#65

Whilst away on my tropical getaway, I finally had the chance to do something I’ve embarrassingly enough, never done before…. I snorkelled!

Yes, I can tell you now that it is entirely possible to live 24 years and not don the ol’ flippers and snorkel to investigate what lays beneath the oceans skin. I am the very proof. So upon visiting the picturesque Mystery Island last month, I decided to change that small life fact of mine.

It may not be a huge leap and bound in the big scheme of things, but it was something I have always wanted to do given my intrigue with the ocean. And so it found a worthy home at #65 on the bucket list.

Having never snorkelled before, and being mostly a nose-breather (it’s a thing, just ask any nurse), I must admit that I found it a little hard to do at first. Training your brain to suddenly only breathe through your mouth in an almost dire circumstance given that you are under the sea and water in your lungs is not exactly compatible with life; wasn’t exactly easy.

I resembled something close to a struggling baby seahorse at first, trying to coordinate breathing and swimming simultaneously. Throw in a subtle wave or two to supersede the end of my snorkel, and you could have easily found enormous entertainment in my personal underwater wrangle.

But for the sake of the rainbow fish, I persevered.

Eventually I grew accustomed to having a little less air in my lungs, and slowed down my breathing enough to find a slow rhythm with my stride. I was able to navigate the oceans movement and anticipated the waves. I almost instinctively learnt how to blow any water that dared to enter my sacred breathing tube right back out into the air above.

After an hour, I decided I was brave enough to attempt a dive under the surface. After two seconds of deciding this, I was convinced being brave was a death warrant. Cue struggling baby seahorse performance number two. How people did this so naturally was beyond me. It was like the moment the water travelled down the snorkel and touched my lips, my body spontaneously thought, ‘Oh sure, come on in!’.

But for the sake of the blue starfish, I persevered.

Spitting out the salty ocean water my body had executively decided to harbour, I tried again. This time concentrating on blowing the air in my lungs out slowly enough to combat the water. By day two of snorkelling, I had this manoeuvre down pat enough to venture through tunnels in the reef at Paradise Cove in Port Vila.

This baby seahorse had found her wings… or scales? Either way, I had become a little less entertaining to the observers onshore.

It was worth every moment of frantic underwater fear, and salty-ocean-water-swallowing just to swim with the multitudes of tiny fish who call these beautiful reefs home. From clown fish (totally found Nemo), to vibrant coloured starfish; giant sea slugs, to vicious eels; curious reef sharks, to bright coral – it was an experience I enjoyed whole-heartedly and plan to do a lot more of in the future.

I’ll call it my warm up for scuba-diving – which also makes the list, and I just know that when I get to it I’m going to love it just as much, if not more!

Oh, just as a side note for anyone else who, just like me, may have not yet snorkelled – here’s a prominent tip above all else… try only to smile internally at the beauty of it all. As it turns out, smiling externally breaks the seal of your snorkel mask causing a great deal of salt water to flood your eyeballs. And take it from me, it’s not a pleasant experience.

#65 – Go Snorkelling: Check!

d x

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#5: Vanuatu & New Caledonia 2017

We arrived at the port of Brisbane right on time for our early check-in, and excitedly kissed our Mr.’s goodbye as we stared up the giant cruise liner titled Pacific Dawn.

Celebrating 10 years of friendship, my best friend, J, and I couldn’t think of a better way to commemorate the occasion than to set sail upon the high seas on a Pacific Island Cruise! Additionally, this made the perfect excuse to tick #5 off of the Bucket List nice and early this year.

Grabbing our luggage – which were impressively very compact and surprisingly not very heavy despite our indecision over what clothes to bring (if in doubt, bring it all, right?), we stumbled into the line up outside the port’s centre doors. First in the queue, we made our way to the check-in desk quickly.

Boarding was an easy process, and we found ourselves excitedly galavanting up the gangway in a little under an hours time. ‘Bon Voyage‘ they happily wished us as we stepped over the ship’s threshold and into the spacious liner’s atrium. We quickly found our room, and dumped the excess carry-on straight onto our beds, before making a beeline for the back of the cruise ship.

One ‘Tropical Passion’ and ‘Martini’ later, we found ourselves completely at home on the decadent lounges overlooking the Port. I always seem to forget how easy it is to settle into holiday mode, and in that moment aboard the cruise liner… oh boy, was I on holidays. I couldn’t help but secretly burst with a unparalleled anticipation for what lay ahead.

