Whitsunday Dreaming

There’s always something so therapeutic about travel. Those of you who read my last post about mindfulness know it’s certainly something I struggle with, as do most. The beauty of exploring a new place is the ease with which we begin living in the moment.

This last couple of months have been the hardest I’ve faced in a long time. In the days leading up to my trip I began dreading it. It had been feeling impossible to pull myself out of bed every day, my mind running a million miles an hour, eyes welling with involuntary tears at least once an hour. I was terrified of leaving my comfort zone. However, like usual, I was strong and I persisted.

Sitting on the plane to Brissie I let out a breath I felt I’d been holding for weeks. I was back in my other comfort zone, adventure. I curled up on my tray table, seated between two large strangers and snoozed almost all the way there.

Upon arrival I caught the Sky Train and landed in a place I know like the back of my hand, Brisbane CBD. It was buzzing. I deliberately walked the long way to my hotel. The air was warmer than Perth, the restaurants still overflowed with happy, chatty people. I smiled at a few of them, lugging my old faithful Harley Davidson bag behind me. Upon check in I bonded with the receptionist over our mutual love of downing a wine and making friends with new people in local pubs. She beamed with that familiar Brisbane welcome I always forget about and instantly miss when I leave. She also upgraded me to a top floor South Bank view room. Not bad, Ibis Styles!

Fresh from my shower I pulled back the crisp sheets of my bed and watched Pretty Woman with my curtains wide open and the wheel sparkling up at me. My heart was still aching but my body was content.

The next day I wandered slowly up Grey Street to our glorious head office and met with my team for the first time. I got to hold my best friend again, and apologise to my boss for being such a liability. I drank a lot of coffee.

True to form I ended up scrambling around with a minute to spare before Wyland and I made our way back to the airport. Our Jetstar flight was smooth and on time. Our hotel, Mantra Club Croc, was a darling little resort just up the road from Abell Point Marina (fun fact, it’s also the Topdeck hotel).

We spent the next couple of days swimming, chatting and relaxing with our incredible group of travel agents. We really couldn’t have been luckier. They were all utterly brilliant and equally hilarious. I couldn’t have asked for a more flamboyant and eager group of people to show off our sweet Aussie treasures to.

Wyland, as expected, was my perfect co-host; the organiser to my hyper and the calm to my storm. Wy and I go way back, as we like to say. She was my second team leader at Infinity and is a truly wonderful friend.

Day three of the trip was a big one for me. I decided to take control of my turmoil and cut my heart strings before they tore me any further. Then I went on the best day tour of my life.

Whitehaven beach and Hill Inlet are more spectacular than I can put in to words. My agents and I stood, open-mouthed and awe-struck at a vision so glorious that pictures can’t do it justice.

We then went string ray spotting in crystal clear water and I felt cleansed and whole and calm again.

We used Camira to sail the Whitsundays and they were fantastic. At one point I realised our group had claimed one of the nets at the front of the catamaran for our own and most of the other guests were crammed on the other. Big personalities, what can I say?

The next day consisted of ‘work’, inspecting gorgeous hotels and getting fed and watered by gracious hosts. I can honestly say I can’t wait for my first enquiry. I’m going to convert the shit out of it. If anyone does want any Whitsunday tips and tricks just shoot me a message!

Our final full day was reserved exclusively for one of the seven wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef. I have had the utter privilege of snorkelling here three times now. She is spectacular. On this trip we coined the term ‘straws are for murderers’, and it was good to be reminded why. Our government might not give a shit about conservation, but the TNQ guys certainly do. Massive efforts are being made to reduce the damage done to our reef and it shows. The people are so passionate, as we all should be about our precious home. Climate change is real people!

So, here I sit, sipping a wine on my second flight of the day. I’m a little sleepy, but very content. I can’t say ‘who needs therapy when you’ve got travel?’ Because I certainly need both, but it was really nice to remind myself that my impulse to explore isn’t just a deep seeded need to run away. I’m an explorer, a doer. I grab life by the balls and I jump in feet first. I’m strong, emotional, kind, fun and mental and it’s all going to be okay. Andrà tutto bene.

I have faith in myself, I have love for my country and I have a truly incredible life.

Thanks baby Jesus for the start, thanks mum and dad for the top upbringing and thanks to me for continually attracting good things and being far more resilient than I give myself credit for.

Yours, everyone,

HarleighQ

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Solid Gold Coast

I’m taking HarleighQ back to her roots with a true and traditional, good old fashioned travel post!

I recently spent the most perfect four days with a group of my West Australian based agents in the place I like to call ‘The Bali of Australia’.

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Particularly for the people of P Town, the Gold Coast can be seen as an alternative to their old faithful holiday destination. It’s four hours east rather than three hours north, so not much of a difference travel time-wise.  The airport is small and cosy, and very easy to navigate; even I managed to find the transfer information desk.

The easiest way to do the Goldie from Perth is to fly into Coolangatta airport. Jetstar offer direct flights most days. However, you can fly in to Brisbane if you would prefer. It’s about one hour from Brisbane airport to Surfers Paradise. Coolangatta is half an hour in the other direction.

The beauty of the Gold Coast and Queensland in general is the kind nature of the locals. I’ve never met friendlier people than those you will come across with in the Sunshine State.  People know how to merge! This makes for very pleasant driving and that is why I will always recommend a car hire. Not only is it easier to get around, although the public transport system there is fantastic, you can come and go to the theme parks as you please rather than relying on transfer buses. You can check out the other beaches too. This is a massive highlight.

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I was really stoked when I found out that during free time, a group of my agents made their way to the surf club in Burleigh Heads upon my recommendation of ‘living like a local’ and checking one out.

The beaches come incredibly close to rivaling that of the ones that we have back here in Perth. They are beautiful and can be spectacular surf spots, most of the time.

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My personal favourite is Currumbin. I enjoy the vintage cars and old school surfies riding their bikes around the area. It is a very groovy place positioned between the main beaches (Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach) and Coolangatta (the airport).

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There’s a TAB and BWS on every corner too.

