As I’m sure most people (particularly writers) do, I tend go through phases. Some are complete, magical, extraordinary I-can-take-on-this-fucking-world motivational stages, during which I am determined to be the best, most powerful, honest, funny, interesting, motivational, thought-provoking writer you have ever come across! These periods are sometimes followed by lulls of I-don’t-know-what-the-hell-Im-doing-with-my-life and what-the-hell-am-I-even-trying-to-say-here deflation. Commonly known as the ‘writer’s block’, I have been spending a whole lotta’ time over-analyzing my stuff and drafting posts that I am never happy with and, lets be honest, would probably die from embarrassment if they ever crept into daylight. To say I have fallen off the blogging bandwagon is an understatement, and I hate it. Writing kind of makes me feel useful, like I am doing something productive to leave my gentle little mark on the world and at the moment, I am not doing that. Useless Blake.
So why am I even writing this? Here is my game plan. By writing this, I am putting a message out to the virtual universe and holding myself accountable for all of the writing (or lack thereof) that I may (or may not) be doing, in the hopes that this will scare me into writing submission and I will have no choice but to power on through my pitiful creative drought. Here’s to hoping you will see something super cool from me soon!
P.S. I am very much open to any suggestions you may have. Want to see me ramble on incessantly about something in particular? Drop me an email through the contact page. Your ideas will do me the world of good.
Love from Blake.
We live in a world where travel has never before been so easy and accessible. Gone are the days of paper maps and hard back travel guides (unless you’re jumping on the retro/vintage/tumblr bandwagon), and taking their place is the mighty google and it’s BFF Wikipedia. You could probably take a year out in Venezuela without ever having to remember a single word of Spanish thanks to all the information you can find online. Colossal sized maps? Who needs em? Restaurant recommendations? The internet can provide thousands at the blink of an eye. Chatting to locals about life? Have you not seen Texas Chainsaw Massacre?
Don’t get me wrong accessibility is an amazing thing, it has opened up the world to people who otherwise might have never left their hometown, and made the whole process much less intimidating for those of us who could do without the stress of it all. But have we lost some authenticity along the way? As far as I’m concerned, crossing a boarder or earning a new stamp in a passport does not a traveller make. Call me a travel snob if you will, but there are a few things you ABSOLUTELY MUST do in a city (or village or country or whatever) before you can truly say that you have visited. And in order to save you the embarrassment of realising later on that you have missed out the fundamentals, I have put it all together in a nice, handy, little list. You’re welcome.
How to travel (in 5 easy steps)
1. Eat local food.
McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Subway, these are all no goes. Nothing pulls a cringe out of me faster than listening to someone telling me they have just returned from the most amazing trip to France where they had the most amazing burger from McDonalds. Every travelling fibre inside me crawls with rage as I think of all the ham and cheese baguettes, the pastries, for the love of PAIN AU CHOCOLAT! Culture and food are so intertwined, to understand one, you really need to identify with the other. So before you make your subway pit stop, ask for some directions to a local lunchtime hotspot and give the local stuff a go… If still need convincing, take a look at this homemade tiramisu from Venice, need I say more?
2. Talk to the locals.
This one is pretty important. Whether it be for directions or D&M chats, they are the BEST BEST BEST way to learn anything and everything about the place you are visiting. They know all the best spots to eat, drink, site see, shop and boogy on down. They also have all the best insider stories. There is nothing like picking the brains of someone who lived through the history you are learning about first hand. You might just surprise yourself and learn something awesome, or maybe you will take away some inner enlightenment, maybe some extra gratitude or some life experience lessons. You might completely relate or find your polar opposite. Regardless, it really does feed the human soul to connect on whichever level to another human, so talk their ears off and let them talk off yours.
3. Find out what the locals are super passionate about, and try to experience it for yourself.
Whether it be attending a Yankees game in NY, eating a sausage in Munich, laying on a beach in Brisbane or going for shisha in Dubai, just go and experience what gets the locals going. Doing these kinds of things will give you a real taste for a new city and maybe you’ll figure out what all the fuss is about. Some of my absolute FAVOURITE experiences include wandering the souks in Casablanca and trying the spiciest red thai curries in Phuket. Once you experience what the locals love, you can really say you have immersed yourself in the local culture.
4. Get yourself up to speed with the lingo.
Learn how to say ‘hello, how are you?” as well as the appropriate response in the local language. A “please” and “thank you” equivalent is also very useful. You will find that people will be far more accommodating if they see you are trying to communicate in their language, in some places it is even considered a disrespect if you don’t. Even if you’re getting it all wrong, it is totally cute and they will always appreciate your effort. This particularly applies anywhere in France!
5. Walk as much as you can, and when you cant walk anymore, ride a bike or use public transport.
A lot of the ongoings within a city happen in neat little corners or off city side streets. There are many things to be stumbled upon if you’re open to the adventure of it all. And a lot of these things are very easily missed if you spend all of your time whizzing past in a taxi. Weather permitting, try to walk or take advantage of public transport, not only is it cheaper, it is far more likely you will find all the goodies the city has to offer. Win win.
So that that sums up my top 5 travel tips! If you do manage to check each of these points off the list (it’s actually very easy I promise), then you can safely say you are a true nomad and have travelled like pro! And on that note, go and do yourself some exploring! Happy travels you child of the world!
Love from Blake.
So, today I turned 25. Hello quarter life reflections! I spent some time mulling over the life lessons I have picked up along my 25 year journey and have made a list, as I tend to do, of the trinkets I am ever so grateful to have learnt thus far.
While I have you here, I would also like to throw in a MASSIVE thank you, thank you, thank you for reading. Probably my most treasured thing that I am carrying into my 25th year is this amazing online sanctuary that I have, and will continue to, pour my heart and soul into, and I really appreciate you taking time out of your busy day to read my stuff. I cannot begin to tell you how overwhelming and humbling it is to receive so much love and support from all over the world. So thank YOU.
And onto my list…
1. You’re not supposed to have all the answers.
2. You answer to no one other than you.
3. Respect yourself enough to let go of what no longer grows you.
4. Loss teaches us to love.
5. Trust that the universe has a plan for you.
6. Don’t dilute who you are for the sake of keeping someone else happy.
7. If you think it, if you feel it, you have the right to say it.
8. Your career does not define who you are.
9. Dreams are important.
10. There is beauty in everything.
11. Surround yourself with people who make you feel a million bucks.
12. ‘Me time’ is priceless.
13. You will never please everyone.
14. As often as you can, be relentlessly kind.
15. Money will come and go.
16. Sometimes your heart is smarter than your head.
17. You can’t make someone love you.
18. Don’t lose sleep over things you cannot control.
19. Everyday is a brand new day and a brand new opportunity to kick ass at life.
20. Do something that really makes you happy each and every day.
21. If it’s not magical, then it’s probably not worth your time.
22. Nothing in this world is ever black and white.
23. Never chase a man more than he would chase you.
24. Everything is a choice.
25. You are exactly who you choose to be.
Love from Blake.