It’s Christmas Month!

“The best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear!” – Buddy the Elf

Hey everyone,

After the year we’ve had, I think it’s so important for us to spread a little bit of kindness and love this Christmas. After spending the year in multiple lockdowns and being apart from loved ones, Christmas reminds us just how important those human connections are. I’m not actually religious at all (although we do go to Christingle at church every Christmas eve), but I think there is so much more to celebrate even if you’re like me and aren’t sure whether you believe in God. To me Christmas is about spending time with your family, trying to forget about all the bad things and just cherish the good. I turn into such a little Christmas elf, sprinkling red and green glitter everywhere I go, because even just seeing Christmas lights twinkling as I go about my day puts a huge smile on my face.

I f*cking love Christmas films, and music, and TV adverts and basically anything that is remotely christmassy. My favourite thing to do is get all cozy and wrapped up, grab a Christmas coffee, and go for a walk to see the Christmas lights everywhere. I get that it’s really basic and cliche but I just love everything about this time of year! And this year I’m going to embrace it even more. I think we all need a little dash of Christmas magic in our lives after the sh*tshow that was 2020. This month I’m going to be sharing some of my Christmas things, from films to music to heartwarming Christmas stories. I’m doing this because I love talking about Christmas so much, but my boyfriend is a total Grinch so this blog is going to be my outlet for the next month 😂!

To all my friends, family and anyone else reading this – Merry Christmas! I wish you and your loved ones all the happiness in the world.

Aimee x

An Ode to being Cabin Crew

Oh! The places you’ll go! You’ll be on your way up! You’ll be seeing great sights! You’ll join the high fliers who soar to great heights.

— Dr Seuss

Oh the places you’ll go, the things that you’ll see,

Cabin crew is really the best thing to be.

You’ll wear your uniform with such pride,

strutting throught the aiport with a spring in your stride.

Hair in a bun and red lipstick gleaming,

standing at doors 2 positively gleaming.

‘Welcome on board, Good Morning!’ you’ll say,

and before you know it you’ll be off on your way.

‘Doors to automatic and cross check’ you hear,

then across the aircraft for the checks you will peer.

Ready for the safety demo, you’ve done a million

waiting for Chabuddy G to say  ‘Thank you Gillian’.

Securing the cabin, repeating yourself,

exuse me, I just need to see your seat belt.

Checks passed on then you take your seat,

the last time for a while you’ll be off your feet.

Service begins, ‘ice and lemon ?’ you ask.

For passengers, this choice is a difficult task.

But you smile away, remember the phrase ‘tits and teeth’

before asking the famous question – ‘chicken or beef?’

Then its tea and coffee before you finally clear in,

then shove down your dinner while customers peer in,

‘Sorry to bother you, I know you’re eating,

but is there any chance you could turn up the heating?’

Or ‘Hi there sorry, can i grab some drinks?’

while you’re stood there eating by a toilet that stinks.

CSM brings the breaks down, you take alook

‘Wow I didn’t realise how long that service took!’

Then you take your break at crew rest or a door,

wake up with your back feeling a little bit sore.

Second service begins, you’ve not got long to go

but whoever knew how much time could slow.

Toilets are busy, all the customers are standing

But finally you hear ‘cabin crew, 20 minutes to landing’.

Rush to secure, put the blankets away,

ready to finally end your working day.

Sit on your seat until you finally hear,

your favourite sound –  the landing gear!

It’s doors to manual, and then you try

to not look too excited as you say goodbye.

Get to the front of that long customs  queue,

Which is one of the best perks of being crew.

Finally get to your room and jump in the shower,

after all you don’t plan on missing happy hour.

Talk  long into the night, the chats get more deep,

before finally deciding to go get some sleep.

A day of exploring or relaxing and then,

you do the whole day all over again!

All that being said, here’s something I’ve learned

being cabin crew is the best job in the world.

Fact vs Fiction – What it’s really like to be Cabin Crew.

“We who fly do so for the love of flying. We are alive in the air with this miracle that lies in our hands and beneath our feet”

– Cecil Day Lewis.

 

As it seems to be becoming a regular occurrence, I’m not even going to bother starting this post with an excuse as to why I haven’t written anything in a while. The truth is, I just haven’t felt like writing for ages, but after some time away I realised that the only reason I started this blog was simply because I enjoyed it. It gave me a creative outlet, so I shouldn’t really have ever tried to commit to writing and posting regularly. So without further ado, here comes a post filled with things that actual real life people have assumed about my job. All of the following statements and questions are things that either my friends and family or just random passengers have said to me at some point in the last year.

 

1. “You just get to go on holiday all the time!”

