Hello fellow nomads,

We all have those moments where life feels a little overwhelming. If you need to take a moment just to breathe and you’re not sure where to start, here are five suggestions of quick things to do that never fail to make me feel better. 


NB: these are heavily biased towards those of us with an introverted nature, but I’ve tried my best to include at least one that will appeal to extroverts!



Flora || If you live in an urban environment, it can be all too easy to forget to stop and appreciate nature. I get anxious if I spend too much time away from trees, so I like to go for a walk somewhere with green things. Feeling grass under my feet really calms me down. If grass ain’t your thang, alternatively I would recommend waiting for a clear night and going stargazing. Thinking about the enormity of the universe usually puts your problems into perspective (sometimes it does the opposite, but let’s not dwell on that).

Fauna || Related to the above, it’s amazing the difference petting a furry animal can make. Not only is the actual stroking therapeutic, but it gives you the opportunity to nurture something smaller and more defenceless than you. This can be empowering and also strengthen empathy. 

The arts || Altering your perception of your reality really can be a game changer. It can be something as low-brow as going to the cinema and watching a film about someone else’s life and experiences. Or you can head to an art gallery and view the world – maybe in a different time or place – through someone else’s eyes. Alternatively, try a music concert or crafting club.

Bake || This one is a winner for me, every time (unless I run out of eggs). I love the process, I love watching different ingredients combining to form something completely different, I love that you need to be a bit accurate, and I especially love that you get to eat the fruits of your labour. Also, I’m coeliac so I can’t just go out and buy decent cake any day of the week. So sometimes this is the only way I can satisfy my cake cravings.

Connect || Call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while and find out what’s new in their life. Meet up with a close friend to do an activity you both love. Write someone a handwritten note. If you’re feeling a bit stressed out or unhappy, don’t worry about whether people perceive you as “fun” or not. If they accept your invitation, chances are they enjoy spending time with you. Connecting with someone else, however briefly, is sure to lift your spirits.

What are your quick fixes when you need some headspace?

-Rachel

I often find myself, of a quiet Sunday afternoon, having a little dream. There’s something about Sundays that makes my mind wander – the excitement of the weekend arriving, things to do, people to see, has often petered out a little in the haste of Saturday, and I generally have fewer things to do on a Sunday. That’s not all, though. I personally find Sunday that bit stiller, quieter, more contemplative. Maybe it’s the sabbath thing, I don’t know. Whatever it is, today I have found my mind wandering to holidays. Vacations, adventures, trips, tours, call it what you will; it’s only the fifth week of the year but already I feel like I need a break.

Picture taken near Split, Croatia.

Now, it may have something to do with wanting to escape the British weather, although to be honest I haven’t found winter to be too hideous just yet. This may have something do to do with the fact that this is my first winter Down South (just outside London) after 8 years of winters in Birmingham, and I am really noticing the difference in climate. However, I think it’s more to do with my nomadic tendencies, as hinted at by the name of this blog, and it’s been a little while since I’ve travelled anywhere so I’m getting seriously itchy feet.

So where have I been dreaming about visiting? Well, it’s quite a varied list. If I had to describe my travel style, I’d say “split personality” – usually I’m a complete culture vulture, and will spend days slowly pacing around museums and reading guide books until my eyes start popping out. But at other times, I love nothing more than sitting on the beach with a cocktail in hand, dozing and listening to music. And then I love food, so foodie type tours are occasionally just what I fancy. Sometimes I just want to hit the shops. So… If any of the above suit you, there may be something in my list that interests you! 

Berlin – ££


I’ve wanted to go to Berlin for a long time. There’s such a lot going on there; stuffed full of history, the art scene is fantastic, interesting architecture, great nightlife… The way I’d like to experience this is a totally DIY long weekend; find some good value flights (although I will never fly super budget – it just is not worth it in my experience) and rent an apartment via AirBnB such as this one. Check out those exposed brick walls! I do speak a bit of German so we should be able to get around without any problems. There are enough museums and sights to keep us occupied for weeks, so I think we’d have to be quite selective, and I’d like to take in a bit of the local food scene as well. As a coeliac, this can sometimes be a bit tricky but the joy of an apartment is that if all else fails, you can visit a local market or supermarket and do it yourself!


