Tag Archives: happy place

Melbourne | The magic of Rainbow Serpent Festival

IMG_1219I waited a whole year to experience the magic of Rainbow Serpent Festival. I arrived in Melbourne this time last year, just three days after this incredible festival took place, I was devastated to have missed it but having been deep in the outback completing my farm work there was simply no way I could make it in time. It was a worthy sacrifice – those last three days of farm work meant I got the opportunity to stay in Australia for another year. Those last three days meant not only could I come back to Melbourne, one of my favourite cities in the world, but that I could get a second chance to experience life over the rainbow.IMG_2566IMG_2547For those who don’t know about Rainbow Serpent, it’s the ultimate in hippy trippy dreamland fun. Deep in the Victorian countryside that can only be described as desert in the 35 degree heat, a few small fields are filled with around 10,000 colourful, bright, passionate and excited souls for just a few days. Reminiscent of festivals like Secret Garden Party and Boomtown Fair in the UK, the festival is the kind of celebration that brings together a huge range of people, some pretty interesting characters and some seriously beautiful souls for a few days of creativity and magic.IMG_2564IMG_2551This year celebrating it’s 20th anniversary, the festival is a veteran amongst others and you can tell on arrival, many of those pulling up in camper vans to the most incredible campsites filled with marquees, sofas, outlandish decorations and the rest, are people who have been going for years. The kind who exclaim with sheer happiness when you disclose that this is your first Rainbow Serpent, their faces light up at getting to witness you experiencing the magic for the very first time. It’s easy before you go to feel like everyone just gets caught up in the hype or that it couldn’t possibly be as good as they say. IMG_2548IMG_2562Well, as a well seasoned festival veteran, I can safely say that the hype doesn’t even do the festival justice. Rainbow Serpent blew my mind – not just the music and the stages, the theatre and the arts, the yoga and the creativity. It was the people, the incredible collection of people passionate about one cause – making it the best celebration of Rainbow Serpent yet. Time and time again we were blown away by the amazing characters we met, experienced and then parted ways never to see each other again – but the most important thing was that we shared that one moment together.IMG_2565IMG_2550I was an incredibly lucky girl during this festival – the kindness of strangers has never been more apparent. Two of my friends were determined for me to attend the festival despite my already having given up on finding a ticket. They pushed one friend into tracking me down a ticket and when that one fell through he went to the ends of the earth to find me a replacement – whats the big deal you ask? This guy had never even met me but went to an incredible level of effort to not only ensure I experienced Rainbow Serpent but that I had the most amazing time possible. I travelled up with a friend from work and we spent the next few days camping with an amazing group of people – I couldn’t have put together a better bush doof crew if I tried.IMG_2567IMG_2560The bare basics – we hired a car from Hertz who I would never hire from again, overly expensive and extremely rude staff who constantly tried to overcharge us for things they hadn’t pre-disclosed. We borrowed a tent from a friend, filled up eskis with ice, beers and boxes of pasta – going prepared saved us a lot of money on food. The festival was totally BYO so we went prepared with bottles of vodka and rum decanted into plastic bottles (no glass at the festival) and lots of ciders and beers. Costumes and a hell of a lot of glitter filled ur bags, but everything else we needed was already at the festival or in our amazing campsite. We were in North camping, just a short walk from the Market Stage which was filled with the most amazing music almost 24/7, the food stalls which had a great selection, and the chill-out areas.IMG_2563IMG_2561Although the music is the main event and I had an fantastic time watching the acts, there was a lot more to the festival with plenty of amazing fun for kids, healing and massage areas, talks on everything from depression to psychedelics and society, creative workshops on survival skills, yoga and meditation, and art. There was so much going on and so much to do, you didn’t want to sleep or waste a single second. It was an absolutely amazing event and I well and truly give it the Absolutely Lucy stamp of approval – if you’re backpacking Australia and happen to be in Melbourne around January next year, I really recommend picking up a ticket. Trust me this festival is a life-changing experience and you won’t regret splashing the money. IMG_1218

Photos provided by myself and Hannah Gunstone, even they don’t do the festival justice but they certainly give you a taste of the fun!

Have you been to Rainbow Serpent – tell me about your festival highlights? What other festivals have you been to while travelling?

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How to make the most of your lunchbreak

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Photo by Rachel Sarai

Hands up, who remembers what a lunch break is? The government and media might be saying that things are getting better, but everyone I know is overworked and underpaid. Most of my friends and family struggle to get a lunch break and often skip it altogether despite not getting paid extra or claiming it back later. It’s easy to do once or twice, but then it becomes a routine and before you know it, it just becomes the expected thing, and you have to fight to get outside to buy a sandwich. Then what happens when you suddenly realise you’s working an extra five hours a week without pay or even acknowledgement? It’s easy to do and I know I’ve been guilty of doing this in the past – I carried on until I felt so burnt out I could barely be bothered to work my actual hours. I soon realised that no matter what extra I was doing, it was never acknowledged or appreciated by the company – I was putting myself out and suffering in the process without anyone actually noticing.

So what did I do? I drew the line. I made that decision to stop working all these extra hours, to stop giving 200% all the time because it was starting to make me hate my job. I cut back, took a back step and stopped being afraid to say no when I was given more work than my hours allowed. Yes, people were surprised at first because I had always been the type of person to take on all this work and never complain but had I gained any more respect or bonuses as a result? Nope. I would actually say that after making these changes I felt more respected in the workplace than ever. I was no longer a dogsbody who never said no, I was a valued member of the team who people then realised had been doing more than her fair share. It wasn’t an easy thing to realise or to make that change, but it has really changed both my attitude to work and my awareness of how much pressure I can put myself under before I can’t take any more.