The Gold Coast has such a 70s holiday vibe. Some of the hotels are pushing that age but haven’t lost their charm. We were lucky enough to check out some of the ones scattered along the front of Surfers Paradise. The views from their ocean facing rooms were spectacular.  The value of these hotels is unparalleled.

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One of the things I love most about the Goldie is the fact that it appeals to all ages. There is a very healthy party scene, but families are heavily considered in all areas.  There are five star escapes dotted between huge family resorts. We saw pirate ships and lagoons, day spas and Jacuzzis. They show no bias in Australia’s favourite holiday destination!

As far as the theme parks go, they really are fun for everyone.

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I have officially visited all five now and I must say I can’t wait to go back. My personal favourite is Movie World, for the fact that I can hug the Joker, Batman and Harley. Having said that though, Shrek lives in Dreamworld. That’s a tough one.

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There are rides for all fear levels, but if you see a small child heading to a ride that you are too scared to go on, you know what you have to do. We let the wee ones give us pep talks before going on a lot of the them and it had to be the highlight of my day; especially when later on we ran into them again, and they asked us if we were still okay and having a good day. What little angels.

The theme parks are located inland from the main beaches. They are approximately 30 to 45 minutes away from Surfers Paradise, depending on your mode of transport. You can’t stay at them, but I wouldn’t recommend it even if you could. The beach is what makes the Gold Coast. Also, the parks can individually be knocked off in one day, quite easily.

Where Surfers has an incredible amount of family activities, excellent shops and a beach that is well guarded, Broadbeach is like her mellow older sister. Broadie is where you will find the spectacularly renovated Star casino, Dracula’s Cabaret (a superbly camp 18+ dinner show), and more restaurants then you can poke a stick at. The best part is it’s only one beach down and still super easy access to the theme parks and airport. Both places are connected by the very clean and incredibly easy to use tram line. Well, I managed it.

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I would recommend Broadbeach to the more seasoned crowd. If you’re a foodie, huge shopping centre fan, have done Surfers before or just want somewhere to chill, this is the spot for you.

A fun fact about most of the apartment hotels in Queensland is that they are half residential, half owned by the property itself and rented for holiday purposes. This means you really can live like a local.

I have to touch on one of my favourite things to do while living in Brissie that is super easy to do from the Goldie too, and that’s visit the northern New South Wales coast.

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Byron Bay and its surrounding towns are pure hippy heaven. If you enjoy that sort of vibe, it’s a must see, and barely a 45 minute drive from Surfers Paradise. I took my family down there for lunch one day while they were visiting, and they fell in love too. The view from the Lighthouse alone is enough to overwhelm anyone’s expectation. It’s spectacular.

As I’m sure you can tell by the tone of this article I am definitely more of a Gold Coast fan and the Sunshine Coast. I do enjoy both, however, the vintage and rockabilly scene down south is so heavily embraced by many of the locals. I can’t help but feel completely at home when I am there.

So, fellow Western Australians, if you are looking for an awesome value alternative to your usual Asia escape, you’ve found the perfect spot.

Explore your own backyard. I promise you, she’s a wonder. You won’t regret it.

Looking for some recommendations?

A few hotels I love:

1

QT Surfers Paradise 5* – Amazing for couples or groups of friends looking for somewhere funky and fun

2

Mantra Crown Towers 4* – One of the best family hotels, self catering apartment style

3

Breakfree Beachpoint/Imperial Surf 3* – they might look basic from the outside but those views

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Mantra Broadbeach on the Park 4* – quite possibly the most perfect location in Broadbeach

 

A few restaurants I love: 

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Cucina Vivo – incredible fresh Italian located in Star Casino

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– Chiangmai Thai Restaurant Surfers Paradise – award winning Thai located at Mantra Crown Towers

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Clifford’s Grill and Lounge – tapas style fine dining at the Watermark hotel Surfers Paradise

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Easy Street Diner – American style cuisine in Broadbeach (stop smirking, sideways crew!)

Have I missed anything? Let me know your top tips for the Goldie!

All my Queenslander love

Harleigh Q

xo

A Lady I Dig Called… DJ Honey

The stunning Miss Honey and I have been friends for about a year now.

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The first time I saw her it was love at first sight. I thought, who is that tiny girl with the massive beehive, incredible record collection and stellar moves? Outfits always on point, she began her weekend residency at Sonny’s House of Blues (my favourite bar in Brisbane) a month before I moved back to Perth. Honey commands the stage with her classic presence and transports you back to a dance hall in 1965. She is the perfect Soul Girl.

After spending the morning co-hosting her show ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang‘ which features on 4ZZZ every Thursday morning from 9 – 10am, we found ourselves snuggled among wood and ropes in The Lost Boys; a sweet little brunch spot in the Valley, and perfect setting for our Passion Chat.

Soundtrack:

Barbara Lynn – I’m a Good Woman

Okay Honey, who are you?

Ah… I am a woman. I am a human being and I am a DJ.

I like that. I like the order. I am woman, first and foremost. 

Yep. Conquer of my own destiny (laughs).

Excellent, and describe yourself in three words.

Absolutely fabulous, darling.

That sums you up perfectly. What’s your favourite childhood memory?

Probably… Travelling (pause) Definitely. Growing up we lived in Kombi vans, caravans… and we got to see so much of the world. Mother nature, really. The ocean, sand dunes, bush, animals –

Exploring Australia properly.

Yes, Australia, and Europe. England!

You were born in England?

I was born in Scarborough, North Yorkshire. Then I moved over to Australia when I was 8. I have lived here every since. I grew up in WA then moved over to Melbourne in a van with my dog.

What kind of dog do you have?

A Chihuahua cross – and now I’m residing in Brisbane.

You love it?

I love the weather.

So what do you do for a living?

I am fortunate enough to be a DJ, so I play 60s soul records every weekend and I get to eat and drink for free while playing my favourite songs and dancing.

You’re mesmerising too! I’ll always remember the first time I walked in and saw you and I thought, oh my God I need to know her. She is a Goddess. You rock it.

I love it. Oh my gosh. It’s such an incredible opportunity. I get to share my favourite songs that I used to dance around to in my lounge room while drinking. Now I get to do it in a bar! and I get paid to do it.

And you have your radio show too.