 

I’ll start with the most obvious and frequent thing I hear. I would like to clarify a few things that apply to me and my fleet. I can’t speak for other airlines or even other fleets within the company I work for, but my base is actual a shorthaul and longhaul base. So yes, whilst I do go away a lot, I also do a lot of ‘there and backs’ all over Europe, from short 35 minute flights to Jersey, to the dreaded Tenerife which is over 4 hours away. Places like Tenerife and Paphos are 12 hour duties, not including my 66 mile commute to Gatwick before, and then another 66 mile commute home. On shorthaul we literally get passengers off, the cleaners run on and blitz the plane, and then on come the return passengers. Before you know it we’re flying back home without even taking one step off the aircraft. Sometimes we have steps to disembark the passengers, so we might get a quick glimpse of the airfield and a breath of fresh air before we go, but that’s the most I’ve ever seen of some places that I REALLY would love to visit, such as Rome, Venice and more. You wouldn’t belive the amount of people that get off a shorthaul flight and say ‘so how long are you here for then?’. A whole 55 minutes love, then I’m going straight home. On the flipside, I’ve also been asked if I’m flying straight home after flying all the way across the Atlantic for 10 hours. Or when I land back at Gatwick after the night flight home and someone says ‘so are you flying somewhere else today?’ Like, when was the last time you did a 20 hour+ shift? Also, even on longhaul, it’s not quite the same as a holiday. For one, the majority of the time our layovers are about 24 hours, meaning we arrive in the afternoon, have that night there and then fly back the following day. Sometimes you get lucky and get to spend 2 nights somewhere, or if you’re really lucky 3, but these trips are really not as common as our so called ‘3 day trips’. By the way. If you hear me say I’m on a 3 day, the first day is the day we fly out, we leave on day 2 and then arrive home in the morning of day 3 (as we fly home overnight). So 3 day does not mean 3 actual days away. It means 24 hours. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never gone on holiday for a single night where the flight itself takes at least 8 hours. Also, you always have in the back of your mind that you have to work the night flight home. Whatever you’re doing, you have to make sure you’re back in time to get ready and pack all the stuff you’ve thrown around your room, and be rested enough to work. And if you spend your trip doing lots of stuff, you best believe you can feel it on that night flight home! Honestly, on these short layovers we spend most of our time sleeping!

 

 

2. “You work for such a big airline, you must get paid really well!”

 

I get this one a lot! Now, I’m not saying the pay is terrible, but it’s nowhere near as good as people think it is. Lets just say I’m not earning anywhere near enough to pay back my loan to Student Finance. Some low cost airlines actually pay quite a bit more than I get, but their crew work a lot more than us, as they don’t do longhaul, so never get layovers. Personally, I chose this job for the lifetstyle, as I wanted to travel and see new things, so I have to remind myself that even getting paid £3 an hour to sit in the Maldives is sometimes much better than the alternative – paying thousands of pounds to go on holiday there.

 

3. “So, are you part of the mile high club?”

 

This is something an actual passenger asked me and 2 other girls on the way back from Heraklion. To really paint you a picture of the scene, it was about midnight, most of the cabin was asleep apart from a couple of guys on their way back from their lads holiday in Malia. Because we’d finished the service, and there was still about 2 hours of the flight to go, all of us were sat in the back galley in our cardigans, doing the times crossword puzzle and sudokus to keep ourselves awake. Cue this gentleman, wandering in and asking us this. We all looked up from our puzzles, and gave him the most incredulous look I think I’ve ever given. We could not have looked any less likely to be doing that sort of thing at that point. I get asked this quite a lot and always think that for one the toilets are really gross and two, I’m actually quite busy at work. I’m not sure how many jobs are ok with their staff just popping off for a quickie in the middle of their shift. Also, we’re in a big metal tube in the sky, someone would definitely notice if a crew member just disappeared half way through the flight. Add that to the fact that the majority of crew, myself included have partners, I would have to say that it’s a strong no from me.

 

4. “It’s such a glamorous job isn’t it?”

 

Another comment from this same gentleman, who to be fair to him, had had a couple of drinks, and at that time was faced with a crew of beautiful young women. I blame that old Virgin advert where Richard Branson walks through the airport surrounded by models dressed as cabin crew for this assumption. Don’t get me wrong, we do stay in nice hotels which can seem quite glamorousand I do sometimes feel pretty glam when my hair and makeup go right, and I’m strutting through the airport in my heels, but this job can sometimes be far from glam and exciting. There’s times where we have to help someone clean up their sick, or when people somehow manage to miss the toilet when doing their business and we have to wipe it up. Even if nothing gross like that happens, its important to remember that planes are public transport, so really I’m just working on a glorified bus, surrounded by lots of people coughing and sneezing while the air gets recycled around the plane. Honestly, just eww. 

 

5. “You’re basically just a waitress on a plane”

 

This one really grinds my gears, and unfortunately as crew you hear words to this effect quite often. Whilst I am there to make your flight enjoyable and serve food and drink, this is probably the smallest and least important part of my job. The captain even says in his PA, ‘The cabin crew are primarily here for your safety’. I’m there to get an entire plane full of passengers off the aircraft in 90 seconds or less if I have to. I’m there to treat the person who has a heart attack halfway across the Atlantic, or save a toddler that’s choking (something I have actually done). I’m there to put out a fire, when someone can’t go a few hours without smoking and drops a lit cigarette in a bin full of toilet paper. Luckily things like this happen very rarely, but this doesn’t change the fact that the reason I did 5 very full on weeks of training for this job was not so I knew how to make the perfect cup of coffee. To put it into perspective, over those 5 weeks, we did about 4 days of service training, the rest was all safety and medical. Also, on a slight side note, its not actually my job to put your bag in your locker for you. I can assist, but if I injure myself lifting a bag and have to take time off work then I’m not getting paid for that. I’m also 5 foot 3 and not very strong, I can’t actually physically get your huge suitcase that high above my head. 

