Since coming home from a trip of a lifetime, reality has indeed set in.
Seven countries in four and a half months, all offering new experiences, new opportunities and new life lessons. The beauty of South East Asia is undeniable and by beauty I don’t just mean the postcard beaches and screen saver sunsets, but the beauty within the people of these countries and the strength they show. The Khmer Rouge, Pol Pot regime, S21 were all things I am slightly ashamed to say I had never heard of before I decided to travel to Cambodia. The Cambodian genocide was a travesty and only happened a few decades ago yet my generation seems completely unaware of what happened. Half the population were wiped out and therefore in some way everyone still in Cambodia has a connection to the tragedy that took place, although you wouldn’t think this upon visiting the country and meeting the people.
Poverty is an inescapable realism you face throughout all these countries and yet some of the major topics of conversation between myself and friends were ‘I need a job when I get back’, ‘I need to pay off my overdraft’ and so on. The pressure of working and earning was still with us when we were thousands of miles away. I was having a conversation with my parents just the other day and they described what their work ethic was like when they were my age and it was more I’ll get money when I get it, rather than I need to get money now. With debts hanging over most of our heads and the ideal of being a successful 20-something always in our thoughts, I don’t think we can help the way our generation now thinks.
I have been lucky enough to land myself a fantastic job and will be starting next week, and thanks to reading up on New York, London, Paris and Milan fashion weeks my need to go shopping and spend the money I have earned doing a temporary job is growing simply too great and will be heading to Westfields to get my own pieces of the latest trends (military and biker are looking like the favourites at the moment). Earning money is a great feeling but when I’m thinking about what I am going to spend my pay cheque I want to try to remember walking round the killing fields of Cambodia in the blistering heat, listening to the stories of what happened there. It is only a little something but for the first time in my life I have set up a regular donation to both the WWF and RSPCA and that at least gives me a small amount of satisfaction that some of my pay cheque is going towards better things. I don’t mean to preach, however I can’t feeling like we need to let go of some of this pressure and sometimes just sit back and take it all in, before we get to 50 and wonder where the fun, excitement and spontaneity stopped and all consuming work began.
So it’ s been a long time since my last post and I’ve done a lot in that time. New Zealand was beautiful beyond words, a stunning country with so much to offer. From the skydiving, bungy jumping (obviously Nevis, go big or go home!) to white and black water rafting it was an incredible month, not to mention all the great people I met. The Maori people have an incredible history, I learned about them on a trip and my personal highlight was hearing about their tattoo traditions and how their tattoos paint a story of their lives, on their body. I went to an exhibit in the Te Papa Tongarewa museum in Wellington and was able to learn about the short but great life Vogue New Zealand had for 10 years, a few decades ago. The sample gowns were incredible and it was interesting to see what New Zealand brought to the fashion table all those years ago. I have now been in Thailand for a month and what a culture shock. The country is brilliant and you are never short of a good night out or beautiful beach or interesting character!
By making the decision not to bring out my beloved iPhone 4gs I made the decision to be relatively separated from what i know and love back home, (bar sharing my friend’s phone on the odd occasion). It made me realise that even though I am the ultimate phone addict I can go without for what will be four and a half months. I have struggled with is the separation from family and friends, needless to say it’s natural. However one other thing i struggled with is the separation from BBC Radio 1 and Annie Mac’s Friday night show, or Vogue news and updates daily in my Hotmail and general news. You become so consumed with what you are doing you forget about what is going on elsewhere. Traveling is incredible, exciting and you learn so much, along with university I sincerely recommend partaking. It tests you in ways you can’t imagine from bursting a blood vessel in your eye and looking like a zombie for 3 weeks, courtesy of a bungee jump, to breaking a toe courtesy of a drunken night in Koh Phangan, you learn to focus on what’s important and loosing something like a top is so insignificant compared to being able to contact home.
The next stop is the crazy place that is Lao, then onto Vietnam and Cambodia, to be filled with museums and war memorials, which I am so excited for. Then home. Four and a half months soon to be over and I am curious to see what that feeling will be like.
I finally managed to get hold of my very own Vogue Australia…… the first thing that struck me was the incredibly clean front cover with the title ‘Free Spirit’ and featuring the mesmerizing Julia Frauche, which relates to the overall impression of the Vogue Australia April 2012 issue. The letter from editor Kirstie Clements, describes what she loves about the current issue and that is two things the first being personal style, that it is now created and not just something you follow and imitate because a celebrity or familiar face is wearing it. The second being the confidence women can and should embody, with Stella McCartney and Kate Winslet leading the way.
A stand out element of the magazine for me was the brilliant article on one of my idols, Stella McCartney; the article was an interview with the 40 year fashion designer, activist and mother and delved into the mind of a fashion genius. Well written and accompanied by a stunning portrait of the woman herself, looking sleek and interesting by the great David Bailey, it was a perfect read for me in my hostel in Noosa, East Coast of Australia.
Stella McCartney as I have written in the past is fashion forward, not only in her designs but in her outlook on fashion, how she creates clothing for women and not just for her models but for the average woman in order to help her feel as confident as she should feel.
My next stop will be the country of New Zealand and will be filled with adrenaline pumping activities including sky diving and bungee jumping. However through all the mayhem I will of course be scoping out the New Zealand fashion and can’t wait for it all to begin.
So, I haven’t done a post in a while because I’ve only been traveling the world. Started off in Sydney, which is an incredible city, needless to say it’s pretty pricey, but beautiful and a city lover’s dream. Moved onto Byron Bay which was a laidback haven, people were nice, tanned and rarely wore shoes. Watching the sunset on the beach on my last night there was a highlight and it all sunk in that I was finally doing something I had thought about for as long as I can remember. Now we are in Surfers Paradise which is a fresh and vibrant place, hoping the sun makes more of an appearance so that I can get this tan on the up so that my Englishness doesn’t seem so obvious around all these golden brown Ozzie’s and fellow travelers. One of my goals of this four and a half month trip with 3 of my best friends, is to collect a Vogue magazine in each country I visit. I want to get a deeper understanding of what all these different countries have to offer the fashion world and hopefully broaden my horizons. So far no luck in the Land of Oz but I will be searching every newsagent I wander past in the hope of finding Australian Vogue.
To be continued…..