Yes I have my show on 4ZZZ called Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and through that I’ve met some incredible women. I interview female DJs, authors-

That’s me.

(laughs) Plug. But yeah, just some really awesome women.

Is your show always about women? Based on female artists?

Yep. All female artists. Particularly from the 50s, 60s and 70s but then also we have modern day artists with the retro sound.

You’ve been doing this for six months.

Yep, that’s right.

Okay, here’s a good one. Name a band or artist that changed your life.

So… I love Elvis Presley.

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Yes you do! (laughs) Look at your little face. You really love Elvis.

Yep. He is, other than my dog, the love of my life. I remember first hearing him when I was about 7 years old and… We used to go to the library every week. I asked mum and dad about him- because this was pre-internet days-and we got all these books. I knew the Elvis Presley section off by heart. I used to borrow all of his CDs and cassettes. When we went to the video store I got all of his movies. I learned everything about him and I love it all; his music, his style, the kind of human he was. He was so new and paving his own way, but still paying respect to the Blues and  RnB artists who came before him.

There is no one else like him.

He was the start of your love affair with soul music?

Yes, definitely. I listened to his songs and in the CD sleeves I’d see the writers of them and I would look those people up. Again, at the library.

So vintage.

So time consuming! Then I would listen to all their stuff. I was very lucky that mum and dad had a really vast collection, and mum would say, if you like that you should listen to this which is similar. Then it just grew and grew.

Have you been to Graceland yet?

YES! I went to Graceland last year (huge sigh) best moment of my life. That place is just… so magical. The whole of Memphis is so dedicated to him. You talk to people in bars who have met him, seen him around. This person who was an idol to you is an actual human being now. Then you go to his house and, again, his style was so ahead of his time and unique. He was just doing his own thing. Obviously they have all of his awards on the walls-

But it’s about so much more than that.

It’s about how kind he was as a person; not in a bragging way either. It was just the way he was. The overwhelming feeling I had after going there was what a wonderful man he was, not about his super-stardom.

Listening to Lisa Marie on the headset as you walk around, talking about the wonderful things he did for people and it’s just – emotional!

Yep. Random people in the street received his generosity. He is the King of my heart.

What makes you smile? Don’t say Elvis.

(Pause) um…. The King of Rock and Roll? (laughs)

He’s all you can think about now. I’ve got my questions in the wrong order.

Yeah, we should have saved him until last. Okay, so: my dog, Angus, my records – they are my confidants.

You must have a really good collection by now.

Um… yeah, it can always be better (laughs) it’s growing. Okay also… G&Ts, sunshine, ocean, animals, dancing, my girl posse, my family, travelling and… Orgasms! Because… of course!

What makes your frown?

Plastic bags, animal cruelty, sexism, racism, inequality. People who use the wrong there, their and they’re.

Oh we’re getting political. Who do you admire?

I admire people who are true to themselves. People who seek adventure, who won’t settle for what they’re told they should be content with. People who are kind. Ain’t nothing sexier than kindness.

Hashtag.

That’s my motto.

What’s your favourite line from a song? 

There’s so many… ‘A little less conversation, a little more action’.

Good choice. That kind of sums it up really. 

You could be talking about lots of things.

What your favourite film? 

There’s an Italian film called La Vita Bella (A Beautiful Life) and it’s probably one of the saddest films I’ve ever seen, but it’s so full of love and hope and optimism.

How old were you when you first saw it?

18 I think? Quite old.

Who is your favourite person?

You can’t have favourites (laughs).

I feel like I could answer that very quickly.

Well I’ve been banned from using that name anymore.

I’ll allow it for this one question.

I still don’t know if he’s my favourite person. I don’t think I have a favourite. I have lots. I think if you pick, it closes a door to finding more favourite people.

That’s very true; but who is your least favourite?

I don’t know… Everyone I think of still has their own story of how they got there, and their own rationale. So… you can somewhat understand how they are who they are. That’s a really lame answer.

No it’s actually a really good answer. Once you learn the art of empathy it’s hard to let it go. 

Exactly.

What’s your proudest achievement? 

This is a hard one. I’m always striving to do more. I haven’t got there yet.

You have such a high standard for yourself! I feel like you have done so many amazing things; just from the stories you’ve told me today. I get it though. What’s your biggest fear? 

This is really quite a privileged fear, but, it would be living in a house in suburbia with a mortgage, trying to keep up with the Joneses and trying to be some Stepford wife. I mean, it’s a safe life. But that would do my head in.

If you’re not living, you’re dying. There is no in between.

Yep, doing the same thing every day, that would be my biggest fear.

What is your biggest passion in life?

Music is definitely up there. I have always listened to music and there’s a song for every mood. Every song can take you back to a time, a place, a person. Happiness or heartbreak.

But also, just being kind and compassionate. Every single day I try to be kind.

Do you think it takes such a strong person to be that way? I think it’s so easy for you to close people out and not let them penetrate your shield, but to be kind you are putting so much of yourself out there. It’s a really good way to be. 

Yeah. Like you say, it can be exhausting.

What’s your favourite piece of advice?

I don’t think anyone ever said this to me, but ‘live every moment as if it’s your last’, tell everyone how much they mean to you, even if they roll their eyes because you’ve said it to them 100 times that day.

It’s still good to hear.

Spend as much time as you can with the people you love, and doing something, even if you’re completely exhausted. Just do it, because you could die tomorrow.

I often hear people say ‘If you die tomorrow, would you be happy with what you’ve accomplished?’ And people say no, but I really would. I do everything I want to do.

You make choices every day to project what you want to achieve in your life, and you might not accomplish everything but you should be happy in your back catalogue about the steps you took to get yourself to where you are now. 

At least you tried.

Well done for getting this far. So, are you in love?

Yes. I’ve been in love since I was 7 years old with Elvis Presley.

(Laughs) How does [your partner] feel about that?

He has no choice. He has to share.

Do you love yourself?

Um… I think we all do in a way. We have to.

Some people don’t, I think. Hopefully not many. I think most people can’t admit it because there’s such a negative connotation with it. 

Yeah, like you’re up yourself. But, okay. Do I love myself? Yes. But-

Look at you not wanting to just say it!

