Under pressure and looking forwards...

2016 is going to be one hell of a year.
I've been saying it for ages, that eventually I was going to have to get my act together and fully become an adult, but officially that time has come. To be honest, I am freaking out a little bit. It feels like yesterday I started my degree and moved to Winchester, but now in 6 months time I will have completed my degree, and will no longer be living there. Just where has the time gone? So I need to make a plan of action, and get myself organised because this time next year, my life is going to be very different. There's so much I want to do, and do well with justice, that I'm putting the pressure on myself big time.
  • I want to finish my dissertation and university, and come out the other side knowing I did the absolute best that I could.
  • I want to travel and have adventures in places I've never been to before.
  • I want to find an incredible job and career that will make me incredibly happy and fulfilled with life.
  • I want to finally be able to drive so I can stop relying on other people to taxi me around.
  • I want to be financially stable by this time next year.
  • I want to make my family, and myself incredibly proud of everything I've achieved in the last few years, and prove that it's all been worth it.
So now it's crunch time. I've got to sort myself out, and enjoy every step of it. I've never been more sure or determined about anything.
Much love ♥ 


Ciao Italia...

Last week, I travelled to another country by myself for the first time.
I got on a plane to travel to a country where I definitely did not speak the language, and boy, was it an adventure. I went to Parma, Italy, to stay with my friend Steph for a few days, and then fly back with her.
I left Winchester at 10am to get two coaches to Stanstead Airport, where I was 4 hours early for my flight. This gave me the chance to sit and write some of my dissertation, as well as make friends with some lovely people whilst consuming many lattes in Starbucks. The flight itself was definitely something. We were due to land in Parma, but after taking off an hour late, we were met with very thick fog. Therefore, the pilot decided to divert the plane! To begin with, we were told Pisa, the Ryanair website said we were in Milan, but we actually wound up in Bologna about an hour away. This meant we had to get a coach in the early hours in order to find our way back to Parma!

(The Cathedral and the Christmas tree in Parma)
After a well needed sleep, Steph took me out for lunch in Parma, where we had tortelli, which were really tasty. We took a long walk around Parma, where Steph pointed out all the main sights for me. There was the Cathedral, the Piazza Pilotta, and the Parco Ducale. Italy is such a beautiful place, everywhere is so old and rustic, but in a beautiful and traditional way. The park was a juxtaposition from the busy heart of the city, a quiet place to relax and for contemplation. It felt similar, if very different from Winchester; grand, but less gothic.

(The statue on the island in the pond in Parco Ducale)

(The architecture in Parma is so beautiful)
I was introduced to a few of Steph's Erasmus friends, who took me on a night out in Parma. Many One Euro shots were consumed, and I ended up pretty drunk and hungover the next day, but it was such a good night! Admittedly, I wasted the next day of my Italian adventure because I was pretty hungover. But it was actually quite nice just to chill with Steph in her super awesome flat, and meet the Erasmus guys later for crepes.
(Steph, a few of her lovely Erasmus friends, and I)
On my last day, we took a train to Milan for a few hours, to sightsee and grab lunch. Milan is just over an hour away from Parma via the train. We took the metro to the Doumo di Milano in the centre and walked around the Christmas market, before meeting a girl Steph knew for lunch nearby. The Doumo, or Cathedral, in Milan is absolutely stunning. The architecture is outstanding, a complete work of art, and being in the presence of it truly takes your breath away. I'm really glad I got the chance to visit there, and should I ever return, I will definitely opt for a tour inside.

(Doumo di Milano, such a beautiful place!)
After my adventure, I'm beginning to think that travelling is about the journey more than the destination. Just getting there and meeting so many new people made the experience much more memorable for me. If anything, my time in Italy has made it very apparent to me that my life is not meant to be lived in one place, and that I'm definitely a traveller at heart. I hope I get the opportunity to return to Italy so I can continue to explore the magnificent country.
(Me outside the Doumo, by the Christmas tree)
Much love ♥