As we enter a new year full of hope and revived vigour (and a few extra kilos), here's something to consider - are we getting too comfortable in our lives?
Let me explain. Resting on one's laurels never gets them too far ahead. If we don't ever leave our comfort zones, we remain stagnant. How then can we possibly expect to propel ourselves towards whichever direction we're aiming for? By now I've deduced that I'm a person who, probably out of fear, tends to steer clear of change. I've repeatedly closed myself off to new possibilities and new ideas over the last several years. I know for a fact that I'm not the only one who feels this way. We know what we want but never allow ourselves to seek it out. As the cliché goes, you are the only person standing in your way is you. Or rather, your resistance to change.
Only in the last four months or so have I decided it's time to face life's only inevitable constant and proactively push myself to feel uncomfortable. It may sound strange, but discomfort really is a great catalyst for gaining knowledge. You get opportunities to see the world from a different perspective. So take that chance and cross new lines.
By mid-December, it's not very often that we get to see London drenched in beautiful sunlight. In fact, most days I can barely see a few hundred feet ahead of me with all the fog. So when the sun does come out, I rejoice. When it shines, I shine too. There's something about a sunny morning that makes want to jump out of bed and get going. It makes me feel optimistic. It gives me hope. And let me tell you... Optimism is a very hard thing to find right now. I don't know if it's because I've become more proactive in learning about the world or because the world really has gotten so bad in the last twelve months. I'm hoping it's the former and that ignorance has let me live so blissfully thus far.
If you've kept up with current affairs, you'll know that this year has been a devastating one, to say the least. From Brexit, the US presidential election and the onslaught of bigotry it's brought about, to all that is happening to innocent people around the world. Beyond the comforts of our four walls, the world is experiencing its worst humanitarian crisis since World War II. I will not get into the details of it, because to adequately tackle such a topic is simply beyond me. What I will tell you is this - be aware and be positive. Learning about the injustices around the world is difficult for me, because it makes me feel so helpless... However, I've learnt that all change begins with the smallest of intentions. As individuals, spreading positivity is the least we can do. Be kind, be understanding, be loving - but neither does that mean you should sit down quietly and take it when you witness something you cannot and should not tolerate. Raise your voice, get angry. You will find other like-minded individuals and you will be heard. In the dark, we ourselves must shine and be the light,
Shot at Notting Hill, London.
Photo assistance - Andrea Cheong
Wearing: Zara - Embroidered jacket // Uniqlo - Turtleneck HeatTech // C/MEO Collective - Jeans // Alexander McQueen - Patent leather skull slippers // Chanel - Wallet on chain
Along the historic Madrid-Andalusia route lies this little blue gem of a town - a lapis lazuli, if you may. In the olden days, there were not many places travelers could stop for food and shelter on their journeys, but Puerto Lápice was one of them. Like those travelers, we too made a quick stop here for a meal as we left Madrid and began our tour of Andalusia and Toledo. Today, this quaint place is renowned not only for its striking cobalt accents on white buildings, but because of the fictional adventures of Don Quixote. Written in the 16th century by Miguel de Cervantes, El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha is considered a founding work of Western literature. On one of Don Quixote's adventures, he was psuedo-knighted after he mistook an inn for a castle... And that inn is believed to be the Venta del Quijote, where we were having our breakfast and coffee.
A couple of weeks ago, Trish and I decided to explore South Kensington, in search of this insta-legendary wall of scarlet leaves. Needless to say, it was a success. Kynance Mews is by far one of the most photo-worthy spots in London, at least on a gloomy autumn day. That's what I love about this city, you never know where you're going to run into a delightful little corner.
On another note, lately I've been questioning the lengths I go to for my blog posts. Why am I doing what I'm doing? Yes, on one hand I want to share my experiences and journeys, but so does everybody else. That's what social media is for. I started to think back to what inspired me to start blogging in the first place. I remember when I would spend most of my time online admiring the most wondrous blogs, like Gary Pepper Girl and Missing Avenue. The photos created and the stories shared, they filled me with wonder and excitement. Five minutes on either of those blogs and I felt so inspired to not only go out and explore, but to create. And that's when I realised that I wanted to make others feel the same way that I felt. So I hope that I'm on the right path, that I've instilled some form of inspiration in at least one of you. But if not, tomorrow is a new day to try again and better myself.
In the three sweaty days spent in Madrid this summer, I came to the not-so-groundbreaking conclusion that I'm a city slicker. Always have been, always will be. Madrid lacked the usual features of a place I'd typically fall in love with, but I was drawn by the magnetic charm of a big city. And what a city, so unapologetically metropolitan. Characteristic of a capital, Madrid bustles at full force, vibrant with life, at any given time of day. And night. People who proclaim New York as the city that never sleeps perhaps have not seen the state of affairs along Gran Vía.
Whenever I'm in Madrid, I never feel displaced. I fit right into the hustle. It definitely does not feel like home either, but a strange familiarity looms overhead while, for example, I walk through Puerta del Sol, or indulge in some dessert and coffee at an industrially rustic cafe. Madrid is comfortable enough to make me forget I'm on vacation (I'm still unsure if that's a good or bad thing). My take is to not be afraid to let your instincts* guide you. The best way to experience this city is to get lost in her. Repeat after me, kids. Get. Lost.
Get lost in the history of her museums and galleries. Get lost in the beauty of her oases. Get lost in the elegance of her streets. Get lost in the intoxication of her food**. Take it slow and approach your holiday with no rigid agenda.
Except for San Ginés. The best chocolate y churros must always be on the agenda. Always. Thou shalt not resist.
Photo assistance - Claudia Naomi
Wearing: Zara - Shirt, jeans // Bershka - Shoes
* Hopefully it does a better job than mine, which left me in the middle of a political party's campaign, of which's official colours were coincidentally all over my shirt. But that's a whole other story for another day and time.
** While on the topic of being a glutton, make sure you visit Mercado de San Miguel on an empty stomach. You'll thank me for this after your nth gourmet tapas plate.