 

6. “So can you get me cheap flights?”

 

Another one I get quite a lot. Again, I can’t speak for other airlines, but I personally get 2 spaces on my staff travel, which can only be changed every 6 months. And staff travel is not a guaranteed seat, its a standby ticket, meaning you only get on if there’s seats left that haven’t been sold. Meaning you can’t really use them during the summer, unless you fancy getting stuck for 6 hours in an airport in Barcelona waiting to see if you can get on the next flight (yep this has happened to me after a hen party while I was extremely hungover). And no we don’t get ‘free’ tickets. Because even when we do, you still have to pay taxes, which as anyone who actually looks at the cost breakdown of their plane tickets would know, makes up most of the price. And again, these are just standby tickets. So unfortunately no, I can’t get you and your 8 mates flights to Ibiza for your lads holiday. Sorry about that.

 

I realise some of these things make me sound like I hate my job, but honestly this couldn’t be farther from the truth as I do believe I have one of the best jobs in the world. However, there’s a lot more to being cabin crew than meets the eye, and I do sometimes wish that people wouldn’t just assume they know everything about it when really they have no clue, but then again I can’t blame them, as I had no idea what I was getting myself

 

Until next time angels,

 Aimee x

To Fly, To Serve – An Exciting Life Update

“For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.” – Leonardo Da Vinci

Well it’s been a minute since I blogged but I promise I have a really good reason this time, because I’ve been super busy with training for my amazing new job! That’s right, your girl is now an Air Hostess!

After 2 years of indecisiveness since finishing university, I randomly applied for a job as Cabin Crew. When I say randomly I literally mean I was sitting there one night and thought it would be fun so applied right there and then. After that it all happened very quickly, and here I am having been flying for nearly a month now! I’m not going to actually name the company that I work for on here but there will be pics of me in uniform because I love it.

I’ll give a brief overview of the (very long and difficult) recruitment process as it’s something I get asked about all the time but honestly words just can’t describe how intense it was. To even apply for the job you had to do an online assessment, and if you passed then you could send off your application. After this I was invited to an assessment day, which was literally about a week after I applied so I did not have a lot of time to prepare! When you first got to the training centre the first thing they did was measure your height and if you could reach a handle on the floor whilst holding onto the door handle. Needless to say I only just made the cut as the minimum height requirement is 5 foot 2 and I’m just about 5 foot 3! Someone actually was sent home at this stage as he was too tall, as you have to be under 6 foot 2 for health and safety reasons.

The next step was an individual role play assessment followed by a group exercise. In the role play you were given a brief that you had to read aloud clearly and then the interviewer pretended to be a difficult customer to see how you dealt with it. Obviously we weren’t expected to know company policy or anything but they were assessing our customer service skills and how we would react to a difficult situation. The group exercise was to see how well you worked as a team with people you’ve just met, as on the job you work with different people every day and have to be able to work as a team regardless of whether you know the people or not. Each person was given a score for these two assessments, and then we all had to sit and wait while they called out a list of names that were taken into another room. I was not called out in the first list, and on my day the group was literally split exactly in half so I had no way of gauging whether I’d got through to the next stage or not!

Luckily I did get through and it was on to the next stage of the assessment day – the 2 on 1 interview. We were called into a room one by one and interviewed by two people. There were a lot of questions but in general they mostly asked for you to give an example of a time where you showed certain attributes. From what I can remember I was asked about a time I went above and beyond for a customer, a time where I had to follow a specific set of rules and a time where I had to break the rules and why I thought it was necessary to do so. There were other questions as well but those are the ones that I remember most clearly.

After that I went home and had to wait for a response. Unfortunately for me I was really ill the next week so spent a week laying in bed waiting to hear back, while a few people I met on the day found out the very next day! Finally I got an email offering me the job, on the condition that my background checks were successful.

Once I received the offer I had to have references from the past 5 years of my life – which for me included 6th form, university, a number of part time jobs and a trip to America. Needless to say this took a couple of months to go through, and I also had to get a criminal record check. Once all this went through I was given a slightly earlier start date for my training. I started training 3 and a half months after my original application which felt like both the longest 3 months of my life and also the shortest!

Once I started that wasn’t a guarantee that I got the job either – I had 5 weeks of gruelling training to pass, with exams almost every day and stressful practical assessments. I can’t really go into too much detail about the process but just know that there were a lot of tears from everyone and lot of stressful evenings doing self lead learning, but also some funny memories and lovely new friendships. It’s a bit cliche but we went through a lot together and came out the other side stronger for it!

That’s all for now, as I’ve got an early flight tomorrow! But stay tuned for lots of stories about my travels and all the new places that I’ve visited/will be visiting in the near future!

