The last seven days have been a total whirlwind and I can't believe it is only now that I am getting the chance to write this post and share it with you guys. If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram there's a good chance you already know about this but if not - after a long three months in the outback I completed my regional work for my second year Australian visa just an hour before finding out Absolutely Lucy had once again made it into the finals of the travel section of the UK Blog Awards! An amazing day - I was completely elated to find out that I had made the shortlist for the second year in a row. Last year this blog was awarded a highly commended award after just six months of being a travel blog, who knows what this year will bring! This year, Absolutely Lucy was shortlisted out of 2,000 blogs and the awards received total of 73,352 votes - a HUGE thank you for all the ones that were for me! Whether this year brings success or not, I am already over the moon at the fact that so many of you amazing people took time out of your day to vote for me, that you've been there every step of the way - liking, commenting and sharing my posts. This blog was started as a way of sharing with my friends and family what I had been up to, now that crowd has grown beyond anything I could have expected and it's giving me the opportunity to work with amazing companies and brands, all thanks to your support.
If the last year of travelling, and especially the last three months in the outback, have taught me anything, it's gratitude. I have never been more grateful for my life, for all the opportunities I get, and for the people who surround me. After completing my regional work on Friday, I moved across the country to Melbourne - something I have been looking forward to for months on end - and was finally reunited with some of the best friends I have made since travelling. Yes, that's right, the Dingos are back together and I could not be happier about it. I've spent the last three months missing my Darwin family more than I could ever put into words, we went through so much in such a short space of time and were closer than any group I have met. So to suddenly be parted from them all - the people I spent every second of every day with - and be completely on my own was pretty hard. What got me through were great friends in Charleville and the thought that soon I would be reunited with my gang - arriving in Melbourne and seeing my family again was the most amazing feeling. It's made arriving in Melbourne feel just like coming home.Spending three months in a place where there were no shops, no distractions, and the nearest McDonald's was three hours away has really made me appreciate all that I now have on my doorstep. I had forgotten how much fun it is to explore a city even if you're completely alone - I always remember the Sex and the City episode where Carrie talks about New York as her date. Now that's exactly how I feel, I have a whole city to explore whether I'm walking graffitied alleyways, checking out the sights, museums or cinemas. Some of my friends here are already working so I had a perfect opportunity to spend a day with myself - I went shopping, had my hair done, ate out and even went to the cinema. So many people hate doing these things alone but I can never understand why - it was a fantastic day and I always think if you can't stand to spend time with yourself then why should anyone else want to? Before coming travelling alone I had never really had to do anything by myself - there was always a friend, boyfriend or family member to keep me company - but ever since, I've really started to value the time I spend alone just as much as the time I spend with the ones I love. You should try it. Set yourself the challenge of doing something every day for a week completely alone - go eat out by yourself, grab a coffee, go to the cinema, go for a walk. Don't be self-conscious or care what others think - just do it and embrace the solitude. It feels strange at first but soon you start to crave those moments and really enjoy them. It gives you the confidence to put yourself out there and be proud of what you have to offer, it gave me the courage to enter the UK Blog Awards and to end up a finalist!
Have you tried going it solo lately? What are you too scared to do by yourself? What's the greatest thing you have achieved by yourself?