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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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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Wandering forests.

For as long as I can remember, walking through seemingly endless forests has captivated me. It’s something that I’ve always loved and continue to do so. Whether it be a short walk around a local nature reserve or an afternoon exploring the heart of deep woodlands,  wandering these ‘untarnished by civilisation’ areas is an offer I can rarely refuse should the opportunity arise. The root of my fondness stems from how my father and I would frequently go walking in the forest during my summer holidays in Yorkshire, right from a young age until these current days. We’ll take a drive into the countryside, find somewhere scenic or interesting and just explore. It’s as straight-forward as that.

The ease of opportunity is what’s so great about this activity; simply the fact that it’s often something that can be done spontaneously if you have the time and access to these types of land. What’s so wonderful is that it requires very little money or planning, just a few provisions, gear, a bit of luck with the weather and you’re all set. A few days ago, my good friend Alex and I both had the day off work and we both shared this desire to do something a little different and something active. I suggested exploring a little of the New Forest (around a forty minute drive from Portsmouth) and the weather was dry so we thought ‘why not?’. I packed my camera, food and drink. I shoved on some warm clothes and my walking boots and we headed out to the New Forest.

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The moment has finally arrived.

The moment that I can say that I have graduated that is, and as many will tell you, it only feels official when you shake some hands and walk off that stage during the ceremony. It’s been a long time coming, and it is all so very true when they explain how the three years of university will fly by. Needless to say, I’m proud of myself and I have no shame in admitting that. It has been challenging at times; namely the past year, but the struggles feel so worthwhile now.

I studied a BSc (Hons) in Psychology at University of Portsmouth. Having been intrigued from a relatively young age, studying psychology at college had only confirmed my interest of the mind and the behaviour of humans. So much so that it seemed apt to continue working upon my interest through further education. Overall, a good decision. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my university experience and I feel it’s made me mature, realise the importance of commitment and also the importance of networking, support and friendships. I have very few negative points to raise about University of Portsmouth as they’re all drowned by the wave of positive opinions and experiences I retain (possible idea for a blog post?). Anyway, let’s talk about the day…

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Do more of what makes you happy.

It’s one of my favourite expressions, but one I do not seem to live by as much as I could. I think everybody has their own individual interests and whether you express yours openly or hold it personally, you know what yours is too. With the manic rush of modern day-to-day life, I believe it almost a necessity to take frequent time out to appreciate your interests and to enjoy them as much as you can. Our western culture is no stranger to allowing our interests to be pushed aside by the mundane and monotonous daily grind: jobs, money, weather, transport, reliance on others etc. As such, we’re occasionally experts of subtle ‘excuse-finding’ as to why the perfectly possible seems unreasonable at the time. From here on out, I aim to not fall victim to this self-restricting and dismal trap.

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