Much love,

Aimee x

What happens in Vegas…

“Las Vegas looks the way you’d imagine heaven must look at night.” – Chuck Palahniuk.

14.09.2017
Day 6: Bishop to Las Vegas

I can’t even begin to describe how excited we all were when we woke up the morning after the hot springs. Even though it was a ridiculously early start, it was worth it because we were heading for VEGAS BABY! We packed away our tents and said goodbye to them for the next two nights. We’d only been camping for a few days and we were already so glad to be rid of them, even if only for a little while.

Back on Gail we headed through the hottest place on earth – Death Valley. While we were there it was ‘only’ about 40 degrees. Nowhere near the 50 degrees it can sometimes get to in the desert. Let me tell you though, it was still pretty damn hot on that bus. The huge windows which were really good for looking at the view while trundling down the road became our worst enemies. The glass actually got too hot to touch at one point, and I’m convinced I got sunburnt through the window. (No I don’t even know of this is possible but it sure felt and looked like it!) The highest temperature reliably recorded in the world was actually in Death Valley, so when I say it gets pretty hot there, I’m not joking! There was genuinely a massive danger sign that recommends people to not go walking in the desert past 10 am because of the heat. Crazy.

On our way to Vegas we stopped have a little impromptu photo shoot on the dunes. This is where a few of us girls realised we’d made great friends already because we all understood the need for taking multiple shots from different angles to give us plenty to choose from for the daily instagram post! We were all about the plandid (the totally natural and not posed candid). We also stopped at the lowest point in North America at 86m below sea level. This was quite a surreal experience looking back, as there was a marker showing where sea level was, way up the side of a cliff.

Even just driving into Vegas was a really cool experience. Everything is so massive and excessive, it’s literally like driving onto a huge film set. We were staying on Freemont street, which is the old strip, in a hotel called The Golden Nugget. I got really excited recently as I watched the film Now You See Me, and you can see the hotel in the background after their Vegas Show. The hotel was absolutely amazing after a few days of camping, there was a pool with a shark tank in the middle (?!), and our rooms had two massive double beds. I don’t think Liv or I had ever been so happy to see a bed in our lives, we both may have cried some happy tears whilst running around the room and jumping on the beds. After sitting and watching Friends for a little while (it was the episode where they went to Vegas – what a coincidence?), we all went and grabbed McDonalds for dinner. I know, I know, of all the places to go whilst in Vegas we picked a Maccas, but we were in a rush because we wanted to get ready to go out. We’d booked a party bus/limo to take us to see some of the sights and then take us to a club! It was our first proper night out of the trip, and we actually had the facilities to get ready so we all spent a lot of time pampering ourselves before heading for pre drinks in the one of the boys rooms.

We saw a few things while in the limo, like the first wedding chapel and the Belaggio fountain show, but my favourite story from this experience was at the Vegas sign. Bearing in mind we’d all been drinking quite a bit (and dancing in the back of the limo), naturally most of us girls really needed to go to the toilet. Now, there were no public toilets by the sign, which is basically just in the middle of a massive road. This was a problem as none of us could wait! Our solution was to make a little shield of people and take it in turns to wee by the side of the road. Not exactly any of our proudest moments but we had spent a few nights camping so I guess we weren’t really phased by it as much any more. If that didn’t create a lasting bond between us I don’t know what would! Whilst this is pretty tragic, I would just like to say that a couple of guys were in such a state that they didn’t even make it to the club and went straight home to bed! I can’t quite work out which is the most tragic story to be honest, but at least we managed to get to the club on our first night in Vegas!

After all that excitement and a ridiculous amount of laughter the limo dropped us off at Surrender nightclub where there was a pool party going on. After spending ages queuing and a dancing for a while, I did my usual, and got suddenly really tired and nearly fell asleep on this sort of floating sofa at the edge of the pool. I think that was a sign to call it a night, so Anna, Liv and I decided to grab some food and go home. We actually missed Diplo djing because we left so early! But we still had an amazing night, although when I woke up the next morning with my opened but uneaten subway on my chest I did feel a little worse for wear!

15.09.2017
Day 7: Las Vegas

Even though we were all feeling a little rough the next morning, we still wanted to do some sightseeing. So, The Girlband (me, Anna, Gabi and Liv – yes we named ourselves the Girlband) spent the next morning wandering the strip and checking out all the famous hotels. Words can’t actually do Vegas justice, everything was just so over the top and absolutely enormous. After the excitement of the night before, we decided to have a pretty chilled afternoon and evening. We caught some rays at the pool and then booked ourselves in to do a zipline down Freemont street. So actually maybe it wasn’t as chilled as I thought! The zipline was one of the best things I’ve ever done though. Even though (as I’ve definitely mentioned multiple times, and will mention more) I’m scared of heights, I thought what better way to face my fears than fly down the original Las Vegas strip attached to a tiny wire! The worst part was actually the start, as you basically had to hang there, 7 stories high, waiting for them to release you. It was such a rush though, I would definitely do it again. Although I did see a young child get stuck on the longer one where you go down face first! (I did the sitting down one, there was no way I was going down face first thinking I was superman or something!) One of the guys who worked there had to Spider-Man shimmy all the way along the line and clip the kid to his harness before shimmying all the way back. You should have head the cheer go up from everyone watching on the street when he finally reached him. To be fair though, we did have a pretty chilled night after that, just doing a little bit of gambling (because you know, when in Vegas). I can’t remember exactly but I think I won about 7 dollars on a slot machine which I got very excited about! After that big win we decided to head upstairs to bed to make the most of having a hotel room as we were about to spend over a week camping!