Barcelona – ££ 

Barcelona has also been top of my list for a while now, for largely similar reasons than Berlin. My approach would be similar, too, and I’d aim for a weekend in June perhaps, when it’s warm but not unbearable and before the school holiday rush. I’d stay somewhere like this, with a lovely terrace to enjoy the sunshine. Of course this would be a cultural trip, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t anticipate a bit of shopping as well…

Cape Verde – ££££


I recently discovered a tour company that specialises in music orientated trips. Amazing! They do heaps of really interesting ones, but I think my choice would be their trip to Cape Verde. It’s an 8 day tour which takes in a visit to the Kriol Jazz Festival, lunches with musicians, cultural visits as well as some more adventurous activities. I think it sounds amazing, and I’m not normally one for group tours. Music, sunshine and beautiful scenery – sign me up.

Mexico – ££££


This is basically just because I want to visit this house. I mean… How could you not?! This would be a pure relaxation kind of a holiday – take a pile of books and a stack of face masks and you’re done. I’d maybe go for just over a week, and bookend the trip with some cultural things like visits to Chichen Itza or Tulum. I’ve always wanted to visit these ancient and enigmatic sites, so I think this could be an ideal combination of trip types.

A Nile Cruise – £££


I found this awesome looking cruise on Voyage Privé, and having asked friends who have done similar trips I’m really tempted. It’s an 8 day trip which departs from Luxor and takes in the Valley of the Kings, the Temple of Horus, the Temple of Philae at Aswan, and plenty more before returning to Luxor. The food is all inclusive, and the boat looks pretty nice with a pool on the top deck and everything. I think the tour is led by a “qualified Egyptologist” (whatever that means) although I may have dreamed that, as I can’t see that in the description now. Voyage Privé is a flash sale type website which I’ve used before very successfully, so I’d highly recommend them. Their customer service is brilliant, the site is easy to use, and they give you all the documents you need in one easy step at the end. If you want to sign up, do put my email in the referral box (anestingnomad@gmail.com) to let them know I sent you.

South East Asia – ££££


Some friends of ours have recently moved to an area in the North West of Thailand, and we would love to go and visit them when they’ve settled in. We’ve also always wanted to go to Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos (and Bali and Java but I think that’s another trip entirely) so a dream trip would involve a bit of travelling around, maybe taking in places like this elephant camp or this eco-lodge. As you can see, if booked independently these are pretty cost effective, and offer a fantastic way of experiencing the real culture of the region. It’s just the flights that are the real kicker!

Patagonia: Argentina and the Chilean Fjords – ££££££££££££


This is described as “an epic voyage aboard the National Geographic Explorer” and I’d say that was pretty spot on. This is a 20 day trip by boat, and the itinerary makes me want to weep tears of joy. Sadly, the price of this one means it will stay a pipe dream for now, but everyone needs one of those, right?!



And where am I actually travelling to this year? Well, that would be Australia. More on that to come….

Happy travels everyone,

-Rachel

Good evening fellow nomads,

I love the cinema. It’s one of my favourite things to do in my spare time, and I thought I’d rave a bit about it, just in case anyone else needs convincing.

Me enjoying the cinema with my good friend Jenny, including a sneak peek of our snacks

Rachel’s Top 5 cinema loves

1. Popcorn

I really love popcorn. I make it myself at home, but for some reason it never tastes quite as good as the cinema stuff. I order the biggest size possible, and usually finish it well before the end of the film – and no, I don’t share. I only like salted popcorn; I don’t really understand the point of sweet, or fudge, or ‘cajun’ or anything too out there. Stick to what you know, I say. That said, I will occasionally switch things up and bring some sweets or a box of After Eights, but popcorn is my first and one true love.

2. A big drink

I’m really marking myself out here as a complete greedy guts, but I also love the big fizzy drink to go with the popcorn. We don’t really drink fizzy drinks at home, so this is quite a novelty for us and we do enjoy it. I have to be careful though, because if it’s a late night and/or a scary film and/or I have a caffeinated drink like coke or something, it’s likely I won’t sleep very well that night!

3. Sitting in silence

I love any excuse to get comfy in a big chair with some snacks and not say any words for a few hours. As I may have mentioned before, I’m an introvert so I love the chance to be quiet and recharge my energy. The cinema provides a socially acceptable way to do so! By the time the film is done, I’ll be ready to have a good discussion about how you enjoyed it, the plot, what you thought of the cast – but if you are planning on talking to me during the film, forget it! No interruptions, no distractions. We are experiencing.

4. Escapism

I love the chance to live another life through someone else’s eyes, even if it is a completely outlandish science fiction. I like when films make you think about your own life, but I also love some pure escapism. It helps if I’m in the right mood, but I’m generally quite easy going about what type of film I will watch. Almost anything goes.

5. Indie cinemas

I particularly love indie cinemas. Even if they have slightly uncomfortable seating or strange ticketing practices, there’s something extra special about them. I particularly like The Electric Cinema in Birmingham, the State Cinema in Tasmania and I’m looking forward to a new cinema, The Odyssey, opening in St Albans. Even better, some of these cinemas are licensed, so you can trade up your coke for a nice glass of wine! What’s not to love.

