lifestyle blog
Adult Life, thoughts, Travel

So…I’m moving to the UK.

Well I have been quiet for a fair while, haven’t I? Things have been a little hectic, partly because holy shit I’m moving abroad for the first time in my life. And that kind of thing takes time, you know? Existential crises take time.

 

Where am I off to and what’s the plan?

Anyway, I’m moving to a northern city called Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and I’ll be living and working there while I study for an MLitt Philosophy at Newcastle University. Hurrah! For a long time, it’s basically been my dream to do exactly that – but that doesn’t mean it was all sunshine and rainbows once I hit the big, red button.

The (Blind) Panic

There have been many times where I was gripped by this white-hot fear that it was all going to be a terrible mistake – that I’d end up alone, nobody there would like me, and it’ll all just be a massive failure resulting in me returning to Malta with my tail between my legs. The flip-side to that was pure elation at the fact that I finally took the steps I needed to get myself where I want to be; it’s easy to get too comfortable here in Malta. Easy to forget how badly you need to leave.

On wanting to leave Malta

Before some of you reading this hop on the ‘MALTA D BEST’ bandwagon and get on my case for wanting and needing to leave, give me a moment. Malta is a great, beautiful island with centuries of history and some of the nicest people you’ll meet this side of the Mediterranean – but no matter how great your home country might be, I think it’s just so important to live abroad for a while, in different countries if possible. Why? Well I just think it shapes us into generally better, more independent and interesting people. Living with your parents until you’re like 30 isn’t the way to encourage personal growth, just saying.

Now that that’s out of the way, I’ll move on to one other reason I need to leave: the way this country is being ruined one development, one crane, one bribery at a time. The fact that ‘we’ the people seem so powerless to stop it is maddening.

I’m tired. Tired of the year-round struggle with allergies and throbbing sinus headaches I get because of the dust. I’m tired of the 8+ cranes I see every morning as I make my way to work. I’m tired of the other (countless) cranes spreading across the island like some sort of plague. I’m angry about how the so-called Planning Authority is doing literally nothing to preserve our history or maintain some sort of aesthetic integrity in our cities, towns, and villages. They don’t care and they don’t listen. I’m angry that the government does nothing to stop this rampant over-development of our tiny island – we’re going to run out of space, and you can’t bribe someone into creating more land. I’m tired of the traffic and pollution. I’m tired of how disgusting this supposedly-1st-world EU country looks when you venture beyond the bits we show to those all-important dignitaries. I’m tired of the complete disregard shown to the environment. I could go on, but I think you get it, right? On to more positive things!

Things I’m Excited About

Oh goodie, my favourite part. I’ve been visiting Newcastle ever since I was a child because I have family up north – so I already know what I’m excited to do once I settle in there:

  • Waterstones, Blackwells, and all the other bookshops that are NOT Agenda
  • Cooler weather (I’m a winter person)
  • Sweaters and scarves and wooly socks
  • Hanging out with my English family
  • Newcastle University!
  • Grainger Market – a huge market in Newcastle where you can buy all the fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, and meat you want (and more) at really good prices
  • Trains
  • Castles, lighthouses, ruined monasteries, etc.
  • Amazon Prime Now, not even going to lie
  • Having my own space that’s 100% mine and not in Malta
  • Lush
  • Snow (a little bit)
  • Pub lunches
  • Living right next to a huge park
  • Getting a bicycle

I’m a woman of simple pleasures. Give me a bicycle, a good bookshop, and the university of my dreams and I’m set. Oh, and here’s a picture of a tiny seaside town, just an hour away by bus, at sunset:

 

Anyway, I think I’ve moved past the whole ‘terrified to leave’ stage and into the ‘I’m so excited’ stage! Of course I’ll miss everyone here, but I’m only moving a 3 hour flight away. It’s not Australia.

Have you moved to another country? Do you have any tips for a newbie like myself? Hit me up!  

-Kelly

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Travel photo by Eva Darron
Travel

Packing Up: My 10 Travel Essentials

So I’ve recently returned from a week-long trip to Newcastle in the UK, and already have another three trips or so planned for 2017. The wanderlust is truly strong in this one. Far from being an expert, organised packer, I’m the type of person who frantically throws things into her suitcase a few hours before her flight and only remembers she’s forgotten a few things when the plane’s about to take off. My bad.

travel essentials

Even though I’m quite possibly the worst person I know when it comes to packing for a holiday, there are a few essentials that I always remember to chuck in before grabbing my passport and whirling out the door. Who knows, this post might help me become a more organised person when it comes to this sort of thing (indeed, it might not).

1. A book

And a backup book because you know I’m not going to be a happy bookworm when I finish the first book half way through my flight. I can’t be bothered to haul my laptop out of my hand-luggage, and I very rarely manage to sleep on a flight, so if I’m not reading a book I’ve probably got my nose buried in the latest issue of The Economist.

2. A hair tie or hair clip

Between Maltese humidity, a 2-3 hour plane journey, and all the trials and tribulations that come with any holiday, your hair might get in the way. If my hair is up, sh*t is going down.

hair essentials travel rihanna harvard

3. iPod

Raise your hand if you don’t want to have to listen to your drunk neighbour or screaming kids for the duration of your flight. Raise your other hand if that constant humming sound the plane makes gets on your nerves. Okay, you can put your hands down now, you weirdo.

travel essentials

4. Compact brush with mirror

This doesn’t even need an explanation. Do you have hair? Does your hair get messy? Does your hair get knotted sometimes? Do you just want to look at just how much of a hot mess you are half way through your flight? If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to any of these, get yourself one of these babies.

packing list

6. A pack of tissues

I confess, this is mostly because of my ridiculous year-round allergies, but this is actually a good quick-fix if you don’t have blotting paper on you and your make up is looking a little…worse for wear.

travel essentials

7. Water

If you want to be smart about staying hydrated during your flight, forget the teeny-tiny bottles you pay way too much for during the flight – buy a larger bottle for the same price before hitting your designated gate.

travel essentials

8. Lip Balm

Whenever you fly, you know your lips are going to get thirsty as hell. My personal favourite right now is Carmex lip balm, but Body Shop also do a good job in this department.

beauty essentials travel

9. My journal

If you read my recent article about keeping a journal, you’ll know I love writing in mine. At the end of a busy day sightseeing, there’s nothing I love more than sitting down with a glass of wine and looking back over all the things I’ve done, savouring each memorable moment as its written out.

what to pack travelling

10. Nail Clippers

Before you raise your eyebrow at me, hear me out. When you’re abroad and you inevitably hit the shops, you’re going to want nail clippers to de-tag everything so you can wear it immediately. I see you there, with the Primark bag.

travel essentials

BONUS: Instant Camera

A couple of years ago, I treated myself to a Fujifilm Instax Mini 8. The film is a little pricey (it works out to around €1 per shot) but I love the fact that I can keep a physical copy of my photos and stick them in my purse or display them on my desk at work. It’s something you can treasure and enjoy without WiFi.

What are your travel essentials? Let me know in a comment below! 

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