Yes! Exactly! And you’ll say it about every other person and yet you’ll be the last to say what a good job you’ve done, yourself. I try.

Be proud. I think that’s shifting it away from, ‘oh I’m so in love with myself’ to just being proud of yourself.

Be proud of your efforts, and what you’re putting out there.

So what is love to you?

It’s… Acceptance. Nobody is perfect. It’s actually our imperfections that make us beautiful and lovable, I think. I’s about enjoying another person and it’s about trust. Trust is… so rare.

If you could have anything in the world right now, what would it be and why?

A G&T.

~

Thank you beautiful creature for being my first.

For anyone interested in checking out Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, here is the stream link:

http://www.4zzzfm.org.au/program/kiss-kiss-bang-bang

https://www.facebook.com/kisskissbangbangradio/

You can find Honey Hip Shaker at Sonny’s House of Blues after the band every Friday and Saturday night.

All my love

Harleigh Q

xoxo

Three Weeks in Wonderland

The last three weeks I’ve felt a complete spiritual shift. I look down at the words ‘parallel universe’ permanently stamped on my forearm with an inflation of pride. Past Leigh got it, and she didn’t even know it yet.

~

A few weeks on from my life altering splash in Maya Bay I’m still spinning the things I felt over in my mind.

I feel like I woke up that day.

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I read a lot of interesting posts from very enlightened people these days, and much as I always thought I understood what they were saying, I marvelled at their courage but didn’t actually embrace it.

That all changed my first weekend in Brisbane when we attended Jungle Love.

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That Saturday morning I drove feeling rather worse for wear to a service station 45 minutes north of Brisbane. There I met my boss, essentially a male version of me, and his incredible girlfriend, and in my mystery machine we journeyed to a wonderland.

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Jungle Love is exactly that; a creek side creation of love, art and music, a celebration of life and happiness.

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When we arrived it poured of rain, so we sat in the boot of our car and bonded for a few hours over beer and any topic we met.

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Another wonderful friend arrived, Sib, and at that point we decided to make the trek through the rain to the music.

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We were met by people riding in floaties down the baby waterfall, a five piece of dressing gown-wearing kooks with an excellent organised dance routine, a pumping DJ set and a bunch of humans dancing freely in the rain. It was nothing short of magical and oh boy did we embrace it.

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After a few hours we decided to change in to some dryer clothes for the night’s festivities. We still had an abundance of drink tokens to burn. We made friends with the group of fellas in the van next to us, one of which turned out to be the organiser of Brisbane festival Red Deer. They were so fun and friendly. We all made our way to the roof top bar from which I got to see my favourite Aussie angel songstress Clea, and her new project with former Cairos singer Ali.

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Her voice is even more perfect in person and I really was blown away by their performance. The chemistry between them is electric. What a beautiful couple.

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Next came the build up to my boys, Vaudeville Smash. I was well and truly in the mode of free love and banter at that point. When Tijuana Cartel came on and rocked my world with their Americana dance fusion, I was fee-ling-it.

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One of the VS boys happened to pass by and I pulled him over for a catch up and boogie. By the time they hit the stage I had wiggled my way front and centre.

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They smashed it, playing hit after hit of funk which jams you right in the soul. I danced and sang and when they asked us all to get low I was thankful for the barrier to help me back up.

Post-performance high I wandered to the side for a smoke and then realised I’d lost my friends. Bum. Not to worry though, I was summoned back to the artists tent and got to hang with my darling friends. It’s all who you know, kids…

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I saw Michelle Xen fling about as she prepared for her mind bending performance. It’s definitely not my bag, but I can appreciate she’s one hell of a stand out artist.

The boys and I headed back to the roof top bar to catch her and smash some of my still left over drink tokens, before stumbling through the dark to check out the other stages.

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At one point we nearly tripped over a fella laying on the floor, still clutching the bike he’d clearly toppled sideways on. My ‘are you okay, my love?’ Was met by a groan and a thumb shot straight in the air. Loving it.

We came across a tent full of the mellowest group I have ever seen. There was a collection of wild woodwind instruments in the centre that I haven’t seen since primary school. I was pretty tempted to take a seat but I knew I’d end up waking up with drool down my shirt if I curled up on one of the rugs.

VS headed back to Brissie and I commenced my march back to camp. Lucky for me I knew exactly where I was going, it was just a lot further than I remembered. I made it, and rested with the door of my Mystery Machine wide open, the gentle beat of the all night tent soothing me to sleep.

~

In the morning I felt a lot fresher than expected, and was thankful because VS announced a gig at Leftys that afternoon. I managed a good nap and my darling Kate and I made it just in time.

Having two sets this time, the boys were able to jam out some of the hits I’ve been dying to hear them play live, but one in particular rocks my world:

GHOULS – VAUDEVILLE SMASH

I was up and grooving from that point on. Post gig the darlings came to us and we chatted passions and nonsense for the next 5 hours until it was well and truly time to go home. See you soon my loves. You blow my mind!

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I spent my week dancing around the ridiculous new head office. We have sky line views from the kitchen on our floor. I was honestly just enjoying having a window.

The roof top bar and cafe ‘MOFOs’ is heaven. I caught Skroo hanging out up there one morning. Our Christmas party took place there the following Saturday. You’ll all be proud to know I was my usual charming self and didn’t embarrass myself in the slightest; apart from sleazing on the Travelshoot guy. Girl can’t help herself. Kate is slowly teaching me to tricks of approaching men first though. I’m too old fashioned for my own good.

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Fast forward to this past weekend when the transformation was complete. That day at work was rough

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On Saturday night Kate took me to a party with some of her old friends and I just loved them. What a beautiful group of humans operating on a whole new wavelength.

We chatted about all sorts and when Kate wasn’t feeling well and needed to go, I requested the uber to drop me at my favourite place, Sonny’s House of Blues.

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Still riding the high of new experiences I danced with DJ Honey, the queen of soul music, and huddled at the bar with my old friends.

When I first moved to Brisbane and didn’t know a soul, Sonny’s was the first place I could call home. The people who work there are kind, interesting and I’m proud to call them my friends. I love going to visit whenever I’m back, like nothing has changed they remember my name. It’s etched on the VIP wall now too!

