Personal Rambles

Fear is the mind killer

My friend has a tattoo with these words on her arm. She’s been wanting to start a blog for years and never plucked up the courage, hopefully now she will. Because she’s unemployed and looking for her next challenge. 

As am I.

Different circumstances, same end result. 

Fear is the mind killer

I finally built up the courage to leave my current job after 13 years. 5 years working from home. I just couldn’t work on my own anymore. I was so lonely and unfulfilled. 

I started this blog over 5 years ago and I used to write for fun. No one read it but I didn’t care. I just wrote any old crap. My theme was olllllllld skool. I designed the logo myself 😂😂 but I wrote about things that made me happy. 

After a few months I changed my WordPress theme, moved to Holland and started writing stuff about my new life in the Netherlands. About funny/stupid shit Dutch people do. Stuff that made me chuckle to myself on a daily basis. And people started to read it. Hell, people even started to share it! Then one day I reached a million views…

It was awesome, it was scary and it was kinda cool. I shared my blog with friends and family (which I previously hadn’t done). I set up an Instagram account and put adverts on my site and started to take it all a bit more seriously. 

Seeing some of my blog posts “go viral” (ugh) gave me the confidence to write more. People must like it if that many are visiting my little old blog. 

But with that came pressure. Intrusive thoughts. Writer’s block. Self doubt. Who cares what I have to say? 

Friends would talk to me about my blog and specific posts they’d read and I’d physically cringe! I’d see email addresses I recognised signing up to receive notifications every time I posted something.

Then when I came to write, I’d be worrying “Oh but my best friend’s husband doesn’t want to read this shite.” 

Once I had ‘followers’ (also ugh!) I started to care about what I wrote. Give the audience what they want and all that. 

But if you’ve followed this blog for a while, you’ll know that I don’t post much anymore. 

It’s not that I don’t like writing anymore. I have notebooks and diaries full of my thoughts, witterings, all the crap in my head. Over 200 notes on my phone and about 35 draft blog posts. 

I just can’t seem to hit publish lately. 

I’m not looking for attention. I’m not asking for people to compliment me or for “keep up the good job” type stuff. I just want to write again and not worry about it. 

I’ve been pretty brave in the past 6 months. In September I had a bad accident. I’ve never broken anything in my life before. (It’s my family nose!! Dickhead.) 

Anyhoo, I had to have surgery. I was housebound for a while. I had time off work. And I did a lot of thinking about life and stuff. 

I did some other brave things last year too – my first proper solo trip in March, followed up by another solo trip just 7 weeks after my accident. I volunteered for the first time. I quit my job. My comfort zone is nowhere in sight!! 

I’m now in Malta for 2 months on my own, bar a handful of visitors. I’m on a Workaway project, I’ve signed up to Facebook groups and meet ups and I’m going to meet some strangers for drinks this Friday!

After that I’m going to Asia for 5/6 months, some of that will be with the husband, some of it will be solo. 

I’m hoping I have some time to write. 

It’ll be about travel mostly, because that’s what I’m doing now. I can’t write about Dutchies being weirdos if I’m not there.  

Maybe you care about the stuff I’m writing, maybe you don’t. And that’s fine.

I’m scared about posting this, but I’m just going to do it anyway. 

One last thing – if you’re reading this and you’re thinking about starting a blog, or quitting your job, or going travelling… you can do it. If I can, so can you. The hardest thing to do is to take that first leap. 

Hayley x 

 

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4 Podcasts I am currently listening to…

I’m a bit late to the podcast party, but better late than never eh? My friend H introduced me to a couple of podcasts a while back and I just couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about! Why would you want to just sit there and have someone talk at you, without being able to respond?

Photo credit: SophieCliff.com

But then I tried listening to a podcast while eating my breakfast, or doing chores like hanging washing or emptying the dishwasher. (My friend listens to them while driving.) And then I suddenly got it, it’s just like background noise – radio without the music. You don’t SIT and listen to it. You listen to it while doing other stuff. (Btw, no idea why people listen to podcasts while doing the hoovering, ditto listening to music while hoovering!! A neighbour of mine used to do that, so not only would I be able to hear the hoover, but also his music blasted over the hoover noise. Very fucking annoying. Just FYI.)

