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Reminders from one Millennial to another

After a little tear-saturated, podcast-fuelled conversation with my Mom last night, I thought it best to remind all of my Millennial pals of some things you might have forgotten.

Nobody has their shit sorted out.  

You’re not the only one who doesn’t know what they’re doing and that’s okay.  The pressure to figure out what you’re doing feels heavy, but everyone feels it, and we all question if we’re doing the right thing.

Delete Instagram or whatever else makes you feel inadequate.

Social media acts as a very narrow lens that allows users to control how others perceive them.  Don’t compare yourself against what you see of others- the likelihood that they’re drinking cosmos downtown nightly is next to zero.  We all go home and make frozen pizza.

Everything changes all the time.

How to define ‘Success’ is your choice, but however you frame it, it comes in like the tide.  The way you feel about how you’re doing is sometimes really high and other times it’s low and either way, it’s hard to control.

You’re doing fine.

It’s okay to feel however you want to feel.

Some days are awesome days.  When they are, say it out loud.  Sometimes we feel nervous or pressured or guilty, and that’s okay too.  My friend Grace reminds me often that it’s okay to feel however you’re feeling, and it’s not right for other people to shush you into not talking about it.  Be there for people when they’re feeling that way and remind them that it’s okay to feel doubtful.

Not every decision that you make or don’t make will have massive impacts on your life.

Opportunities are all over the place.

Be brave, take ones that you think you can handle, step outside of ‘comfortable’, and take risks.

Recognize and acknowledge when you are happy.

There is no shame in feeling good, and it feels great to remind yourself when you’re feeling on top of it.

Everyone is in the same boat as you, even people who look like they know what they’re doing.

If they look like they’ve got it all together, they’re probably lying.

Your body is everything.

Everyone loves a good bender, but remember that your health is the most important thing you have.  Be good to your body- eat good food, sleep when you can, take baths…

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In anticipation of… jelly beans…

If you could see through my body in the days leading up to a big trip, it might look like a jar of jelly beans.  Every little wax-covered bit that that gives you the urge to count is a different flavour.  Some flavours ooze anticipation and the others are that shitty buttered popcorn one.  Picking out one piece expecting to bite into a spicy cinnamon turns out to be strawberry jam.  You never really know and there’s a lot going on.

On Saturday I’m taking off for another little world-adventure.  I thought it was mostly planned out but it’s not really.  I have stops I plan on making but for the most part it’s a bit of a scattered mess.

Which is kind of okay as that tends to be how I live my day-to-day life.

As it stands now, for anyone who is curious, these are the approximate stops in the approximate order:

1.Thailand

Thailand

2. Sri Lanka

sri lanka

3. India

india

4. Ireland

Dublin, Ireland

5. Portugal

portugal

6. Morocco

morocco

Maybe after this I’ll come home for a bit and move out of my parents’ house.

“I do it because it feels really exciting”

“There are things that we tell ourselves about why we do that [travel to create stories], like why we would leave people who love us and places that are familiar and comfortable and go to places where we don’t know anyone and that aren’t comfortable, and they have to do with, like, telling important stories and bringing people to places that they would never be able to go on their own, and those things are true, but they are not the only reason that I do that stuff.

I do it because it feels really exciting and because once you start to realize that there’s a whole world of people to worry about, it’s kind of hard to not go meet them all”

– Rebecca Hersher, NPR

(Click here to listen to NPR’s Embedded podcast episode about suicide rates in Greenland)

Reported by Rebecca Hersher and hosted by Kelly McEvers

www.townandglobe.org

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A couple pages and a pen and a therapeutic thing

I met a girl in Bangkok one time who I was instantly drawn to.

She carried a notebook and it was usually open and it was full.  The book’s pages were covered in recommendations and doodles and things people said or did.  It was both a keepsake and a book of constant reminders.  It allowed her to be present and thoughtful and engaged.

I’ve started carrying notebooks.  There’s usually one in my purse.  They help me be a bit more insightful, to remember things that people suggest I do or look into, to write down things that strike me as interesting or provocative or sincere.  They give me something to do with my hands when what I would otherwise be doing is scrolling Instagram.  It’s therapeutic, just a couple pages and a pen.

Sometimes when I look back on what I’ve chosen to put on paper it reminds me of where I was at the time I wrote it or draw it or thought it.  It’s a bit profound, sometimes.  Sometimes it’s not, but that’s the point, I think.

Photo on 2016-06-24 at 11.41 #2

 

Packing tips for small backpacks and big dreams

Overpacking is alright if you’re spending the weekend with your boyfriend in Whistler or you’re headed to a conference in Kelowna.  Presumably, you’ll be home in a couple days and you won’t have to drag your luggage much further than a hotel elevator and up your stairs back home (where if you’re anything like myself, it will remain for 2 weeks after your trip).

With the idea of a big adventure, however, comes the idea that you’re going to need the top you haven’t worn for 18 months.  Tip #1– you don’t.

freakanomics
My ONE book at the moment

Here are 11 tried and true packing tips from my big heart to your tiny backpack.