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I love the people at work from other teams who know my name, the people in mine who blow my mind with their warmth; I love every single person who loves me for me.

Life is so short. I want to spend mine letting people in. I’ll be honest and I’ll be kind. I just want to share the love I feel with everyone, and I will never again seek the approval of others to make me happy. It’s good to be strong and know who you are, to be confident and let everyone do their thing without it affecting you.

I have met some women through my life who I can only describe as absolutely magnetic. They were true, free and completely 100% themselves. They were different, they had their own style, they loved and didn’t expect anything in return. I’m pretty tired of apologising for being me. It was a long time coming, but I’m here now, and it’s golden. I am one of those women. I hope I can help breed a whole bunch more!

I know most people don’t care for what I have to say, or the epiphanies I’m having or what’s happening to me. Its just that I’ve been down and unsure and cripplingly lost within myself, and now that I’m back and strong, I just want everyone to find their own inner happiness; and when you do, we can share it around. It’s never too late to open youself up.

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I probably belong in a cult in the 70s, but hey, I’m fucking happy man.

See you soon B.

✌️️

With love

Harleigh Q

Xo

Close – A Short Story

I’ll never forget his deepest brown eyes. They were always so focused on mine.
I always loved the way his nose twitched when he smirked at me.
The curls of his dark beard were tight and thick, a give away of his Mediterranean heritage.
He rarely smiled with teeth, but it was beautiful when he did.
Our jokes were quiet and dry; told between eyes and pursed lips. I knew him well.

I’m unsure when I lost him, but I’ll never forget those things. I’ll keep them with me no matter what.

~

I wasn’t hard to find on a Friday night.
Months earlier my roommate and I had stumbled haplessly in to a dive bar and never left. The music was cool and old, as were the drinks. My hands were never lost for a scotch on the rocks. I would always resist the urge to scoff at her vodka and cokes. Friends don’t judge each other, I’d song in my head as she sipped through her straw. Her lip gloss was bleeding. I’d tell her later.

Each night was a feast of live music and spinning decks. This night my favourite DJ had just remixed the chorus of Etta James’ Prisoner of Love. I watched a couple slow dance and a young girl in creepers twirl on the spot. I took another gulp.

I was tired from a long week and determined to drink. Going home before kick out wasn’t an option. We were friends with the bartenders and had a reputation to uphold.

I made a gesture with two fingers to my mouth and my friend nodded her head. She’d man the table while I’d chat aimless with the bouncer, cigarette in hand. I might have had two this time.

As I put one foot in front of the other I realised the scotch was going down well. The stairs felt shorter than they where when I arrived.

It was a crisp June evening and I hadn’t grabbed my jacket. I huddled close to my bouncer friend as he lit my smoke for me.

‘How are you tonight, mia cara?’ He cooed as I gazed down the blurry ally way.

‘Not bad. It’s fresh. I’m ready to party.’ He smirked and bowed his head.

‘When are we going to party?’ I’d been waiting for that.

‘Soon darling, soon’ I responded flatly. A group of young men were walking towards us. I stepped to the side to allow my friend to do his job. They each whipped out their ID’s. A couple of them glanced me up and down. I spotted a dark fellow at the back of the group looking at me quite intently. I spun my back to them and took another drag. I wasn’t wearing my glasses. I couldn’t make decisions on attractiveness at this time.

~

I rejoined my girl. Her long blonde hair flicked over her shoulder as she turned to me. ‘That couple are my favourite’ she purred. I glanced at the pair who were now swing dancing to a song I was unfamiliar with. I took a sip of my drink.

‘See anyone we know yet?’ She shook her head and sighed.

‘Thankfully. I’m starting to think we need a new local’. We both scoffed at the comment. This place could have been created by us, for us. Our kinda music, our kinda drinks, our kinda darkness. It had old style booths and candles in mason jars. The toilets were covered in graffiti. The staff drank with you and the bands stayed to socialise.

I felt someone watching me and turned my head slightly to see the same man from outside standing by the bar. He moved as I looked. Odd. ‘Is he attractive?’ I asked my companion. She put her lip gloss down and squinted towards the bar where I had tilted my head.

‘The beardy one or the tall one?’

‘Beardy.’ I finished my drink and glanced back to make sure there wasn’t anyone for her to get confused with.

‘Very,’ she answered quietly. I tilted my chin up and raised my eyebrows. Often our definitions of attractive were quite different. ‘No, really,’ she pressed. ‘You’ll like this one.’

I placed my empty glass back on the table and collected my clutch. ‘I’ll be back. Your lip gloss is running’.

I imagined her scrambling through her bag for her hand mirror as I sauntered away and smirked. I couldn’t see the man anymore but I saw my dearest bartender part the crowds to blow me a kiss. You have to be subtle when you’re going to skip the line, so I moved to the side and took a stool. I had hoped this might attract the stranger to my corner but I waited alone for a repeat of my usual.

When I made it back to the table my girl was now adjusting her hair. ‘Stop it. You’re fine.’

‘That’s alright for you to say, you aren’t going to run in to an ex here,’ she had a hint of stress in her gaze.

‘If we see him, I’ll murder him. How’s that?’ She grinned wickedly at me and chewed on her straw.

‘Excellent.’

~

Half an hour passed before I felt his presence next to me. It was a quick sweep past, and then next thing I knew the deepest dark eyes I had ever seen were gazing directly in to mine. He had knelt down at my table and placed his drink next to mine.

‘I’m sorry to disturb you, but would you like another drink?’ My glass was empty, but I don’t like to owe people things.

‘I’ll come with you,’ I responded, and my friend dutifully faded in to the background.

At the bar I could feel his closeness like a furnace. Did people usually stand this close when they didn’t know each other?

‘I’ve seen you here before. Didn’t your friend have pink hair last time?’ I laughed and nodded. No need to explain her wig fetish to a man we don’t know. He nodded and looked in to my eyes again. I forgot what we were talking about. I saw my bouncer friend appear over his shoulder, a shadow across his face. I looked away and sighed. Men are tiring, I thought.

A fresh whisky was pushed towards me and I was guided back to the table with a gentle hand to the lower back. He let me sit before he pulled up a chair. At this point he turned to my friend and she raised her gaze curiously.

