Thankful for Travel…

So I am writing this post late, I had a very busy day, which for me is not always conducive to good writing or inspiration.  I have many travel type posts that I want to bring to my readers, as Thursday has recently become Travel Inspiration Thursday on KOOKLAH. A way to provide travel anecdotes or advice regularly and hopefully provide inspiration for travel often!

Today, I thought I would write a different style of post, I have decided to link up to Creating Contentment, for Thankful Thursday. In keeping with travel as a theme, I decided I would write about some things I am thankful for – that are relevant to this theme.

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Above is a picture snapped in 2012 in New York City on a walk from Brooklyn to Manhattan.  It is one of my most favourite pictures with a splash of what became my favourite city behind me. Traveling makes me feel alive and blessed for all that I have. For that I am thankful, I feel it is a blessing to be able to experience another culture, country and meet it’s people. To keep it simple today, I am going to list ten other things I am thankful for, but I could go on forever.

1. When I was very young, around 4 or 5, my Mum passed on an old Atlas to my sister and I. It had this big, beautiful coloured world map. I would lie on my belly on the floor looking at that map for hours and imagining big adventures in my head. As I got older I would go through the atlas and take turns reading about different cities, cultures and countries. I was in awe. I am so incredibly thankful that Mum gave us the Atlas and didn’t throw it out… Mum gave me the very thing that sparked my interest in travel and I won’t ever forget it.

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2. I am thankful that I was raised by two kind, loving, honest, well-rounded and supportive parents. Who gave my siblings and I an upbringing that was full of knowledge, stories and encouragement to be open minded and accepting of people no matter their race, religion, culture or sexuality. Due this we all have interest in exploring places other than our own.

3. I am thankful that a friend came to me at the start of 2012 with an idea to do a tour of the USA. It was fun, an eyeopener and a great way to spend my first overseas trip!

4. I feel blessed that we went to the memorial at The World Trade site. It is the first massive world event I can remember (I was in year six) and it changed how I’d viewed the world. To go there was so humbling and moving, looking at those pools with the water continually running, I felt thankful to live in a safe place and thankful to have the opportunity to pay respects to the people whose souls I had long thought of and cried for.

5. I am thankful that I feel continually inspired by the world and some of the amazing places I have seen. Like the Grand Canyon in Nevada, Stonehenge in the UK and the Eiffel Tower all lit up + sparkling in Paris. To see some future places I hope to see, read my post Five Destinations to Explore.

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6. I am thankful that I have an AMAZING travel agent who goes above and beyond, and always gets excited as if it is her own holiday. Her hardwork and enthusiasm is such a bonus.

7. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to have worked hard and secured a good position that allows me to fund my travel.

8. I am thankful that my boss granted me permission to take a longer period of leave for the USA Adventure I am planning, which will take place from the end of December this year to the start of Feb next year.

9. I am thankful to my friends Lauren and Chris who are joining me for a third of my trip, it will be fun to spend two and a half weeks together which will include New Years Eve.

10. I am excited for the experience we will have when we stay in New York City for two weeks, not in a hotel, but in an apartment! Will give us a more ‘local’ experience.  I am thankful we could find a good deal, in an incredible location. I am so thankful, as it was starting to get stressful.

I hope you have enjoyed this post, be sure to check out the other thankful posts which will be linked via Creating Contentment’s site. I’m interested in what you are thankful for, travel or otherwise.

Kooklah xo

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Give a Gift to Everyone You Meet

I am thrilled to be sharing this post with you all {uploading late – sorry!}, a brilliant post gifted to us from Sarah at Creating Contentment with an important message. In life we all give and take, but do we all give enough of ourselves to others? Do we even recognise the gift we have, that we are? It was lovely to read this after a testing week and reflect on what I have to offer….
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I came across this line recently and think it rather lovely.

Give The Gift Of You.
YOU are a gift. Share this gift with everyone you meet. Now of course, I don’t mean a literal gift.

Smile at others. Ask after their day. Be kind. Be polite. Listen to people.

The simple act of smiling releases endorphins making you feel happier.

Being kind towards others encourages more kindness. 

By asking the girl at the supermarket how she is, you will develop ties with your community and strong community ties are important for a healthy wellbeing. 

Developing a sense of community can be difficult. You need to put yourself out there. You need to give yourself to the community. But before you can gift yourself to others, you need to believe yourself to be a worthy gift. And I am here to tell you that you are!

I too, have struggled to integrate myself in my local community, especially my children’s school. There are lots of articles like this one that describe the mother ‘types’ at schools and explore the difficulties of the school years. I find such articles unhelpful and hurtful. In this one in particular, I am five of the different mother types listed. It is judgmental and encourages stereotypes. I hope that other mothers can look at me for who I am, rather than the mother that sends her child to school with kale chips. Or, feel the need to be nasty because I enjoy dressing up to drop the kids off. 

If you want to meet new people, a common suggestion given is to do new things. So I signed up to do heaps of stuff at the boys school. I was (and am) on committees and boards, I volunteer in the classroom and help out on excursions. I’m often early to pick up my children and like to chat with other mums and teachers in the school yard. I hang around long after the last bell to give my children a run around on the oval and the playground. I feel like I am almost always there and am very willing to help. Yet, despite all this effort on my part, I didn’t feel ‘in’ or accepted. I still didn’t feel as if other mothers were being friendly towards me or as if I belonged to the school community.  

Over the summer holidays, I decided that a big part of this equation is me. I can control what I do and how I am. So, I decided to be happy (at school). I have decided to smile more. I have decided to approach other mothers, rather than stand apart. I decided to make eye contact. I now always say good morning. I ask how they are. I participate in the school community because I want to, rather than because I am needed.

There is more to community than simply going along. You need to give yourself to others.

It is for this reason that I also share a photo of myself everyday on Facebook and Instagram. I am putting myself out there as a gift. I hope that I am received well, but ultimately that is not something I can control so I am trying not to worry about it. 

But essentially, it is basic physics. Karma if you like. What you put out, you will receive. I am going to be friendly so to make friends. I am going to give myself, so that others will give themselves back to me.

Being apart of a community is something I value, and studies show that it is an important part of a persons healthy wellbeing. So, not only am I going along to everything but I am going to have fun and be joyful, smile and be positive. It does not matter how others perceive my behaviour, I cannot control the amount of themselves they give me. But, I am going to give myself, because I am worth giving.

What do you think? Am I onto something here?

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Sounds of Inspiration – Guest post for Creating Contentment

All my life I have loved music. This easily stems back to my early childhood where the typical children’s songs and entertainment of the time {the very first version of The Wiggles} would be played for not much longer than an hour or two before Mum and Dad would turn it off, place a record from their collection in the player and blare it. Anything and everything in their collection was played – the list would fill this page – but it always had a decent beat, could be danced or sung to and was played loud. I loved it. It forms my fondest memories… music was always in the background.

From there music became the vice for me to cope with anything life could throw my way.

In December I picked a song that was ‘current’ of the moment that made me feel energised and inspired whenever I heard it. I thought this is the song, it is the one that I am using to remind myself of my strength and resilience, to promote confidence……

For the rest of the post, and to find out what the song is, head to Creating Contentment

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I hope you have enjoyed this post, I would love to know if anyone else has a song that is spurring them on at the moment,

Styling Positive,

Sarah/Kooklah — For the Style Seeking Girl