Tip #2– ONE BOOK. ONE. You only need ONE.  Then, when you’re done, exchange it at a
hostel or with a travel buddy.  There is no point in lugging around a bunch of books, as much as you think you’ll want them for when you get home.

Tip #3– The smaller the backpack, the better the traveller.  My friend Olivia was always so proud of her little red backpack as it was continually the smallest amongst our travel friends.  She had every right to feel proud- the less stuff you carry with you, the less you have weighing you down; and yes, that was meant to be metaphorical as well.

Tip #4– You don’t need doubles.  This goes for most things, save for undies and passport photocopies.  Have one black tank top? Good.  One phone charger?  Awesome.  Two black

iphone chargers
This is way too many phone chargers

tank tops?  Dumb.  Two phone chargers?  Unnecessary.

Tip #5– Make a habit of putting your most valuable possessions in a secret part of your backpack.  I probably shouldn’t tell you all this (all 30 or so people who might see this post), but my secret spot is where you’d put a water pouch if you were the type of person to put a water pouch in your backpack.  Your most valuable possessions you ask?  Passport, health insurance papers, and cash.

Tip #6– In the words of ancient scholars, “compartmentalization is key”*.  Have different coloured bags for different things in your backpack.  This saves you from having to pull everything out of your bag in your hunt for one specific item.

*I don’t know if any ancient scholar ever said that

Tip #7– If you don’t use it/wear it/love it/need it at home, you won’t use it/wear it/love it/need it on the road.

Tip #8– Mesh bags work great as toiletries bags.  In many places I’ve been to, the shower shares the same space as the toilet and sink, and as a result, the bathroom is soaked by the end of your bathing routine.  Having a mesh bag to bring in and out of bathrooms allows

mesh bag
This is a mesh bag, obviously.

the bag to hang dry before it has to go back in your bag with all your other belongings.

Tip #9– Heavy stuff at the bottom, lighter stuff at the top.  Trust me.

Tip #10– If it’s taking up space and it’s not of use to you, give it away.  Don’t fear losing something that doesn’t benefit you on the road.  Remember, you carry everything you own on your back every day- do you really want to carry around stuff you don’t need?

Tip #11– There’s always enough space in your backpack for a notebook.  Use it.  Love it.

Questions?  Want advice for your next trip?  Want to invite me somewhere fantastic?

Email any time at hall@townandglobe.org !

As always, check us out on Twitter or Facebook any time. We love to hear from you.

 

 

Top 10 Mom-isms for a quickly approaching Mother’s Day

I keep a journal usually. While I travel, definitely, and when I’m at home, sometimes.

It never starts off with a, “Dear Diary” or a “June 2, 2015”.  It’s usually just things that people recommend I look into or things I find unusual or things I’d like to think about later.

My last big entry, however, was a number of anecdotes my Mom would fire off to us as kids.  They’re the kind of sayings that stick with you into adulthood, and that you catch yourself repeating to your friends or coworkers and then immediately realizing you’re going to have to explain where they come from.

Mom-ism #1 : “If you’re bored, you’re boring”

Meaning: If you can’t find anything at all to do with your time that even you can’t entertain yourself, you must be pretty dull.  Go find something to do.

Mom-ism #2 : “‘No’ is a complete sentence”

Meaning: You don’t need to explain yourself.  If you’re uncomfortable, or don’t want to do something, or are feeling overwhelmed, you can just say ‘no’.

Mom-ism #3 : “Use the good china”

Meaning: Why have things that you love and mean something to you if you’re not going to enjoy it?  Life is short, enjoy the things you have.

Mom-ism #4 : “There are no calories if you eat standing up”

Meaning: Sometimes you just want to eat ice cream out of the jar.  Indulge once in a while and don’t feel guilty.

Mom-ism #5 : “There’s the right way and the lazy way”

Meaning:  If you’re going to take the time to do something, do it properly.

Mom-ism #6 : “Be interested and interesting”*

Meaning: Create a life where when people talk to you, you have something of value to add.  Listen to what people say and enjoy their experiences.

* This is by far my most-used piece of advice

Mom-ism #7 : “Don’t try, just do it”

Meaning:  Don’t give yourself the excuse of saying “Oh well, I tried”.  It allows us to feel like we can give up without consequences.  If you say you’re going to do something, do it.

Mom-ism #8 : “Maybe you’re the common denominator”

Meaning: When it starts to feel like everyone around you is angry or incompetent or dull, look at yourself a little closer.

Mom-ism #9 : “Little people with little lives don’t like it when others do great things”

I feel like we can all wrap our heads around this one.

Mom-ism #10 : “If you don’t wear a jacket, you’re going to be cold”

Meaning:  This resounds pretty similarly with, “If you kick a bee hive, you’re bound to get stung” or “If you leave a sandwich in your backpack for a week, it will definitely turn mouldy”.  Things have consequences.