We spent 10 days sailing across the Pacific Ocean, visiting four islands and two countries in total. It seemed that each destination was even better than the one before, and we thoroughly enjoyed immersing ourselves in the cultures of each. From traditional Noumea and scenic Lifou in New Calendonia, to the untouched Mystery Island and popular Port Vila in Vanuatu – we managed to fill two camera phones, one GoPro and one Canon DLSR worth of pictures between us both.

We’ve come back at least three shades darker in skin colour thanks to the Pacific Ocean sunshine, and holding close to our hearts some very special memories. I could not have wished upon a better way to celebrate friendship than with this tropical adventure to some of the world’s most beautiful islands. You can count on the fact that this is only the very beginning of my tropical holiday obsession.

You can check out the details and destinations out a little more in depth here at my Polarsteps profile (an absolute god-send when it comes to documenting any overseas holiday I promise you!).

And with nothing else to say, Vanuatu and New Caledonia – you have been a dream!

#5 – Travel somewhere new every year: 2017 – Check!

d x

The support act. 

Sometimes I wonder what it is that places a heart and mind on two very separate pages of the same story. 

How is it possible to love something we shouldn’t or what tears us in two? Why can’t a heart change feelings as quickly as the mind can make the decision that we need too?

And what, just what, is it about humans that makes us believe that we never deserved better than that.

I have watched a close friend of mine lose the very things that made her, her… All because the word goodbye was something her heart couldn’t pronounce when her mind had tried it’s hardest to sound it out. 

Over the last three years, I have watched her effervescent personality fade into a shadow of self-doubt and insecurities all because she chose to love someone who will never love her as he should. And it makes me as angry as it does sad to know she’s limited her heart to a future with a hurt that could have so easily been avoided. 

I have been the shoulder to cry on, and I have provided the ‘happy gerbras’ and Krispy Kremes. And now I don’t know what more to do because I want to save her and I can’t. 

This is her battle. The task of pronouncing goodbye isn’t something I can teach her. She will have to learn that one on her own. 

Accepting this has been hard for me. I’m the sort of person who wishes it were completely possible to wipe him from her memory altogether so I could see a genuine happiness return to her world. I want her to enjoy life again, not to see life as a chore or simply her ‘lot in life’. 

Unfortunately though, it’s not up to me. In fact, I could keep doing my best to make it better until my dying breath – but it wouldn’t fix her. Because the fixing can only be done by her. 

This is something that I’ve come to really learn this year. People can only fix themselves if they want to, and there is no more you can do than be the soft landing that catches them on their darkest days. 

I guess I’ve realised that while this boy is the source of many of her problems, he’s also the source of her intermittent happiness. She has fallen so deeply in love with him that she has chosen to love his flaws no matter how cruelly they scar her. 

And while it is easy for me to sit here and form the opinion that she would be better off without him, it is far harder to be in her shoes. To dismantle the life that she has built around him over the last three years would be perhaps a seemingly impossible task. And I’ve only begun to try to see it from her point of view. 

She once told me that she would ‘be no happier without him’ than she is now. It was a statement that broke my heart as I watched her shuffle her feet, bluntly accepting a future where happiness may never truely become the steer. 

I have thrown myself both sides of the invisible friendship line, having offered advice in both support of the relationship, and in protest. 

I have spoken many times with her about deserving far more than he can give, and played devils advocate on many occasions in the hope she would question what her future looks like. 

And in situations like these, I’m really not sure what a good friend should do anymore. 

I guess she will figure it out. And I have already made the decision that I will be there for her in all capacity, be it with or without him. 

While it may frustrate me to see her hurt, I think it would be far worse for me to turn my back just because I don’t think he deserves the love she gives. 

There will be plenty more tears, and plenty more sugar-coated-cream-filled donuts. But this year I have made the promise to not give up on her. Because I think that’s what being a good friend means. 

It isn’t always easy, but I don’t think it was ever meant to be. And if each day I can help her find a little more of what makes her shine brighter again, then it will have been always worth it. 

d x

#55

A couple of years ago, I bought a proper camera for my Mr. for his birthday. It cost just short of a small fortune, but he loved it so thoroughly that eating cucumber as a staple meal for the subsequent month became almost justifiable.