Popcorn – my first love

Do you like the cinema? What’s your favourite thing about it?

Have a thrilling Thursday,

-Rachel

Happy 2014!

I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome you all to a year
which, I personally feel, will be a great one. 2013 was fairly turbulent for
me, but I’m looking forward to making this year a really exceptional one. I know
that’s fairly cheesy, but this year for the first time in ages, I think it might actually be true.
So to aid me in making this year excellent, I’ve been thinking
about how I can intentionally influence my time and space on this earth. This
year will be less about letting things happen to/around me, and more about
making things happen. This way, I can make sure the things that happen are all
good things. This may be naïve, but I’m going to give it a try, and here’s how:
·       Be more organised
This year I will never miss a birthday! I’m
going to use all the technology I can to aid me in this, from high-tech to low-fi. A relatively low-fi tip I have heard before goes as
follows:
1.    Make/buy a card for everyone who you need to send a card to for
the next year (I may change this to 6 months, so it’s not so overwhelming!)
2.   
Either write it, or leave it blank and don’t seal the envelope,
then write the latest date the card must be posted by in pencil under
where the stamp would go.
3.   
Keep the stack by the front door
4.   
When you leave the house in the morning, check whether anything
needs to go to the post box that day.
This will be the year I am
organised enough to give this a try!
·       Keep one weekend in 4 COMPLETELY FREE NOT EVEN A LITTLE SOMETHING PLANNED, NOTHING WHATSOEVER.
I am an introvert. This means I need
time by myself to recharge, or I get really cranky/useless. However, I also
love seeing my friends and family and always prioritise this over spending time
by myself, which I tend to think of as ‘wasted time’. However, this is clearly
not the case (see above). I need to reassure myself that it’s ok to need time
by myself, moreover, that this should be scheduled into my diary so it doesn’t
get pushed out by other more fun things to do. Therefore, I’m going to keep one
weekend in 4 completely free to allow me to have some time to recharge, and do some
spontaneous activities with my husband who also tends to get neglected with all
this family and friend time. I’m also going to rebrand ‘alone time’ as ‘recharging
time
’, so as to make it sound more like the legitimate use of time that it
is.
·       Find out what colour my parachute is
I bought a book called “What Color Is Your Parachute?” amidst a career crisis I had recently, and I haven’t managed to finish it
due to overcoming that particular career crisis. Whilst this is good in one sense, unfortunately I still don’t
know what colo(u)r my parachute is. I would like to find this out.
·       Read more
I’ve been given some great books for Christmas,
and I still have a backlog of unfinished books from last year. I will make time
to read these this year, mostly by putting the Internet Machine AWAY earlier in
the evening and picking up a book instead. I used to read an awful lot so I’m
keen to get back into my old habits.
·       Make a scrapbook of each week
This is related to the general resolution
I have for 2014 of being more intentional with my time and energies and consciously
appreciating each moment, rather than worrying about the next. To this end, I
will make a scrapbook (nothing fancy, mind) with one page per week. I will put
a photo, or photos, of at least one memorable or enjoyable thing I did that
week. This will encourage me to do
one memorable or enjoyable thing each week, if only to put it in the scrapbook!
·       Take more photos
See above – I feel sad when I have no
recollection or markers for vast swathes of my existence. Having pictures helps
me remember and feel good about things that I have done, plus they are
essential for creating my scrapbook. I don’t want to become an annoying
photo-maniac-paparazzi type, but just take care to document what I’ve done with
my time in pictures as well as words.
·       When staying away with work, eat
sensibly and take advantage of exercise facilities
When I’m away with work, I have a great
opportunity to change my habits for the better. For example, choosing a healthy dinner, rather than the most exciting one. If
there are exercise facilities, I can make sure to use them rather than slipping
into my home routine. Basically, when I’m establishing a new routine, I can establish a good one that will make me happy in the long run.
·       Declutter
We only have a small flat, and by most (Western)
people’s standards we don’t have very much stuff, but it’s still far more than
we need. I’ve been reading an excellent blog called Loving Simple Living and it’s
really challenged my view on the things we possess and our perceptions of them.
Whilst I don’t think we are brave enough to sell all our belongings and move to
China like the author Lorilee, she does have some great tips, testimonies and
inspiration to get us started.
That turned out to be quite a list. Congratulations if you are
still reading, and wish me luck on sticking to these bad boys!
Have a sparkly, shiny new week everyone,

– Rachel