Anyway, podcasts. There a few I’m really enjoying at the moment, so I thought I’d share…

1. Sophie Cliff – Practical Positivity

I’ve been reading Sophie’s blog for a couple of years and she recently launched a podcast so I thought I’d give it a go, and I love it! All this positivity bullshit can get pretty annoying, but she does it in a way that’s practical (do you see what she did there) so it doesn’t end up being preachy. It’s just useful, straightforward advice and tips that Sophie uses herself to stay positive (and productive)! Of all the bloggers out there, Sophie produces a hell of a lot of content and her followers (including me) are often left scratching their heads as to how she fits it all in alongside a full-time job! In her podcast she shares her personal experiences and breaks big topics down into chunks so you can put her tips into practice. Highly recommended if you’re looking to make 2019 your year! (I bloody am!)

2. Kayte Ferris & Jessica Rose Williams – The Little Chapters

I can’t actually remember how I came across this podcast, but I really enjoy it! To be completely honest I don’t follow Kayte or Jessica’s blogs and I only follow one of them on Instagram (I think Kayte) because they’re a bit too slick – not really my cup of tea (nothing personal) but the podcast is fab! They vibe off each other really well and discuss subjects like clutter, comparison, money, social media and routine – all of which I’ve found really interesting! Give it a go 🙂 these girls are really fun to listen to!

3. Sam Sparrow – The Travelust Podcast

The last podcast episode from this series was posted in April 2018, so unfortunately I don’t think Sam is recording any more… however there are 8 episodes available so plenty to get your teeth into! As the title suggests, it’s all about travel!! Sam chats with fellow bloggers about their travels, they talk about their experiences in their own particular niches and give the odd travel tip too. It has a really relaxed and friendly feel to it. Basically just like listening to two mates chatting about travelling.

4. Dr Rangan Chatterjee – Feel Better, Live More

I must admit, I haven’t listened to all of the episodes from Feel Better, Live more – as there are over 50 available on iTunes and some of them are over an hour long!! But the ones I have listened to I have really enjoyed! Dr Chatterjee has some awesome guests on the show, who are all experts in their field and coupled with his knowledge (he’s been a GP for 16 years) he provides some solid advice, backed up with medical info and research, but without getting into complicated medical terms. Which makes complete sense, because I’ve just read his slogan: “Health has become overcomplicated. I aim to simplify it”. A man of his word! Recommended!

 

Which podcasts are you currently listening to? And which do you recommend?

Hayley x

 

 

My travel plans for 2018 and beyond

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal

I’ve been debating about whether to post this or not because I don’t want to appear like I’m boasting. One of my main goals in life is to not be a dick, especially online. So yeah, there’s that.

But maybe online bragging isn’t actually bragging at all. Perhaps we’re all just talking about and sharing what we love most? What we spend most of our time on, and possibly most of our money on.

We all have those friends who post a gazillion baby pictures online. Others share car pics, or fancy food they’re eating in restaurants, or photos of their outfit/shoes/handbags… other friends of mine are having extensions or renovating… so then you get all the interior design posts. Everyone’s got their own thing.

Mine is travel. It’s my true passion. And once my bills are paid – it’s what I spend most of my time dreaming about and therefore what I like to spend my money on.

So this is personal post today because I’ve been a busy little bee. I’ve been booking trips and using our savings to make the next 5 months bloody brilliant! I’m so excited I’m almost beyond words… almost! 😉 And the fact that I’m so excited means I’m telling anyone and everyone who will listen about my plans… and that includes you!

 

Sept 2018 – Lisbon, Portugal

The first trip we have planned is to Portugal for my birthday! We have two sets of friends who live in Portugal, so we’re lucky to be able to stay with them, which reduces our travelling costs significantly! 🙂 (By the way… I’m probably going to write a separate post about how I save money for travelling, as it’s something I get asked all the time!)