I would readily find him photographing everything from the couch pillows to the carpet – though it was always beyond me as to understand what kind of artistic flare he was going for exactly. He was enthralled with it, and so it came to be an essential item to pack on any venture out of the house.

I remember on one outing I asked if I could have a go, just to see what all the fuss was about. I aimed the lens toward to the pink horizon and pressed the shutter capturing the last fleeting moment of sunshine before it vanished behind the earths edge. 

I quickly found the replay button, and examined the picture I had taken. And it was in that moment that I truly realised just how well my money had been spent. It was the beginning of an addiction, a yearning to capture even more of the earths beauty in a frame to last eternity. 

I was hooked. Only a photographer could perhaps know the feeling. 

There was just something about photography that entangled itself immediately with my creative side that day. I couldn’t help but suddenly feel inspired by the world around me. It was like a thirst to portray the beauty I was seeing with my own eyes in the pictures I could take. 

So I made it #55 on the bucket list to start my own photography page. 

I had always promised myself that in this lifetime I would do my best to illuminate the most wonderful parts of life for others to see. 

And I couldn’t help but hope that the creation of a photography page would become a perfect definition of that. 

It’s been about four months since I’ve thrown ‘Wild Hearted Photography‘ into existence in the every-growing world of Instagram. And while I’m still very much an ametuar, the page is starting to gain a little interest. 

It’s become not only a place to quietly display my collection of photos, but almost a guide to some of the most beautiful parts of the earth I’ve travelled so far – including Bali, Japan and certain roadtrip ventures down south. 

My goal is to keep adding to the collection, with many more pictures from the places I have every intention of exploring. I hope to inspire people not only with the places I photograph, but with the challenge I’m posing for myself in starting something I know nothing about, and making it my own. 

I haven’t nearly nailed photography on the head. I’ve got a long way to go. But when I look back to some of my first shots, I can see I’m improving and that’s okay with me! I’ve picked up a new hobbie, and I’m loving it. 

If you feel like joining the journey, head over to @wildheartedphotography and click follow! I promise to be the wings and the adventurer for us all. 

Now just to convince my Mr. that his GoPro is way cooler than the Canon – wish me luck!

#55 – Start my own photography page: check!

d x 

Sleepless and clueless. 

Over the years, I have come to really question how it seems to be my special ability for attracting the worst luck when it comes to cars. Or anything with wheels for that matter. 

However, despite all the things that have happened to my little cars, none of them compare to the events that unfolded last Wednesday morning…

Last week, on a cloudy Wednesday morning, I made my way out of the hospital after a very long and gruelling 10 hour shift. We had spent the last three hours of the shift run off our feet, trying desperately to keep certain death-willing patients alive and delirium-encumbered patients in the confines of their own beds. 

When the morning staff started to trundle in, we were starting to see the end of the tunnel. When we realised that somehow we were three staff short for the morning shift, that light started to fade quickly. 

With one casual nurse calling in late, one sick leave not replaced and one new baby grad who mixed up his shifts and performed the worlds most unfortunately timed ‘no-show’ – it was shaping up to look somewhat close to a nightmare. 

There were buzzers going off everywhere, and all sorts of bodily fluids not being caught in time as we desperately called everyone we could think of to rescue us from the craziness threatening to envelope us. 

It was an hour past my home time and I vividly  remember thinking of all the things I would happily give just to lay down horizontally, rather than shower the man in bed 3.1 who inappropriately thought I was everything else but a nurse. 

In the end, I think I stumbled down the stairs out the front of the hospital about an hour and half after my roster promised I would be in bed, and by this time I was entirely questioning whether it would be deemed appropriate to sleep all day in my car right there in the carpark. 

Suffice to say, I never got the chance. 

Hoping to brave it home with windows down and cold water to splash on my face, I made a beeline for the drivers door and clambered inside. Turning on the car, I sighed as I placed the gear stick into first. Levelling the accelerator, the car lurched forward… and that’s when I heard the almighty ‘clunk‘. 

The whole car fell to the left on a slant. I had barely made it half a meter, but the noise was enough to make me realise something had already gone very wrong. 

I grumbled ‘What now!?’ under my breath and launched myself out of the car. It’d been a long night, but I had no idea just how much longer it was going to get. 