So that was how we did Vegas. I think we did a pretty good job to be honest!

Until next time,

Aimee x

 

On the Road Again…

“I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” – Mary Anne Radmacher.

So I had a little blogging break, but I’m back with Day 5 of my USA Roadtrip.

13.09.2017
Day 5: Yosemite to Bishop

Day 5 started with our very first early morning camp pack away. The aim was to get up and pack our tents away and then we had an hour between breakfast (and lunch prep stuff) being put out and the bus pulling out of the camp. The time we left varied slightly but it was between 7 and 9 every morning. Bear in mind that not only did all your personal belongings and tent have to be packed onto the trailer but also all of the communal stuff like food, the cooking equipment, chairs etc. I’m not a morning person anyway, and that coupled with having slept in a tent and having to wake up as early as 5.30am some mornings was not a good mix! This process was something that me and Liv did not get better at as the time went on. I think there was about one day in the entire trip where we weren’t the very last to pack our tent away. Our excuse is that we made our tents all cute and cosy every night, even hanging up a little lamp, so we had more to pack away. And neither of us eat breakfast so we weren’t that fussed about getting out for food.

Once we hit the road again we were told that we would be making a couple of stops on our way to Bishop which was where we would be spending the night. Our first stop was to see the sequoia trees, some of the oldest trees in the world. Looking at these trees gave me an odd feeling of vertigo. They just stretched up so high that it actually made me a little bit dizzy. We also found a dead, hollowed out sequoia, that you could walk all the way through. Now, being a small person you’d expect me to be fine with being in small spaces. This is categorically untrue! My biggest fear is actually being buried alive, so squeezing through this tiny tree was difficult to say the least. I got about half way and started panicking that I was going to get stuck (despite the fact that half the group had already gone through ahead of me). But I got through it, and whilst I can say that it wasn’t exactly on my bucket list to crawl through a massive dead tree, it was definitely an experience!

Once we saw the trees we realised we had to walk all the way back up to where the bus was parked, which was all steeply uphill. Me and Anna decided to take it slow, and spent the hike chatting and taking quite a few breaks. Honestly who decided that hiking in the Californian sun was a good idea? Us Brits are not used to the heat like Aussies or local Californians are! When we finally got back to Gail, we got back on the road towards our next, slightly more exciting stop. We headed along the scenic Tioga pass to a place called Tenaya Lake. The lake is named after the son of the chief of a native American tribe, who was killed on the bank of the lake. Tenaya was also part of the tribe that gave Yosemite it’s name, as they were feared by many of the surrounding tribes and ‘Yosemite’ loosely translates as ‘they are killers’. It was interesting to learn about the history of the area, as it included some Native American History, which is not something we learn about here in the UK. Today the lake remains a popular tourist destination and is famous for its ice cold waters, as it was formed from a glacier. Let me tell you, the only way you got into that water was to run and dive! Once I was in there my entire lower body went numb, and we all only managed to spend a couple of minutes in there before running back to the beach to sunbathe and warm up.

IMG_7537

Once we’d all dried off we then got back ‘on the road again’ to drive to our campsite in Bishop. This was a slightly nicer campsite than the one in Yosemite, and as soon as we were set up we all sat around talking and drinking while we waited for the cooking team to do dinner. I was drinking these things called ‘peach-a-rita’s which I gather were just peach flavoured beer, only much stronger and sweeter. We had a very typical American dinner that night – boxed Mac and Cheese. Now I don’t know if it was just because I was a little bit drunk, but it was honestly the best Mac and Cheese I have ever had. I genuinely haven’t had any since that was as good as this meal, and believe me I had a lot of Mac and Cheese while I was still in the US and since I’ve been home.

After dinner we all got back into Gail, very drunk and singing ‘Hey Baby’ at the top of our voices. (Don’t ask me why, I have no clue why everyone got so into singing this song.) We were going to try out the famous ‘hot springs’ just down the road from us. Now, I know the clues in the name, but I was still surprised at how hot these springs were. It felt like I was in a bath. Naturally because everyone was drunk the boys decided they were going to skinny dip. So we all found ourselves skinny dipping basically in the middle of a field with a bunch of people we’d just met. Luckily it was pretty dark, because I was drunk but nowhere near enough to be comfortable if I’d actually been able to see. Then just to make the night even more surreal, a storm starting going on in the distance, and we literally sat there watching lightning streak across the sky on the horizon. It was breathtaking and crazy at the same time.

So yeah, day 5 ended with skinny dipping in the middle of a lightning storm. What better place to end a blog post.

Until next time,

Aimee x

(If you’re interested you can find more posts about my trip here.)