We’re going to spend three nights with our friends in Lisbon and then two nights at our other friend’s place which is around an hour away from Lisbon. I’m not sure where it is exactly, but her description is: “in the middle of nowhere” so I’m looking forward to a city trip AND a couple of days to switch off and enjoy the surroundings (or lack thereof). Hiking and nature = my idea of heaven!

 

Oct 2018 – Helsinki, Finland

October sees a visit to my 23rd country with my favourite Finn! (Does it matter that I only know 2 Finnish people!? Haha… oops!) My lovely friend Senja from Het Finse Meisje is going to play tour guide in her hometown of Helsinki for a weekend in October and I can’t think of a better way to explore a new city than with locals! 🙂 Although Senja isn’t a local herself anymore, she knows the city a million times better than I ever could and we’ll be meeting up with some of her friends too, so hopefully they can show us all the new hangouts and hotspots!

 

Nov 2018 – Chiang Mai, Thailand

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll already know about this one. I’m sooooooooooooooooooo excited to go back to Thailand!!! Although I’ve been twice before, I’ve never been to Chiang Mai. I’m going on my own for 2 weeks as the Dutchie has run out of holiday, so this will be my second ever solo trip!!

Photo by my friend MA

I’m going to spend a week volunteering at Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai and the other week I’ll be working remotely (no, *your* boss is a legend!!) and exploring the city.

 

Dec 2018 – UK

It wouldn’t be Christmas without seeing the family would it? We’re off to the UK in mid-December for our annual ‘fake Christmas’ which coincides nicely with my work Christmas conference.

We’re also going to Maastricht in December for the Christmas markets with the Dutchie’s Mum and sister. It’s a tradition we started in 2015 in Koblenz (we missed 2016 as we were in Asia) and then in 2017 we went to Düsseldorf, so this year we want to see how the Dutch Christmas markets compare to their German rivals! This is our Christmas present to his Mum/sister – ‘presence over presents’ and all that 🙂

 

Dec 2018 & Jan 2019 – Malaysia

On 29th Dec we’re flying to KL baby!!! We’ll be spending New Year’s Eve in Kuala Lumpur… woop woop!! Then we have 4 nights in Penang and 11 nights in Langkawi! I absolutely cannot wait… I already have the feeling this is going to be one of the best trips we’ve been on! Fingers crossed!!

We’ve never been to Penang or Langkawi so any tips are – as always – much appreciated!

 

How about you? How are your next 5/6 months looking travel-wise or otherwise?!

Also, which destination(s) would you most like to hear about from my travels?

Hayley x

 

Thank you and good night…

Sunset, Polzeath, Cornwall

Sunset in Polzeath, Cornwall

It has dawned on me that my teeny tiny thank you about the blog awards in my last post was rather lacklustre and fleeting, sorry. So let’s rectify that.

I have posted my thanks on my social media channels, but perhaps there are readers out there who only follow me via the blog and therefore have not received the appreciation they deserve.

You see, my parents brought me up well. When I was young it was all “manners cost nothing” and that’s still true. We English love to be polite and I’m no exception.

Thus, to all of the people who took the time to vote for me in the Expat Awards last month: a huge thank you to each and every one of you. I really appreciate your support and I couldn’t have done it without you. THANK YOU with whipped cream and a cherry on top!

Dutchies: Hartelijk bedankt dat je de tijd hebt genomen om op mij te stemmen. Ik waardeer jullie steun enorm en ik had het niet zonder jullie kunnen doen. DANK JULLIE WEL! Ook slagroom en kersen voor jullie 😉

English peeps: yes, I said slag 😀

And anyhoo, since I’m here I just wanted to say doei (bye) for a few weeks. As I previously mentioned, I’m popping off to the UK for a bit and taking a proper break from everything. In between seeing family and friends, we’ll also be visiting Cornwall and the Lake District (my first time in the latter!!) so I’m very excited! I might post a pic or two on Insta if I can be arsed… my main account is @bitterballenbruid and my travel account is @bitterballenbruidtravels if you can be arsed to follow along 🙂

So enjoy this lekker weer (lovely weather) en tot een paar weken! (See you in a few weeks!)

See ya!

Hayley x