Venturing around to the back of the car on the right side, I found my culprit. There in the middle of the car park I stood, sleepy-eyed and in utter disbelief as I looked at a wheel hub now blantently bare without a wheel. 

Someone had stole my back wheel. The whole wheel. Nuts and tyre too boot. Gone without a trace. Poof, into oblivion. Abracadabra. This is not a drill. 

I must have stood by that wheel hub for at least the next ten minutes in a state of fatigued-confusion, not really knowing who to even call in such a situation. Police? Insurance? Dad?… Ghost Busters? 

After all, who in tarnation steals someone else’s wheel!? 

I was absolutely wordless as I crouched down next to the back of my car now noticing a referdex jammed tightly under the brake, which I can only assume was used to prop the car up before I attempted to drive off. The disc that I assumed usually housed a wheel had been dragged along the bitumen along with my suspension. 

If having my wheel stolen hadn’t been unfortunate enough, skull-dragging the rear end of my car along the ground definitely hadn’t helped. 

I decided on calling my mechanic. The boys there have looked after me since I was 16, and knowing my unparalleled history in car misfortune, they were quick to come to my rescue. 

A long 15 hours since first arriving to work the night before, I finally watched my car hoist aboard a large tow truck. Half-asleep in the passenger seat of my Mr.’s car, we followed the tow truck back to my mechanic’s. 

My poor little car (‘Rocket’ as I’ve belovingly named him) needed four new alloys, a new tyre, a new set of brakes and some repairing to the wheel disc. I was sent home to sleep while they fitted Rocket out with the new adjustments. 

I snuck in two hours sleep before my phone woke me from my slumber, and the rough husky voice of my mechanic let me know my little car was ready to pick up. 

Four-hundred and ten dollars later (because my mechanic boys are just way too good to me!), I hopped in the drivers seat for the second time that day and shook my head one last time in disbelief at the way my day had turned out. 

And then out of nowhere I began to simply laugh at the ridiculousness of it. How these things happen to me, I’ll never quite know! But I’ll tell you something for nothing, they sure make for a good story in the tea room. 

I guess in this ever-maddening world, these things happen. They don’t have reason, nor logic. And they most certainly aren’t concerned with bad timing or whether you’ve been awake for a close 24 hours. They just happen. 

So you have to take what comes, and deal with it the best you can. Besides, the world has a funny way of making it up to you when the bad things cuddle a little too close. My newly won four-course dinner next Tuesday night at a fancy restaurant will entirely vouch for that! 

So count on the better things finding their way to you, it’ll never stay all bad forever. 

As for now, I have taken to checking all four wheels before leaving any car park, and parking a little too close to the gutters because if you’re planning on taking up another wheel for your collection, I’m sure not making it easy!

Happy Sunday everyone. Here’s hoping you always have four wheels to drive you home, and the strength to know that no matter how your day has started, the better will eventually fall together!

d x 

#4

Well, it’s official! I did it! I got the job! You are now looking at the newest CN to join the ranks in the surgical unit heading for the new hospital at the end of next month. If the ear-to-ear smile doesn’t give it away, then I’m not sure what would.

I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Admittedly it took me a lot to even apply for the position (read 2017: The Fear), but the whole process has made me realise just how important it is, and has always been, to never stop pursuing your goals  – even when they may prove difficult.

Truthfully, I have my father and my Mr. to entirely thank for pushing me to the brink of frustration. I had never doubted myself more than in the weeks leading up to the application deadline, and could not have fathomed the possibility that I would be successful.

Since finding out the inverted of that, I haven’t stopped thinking about just how lucky I was to have the two greatest men in my life believe in me strongly enough to [lovingly] peer-pressure me into clicking the ‘submit’ button. If it had not been for them, I may have  thrown away this opportunity altogether.

I’ve come to recognise that while we can be strong on our own, true strength is found in numbers. Only in the sense that in your weakness someone else will be there to loan the strength you need. It’s not that you couldn’t fight your battle alone, it’s that there’s comfort in knowing you don’t have to. To have someone else believe you can is sometimes the only ammunition we need.

I am more than humbled to be given such an amazing opportunity at the age of 23, and am knowingly entering a new chapter of my life with more gratefulness than I thought was possible.

Finally, I get to wear my shiny new CN shoes…and keep them. I am ready.

