India in pictures

I travelled to India almost five years ago as part of a two month trip involving interning at an orphanage, where I coloured in and did the hokey-pokey, and afterwards, wandered around the north-west of this incredible country.

I had wanted to travel to India for three years. It was always in the back of my mind. I had purchased the Lonely Planet Guide to India LONG before I ever started planning my trip. I wanted to see the diabolical streets, the colours, experience the food, the fast-paced cities full of people and the lifestyle they lived.

Each picture has a special meaning to me.

IMG_1480

This was taken from the balcony of a women’s boarding house in Rajgurunagar. I have absolutely no idea where it was, suffice to say it was hours from anywhere. This was taken after my first night sleeping in the boarding house. I distinctly remember waking up and hearing nothing. It was silent. No one talking. No cars, trucks or horns. Not even a dog barking. Just silence. And the air. It was already sunny, but the air was cool and fresh. Like a morning after the rain. I remember looking out over the mish mash of buildings and abundance of colour and thinking to myself, “I’ve made it. Finally”.

IMG_1573 (2)

Whilst staying in Rajgurunagar, myself and the people I travelled on the internship with, were asked to participate in an Eradicate AIDS rally. There would gave had to have been two hundred of us. We all wore red ribbons and walked through the main streets in the town. I actually have no idea what people were saying, they were chanting something, but due to the local’s lack of English and our lack of Hindi knowledge. However, I was teamed up with the girls in this picture, they were making sure I didn’t get lost in the back streets of this town. I remember taking this picture looking back at the procession behind us.

IMG_1865 IMG_1856

These pictures were taken at a place known as Little Buddha School and Orphanage in Malvali, three hours east of Mumbai. This is where I stayed for four weeks, hanging out with these little ones.

The stories at this place weren’t good. A lot of these children weren’t actually orphans, they were just children victim to parents who couldn’t afford to care for them. However, the Little Buddha School was well funded, relatively clean, the children were well fed and SMART. One amazing little guy could name the full Australian Cricket team before I could, and whats more, he spelled the name of each team member. Perfectly.

These little ones up above were some of the cheekiest, funniest, and animated girls I have ever come across. The girl in the green dress, Suneri, would rifle through our pockets as soon as we got on site asking for chocolate. Being with these little ones reminded me just how lucky I was to be raised in Australia. Those four weeks taught me how happy you can be when you’re helping others.

IMG_1724

One weekend whilst staying in Malvali, our carer suggested we make a trip to the Karla and Bhaja Caves, these massive carved Indian Buddhist shrines set into the hills just outside of Lonavla. The hike to these places was insane. It was here I discovered how unfit I was. The walk was steep and the steps were massive and primitive. Up the path were vendors welling spices, flowers, chikki and other gifts in offering to Buddha.

I remember seeing flowers on string everywhere. I always liked this picture because the flowers were just starting to wilt, the giver long gone, but their intentions still present.

I remember at the end of this walk I got so sugar depleted, I could barely walk. What better way to rectify that situation with a small fizzy drink and a bag of chips. It was on this day I tried my first ‘Thumbs Up’, the Indian version of Coca Cola with a hell of a lot more sugar. I was more than OK after this beverage.

What would a trip to India be without a trip to the Taj Mahal? I cried walking through the gates here, I was so excited, I had waited so long to see this magnificent structure, I couldn’t contain myself.IMG_2132

It was baltic the day I went here. Seriously, so so cold.

I remember everything about this day. The black lettering quoting the Qur’an bordering the entrance to the building, the red shower hats we had to wear over our shoes, the squirrel-type animals in the gardens, the amount of people, the smells, the noise. This day, was by far one of the most memorable days in India.

I remember, before leaving Australia, that I wanted to come home with a photograph of the Taj Mahal that was different. Something that was artistic. Something that was from a different perspective. Something that was mine. This is what I came up with.

India tested me. It pushed me to rely on only myself, to keep calm, to communicate effectively, to push myself, and to experience life. It wasn’t perfect; but it was the perfect situation for me to flourish.

Next on my list… Bali and Turkey.

A little story about motivation…

A had an epiphany whilst at the gym… The lesson came to me when I found myself struggling on bench press.

Do you ever get the feeling that whatever you do and no matter how hard you try, nothing seems to work?

You’re not alone.

I am a creature of learned behaviours when it comes to negative self talk and self-sabotaging behaviours. I have battled with depression, anxiety, and plummeting self-esteem for 15 years. I am in constant company of the “You can’t do it” voice in my head.

It’s this voice that likes to catch me at the most inopportune times – like when I’m trying to lift extreme amount of weight and almost dropping a loaded Olympic bar on my chest.