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Photo by Mo Riza

Now I make sure I always get a lunch break, and when I work extra hours, I am sure to claim them back or claim extra pay because it is what I am owed. I don’t mind paying my dues and giving 110% all the time, but giving 200% is unrealistic and plain exhausting – especially when it is never appreciated. This is when people burn out and why so many have to take a break from work with stress. Making this change has left me with lovely hour-long lunch breaks and this post is all about how you can make the most of your break.

  • Always get away from the computer screen. Do your best to get outside and get some fresh air, this is a great time to get in some exercise which will help refresh you after all those emails. I like to go for a brisk walk around the town or by the river and always feel better for it.
  • Do your food shopping – why not save yourself from the Friday afternoon rush or free up some time on the weekend by taking on the supermarket in your lunch hour? If you live close enough, take the shopping home, or leave it in the fridge at work. If you don’t work or live close enough for either, why not order online and get it delivered?
  • Browse the shops. A lunch hour is a great time to whiz round the shops in town, although busy it is never as busy as a Saturday and you can use the time to try on clothes or stock up on make-up.
  • Getting your hair cut can be a perfect fit if like me you go for a wash, cut and blow dry. My hairdresser can do it perfectly in 45 minutes which still leaves me time to wolf down a sandwich. It also means you get instant comments from the rest of the office!
  • If you work close enough, why not pop to the gym or an exercise class? I would love to do this, but just don’t work close enough. A lunchtime swim or yoga class would be lovely.
  • A perfect lunch break for me is often spent escaping into another world when reading a good book in the sunshine by the river. A book is such a treat, but music will do the trick as well. Just a bit of escapism nicely relaxes you for when you head back to the office.
  • Meet with friends for lunch or a coffee and have a catch up – the hour will fly past and you’ll be racing back to the office. Plus if you all work close together but have busy lives outside of work, this can be a great way to find time for a catch up. If your partner works nearby, this could make a short but sweet date.
  • If you really can’t escape the screen and the weather outside is foul, why not use this time to blog, write or research? It keeps you busy, uses the time wisely and there is less to do when you get home.
  • For those who work in the centre of town or cultural areas, there are always exhibitions and events on at museums – you could pop along and learn something new (these are often free as well).
  • Take the time to prepare really nice lunches for yourself when at home – lovely salads or leftovers from last night’s dinner – if you have a lovely meal, you often go to more effort to eat and enjoy it. If you are wolfing down a soggy sandwich or a Cuppa Soup you’re more likely to rush it while working. Taking the time to enjoy your food makes a real difference to your attitude towards food as well.

How do you make the most of your lunch breaks? Have you got any good tips for ways of filling that lunch hour?

Finding your happy place – the power of positivity

At the Blue Lagoon on Comino Island, off the coast of Malta

At the Blue Lagoon on Comino Island, off the coast of Malta

With everything that has been going on lately, I’ve really learnt the value of having a happy place that I can escape to in my mind when things get a bit too much. I was always one of those lucky ones before whose happy place was everyday life and I didn’t need to think about somewhere to escape to, but as happens to us all over time, it has become my haven of late.

I haven’t been the best-tempered person lately and have really lost my patience with a lot of things and people – perhaps a sign that I let people get away with too much or that I did far too much extra work before now and that I was just realising that I gain nothing from this. Perhaps just me getting annoyed at things that shouldn’t bother me because of my situation, but either way  – I have noticed the affect of my changes in behaviour on the people around me.

It is interesting to watch how people react to you differently when things like this happen. I am usually the brightest, most cheerful and upbeat person around who will do anything for anyone, is endlessly patient, will take on extra work with no complaints and who is always on hand to cheer people up or help them out. Since all my drama I have been a lot less patient with people, in fact its like my patience has snapped and I have been a lot less inclined to do special favours for people or to take on their workloads as well as my own. I’ll be honest, I have been snappy and sometimes outright rude, which has angered me further because I hate to be like this with people. However, I have had my eyes opened to quite how many people were abusing my kindness by getting me to do extra work for them simply because they were lazy. Now they just do it themselves rather than asking me – which is good and fair.

But after seeing how colleagues, friends and family were tiptoeing around me, I realised just how much my positive attitude affected others. It is astonishing the power that good manners, kindness and showing an interest in people can wield. Especially if it comes naturally to you – these people will in turn show interest and be happy and polite to both yourself and others and the chain carries on. It grows further and further until it affects everyone in the office, or family or friendship group. It really is amazing to see how a kind word or action to one person creates this ripple affect and the way that you become known for starting it off – eventually it may even find its way back to you.

It was this thought that made me realise that I needed to get my act together. That my behaviour affects too many people and that I am sending out these negative waves to the people around me which are just spreading further. I don’t want to be the sort of people that spreads negative energy or makes others unhappy – so I changed my behaviour and am trying to get back to that chipper individual who spreads light and laughter – even if I don’t feel like it inside.

How am I doing this?

Well, it’s simple. I’ve been making plans for the future that are giving me plenty to look forward to and plenty to keep my mind busy with planning. I’ve been creating new, happy memories with friends and family that keep me smiling. And I’ve been remembering good times, holidays and memories to get me through the days when things aren’t as bright.

One of these has become my happy place. See the picture at the top? It’s from what was one of my favourite holidays – out of all the tropical or adventurous holidays around the world, this was from a holiday with my boyfriend to Malta. On this day in particular, we went on a boat trip to the Island of Comino, where we sunbathed, rock climbed and explored the Blue Lagoon, even walking across the bay, through the waters with our bags held over our heads. We jumped off the boat and swam in the crystal clear waters and generally had an amazing day together. It was one of the best holidays for exploring and travelling around and it has become my go-to place for escaping reality for a little bit.

When you’re feeling blue – what happy place do you escape to?