My Australian Adventure: Part 3

So far in Australia I’ve been out almost every day. When I’ve not got plans with friends and family my plan always consists of walking in town until I find something cool to do/see and spend some time doing that. Today and yesterday I’ve been feeling a little rough. My body and brain are completely exhausted. I woke up today feeling a dizzy and a tiny bit queasy, my legs are feeling weak and my head is aching. I was hoping this wouldn’t happen but I clearly haven’t been managing my energy very well. I get that when you’re on holiday you want to do and see as much as you can but I’m definitely in need of a couple days of lazing around.

At home, I plan my social activities very careful so that I don’t get overwhelmed but I spent the first couple weeks in the city walking until I get hungry, eating and then going to something and being back by 4/5pm. I know it doesn’t sound like a lot for most people but for me, all the noises, people and things going on in busy cities can get a bit much. My brain can only process so much every day and I’m struggling to keep it in check while I’m being exposed to so many new things at once.

So yesterday and today I’ve been focused on trying to get my head back into a good space. I know it might seem like a waste of two days while I’m on holiday but I need the break from the fun to be able to enjoy the last two weeks in Australia. The main thing that I’m struggling with here is sleep. Even though I’m going to bed much earlier than I do in the UK, I’m not getting the good rest that I need. I’m regularly waking up in the middle of the night and super early in the morning and I’m having some freaky dreams that seem to be waking me up too.

One thing that I know I struggle with and I know lots of other people with mental health problems struggle with is the guilt of resting. Half of my brain is telling me “what the fuck are you doing? Get out and keep exploring. You don’t have much time here.” While the other half of my brain is telling me “stop. Just for a little while.” So while I definitely want to make the most of my time here I’m also here to rest and relax. So I won’t feel bad about taking a day or two to rest up and get ready for the last stretch of my holiday.

So many people feel guilty for taking time out for themselves but my message to people is “don’t”. I know it’s hard to just switch your mindset. It’s almost impossible. But try your best to remind yourself that you need a break to be able to get on with life. Everyone needs to rest. If you need to rest a little more than others, by all means, take that time and get your body and your brain ready for the next exciting adventure.


My Australian Adventure: Part 2

So I was just in Melbourne staying with one of my best buds and man have I been learning a lot about Australia. For example, despite it’s name the Huntsman spider isn’t poisonous and it builds some pretty spectacular webs. Gum tree sap is explosive so if there’s a bushfire near the a lot of gum trees, run as far as you can, as fast as you can.

Melbourne is a beautiful city which is full of culture, art, food and fun. I’ve had the chance to go to the Moomba Festival and watch some people jump off a pier into a notoriously stinky river to raise money for charities of their choice, visit a cracking museum/gallery which currently has a spectacular installation which consists of dozens of giant skulls piled up and scattered across a room. I’ve eaten amazing vegan food at Serotonin (which is now one of my favourite places on earth) and some great dumplings which remind me of home and climbed 1000 steps to get some incredible views of a stunning forest (I am very very unfit and now my butt muscles hurt so much I can barely walk…). I’ve also been hosted by one of the most wonderful friends and her incredible, kind and welcoming family who I’m incredibly grateful to have finally met after all these years!

This post though is going to be about a very specific thing I got up to with my friend, her boyfriend and a bunch of his friends. They organised a huge city wide scavenger hunt. 30+ people turned up to win prizes that were both pretty bad and absolutely brilliant at the same time. A toy watch, a smiley face plastic ball, a set of maracas and more. The scavenger hunt had us recreating famous images, paintings, photos, movies, solving riddles, finding hidden bottles of gin and doing some other wacky things. It was physically and mentally exhausting competing in a new city half way across the world while also meeting dozens of new people and trying not to fuck things up for my team but holy crap was it fun.

And that’s the thing. It was fun to play a game with people with no goal other than to have a bloody great time. We all have to get old but does that always mean we have to grow up? So many people complain about having to “adult” and how boring it is being an adult. I have made the same comments and I’m guilty of being a total buzzkill sometimes too. But I think the reason we end up bitter, jaded and whiny adults is because we forget how to play. One thing that I always used to love as a kid that would help me to destress was play. Whether that was with my Pokémon toys, my PS1 or football in the garden with a tennis ball. Now I often have to remind myself to play more especially when I’m working a full time job.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying plan an elaborate scavenger hunt for 30 of your friends every week (although if you do, I’d be up for taking part). I’m saying to try to go back to playing when you get the opportunity. Use your lunch breaks to play some games on your phone (or if you’re like me, on your 3DS or PS Vita) or go outside with your colleagues and play a game of football using your jackets as the goalposts. At the weekends don’t just go to the pub every weekend. I love the pub but this week has reminded me how much fun actually playing is rather than just sitting and drinking. You can still catch up with your friends but you just get to do it while recapturing some of your youthful energy. That’ll only disappear if we let it. We all say that we’re “too busy” and we can’t take a break but there is always something that can wait.

A couple friends and I have a semi regular Friends marathon, KFC/vegan kebab, alcohol and Uno. And you know what? The food and the booze is great but the Uno really brings us together the most through competition and smack talk. The scavenger hunt let me see the city of Melbourne in a totally new way and allowed me to meet a bunch of new people while having silly, wacky fun.

This scavenger hunt reminded me to play more and it’s a damn shame that it took a trip half way across to reinforce that to me. Hopefully this post will help you play more and stress less! Trust me, it’ll be worth it.

Post 1000 steps. Tip for future steppers, don’t take a back pack full of camera gear.