 

And so it begins…

“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” – Tim Cahill

So, my last post ended with me crashing out after spending a jet lagged day roaming around San Francisco. But that was only the start of my adventure:

11.09.2017
Day 3: San Francisco to Yosemite

Our first day of the trip and we were leaving San Fran at 8 in the morning – ew. I can’t remember exactly but I’m pretty sure that neither mine nor Mia’s alarms went off that morning, or if they did we just ignored them haha. What a way to start the trip. Luckily we both woke up in time naturally anyway, so our first possible disaster was averted. When we got downstairs we saw our ‘coach’ for the first time, a little white minibus called Gail. I’ll tell you now, I do not miss her! After stuffing our bags in the trailer, we got on the bus to meet the 3 people who had already spent 3 weeks driving across America on the northern route tour. Another girl was supposed to be with them but she had lost her phone and passport on the drunken night before so was sorting that out before coming to meet us later. I feel like that should have warned me how crazy some of the nights were going to be, but I was still blissfully ignorant at that time.

As we left, the first thing we did was choose our ‘roadtrip song’. We decided to go with the song that the others had used on the trip before – ‘On the Road Again’. Yes we were very original. We played this song whenever we first got on the bus and I still can’t hear it now without feeling the weirdest mix of happy and sad. I also don’t sing the proper version, I sing the Sophie Bell remix. If anyone from the trip is reading this you’ll know exactly what I mean – no song is safe haha! After that we all introduced ourselves again and told everyone 1 funny fact about ourselves. It was a bit awkward at first, but as we talked we all started to feel a little bit more comfortable with each other. I also discovered that I had been pronouncing Yosemite wrong (think Vegemite) but luckily I was not the only one so I didn’t feel too stupid.

On our way to Yosemite National Park we did our very first Walmart stop to buy food and alcohol. I know it’s only a supermarket, but it was quite exciting, you can buy literally anything in there. Including guns, which is something I don’t really agree with but that’s a story for another day.

When we got to our camp we put up our tents for the first time, which was a lot easier than I expected. That was the first night I shared a tent with Liv, who became my tentie/roomie for the rest of the trip. What started as bonding over our mutual nervousness about the trip and general disgust at sleeping on the floor turned into a beautiful friendship. Genuinely don’t think either of us would have survived the camping without having each other to witness our bitch fits and calm each other down! Our tent neighbours Gabi and Anna also became our neighbours for the rest of the trip. Without even realising it, we always pitched up next to each other, and the Girl Band was formed.

We spent our first evening swimming in the freezing cold river by the campsite, and sneaking into the hotel pool to use the hot tub. Whilst I really enjoyed the cities, there’s just something really nice about just chilling in a river drinking beer, and spending the night swapping stories over a campfire.

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12.09.2017
Day 4: Yosemite

Both Liv and I were happily surprised that we slept quite well on our first night in a tent. If only that had lasted longer than one night.

After our first camp breakfast we spent the day hiking in Yosemite National Park. Whilst some of the guys were absolutely mental and hiked up to the top of the falls, a group of us decided to do the shorter hike to a place called Vernal Falls. Even though it was a shorter hike, it was still all uphill and pretty tough. For part of it we even had to climb up a load of rocks that were soaking wet from waterfall spray. Super safe I know. After that we just wandered around a bit, had a picnic by a pretty pathetic excuse for a lake and then went at sat in the visitors centre for (yeah you guessed it) a beer.

 

Luckily we were staying in the same camp as the night before, so we didn’t have anything to set up when we got back. We spent the evening pretty much the same as the night before. I even managed to find a perfect rock to sit on in the middle of the river so I didn’t even have to waste any energy trying to fight against the current. I take being lazy to new levels.

After 2 days in Yosemite we were finally ready to head through the desert towards Vegas baby! But that deserves a whole post of it’s own.

Until next time my angels,

Aimee x

(If you’re interested you can find more posts about my trip here.)

It ain’t bad but it ain’t San Francisco.

“You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So … get on your way! – Dr Seuss.

Oh blogging world, how I’ve missed you! I’m not gonna waste my time doing *another* ‘I’m back’ post because, let’s face it, I’ve done too many of those already! I could give a whole load of excuses but basically I’ve barely had any free time, and any time I did have was spent doing absolutely nothing. I honestly can’t cope with this whole working full time thing.

But finally, after a year of saving (some of this time spent working at least 10 hours a day, pretty much 7 days a week), I went travelling! It’s not quite the backpacking through the jungle trip I originally imagined, but over the past year I’ve come to the realisation that there are lots of ways to see the world. So my my first trip (hopefully of many over my lifetime) was a road trip across the United States! And to be quite honest, there was a lot more hiking and camping on this trip than I anticipated! As I write this, I’ve actually finished the trip entirely and am now sat at home wishing I was still road tripping. I stupidly thought I’d have enough time to write while I was travelling, after all, we did spend a lot of time on the road. However, I actually spent most of the bus rides either reading or sleeping. Mostly sleeping if I’m honest. So I just had to note down anything I thought was important, and then write it all up when I got back. So, without any further rambling here we go:

