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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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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I fell in love with elephants.

I think it’s fair to say that one of the greatest and most magical parts of visiting different continents is in the chance of being able to observe and experience the diversity of nature and animals that we’re not so used to at home. Having never been on a safari, when planning my trip to South-east Asia, one of the main things I hoped I had the chance to do was to spend some time one on one with elephants. Admittedly, elephants had never enthralled me. Whilst I appreciate them and detest the pressures of survival they’re currently exposed to via poaching and loss of habitat in many areas of the world, elephants were never top of my list of animals that I was super-excited to hopefully have the pleasure of being around someday. However, this changed dramatically when I had the chance to spend the day with several during my time in Chiang Mai, Thailand…

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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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Apply yourself.

Apply yourself. A phrase that I find hard to forget, and one that seems to often find its way into my stream of conscious thoughts. As famously quoted by the notorious Heisenberg from AMC’s Breaking Bad, it’s fascinating how a short phrase comprising of a mere two words can be so powerful (to me at least). Whilst I’m not in the business of cooking and distributing extremely pure Methamphetamine, I feel ‘apply yourself’ has a far-reaching application to some of life’s struggles. Whether these be on a short-term or long-term basis, this phrase is increasingly becoming a life motto for me.

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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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