‘Do you mind me joining you?’ He asked gently. She was pleasantly surprised. Her head shook with a smile and she turned back to the music. That was when those eyes returned to me.

I can’t tell you what we spoke about, how long we danced or which route we took back to mine, but when he kissed my hand at the door and walked alone up the city street I knew this one was different. I slept restlessly, between sighs and possibilities.

~

Two weeks later we had been out three times. The first night was dinner, the second was drinks on my balcony. The third was Riverfire.

The sky was lit spectacularly. We were perched on the riverbank in the most perfect spot, surrounded by groups of people drinking and cheering. I couldn’t help but notice his eyes on me when they should have been on the display. I grinned to myself and absorbed in this moment. I would remember this too. This was a feeling I hadn’t known, and I was starting to think it was the only feeling in the world that mattered.

An hour later, tipsy on cheap wine and butterflies we wandered hand in hand through the CBD. We took the long way home. The buzz of our surroundings was intoxicating. So was his company. I knew this wouldn’t be the end of the night, so I was in no hurry. I felt no urgency with him. Perhaps that’s how it’s supposed to be; when it’s more than just lust and a drunken adventure.

I hadn’t known this specialness. He didn’t have to tell me in words that I was magic to him. I felt it in his closeness, the way he watched my movements and smiled when I made a bad joke. Adoration? Perhaps just appreciation. Pure and sweet appreciation.

~

When we reached my door I scanned my key card. My roomie was out with her flavour of the month. We would be undisturbed.

It was then that he tugged my hand and pulled me in to his embrace. His lips pressed firmly against mine and I felt him breathe me in. We stayed that way for a touch longer than you should. I thought of the way his nose twitched when he smirked at me, the way he rarely smiled with teeth. I let myself be lost, and then he pulled away and I was back. The hallway was still red, the door was still open, my head was still in the clouds.

~

I’ll never forget his deepest brown eyes. They were always so focused on mine.
I always loved the way his nose twitched when he smirked at me.
The curls of his dark beard were tight and thick, a give away of his Mediterranean heritage.
He rarely smiled with teeth, but it was beautiful when he did.
Our jokes were quiet and dry; told between eyes and pursed lips. I knew him well.

I’m unsure when I lost him, but I’ll never forget those things. I’ll keep them with me no matter what.

Those were the things I remembered when his hands closed around my throat.

~

My body was found a week later in a small patch of bush land along the riverbank. A dog had sniffed me out on his morning walk. I was partially clothed, heavy bruising visible around my neck and wrists. The police said I was the third to be found in this way in the past six months. I was on every front page for the next two weeks, then when no more bodies appeared in the following year, people forgot my name and my story.

They never did catch him, the one who took my heart and my life; the one who never felt anything at all.

Honey, that’s just the blues

I’d like to preface this one by stating: my family are my life. They are my best friends, they always will be and they know it, but for those who have gotten used to a life a few thousand miles away, coming home can be quite the challenge.

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A lot can happen when you move away or travel for an extended period of time. It’s not just post-holiday glumness when you return to your 9-5. You change. You have gone through a period of questioning every single thing about yourself and have met people who challenged you and taught you things. You had to create a new life, a new happiness. The nights spent alone become easy. Spending time with strangers teaches you how to sus people out quickly, and how to bond with new friends.

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The people you clicked with so well before start to glaze over when you tell stories from your time away. They’ll lose interest in what you learned and who you met. You think it’ll be easy to fall back in to what you had before, but it’s actually impossible. You aren’t the old you anymore.

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It’s my fault really. I’ve left part of myself with my Brisfam and for a while I’ll be living in the memories of what we created there; until we make some new ones here at least. Every day there was filled with new possibilities. I’m definitely going to try and recreate that here in Perth if I can, but it’s a very different mental space when you have the comfort of home and old friends. I don’t want to lose everything I gained during my forced independence.

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Ive always had my friends spread all over the place. I have people I consider among my best and closest from Brisbane to Melbourne to Wellington to England. I love people, I like spending time with them. I love stories and their tellers more than anything in the world. Most of all, I love people who share my passions.

I value every single one of my mates. They all bring something amazing and different to the table, but unless they’ve experience these kind of blues it can be so hard to explain the disconnect. You can still love people and feel like you don’t belong.

Maybe it’s because in the last year I have learned to love change. Something I used to fear has become my way of knowing I’m alive. I love living day by day not knowing who I’m going to meet or what’s going to happen. Routine has never been my bag. I just can’t wait to be on the road again.

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Perth will always be my home. It’s where I see myself settling down and starting a family. But right now, 24 years old and desperate for adventure, it’s just not where I see myself. I’d like to also note, I made this decision while still living in Brisbane. A few months ago in the throws of homesickness I made some rash statements about starting the rest of my life here, but when that became a reality I understood very quickly that that is a commitment I am absolutely not ready for. I know. I’m exhausting.

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Coffee?

I told you itchy feet would kick in! At the end of this year once the debts are cleared I’ll be relocating. I love Australia. I don’t know yet if it’ll be Brisbane or Melbourne, but I’ll be going. This is my chance, young and free with the greatest job in the world, to embrace every opportunity. I’m going to grab this bull by the horns.

I’m sure some will say, ‘in time you’ll settle in! You can’t make that decision yet. You’ll find happiness again in Perth.‘ I don’t doubt I will. Leaving will be difficult I’m sure! But my goal is to live as many places as I can, and become the strongest and most interesting person I can. I love what being away from home does to me. I like independent Leigh. I’m not tied down financially and I have a job with incredible flexibility (don’t get me wrong though, I work damn hard to prove I’m worth hanging on to!). I’m not about easy or the comfort of home just yet. I want stories.

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Just know I love all of you, regardless of whether I’m a drive or phone call away; but let’s enjoy this year first shall we? I just don’t want to drunkenly spill the beans one night, so here it is!

I am beyond lucky that my family are so incredibly supportive of my choices, and to be honest they probably enjoy the phone having a hang up button. Chatter-box in person does not! My drive probably stems from them making the mad move to London when they were young anyway. Now that’s bravery! But la famiglia e per sempre.