I gripped the loaded bar with what would have been a personal best, and as soon as I pushed it up I heard, “Uh oh” from somewhere in my brain. Not a good start. This immediately got me thinking, “Oh shit, I can’t lift this. It’s half my body weight. I’m going to drop it on me and break my teeth. I hope no one is filming this, I’ll end up as part of a gym fail video…” et cetera, et cetera, et cetera…

However, by gritting my teeth and busting my little ring out, all while my workout buddy, best mate, personal arse-kicker and boyfriend, harping on me to keep breathing, dig my heels in and push the damn thing, I managed to lift that olympic bar off my chest, 12 times in a row no less, rack it, sit up and wipe the tears away.

And it got me thinking – Why is it so easy for me to push myself to the maximum physically and so much harder to do in my personal life? Why can I face up to a cold hunk of metal and show it who’s boss with minimal sooking, but I can’t stand up for myself in my own life?

Answer: The stakes are higher. You drop a weight plate on your toe, you get a bruise. (Or, periodically, lose a toenail) You drop the proverbial weight plate in your personal life? You could potentially lose a friend, one of your teeth, your job or the love of your life. When the stakes are higher, the fear to jump is greater, with crippling effect.

How to combat this fear of losing everything, the fear of failure and the fear of leaping?

I think we all need a personal arse-kicker, someone who (and I’m quoting Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love fame here) exposes the parts of ourselves we despise the most, so we have no other choice but to combat them. These may not necessarily be your best friend – it could be a work colleague, family friend, brother, cousin, counsellor, or house mate, but they will be an important person in your life nonetheless.

That’s what my training buddy/best mate/boyfriend is to me – a person that points out the parts of myself I want to better and cultivate. A person that will tell me how it is when they have to, knowing that it’s for my benefit, but also does it in a kind way, only wanting me to succeed, because if I succeed, WE’RE better.

All you have to do is dig your heels in, take a big breath, and be willing to shed a few tears and struggle a bit. It might be uncomfortable at the time, but the end results are worth it.

What I think about when I can’t sleep

I’m sure some of you can relate.IMG_4465

This, for me, is most of the time. I’ve tried everything. Lavender everything, hot showers before bed, wine before bed, Sleepy time tea, Horlicks, training before bed, yoga and meditation, cold showers before bed, herbal sleeping tablets, no wine before bed, watching TV, all electrical devices out of my room, Diazepam (a really mild, prescribed sleeping aid), no training before bed time. NOTHING WORKS.

Well, maybe the Diazepam did briefly.

I have just come to the conclusion that I am among the ranks of Australia’s great over-thinkers and under-sleepers. I have been this way since my early 20s and I don’t see it changing any time soon.

My mother is the same. She’s of the opinion that she just has a few bad nights and eventually she’s so tired that she just has a massive sleep and she’s all better again. I don’t like her thinking. My job involves conversing with people and talking them into buying stuff they don’t need – I need to be ON. ALL. THE. TIME. And my mother has staying power that’s utterly enviable.

It’s a result of many sleepless nights that I turned to coffee. For comfort. Warmth. Understanding. Humaning. Doing the ‘standy-uppy’ thing.

Is my insomnia the reason I drink so much coffee? Or is my coffee drinking the reason I have insomnia-like tendencies? Who knows.

But… Back to the story at hand.

So, what goes through my head on a nightly basis?

Here is an example from the last month of no sleepy time thoughts…

“I wonder is the Fast and the Furious franchise was planned out that way all along, or after the balls up of Tokyo Drift, writers and directors chose to up the ante to redeem themselves”
“Where in the house can I put my dying Fiddle Leaf Fig and possibly save it?”
“If I fall asleep in the next five minutes I can get exactly three and a half hours sleep before I have to get ready for work”
“No, you don’t need to pee, you’re just bored…”
“OK, you can’t bitch out on going to the gym tomorrow… your bag is packed, food is prepped and gym gear is out. Get. The. Fuck. Up. (Yeah, nine times out of 10, I stayed in bed)
“I wonder if I could make a career out of floristry…”
“Should I buy the snakeskin-print jumpsuit from work?” (I didn’t. When a blonde Amazonia Goddess you work with tries it on, rocks it like Beyonce rocks sequins, and buys it, yield.)
“I’m hungry”.
“I really shouldn’t drink coffee after midday”.
“Shit. Did I empty the washing machine?”
“Wait up. Haven’t seen Kaley Cuoco post pics of her husband on Instagram in a while… why?” (Yeah… sadly not together anymore. And for the record, my boyfriend knew that before I did.)
“Is it time to get up yet?”
And on and on it goes. I can’t remember half the things I think about because I’m too tired to remember or write them down, but you catch my drift.

