Fiji, I’m in love

There is a not a single word in the English dictionary that I can use to describe Fiji and exactly what it meant to me. People ask ” So, how was your trip?” and I’m just left with nothing but a smile on my face, a sense of fulfillment , and the enlightenment of knowing my life has been touched and I have touched some lives.

On 28th of May 2015, I left for a place I knew little about Fiji, with the purpose to do volunteer work with the beautiful children on the Yasawa Islands, my heart felt so happy and excited for the adventure . Before I left for Fiji I read this quote with very little understanding of what it meant.

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Meeting people & having them ask ” why Fiji ” “why volunteer work” I had answered that question many times on the trip and each time my answer developed into something deeper. Now I can confidently answer this question with no self doubt or worry about what people think or say and with the help of a book “Light is the new black” by Rebecca Campbell I soon discovered that I was on this journey to Fiji because it was a calling from the universe. Personally, I needed some breathing time & reflecting on my first solo travel experience I am so f***ing thankful that the universe sent me this & I jumped so willingly into something that really wasn’t in “my plan”.

I had lost myself completely, yeah I would say I had hit an all time low. Everything I had worked so hard for the year before hadn’t gone to plan, not that I expected it will because the arts industry is so damn competitive, but having to walk away from something that I could literally smell/taste/physically feel myself in for the year of 2015 with no feedback, nothing, was really hard for me to comprehend.

I was in a relationship, which possibly wasn’t the best idea when I had little to no self confidence, was full of anxiety & just in self destruct mode. I was a crazy person, unsure of where I was meant to fit in in this big wide world, I was unsure of myself and unsure of my purpose. The relationship ended, which at the time I thought was a complete disaster, looking back now it was a blessing, and yet another message from the universe. We were both so young & needed the space to find ourselves which now I am so so thankful for & have nothing but love and light for the person who I shared 6 roller coaster months with.

I was meant to be going to London to study at the renowned Guildhall School of Music for a 3 week Musical Theatre intensive. Everybody who is close to me knows the Carly some years ago would be jumping at this opportunity, but I couldn’t bring myself to fill in the application forms, my heart wasn’t happy & it simply didn’t feel right. I had to listen to my heart, which is something I rarely did. Was I going to London for A) myself or B) because going to London is what everyone expected me to do, so it looked good on my resume for auditions the following year. Surprise, surprise the answer was B.

I knew this was my calling to do something for myself,  something more & my calling lead my heart to volunteer work in Fiji. Was I nervous to get on a plane and travel solo, of course I was but my soul was telling me everything would be okay and honestly everything in Fiji was more than okay.

My life has been graced by some of the most beautiful, magical, gentle, unique human beings. Each and everyone of their stories has touched me in so many ways and left me feeling more inspired than ever. Especially Tema ( the coordinator of Vinaka Fiji ) and all the children I worked with during my time as a volunteer. Being able to work along side Tema was such a privilege, her work ethic and passion to helping the children was amazing and infectious.

Each and everyone of the children I worked with has touched my life in so many ways. Their love and positivity for life despite having very little is ever so inspiring. I would like to thank them all for welcoming me into their community with open arms, the memories of me walking up into school, hearing my name & having you all greet me with hugs and smiles is something I will cherish close to my heart for the rest of my life. Even though I was there to help you learn and grow as students, I feel like I have learned  so much from my time with you & I am walking away much more enriched and enlightened. You all have taught me so much more about embracing life, enjoying the simple things & caring about those who love you most. The children are all so intelligent and unique in their own ways & I believe have the power to achieve great things. They are living life the right way, free from greed and the over indulgence of always wanting more. I am so thankful the universe sent me the message to go Fiji and volunteer because I have learned valuable lessons from these children.

Now I fully understand the quote I read before I left. My travel experience has ignited something inside me. It has changed so much for me, home is still home & nothing has changed. However, I have come home the Carly I always knew I could be, the Carly that was hiding inside me & just needed some prodding to come out.

Fiji, I love you & Thank you Universe for sending me this calling

#LightistheNewBlack

Being present.

This little thought occurred to me the other day whilst  I was on the train on the way home from uni.  As  I sat down and looked around me and  I noticed everyone around me had there heads down and were absorbed in their phones… I know that today we live in a world that is dominated by technology and social media, its available to us 24/7. If you have a question or need to know something a few clicks on your smart phone and you have all the information in the palm of your hands. And a few months ago, I know myself would of been the same as everybody else who was sat around me, buried in my phone, looking at things and pictures that if I was being completely honest with myself didn’t really interest me, I was just scrolling probably out of habit and boredom. However this one particular day I just wasn’t interested, I simply was enjoying taking in everything that was happening around me. At the next stop a older lady sat next to me, I smiled and she smiled back. She then turned to me and asked “how has your day been”. This sense of excitement came over me and of course I replied. We were talking back and fourth for the whole train ride, she was showing me her new handbag she had brought, about how much a bargain it was and also commented on the fact she liked that I was being present..

When I got off the train, there was a little bounce in my step, I was buzzing off the fact I had communicated with a stranger. It was the most amazing feeling and I couldn’t stop thinking about her comment ” I like how you are so present ” .  It awakened something inside me, it awakened the idea of talking with strangers is a beautiful gesture, it makes you feel like your living.  I feel like it’s such a shame that technology has such a big impact on our everyday lives & that we are always with our heads down, consumed by a tiny device. It made me realize that if you just look up some more you can witness beautiful things, talk to someone interesting or just make someones day by just simply immersing yourself in a conversation. That’s living, that’s being present. We rely so much on technology nowadays its sad and I think it causes a lot of unnecessary issues, like if people don’t like something we are hurt or offended, if we don’t get a response we become impatient as we want the answer NOW, no ones willing to wait for anything anymore. Now I am not saying throw your phones out and stop using them, they do have a huge impact in society and I think its great how its evolved over time to keep us connected. What I am saying however, is to just once or maybe twice in your day put down your phone and look up and take in everything that’s happening  around you, talk to a stranger on the train, smile at the person opposite you, be present in the moment & enjoy the beauty of being alive.

FIJI

I have booked and payed for my very first international adventure. At the end of May I will travel to Fiji to volunteer at schools and villages on the Yasawa Islands for two weeks. Following that I will spend a week exploring the beautiful island of Fiji. For a while I have been searching for something more but I could never put my finger on exactly what it was, what on earth I was searching for or how I would find it.  Volunteering is something that has always interested me but something I put to the back of my thoughts as I believed I would never have the time to do it. Finally, after having a mini breakdown about life as you do when your 20 something, as you feel lost, confused and pressured by the norm of what society expects you to do & after years of always doing things that I believed was expected of me, I had my f*** it moment. For once I want to do something that is REAL, that has some guts and some adventure. My heart has never felt more happier and content & I can’t wait to see what this incredible opportunity will bring me!