re: rookieexperiences.com

A PSA to say goodbye to WordPress.com and hello to WordPress.org

Hey everyone! I recently moved domain to rookieexperiences.com!

New visitors, follow me here:

Follow rookieexperiences on WordPress.com

Current followers, you might not get notification emails when I publish a new post, if this is important to you, head over to my new site and sign up for email notifications (in the sidebar). I’ve migrated anyone who follows me on this site, so my post should still show up in your reader anyhow 😊

Thanks for reading, see you on the new site 🎉

re: Bloggers Recognition Award

embarrassing histories and cool recommendations

I have been happily writing my blog for quite some time now and while you’re somewhat aware of people seeing your posts you can’t be sure of them actually being interested in reading it. It was surprising and lovely to hear that I was nominated for the Blogger’s Recognition Award by Vanessa from WanderlustPlusOne who is an incredible inspiration for the times when you feel that travelling seems impossible – if Vanessa can do it with child in tow, you can do it on your own! I’d love to be as active a traveller with my own family in the future (#momgoals) and will be looking back for many tips!

Here are the rules for accepting the award:

  • Give thanks to the person who had nominated you and a link to their blog.
  • Write a post to show your award.
  • Briefly tell how you started blogging.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award.
  • Comment on the nominated blogs and let them know you have nominated them and give a link to the post you have created.

I created my first ever blog with a friend when I was around 13. Our aim was to discuss topics on a weekly basis, either chosen by us or suggested by readers, but after writing our introductory post, we were never coordinated enough to make anything else happen. I’m putting the link here for my own reference, I’m surprised it still exists, but who am I kidding, the internet immortalises everything. Anyways, I’m glad we didn’t end up writing more than two posts, otherwise present me would have died from embarrassment (goodbye emo phase). My second venture into ‘blogging’ was a solo expedition into the world of fashion (ref: here), this is slightly less cringe-inducing since I didn’t really write anything, but nevertheless, the twinge of second hand embarrassment is felt. Ushering us all back to present day, my side bar is pretty self-explanatory (for all you desktop viewers out there), I started blogging when I went out on my year abroad to Hong Kong, but didn’t start taking it seriously until coming back to the UK where I started writing about my travels in detail.

Some advice for new bloggers?

  1. It’s terribly clichéd, but start a blog because you love writing, creating new content, sharing your creativity, etc. Don’t be too bothered about gaining millions of followers, otherwise you’ll find that writing blog posts will become a chore. I love to document what I did as another means to keep in touch with people I know and for something to look back on (probably cringe at too) when I’m older. Your memory might not always be as clear as it is now, but at least you have it written down!
  2. Explore tags and interact with others in the blogging community! I love reading about other people’s experiences with places I’ve visited and places I haven’t. It’s a constant stream of inspiration and information that’ll motivate you to keep writing and sharing. Don’t feel that you should only limit yourself to following blogs within your own area of focus either, there’s so many wonderful writers out there – where would my life be without beauty bloggers?

Here are some of my favourite blogs to read: Sorry, I’ve just included 10 as this post was getting rather long!

  1. Travelling Matters

Mel and Suan, you’ve probably been nominated for so many of these awards, but it’s well deserved! I’m always amazed by how many places they’ve been to and there’s always another trip bubbling in the pipeline! There’s never a lack for something interesting and refreshing to read, with articles exploring aspects of travel that I would never have considered.

  1. ah petrichor

I’ve only just come across Ching’s blog recently and I wish I found it sooner! She writes in both English and Chinese (traditional), which is perfect for a language learner like me, looking to improve their reading comprehension. Each post is also accompanied by really beautiful photographs. Although the WordPress app is convenient for those on the go, I’d really recommend taking the time to browse her posts via the desktop site to get the true beauty of her website theme!

  1. The Humble Explorer

Another great blog ran by YipChu and Jotina, I was drawn in by their amazing photographs and their content is equally on par. Each post is helpfully embedded by pins on Google maps, making it all the easier to track down that zoo café in Bangkok you wished you discovered. I love that we’ve travelled to a lot of similar places, yet have wildly different experiences – it’s a sign of a good travel blog that makes you want to revisit a country after you’ve just left!

  1. Jules Verne Times Two

Writing under the mysterious pseudonym of Jules and Verne (inspired by their favourite writer) comes another blogging duo I highly rate! They have a wonderful style of writing that I adore and each post is full of interesting narratives and personal anecdotes that are worthy of being compiled into a book!

  1. Stylish Wanderer

Combining fashion with reviews on travel, Stylish Wanderer has awesome posts reviewing accommodation, which can come in handy if you’re stuck for a place to stay. Her posts on Korea are full of interesting places I wish I had time to visit when I was out there!