Anyone feel me?

A day with my beloved…

Introducing Matty.    IMG_4318

My one and only. My great love. My best mate. My rock. My anchor. My missing piece.

I will tell you more about my beloved Matty later down the track but for the moment, suffice to say, I dig this kid with every fibre of my being.

We both work ridiculous rosters and as a result, our time together is limited, so it’s treated like a precious jewel. Sometimes, the best we can manage is a gym session, breakfast and nap.  Other times, all we can manage is the chores around the house and not killing each other.

Last weekend, we managed to get a day at the beach, complete with picnic, which is something we haven’t been able to do for MONTHS. We were able to explore, lay in the sun, swim in the ARCTIC water and best of all, simply, just be together.

IMG_4334 IMG_4326

This place that we visit is only a 10 minute walk from our house. We walk down possibly, the longest and steepest staircase to get there (feels longer after leg day) but the results are worth it.

We walk down a pretty little shaded bush path to get to this hidden away little beach. There’s a massive field of manicured grass and weeping willow trees ripe for picnics and touch football games and puppy playing.

IMG_4323IMG_4320

The beach itself, is little. It’s basically a little sand spit on a channel going back out to sea, so the water is FREEZING and the currents are fairly strong, but the water is also fairly shallow. It’s perfect for paddle boarding and floating in rings…

There’s awesome bushland and rocky outcrops surrounding the water which is awesome for sun baking away from people and relaxing…

IMG_4325 IMG_4321

The day could not have been more perfect. Especially when you finish the day with wine and Mexican on the balcony of our unit at sunset.

IMG_4309 IMG_4319

All the photos were taken on my phone and edited using ‘afterlight’.

Let me introduce myself…

My name is Carly. I’m 30 something. I just a regular Australian girl. When I say that, I don’t mean it in the cliched, naff, lame way; I’m down to earth, yes, but what I was more alluding to is the notion that I am somewhat of a nobody. I’m not famous, I’m not a socialite, I don’t even have a big social circle. I’m such a regular Jane Bloggs that if you fell over me in the street, you’d forget me after an hour.IMG_1359

I’m OK with this situation. I’m not offended. At all. I just figure I’m one of many that are like this.

This all being said, despite my ‘nobody’ status, I’ve seen, done and been involved in some truly hilarious, strange, and interesting situations that are worth sharing. This will be my platform.

But firstly, let me tell you about myself.

I’m a daughter to an amazing mum and dad. They back me up, look after me when I need it, and have a hell of a lot of fun in the process. The Mothership is a quiet, fierce and incredibly caring and compassionate mumma lion that takes no shit and has one of the funniest senses of humour. I think she does anyway. She’ll tell you she’s “fucking hilarious”. She’s been the first one to drive hours to be by my side when shit has truly hit the fan, and was the one that swept in and took action when I was really ill and needed a lot of help that I wouldn’t get for myself. She’s a fucking legend.

The Papa Bear is a Mister Fix-It who gives an incredible pep talk. He’s the first to teach my new things, like how to use a circular saw and cordless drill, or how to change my car tyres, or why my car is making that funny whiney noise again. (FYI – it’s probably the fan belt.) Like the mothership, he’s protective and isn’t afraid to show it.

I’m a sister to a boisterous and hilarious boy that seems placid, but secretly, looks after his older sibling. We look identical, just three years apart in age. We have both gotten along and fought like cats and dogs. We have exactly the same sense of humour and always tend to annoy the mother unit with our noise, and tendency to quote lame movies non-stop at the dinner table.

IMG_4202

I’m a girlfriend to an amazing man. He loves me in spite of my innumerable and, at times, irritating flaws. He’s seen me at absolute rock bottom; the only person to see me so low and still tell me in no uncertain terms that he still thinks the sun shines out of my ass. He’s caring, thoughtful, encouraging and respectful of my needs. We met at work – we’re both fitness trainers. We have share interests. We have separate interests. We laugh together. And he’s cute to boot. He is my jackpot lottery, Christmas and pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, all rolled into one.

I myself, am many things. Journalism student. Fitness Instructor. Retail Manager. Avid book collector. Believer in the healing power of crystals. Coffee addict. Observer of life. Creator of stuff. Flower sniffer. Purveyor of red wine and gin. Anxiety and depression sufferer. Ivory tinkler. Like finding the funny and metaphoric life lesson. Quietly spoken unless I’m excessively passionate. Constantly searching for something that lights my fire.

So if you want to listen to my mundane ramblings… stay tuned.