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This is just for me; some accountability, and a goal to keep me level.

xo

P.S. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you’re contemplating a big move: DO IT. People are wonderful, honestly. You just have to go in with the right mental space. Don’t go backwards. Don’t give up.  You can handle absolutely anything! I promise you that. I would know. Softest, most family oriented, broken and codependent 22 year old over here turned wild adventurer. Be whoever you want to be. Our days are numbered. Spend them happy.

A Love Letter to Brisbane

Dearest B

I never expected to fall in love this way. It happened so slowly, then one day the realisation hit me like a moving train. I love Brisbane.

At first I resisted your charms, dear city. I was very unsure and yearned for the familiar. I missed the sand between my toes, the wide open roads and commodores. Then one day I found myself in one of the coolest bars I’ve ever been to (still my favourite local haunt) listening to music I love, surrounded by people who were clearly loving it just as much. They were dressed amazingly, dancing brilliantly and having the best time ever; so was I!

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You are bold and interesting, fun, vibrant, progressive. Everything a city should be. You’ve opened my eyes and my heart.

I landed here a broken girl and am leaving as a woman; stronger, wiser and wilder than ever.

I never could have imagined the complete makeover you would give me. I have had my ups and downs with you, don’t get me wrong, but I’m leaving a little piece of my heart here.

So much can happen in 7 months.

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I got to see a show by the great Baz, listen to countless numbers of incredible live bands, pop over to Sydney for work, road trip to Byron and Noosa, be a finalist in a pin up parade, master the art of frozen veggies and chicken, watch the world go by from my balcony…

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Jess and I have cemented ourselves as sisters. We may fight like cat and dog over dishes, but there’s no one I would rather have spent this time with.

People have come and gone in our stories. Some came along to make it better for a little while, others were just another lesson. It’s what being a young woman is all about! I look forward to meeting all the new people to come. I want hear their stories and create some new ones with them. Meeting people has to be my favourite thing in the world. They are amazing.

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We have two weeks left in our little home. I won’t miss fighting with the tourists to get in the lift, or the construction work at 8am on a Saturday, but that damn balcony has known so much. My little happy place. It’s heard hour long phone conversations with distant friends, tears over a glass of wine, dinner and debriefs, drinking games with new friends, early morning music sessions with Rock stars (I shit you not mate)…. It’s been a wild ride.

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This last weekend in particular will go down in the history books as one of the coolest fucking weekends of all time. Anyone who knows me knows my obsession with live music and passionate views on soul, funk and new wave. We reached peak Brisbane when we pulled a visiting Melbourne band. We aren’t groupies. We are Band Aids. The rest of that story can stay in my vivid memory. Just call me Penny Lane…

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So what does the rest of our year hold?

Well, after a two week rest in our beautiful little home of Perth (and a quick trip to Margs for my second pro stalk of the season) we will be jetting to America for 3 months of debauchery before coming back to business time. I plan on being a little money making gun in my new team, looking after my dear WA agents, smashing out the savings.

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Come October my little Ling Ling, Elana, and I will be partying in Thailand. I will finally be visiting the place that’s been top of my bucket list since I was 16: Maya Bay, Phi Phi Island.

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Come 2017… Who knows? Melbourne has been thrown around as an option… A rather delicious one for a live music junkie like myself. Maybe another big trip or another 6 month stint. Perth will always have my heart, but I’m going to live this life I have chocked full with every adventure I can create.

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So if anyone is ever keen for something cool to do… Hit me up guys. You know where to find me!

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Thank you Brissie for teaching me to be me, embracing my weirdness and teaching me what life is all about. The independence has been incredible. I think I’m just about ready to take on the world. Goodbye fragile little girl from a year ago! Same heart, bigger self worth. Why not? You’re going to spend the rest of your life taking care of other people, so right now, you just do you. Fiercely and unapologetically; and most definitely, don’t give a single thought to what others think. They don’t think about you as much as you think they do, and those who do love you regardless!

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I’m going to miss you B. Thanks for the memories. I’ll be back to make more, you can count on that.

Love always

Harleigh Q

xo

If I were a bird I’d be a homing pigeon

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Jess and I have a rather big announcement to make. No we aren’t in a relationship. That’s our back up plan if we’re both still single at 40. Anyway….

After 7 adventure filled, busy, wild, expensive, hilarious, stressful and amazing months in our new second home, Brisvegas, we have decided to return to our first home, Perth.

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In 2 months time our lease will be up, Jess’s contract will be over and we will be popping home briefly before jetting off to Amuuurica. After 3 months of being young, wild and free we will have the world at our feet.

We have been deliberating since the day we moved here; what will we do?

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I fell for Brissie hard and fast after a month of settling in. I can honestly say it’s one of the best places I have ever been. I love the people, the weather and the awesome hidden gems that only a city like this could harbour. It’s beautiful and fun, and welcoming and warm. I love it here. So does Jess of course! But then we had to put our sensible hats on.

We will be very much in need of funds when we get home. Living in the city is incredible but expensive. I had it in my head that I wanted to get back here ASAP. Mainly due to my absolute love of my job, and thinking I couldn’t do it anywhere else. Then something amazing happened, and my big boss blessed me with the ability to work remotely from WA. That means I still get to sell my beloved Australia, from my very own home, Perth. This is all to be locked down with technicalities but I’ve worked my butt off to prove my abilities since moving here and I am so proud that it has totally paid off in so many ways. I bloody love my company man!

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J also knew that her company wouldn’t have a spot for her when she returned unless she wanted to move to Perth or Sydney. This meant I’d be surviving alone here for a while. Doable; not financially viable and not much fun without my other half either.

Then of course, there’s the soppy stuff.

I miss my family. I miss my friends.

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My life revolves around these people and one of the hardest things for me has been weekends with no brunch dates or dinners planned, no ladies nights or drinks at Oceanic with my Arran. I never realised how sociable I am until my list of people to socialise with dropped considerably!

The other side of the coin though, is how much I’m going to miss the beautiful new friends I’ve made since moving here.

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God I’m getting teary just thinking about it, what a dick! But I love these people so much. They’ve been my little family while I’ve been so far from mine and I hope I’ll always keep that bond with them. In fact I’m sure I will.

