Close encounters of the herd kind.

When I discovered that my girlfriend Sophie had never had the experience of visiting the New Forest before, the plan for our day off was immediately realised. Sophie was staying at mine for a few days and since I had to work Monday, we really wanted to make the most of our time off on Tuesday. The week after week heatwave the UK had been experiencing showed no intentions of having a rest. It had been a while since my last visit to the New Forest (my last blog post actually, oops) and I was raring to go, to hear the silence, breathe the fresh air and seemingly endlessly explore. More importantly however, to share with Sophie the wonder of wandering these peaceful forests…

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International day of happiness.

A free day is full of possibility. Last Tuesday in particular, I woke with no plans. I had the day off work, the sun was shining, as much as it can be for March, and I wanted to make the most of it. I wanted to get away, to experience some freedom and a mind as fresh as the air that surrounded me. It’s easier to feel that away from the city, I find that more often than not. Leaving your minuscule troubles or petty worries at your front door, and refusing them the ability to follow you where it is serene and quiet. This is how I wanted to spend my Tuesday.

I embrace solitude, and when set on heading out for a countryside retreat, solo didn’t seem a bad idea. However, I came to realise that this may not be the case for some, and I felt a desire to provide someone with a chance to share the timely tranquility with me. My friend Laura could sadly not make it, but fortunately my friend Chloe was free, so we headed out for some forestry exploration.

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Incremental Motivation.

Many parts of life can seem such a chore or a burden at times. Granted, most of the outcomes that follow a struggle or draining of time and resources are totally worth the effort put in. That thought alone however is sometimes not enough to pull ourselves through, and some other tactics need to be employed to give us that boost, or at least make the journey to achievement less daunting.

I’m an optimist. I think I always have been, but even believing things are going to be great and things will head in the right direction for me doesn’t usually result in plain sailing. We all have to cross seas of torment, struggle, set-backs and metaphorical rough tides. The issue mostly derives from perceiving our goals as a whole, as opposed to a collection of tasks that collectively equate to a big reward.

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White snow and the seven awes.

If you have been living in the UK over the last week or so, I can imagine your topics of conversation have been majorly revolved around the snow, at least to some extent. It’s been the main source of news all of last week, the storm leaving many stranded, without power, water and tragically, even resulted in a few deaths. It’s been impossible to ignore the buzz surrounding the unexpected eastern weather shift in March, coined the ‘Beast of the East’.

Whilst we don’t have anywhere near the frequency or amount of snow compared to some countries (I’m looking at you Canada…), you can always rely on the UK to have something to say with the slightest sign of a snowy experience. For the most part, especially the people I’ve been around for the past week or so, it’s been mostly negative opinions on the white showers. Truthfully, it has had a huge impact on daily life, but whilst many dwell on the inconveniences, I’d like to briefly touch on my personal reasons for absolutely adoring the snow…

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Sleep. We all need it. Some of us more than others, and we all vary in how well we sleep as individuals. There are over seventy recognised sleep disorders, but aside from those disorders which can be highly debilitating, many factors affect how well we sleep. Sleep is not a black or white area, for example, by saying that someone is going to sleep, it cannot be assumed that it’s an easy process for that particular person, and some may struggle for hours to finally ‘nod off’. Since my current job mostly requires early-ish starts of 07:00AM for me, I often have to compensate for being able to wake up successfully at 05:45AM and be well-rested enough for me to get ready and face the working day. Nonetheless however, it’s also important to rest well the night before a day-off (even if you’re going to treat yourself to a lay-in). I never took sleep preparation seriously until recently, when just a few changes in my pre-sleep routine made for an effective sleep which resulted in an energetic, motivated and more alert self the next day. Here are some of those changes I made…

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A change of mindset.

I need to discipline myself. To discipline my mind in fact, or maybe to discipline and alter my mindset may seem more appropriate. Increasingly lately, I’ve been aware of how I’m spending my time. Those seemingly insignificant minutes of the day. The ones that collectively turn into hours, which lead to days which add up to the weeks which constitute the months that have been flying past as my passive self fails to develop my mindset and motivation to head where I desire.

Stating that I’m aware of the passing of my finite time is not to be mistaken for a belief that I’ve acted accordingly and in my best interest of this awareness; I haven’t, regrettably. Maybe I’m a hypocrite, it would appear so as of now. A hypocrite not in a hugely negative sense that involves others, but a hypocrite to my way of thinking and following through with action. When it comes to motivating others to use their time effectively, I like to think I’m on top form and give my all to encourage and assist people into realising their goals and helping them along on the journey to achieving them. When it comes to myself however, I need to improve. For an optimist, I sound very pathetic, I know. Actions speak louder than words (we’ll use intentions in this instance), and whilst certain happenings lately have made me appreciate the relative freedom and gift of time I have to achieve what I choose to strive for, on a daily basis I’ve made feeble efforts. Efforts of which I know I am capable of, and desired goals it would be selfish to deprive myself of achieving.

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There really is no time like the present.

Life is full of lessons and learning curves, right from the second we are born. Upon the complexity of some of these lessons lie lessons of much simpler rationales. Easy as they may be to understand on the surface, some things aren’t always that straight-forward, or so we tell ourselves. I’m a huge believer that there is no time like the present, but yet hypocritically, at times I’ve seemed to master the art of procrastinating or forming a naive notion that in time things will work themselves out. Of course, in time, many things do work themselves out. Little problems or worries sometimes fade with time. However, the truth will always remain that for those places you see yourself to be and those visions of how you see your future-self to be, they require effort.

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Seventy-two hours in Bucharest.

Seeing more of Europe isn’t something I’ve always been desperate to do. To say it’s been top of the list of places I wish to see more of wouldn’t be completely true. My plans have always favoured those far-out regions such as Canada, Australia and Southeast Asia; far from the types of places one can just ‘pop along’ to for a few days. More recently however, I’ve realised how accessible and relatively cheap a short getaway in the countries of cultured and diverse Europe can be. Romania was never top of this list either, but after some research my friend and I decided to give it a shot. We booked some very cheap flights and a reasonably priced hostel for a couple of nights not too far from the main town centre. After packing a small case and printing our boarding passes, we were set to see what the capital of Romania had to offer.

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What am I scared of? Not living.

Spiders? Nope. Heights? Not really. Clowns? Not entirely, although they can be ever so unnerving.

There are some things I’m not overly fond of, but my main fear is one of a non-physical existence. It’s not an animal or a place, nor a phobia of some sort. My ultimate fear is of an encounter with myself, a reflective type…

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Be in the moment.

Panic. Panic, distress and worry as I double-checked my phone back-up for those photos. Nope. Nowhere to be seen. How did I let this happen? Let me check the other folder… No, not there either. Recycle bin? Ah, emptied. Oops. Ooh, what about that recovery software? *twenty minutes later*, damn, nothing. One more time, I’ll check my phone and SD card. F***.

This is pretty much an accurate representation of when I was sorting through my travel photos in order to make some edits. I kept thinking to myself how I so easily deleted the photos from my phone without first ensuring I had other copies backed up. Idiot. A whole bunch of fifty plus photos that I was eager to start post-processing, gone. I tried everything to get them back, but they were no more…

… but does it matter?

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