#4 – Make Clinical Nurse at work: Check!

d x

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2017: The Fear

A few days ago, at the dawn of a new year, I was flicking through the tv channels and stumbled upon a movie I hadn’t seen in a very long time. In the early 2000s, a Cinderella Story was nothing short of a rite of passage for any of us girls growing up at the time. But granted that this was not a era of Disney-watching memories for everyone, let me fill you in a little on the plot…

It was a classic teen heart-throb movie staring the all-too charming Chad Michael Murray and doe-eyed Hilary Duff, that made pink converse sneakers and a extravagant white dresses somewhat of a thing. The storyline imitated the fairytale of Cinderella as it’s title may have blatantly eluded to, and unravelled a new-age technological romance between the orphaned nerdy girl in high school and the handsome quarterback.

It was a feel-good movie that made every girl spend the next 5 years hoping Chad Michael Murray might just fall in love with them someday, myself included. One Tree Hill only exacerbated the fantasy.
But rewatching the movie a few days ago, something really sunk in. It was a quote that underpinned the entire movie, and gave motive to each of its characters. Something I would have never taken in as a child, but now watching it some 13 years later, it’s weighted differently.

Never let the fear of striking out, stop you from playing the game…

Whether it was by chance or not, this was something that I really needed to hear. And when I realised it’s relevancy to my life this year, I couldn’t help but to think that perhaps this was life showing me what 2017 needs to be about – having a little more faith in myself.

Not getting a CN position last year really shook my self-esteem. In a way, I viewed it as a failure. It was the first time I had worked really hard for something, and not had it handed to me in return. I wasn’t used to the feeling. 

I started doubting my ability and caring what others thought of me more than I ever should have allowed myself to. Even though I knew logically not to, I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmingly lost. 

At the end of November they announced that three more positions for CN’s would be advertised and many people asked me if I would re-apply.

The initial answer ‘no way‘ fell from my lips straight away. A large part of me felt that if they had wanted me, they would have given me the job last time, so why would I bother applying again? It was hard to shake the misconception that they obviously didn’t think I could do it.

I battled with the concept that if were to apply, the chances are that they would turn me down again. The original job wasn’t given to me because I’m a relatively new nurse with less than three years experience. And I just couldn’t see how three months onwards, it would be any different.

I was frustrated with my Mr. and my family who encouraged me repeatedly to re-apply. “What have you got to lose?” they would say. Everything felt like my answer. I didn’t want to ‘fail’ again, I didn’t want people to know that I ‘failed’ twice. I didn’t want to go through the rejection again, I didn’t want to deal with the embarressment. In my head, I could only imagine my boss looking at my application and thinking ‘Why on earth would she apply again?‘.

They didn’t want me the first time, it was hard to come back from that.

Then I heard it, the quote from the teenage heart-throb movie, and I suddenly realised I was letting fear dictate not only a terrible predicament of self-doubt, but dictate that I wasn’t worthy to keep chasing my goals.

I was letting the fear stop me from pursuing something I have been working really hard for, for the past year. This is another chance to put myself out there for something great, and I was prepared to let it slip by just to avoid the rejection.

But the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve come to realise that rejection is a part of life. I haven’t had a lot of it in mine so far, and I’m so grateful for that, but it’s something that I’m just going to have to learn how to take it in my stride.

Because I’m not always going to have the things I want handed to me. I think that there is going to be plenty more moments where someone says no, and I need to learn to be okay with that.

Three months down the track and I’ve finally realised that didn’t fail when I didn’t get the CN position last time. There were simply more experienced nurses than me. It doesn’t make me a bad nurse, or not capable of being a a CN. It’s taken me a long time to truely recognise that, or at the very least believe it.

So I applied again. And then I cried out of pure emotional exhaustion. I pushed through the fear, and that alone has been frightening. I feel vulnerable, and it’s a strange feeling coming from the usually confident, head-strong girl that I am.

There is a rather large chance that I still won’t get the position, but I don’t really think that’s the point anymore. This year for me, is about not letting the fear hinder and having a little more faith in myself. 

It may have taken Cinderella to teach me this, but I don’t plan on letting anyone bruise my self-worth ever again.

Be brave, be strong and be fearless in pursuit of what sets your heart on fire.

This is 2017. Do something you’ve always been a little too fearful to conquer before. 

Happy new year.

d x

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