08.09.2017
Day 1: London to San Francisco. 

I had to wake up at a ridiculous hour of the morning (3.45 am to be precise) to make sure I got to the airport on time. That was a struggle, as I barely managed to sleep I was so excited. I wont bore you with any of the travelling details, as my journey was pretty uneventful but basically fast forward 24 (?!) hours and I had finally touched down in San Francisco. Honestly my first thought was “F*ck San Francisco is majorly hilly.” Don’t get me wrong, I had kind of known this before but photos of the place really do not do it justice. You honestly feel like you’re on a roller coaster driving up and down those streets. When I finally got to my (slightly gross) hostel I was absolutely shattered, so all I did was crawl straight into bed. The time was about 8pm, and I slept through solidly to about 7.30 the next morning.

09.09.2017
Day 2: San Francisco 

I was so excited to start exploring that I jumped straight out of bed and walked my massive rucksack about 15 minutes down the road to the hotel my tour started at. I wasn’t able to check in until later, so I dumped my bag in the storage room. Then I faced the momentous decision of how to spend my one and only full day in San Fran. Naturally I made my way to a McDonalds to get breakfast do some research. While I was there I Facetimed my sister as I knew she was missing me already, and due to time difference she was already home from school. Calls to the family done, and San Francisco fully researched, I started exploring.

 

Apparently San Francisco is famous for it’s old fashioned Cable Cars, which are among the oldest in the entire world. The first thing I did was wait in a queue for 45 minutes to get on one of these bad boys. It took us all through the streets of San Fran, up and down the massive hills, feeling even more like a rollercoaster than my taxi ride the night before. The best part of this was the moment we came over the top of the hill and you could see all the way down to the bay with Alcatraz Island in the distance. Once I jumped off the cable car, I walked down Lombard Street, also known as ‘The Crookedest Street’ towards Coit Tower, where a fellow cablecar passenger had told me I could get the best view of the city. Boy, was he right. When I finally got to the top of this old tower (which honestly did not look that high from the bottom – I’d forgotten that it was on the top of a massive hill), I was blown away. You could see the entire city, from Golden Gate bridge in the distance all the way past Alcatraz and a 360 view of the entire of downtown and the financial district. On a side note, a picture from the top of that tower was the first of my many, many Instagram posts of my travels.

 

After the tower I tried to get tickets to Alcatraz, but tickets are fully booked a couple of weeks in advance. Instead I just walked down Pier 39, grabbed some food and then headed back to the hotel. By this point it was late afternoon, and the welcome meeting for my tour was at 7. When I got back to the hotel I checked in, and found out the name of my first roomate – Mia. Whilst I was excited that the hotel was a million times nicer than the grotty hostel I’d stayed at the night before, I suddenly got a bit nervous. Who knew what sort of weirdo I was about to have to share a room with. Whilst I like meeting new people, I also get very anxious about it. Going on a tour where you spend basically 24 hours a day with a group of 20 strangers for 3 entire weeks was incredibly daunting for me. I am so glad I did it though, as it pushed me out of my comfort zone, and I’d like to think I made some friends for life on this trip. Anyway, luckily, as soon as I met Mia I knew there was no need to be so anxious. We got on straight away even though she was way more adventurous than me. Although, she is even more scared of spiders than I am which I discovered later on the tour (more about that in a later blog). Getting on so well with Mia gave me hope for the rest of the tour, and at 7 we made our way downstairs to meet our tour guides and the rest of the group. There I met some people who became some great friends as the trip went on. We all went out and grabbed some food before crashing into bed pretty early, as everyone was either jetlagged or worn out from exploring. Also, we had the first of many early starts the next day.

I’m going to end this post here, as the next day was a whirlwind of driving, getting to know a bunch of strangers and loads more.

Until next time my angels,

Aimee x

If you’re interested you can find more posts about my trip here.

The importance of being your own person.

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde.

31.08.2017

I found this post whilst looking through my drafts and just thought it was a waste not to post! Hope you enjoy it. 

If somebody asked me what the most important thing I have learnt about life so far, I would tell them that it’s before even thinking about anybody else, you have to be happy with who you are.
A few years ago, while I was still at school/sixth form I cared far too much about what people thought about me. I know I wasn’t alone in this. When you’re a teenager it feels like that the most important thing in your life is to be accepted. Instead of basing my decisions on what I wanted, I based them on how people would react to them. This was true for trivial decisions like what clothes I would wear to school, as well as bigger ones. I was constantly aware of other peoples opinions, and would often choose not to say things that were on my mind because I was scared of what people would think.

Now I’ve realised that I honestly could not care less about what other people think of me.

I’ve realised that the only person who really has to be happy with the way I am, is me. Other people come in and out of your life, and whilst some may be a permanent fixture, at the end of the day you will always be left with yourself. And how on earth are you supposed to be happy with yourself if you don’t even know who you really are. If you try to please other people and ‘fit in’ your whole life, then you lose part of yourself. Trying to hide your true self is stupid, because there is no way you could keep up the act forever. And why would you even want to? If you change aspects of who you are to make people like you, then if you think about it, they don’t really like you. They like the image of you that you’ve chosen to portray. It’s scary to be yourself because then if people don’t like you then you don’t have the excuse of ‘well they don’t really know me’. But surely it’s better to have some people dislike you then have people like a fake version of yourself? As Kurt Cobain said ‘I’d rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not’.

