a contract doing my old job, High School Guidance Officer, but at a different school, I felt I needed some certainty and consistency in my life for a while and while it was good to have that it was also the perfect reminder of why I walked away in the first place. 

However, it gave me the chance to save some money and I decided to follow another path I had been poking my head down for some time... if you've been following along on my Instagram or FB page then you'll know that in a whirlwind of events I up and moved to South Korea with about 2 weeks notice! 

I accepted a six month contract teaching English in after school classes and was on a plane before I knew what had happened. And here I am.. still here but almost at the end of my contract and it's almost time for me to hop back on a plane and head home! 

It's been an amazing six months that has given me so much joy. I've explored the beautiful country, met amazing people, had so much fun (and craziness) teaching English in a Korean school, attended all manner of festivals, fallen in love with hiking mountains, eaten foods I never thought I would and had time to reflect on my life, my goals and my dreams! 

So standby as I slowly re-enter the blogging world. Share my travels and whatever else is going on in my crazy world! 

Monday, 28 March 2016

til next time...

I must confess this is my second attempt at writing this and I am frustrated beyond belief! I had more or less finished my post, drafting it using the blogger app, walked away... app closed... draft gone...

Really just links in with what I am blogging about today anyway.

Today we are confessing words that makes us cringe... Here goes...

Monday, 7 March 2016

New York regrets

"Research Things to do in New York"

"Write out your Must do things in NYC list"

 "Plan, plan, plan, you'll need a plan"

These were all great pieces of advice I was given when talking to people about my trip to New York City. And despite listening and taking this advice fully on board, I still have regrets and things I wish I had of done! 

Monday, 29 February 2016

to remember..

I am revisiting an old post for this week's I Must Confess prompt because I don't understand how 10 years can pass and it still feel like yesterday. Today is a day that only happens once every 4 years, meaning that it didn't happen 10 years ago and it means this year we get an extra day, a day between remembering the day you left us, and the day we celebrate what would have been your birthday.....

I remember the day as if it was yesterday....

The day started like any other, It was a Monday, I got up I went to work, I was on autopilot like I am most days. I was teaching an early years class, year 1/2. For the most part they had no idea of the inner struggle I was having with even being there. My mind often wandering, wishing I was some place else. We had started the day just like any other following our usual routine, I had set them up for our Literacy Rotations and was just making a start when my mobile phone rang. I had forgotten to turn it on silent and by the time I got to it, it had rung out. Within minutes the Principal had entered my classroom, (this never happened so I knew something big was going on) I was pretty sure I knew what he was going to say before he even said it. "Miss Hooke, you need to leave now" I knew what he meant, I knew where I had to go. From memory I don't even think I said anything to the kids, I just grabbed my bag and left, leaving him to manage my class. 

I drove home and packed a bag, not really giving much thought to what was going in it. I was four hours from where I needed to be and I was wishing I had never left. I drove in a daze, trying hard to stay within the speed limit but desperately wishing I could get there quicker and begging her to hold on, I would be there soon. A phone call from your boyfriend along the way eased some of my anxiousness.

I flew into a car park and got up to the room as quickly as my shaking legs would take me, what would I be faced with when I walked through that door? I met Dad in the corridor and I saw the relief in his face when our eyes met. I was there... I went inside to see you sound asleep. Your pain was being managed and sleeping was a regular occurrence. When you did wake, and saw me there you looked slightly confused "What are you doing here?" you mumbled, It occurred to me that perhaps you didn't realise what was happening.... Trying to make light of the situation I returned with "ahh The kids were giving me the shits, so I walked out". 

Day turned into night and we never left your side, still wearing the same clothes the sun rose on a new day and you were the only one that really slept. Too scared of what might happen should we dare to close our eyes or walk away. More and more loved ones were arriving as well as medical staff fleeting in and out.

The sun set on another day and you were still holding on, your breathing was become difficult, often taking long deep breaths and occasionally gasping for air. No one really knowing what to do but be there. Now it was Tuesday night, the TV was on. We were all quite absorbed by Dancing with the Stars. Jennifer Hawkins was on dancing to James Blunt's song "You're Beautiful" and I sat beside you holding your hand singing (very badly) the words of the song in your ear. We knew it wouldn't be long, we knew we had to let you go, we knew you had fought as much as you could possibly fight. Fifteen months of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy had taken it's toll on you and it was time to tell you it was ok to go. I had been with you for many of your challenges, your surgery in Sydney, your first dose of Chemotherapy, countless specialist appointments. You'd fought a good fight, amazing us all with your strength and determination with even Dad asking how someone so little could take so much and fight so hard. 

Then it happened, at around ten to ten on Tuesday the 28th February 2006 you took your last breath surrounded by many family and close friends who could do no more but hold each other and cry. For reasons we still don't understand the date of your death as written by your doctor is the 1st of March..we could not accept that... that day was your birthday. You didn't quite make it. Over the following weeks I helped plan your funeral, travel with your boyfriend to your home to gather your things and sort through them, and try and work out what life without you was going to look like. 

When it came time for me to return to 'my life' 3 weeks later and four hours away, I cried the whole way 'home'. People tried to be helpful and say the right things but I have learnt there is nothing that can be said. People end up saying things that could not be further from the truth in an effort to make you feel better, "It'll get better/easier" being the one I hate the most. Hours turned into days, days into months and months into years but the pain has not eased. I think one of my friends summed it up nicely when she didn't try to cheer me up or sugar-coat the situation when she said... "It doesn't get easier you just move further away from the time when your life turned to shit".. 8 years on and I don't think that my life is shit but I do always think of how different it would be if you never left us. 

It ain't fair you died too young
Like a story that had just begun
The death tore the pages all away
God knows how I miss you
All the hell that I've been through
Just knowing no one could take your place
Sometimes I wonder who you'd be today
- Kenny Chesney

You will always be my little sister, you will always be missed... you will always be Forever Young...
KLH 83-06 xx
Picture courtesy one of my other sisters, Linda
Here's hoping you are resting in peace by beautiful sister.

***This post is part of the following linkups*** 

I Must Confess

Monday, 22 February 2016

Confessions of an extroverted introvert traveller

Introvert... Extrovert... I always thought you were either one or the other. 

I always swore I feel into the introverted side of things but recently I became aware of a new term the extroverted introvert and I think it suits me, almost, to a tea...

Monday, 15 February 2016

Must have handbag items when flying

Whether is a short trip or a long haul, there are a few vitals that must be packed and taken on the plane with you. 

When choosing a handbag to take on the plane I always go for something on the bigger side. Each airline has its own restrictions as to what you can carry on, so be sure and check the allowances for your airline. If you aren't checking any luggage in, then you will need to choose wisely, as, if you find yourself on a full flight, you may end up having your carry on weighed at the gate and if you find yourself over the limit, your luggage may be checked in with no guarantee it will make the same flight as you!