  1. The Bellezza Corner

Amanda runs a great lifestyle blog covering a whole range of topics such as fashion, beauty and travel. As a novice in the world of beauty, her posts are filled with really useful information! A simple girl make-up wise, I especially loved her post on necessary nudes and neutrals to have in your make-up collection. Intrigued by the MAC lip-liner, I ended up going in store and purchasing a foundation too!

  1. An Aesthetic Mind

Despite running primarily a travel blog, I’m hooked on all things food, beauty and fashion. Julia’s blog is filled with lovely, clear photographs and everything she owns looks so pretty! I love the mix of travel posts, which initially prompted a follow, interspersed with posts on fashion and other aspects of life.

  1. 90s Kids Travel

Erica hasn’t posted for a while, but I hope she continues to write again! Her posts are packed full of great information and price references, which is very useful for a student like me who loves to plan and budget.

  1. Under Clouded Stars

There’s something romantic about writing poems and this blog is sure to alight a desire to visit every place that is covered. Her photographs fit the tone of each poem so perfectly and it’s lovely to see how thoughts and experiences can be clearly conveyed in just a few words.

  1. Awkward Introvert Traveler

With a blog name I can relate to, I am vicariously living through Luke and Des’ posts from when they embarked on a road trip around the US (it’s on my bucket list!). I’m just discovering how stunning America’s national parks are and their posts are just filled with wonderful photographs to highlight this. Make sure to check out their Instagram page too for more amazing photos.

re: Merry Christmas!

Deck the halls with boughs of holly fa-la-la-la…

For most people, the month of December indicates a slew of festivities and a brief respite from the world of work. For myself and most other students, December is a frightening month full of coursework deadlines, exams and revision. Complimenting 2016’s gifts, this year I also have the pressure of applying for jobs, to secure some sort of stable future after I graduate. Quite a stressful way to spend the holidays, but alas, the things we must do.

In any case, I’d like to take the time to thank everyone who reads/follows this blog! Whether you celebrate it or not, hope everyone has a great Christmas break. Take the time to relax for a moment and enjoy the luxury of just doing nothing before scaling the mountain of work again. My housemates and I celebrated with our own little Christmas dinner about a week ago, so it feels a little strange to be doing it again with my family, but I’m excited to return home and have one guiltless day of eating food and watching movies!

re: coming home

Back for Good (maybe).

I’m back! After about a month of constant travel, I returned to the UK on the 23rd June – just in time for the EU referendum and what lovely news to be welcomed back with the next morning *tears falling as I fall down in a slow circle and die*. The words of Take That might echo the thoughts of Leave voters this past week with my friend Grace suggesting that Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’ should replace the United Kingdom’s National Anthem. Anyone else care to contribute to our EU fallout party playlist?

~

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2016 is proving to be a dismal year, so to brighten things up, I’ll refrain from lamenting on things I’ll miss from my exchange and look towards some home comforts that I’m glad to return to:

  • Personal space! Whilst Hong Kong is a city over spilling with vibrancy, one thing I won’t miss is constantly sharing space. Nothing beats having your own room, infrequent violations of one’s personal public bubble, or even taking your time with a meal without being shooed away for the next customer.
  • Me-time! As selfish as this sounds, travelling around with a group of friends really makes you cherish your time alone. It’s absolutely wonderful to explore different countries with close friends or develop new friendships, but it can also be exhausting being around people 24/7 (hello hostels). It’s nice to have some down time once in a while, reconsolidate your thoughts and just soak in being in a different country, rather than focusing on the next place to see or activity to do.
  • Sleep! For a pretty active person, I do love my sleep! Sure, if you have three months or more travel time, you can afford to sleep in now and again. If not, travelling usually means early mornings and late nights, which can also be a mood killer. (I get the sleep equivalent of ‘hangry’ if deprived of my slumber.)
  • Sensible currency! One crazily inflated currency is hard to get your head around, so try three in the space of a month. If you’re too lazy to pull out your phone before every transaction, mental arithmetic is necessary to convert back into GPB, but at least this cognitive effort is rewarded by pleasantly cheap prices. (Unless it’s Japan. Everything is expensive in Japan). Being back means not getting confused at the amount of zeros in the price, triple checking the notes I’m handing over and worrying about being stuck with useless coins!

It’s easy to romanticise this past year – certainly the best one of my life so far. However, the reality of returning will be an entirely different experience as I remind myself that studying abroad and working abroad are not the same thing! Separate posts will up in due course for all the places I visited, but for now I’m basking in the fleeting novelty of being back at home and in blissful ignorance of my unpacked suitcase.