It took me a long time to realise that I didn’t need to care about what other people thought of me. I used to have to ask myself all the time ‘What would you do right now if you didn’t care what other people would think of you’. Now it comes as second nature to me to do things without worrying about what other people think. I have some great friends, and a great family who love me for exactly who I am. They love that weird girl who is always reading, and asks the strangest questions because she just wants to know everything about everything. I now have friends that I can have any conversation with, from politics, to discussing the meaning of life, to whether I should buy that new lipstick I wanted. And my friends feel the same way about me. We know that we can ask each other anything without fear of being judged.

I know for a fact that I could never have started a blog back in secondary school. I would have been far too scared to put any of my own thoughts out there where anyone could read them. Now it’s one of my favourite things to do. I love telling people my opinions on anything and everything. I know that a lot of people won’t care or will disagree with me, but this doesn’t bother me anymore. I’m not saying I don’t feel a little bit apprehensive whenever I post on here or feel self conscious around new people. Because I do, and I don’t think that’s ever going to change, it’s a fact of life that you’re going to want to be liked. But it’s not overwhelming anymore, I don’t NEED people to like me. It’s just nice when they do. 

Until next time my angels,

Aimee x

 

 

Why we need Feminism now more than ever.

“Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings.” ― Cheris K ramarae

08.03.17

Happy International Women’s Day!

If anybody doesn’t know what that is, here’s the official description from the IWD Website:

“International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.”

Just in case anyone is confused, I’m going to repeat the most important part of that description.

“The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.”

Feminism is not about claiming that women are better than men or deserve special privileges. It is not a dirty word. It does not  ‘encourage women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.’ Feminism is a fight for equality. Feminism is for anyone who believes that you should have equal political, economic and social rights regardless of whether you were born with a penis or a vagina. And it absolutely blows my mind that in 2017 that this is still an issue. How can anyone seriously think that someone does not deserve the same basic rights as them purely because of their gender?

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I’ve done some research and found a whole load of reasons why we still need feminism.

1.There is still a massive gender pay gap.

Even in supposedly developed countries like The US, the UK and most of the EU there is a pay gap of between 17.5% to 25%. That means on average women earn 17-25% less than their male counterparts. Even when doing the exact same job, women earn less. I genuinely saw an article in Glamour about how men ‘cope’ with the fact that their partner earns more than them. The fact that some men think that their partner earning more than them is a problem that they have to ‘cope’ with is so ridiculous.

2. Glass ceilings do exist, and it seems like they’re made of bulletproof glass.

Only 21 out of Americas top 500 businesses have female CEO’s. That’s 4%. In the UK women only make up 29% of Parliament.

3. Victim blaming is actually a thing.

Let me say this loudly for the people in the back – nobody is ever ‘asking for it’. Whether they are male or female, whether they are wearing no clothes or a ski-suit, whether they flirted with you at the bar and you bought them a drink, whether you’ve slept with them before or not. If someone is not in a position to give consent i.e they’re too drunk, have passed out or are being held at knife-point then it is still rape. Did you know approximately 90% of victims are raped by someone they know. and it’s estimated that only 15-35% of rapes are actually reported. I think it’s time that we started teaching people not to rape rather than teaching people to ‘be careful’ and ‘not walk alone at night time’. It’s time we start teaching girls that it’s always ok to say no, that nobody is entitled to your body because they bought you a drink or even because you’re married to them. It’s shocking that over 120 countries have no laws protecting against inter-marital rape.

 

4. Female Genital Mutilation still happens in at least 29 countries.

Yes. At least 29 countries still cut and restitch the genitals of girls as young as 5 months old so that sex won’t be pleasurable for them.

Feminism is understanding that men deserve equality too. Here are 2 reasons why men need feminism.

1.The job you have seems to be reflective of your gender.

Jobs in the caring professions like teaching and midwifery are considered to be feminine jobs. As if the act of caring about something or someone should be restricted to one gender, as if it makes someone weak. We need to get rid of gender stereotypes. Girls can play with cars and grow up to be a mechanic or they can become a hairdresser. Boys can play with dolls and grow up to be a midwife or they could be a firefighter.

2. Men are still told to man up.

Society seems to have this stupid idea that men are not allowed to cry or be sensitive. This is seen as a feminine trait. Suicide is the leading cause of death for men under 35, because it’s seen as weak to ask for help. Depression is considered to be a ‘female thing’. This is not ok.

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Feminism is important. I firmly believe that everyone in the world should be a feminist. It does not mean you have to act in a certain way or wear certain clothes or even have to be a woman. Feminism has nothing to do with what you wear, whether you want to have a career or stay at home and raise your children. Feminism is not about how often you have sex or whether or not you wear makeup.

Feminism is about fighting for equality. And one day I hope that we get it.

Until next time,

Aimee x