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Now this isn’t to say we will never return. What we have decided on is Perth until the New Year, so 2017 is wide open to possibility. We might be right back again! But a year is more than enough planning for two flighty blonde 24 year olds thank you.

I feel like Jess and I came here as two broken women. Girls, even. We were hurting and we were sad and we had a lot to learn and prove to ourselves. We wanted to be strong and independent, and what we have achieved is so far beyond what we expected.

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We are so proud of ourselves. We moved across the country with nothing and nobody to support us and we made a life. A little life that we love very much. We’ve gone completely out of our comfort zones at every opportunity, we’ve worked hard at our jobs, we’ve explored the city top to bottom, we’ve ate lots of great food (too much, some might say) and now we are smashing the savings and the gym for the next couple of months to get us States ready.

We are returning with the same hearts, but very different minds. We are stronger, more confident, happier in ourselves and so ready for life. Bring it on! We can do whatever we want and thats so exciting.

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I certainly wouldn’t have entered this thing 6 months ago!

I am missing the little mermaid inside of me though. I can’t wait to get back to the beach. Let’s see if I’m even worse at surfing than I was before. Probably not possible.

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But, moral of this story, if any of you are debating a big change or challenge just bloody go for it. It’s not forever. Home will always be there. You’ll be different in all the best ways.

See you soon Perth! But first, let’s see #LJTakeBrissie out with a bang.

lots of love

Harleigh Q

xo

Markets, beaches and soul – oh my!

What a day yesterday! Jess and I have both had a killer week and we were super excited to rent a car and do some exploring.

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I follow all the local vintage stores on Facebook and when we saw they were hosting markets down in Currumbin, which is a town on the Gold Coast, we knew we had to check it out.

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My outfit of the day. Working the polka dots! Went soft and straight with the locks as the one and only weather alert we had was ‘windy’ – that’s never good. Throwback to Perth really. Hair spray was not going to survive the tornado.

So the adventure began.

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We had a car! Much excite! Freedom at our fingertips! I got completely lost on what is pretty much considered a straight road out to Toowong to pick up Jessie but you know, that’s just me being me.

I did somehow knock it in to semi auto too so that was fun on the hills. Good job I’m so tec savvy and worked out how to fix it. Move it to the left. Magic.

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Trees! Wide open highway! I absolutely love the road to the Goldie. We had a loud discussion about this because Jess for some reason prefers the Sunshine Coast. At least we could agree on blasting Elvis while we debated the merits (Gold Coast because it’s the Gold Coast. They have theme parks, vintage markets, fancy hotels, nightlife, sick live music scene, amazing surf beaches, it’s not stupidly hot and it’s almost New South Wales and yet it’s also so close to Brissie… Need I go on?)

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So green and fresh and lovely. You’d think we didn’t live across the road from the botanic gardens the way we go on.

An hour later, something amazing happened. We entered the 1970s, and I fell in love.

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Vintage cars and old surf boards lined the streets. There were tinnies and SUPs littering the river mouth. It was like a little Margaret River all the way on my side of Australia. I felt the most excited and at home I’ve been in a long time. I will live here one day! There’s clearly a big retro scene and I just loved the fact that amongst the busiest and most touristy beaches in Australia we found this little piece of perfectly preserved old town charm.

Didn’t help that when we glanced in the real estate window we saw we could rent a 4 bedroom mansion for less than we are paying for our apartment!!! Hmmm…

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The markets were wonderful! The rain held out too. My personal highlight was the old school caravan filled with Bettie Page. Yum. My accountant gave me permission to buy a dress too. I was on my best behaviour after that.

It didn’t take us as long as expected to get around so we decided to check out Coolangatta and Burleigh Heads too. These are the beaches at either side of Currumbin and it was a gorgeous coastal drive. We accidentally crossed the state border in to New South Wales too.

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Had to stop for photo ops! I swear I did try to get Jess in some of these but she was having a no photo day. I don’t know what those are.

Our lunch stop ended up being a cutie cafe in Burleigh. My food photos left much to be desired but I had my first milk shake in three years.

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We also checked out Carrara markets on the way home which are huge permanent ones. They had some brilliant modern vintage stalls. I was loving life but I’m very proud of my self restraint.

Home time ready for soul night!

~

Every second month Watch Your Step is hosted at Black Bear Lodge, one of my favourite little venues in the Valley. They play rare vinyls straight out of the 60s. So much funk and soul, it’s lush.

I donned my Ben Sherman polo and black circle skirt, wrapped my feet securely in my new brogues (hate the wearing-in period) and off we went. It felt so amazing to spin and slide with all the other Soul Kids. There’s some brilliant dancers and everyone just lets the music take them.

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Everyone looked amazing in their shift dresses and Jam shoes. I just love that there are so many events and venues like this in Brissie that bring us all together.

~

Today the feet and head are sore but we still made it to the Suitcase Rummage. Its such a cool idea and there were so many beautiful people selling their things. It was hard not to grab too much stuff but I got lucky with one new dress and belt. This no buying until America thing is going really well as you can clearly see.

I also scored a preloved copy of The Outsiders, one of my favourites from school. Thanks Ronnie! Just need the movie too so I can enjoy Rob Lowe and Patrick Swayze in their prime.

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This is my new favourite shirt from a little shop in Burleigh; hand made vintage. Such a sucker for floral.

~

Top weekend. I feel so happy. Next week is fitness business time…

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Let’s just savour Sunday and the red curry in my fridge first though. I knew while we had the car we had better get out to St Lucia for the best Thai in Brissie, Thai at Home, only for it to still be closed for Christmas break. So random Thai across the road it is!

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Stay young wild and free peeps.

lots of love

Harleigh Q

xo

 

 

It’s beginning to look a lot like… Adventure debt

Today Jess and I officially announced our 2016 USA trip.

Three months and counting until we’ll be roaming the desert in her cowboy boots and my circle skirts, searching for a cowboy or two to love; or maybe just a really good burger.

Now I am no stranger to the concept of saving money, nor am I a stranger to the concept of spending it it. I am what some may call a shopaholic. I’m not proud of the label, I prefer the term fashion enthusiast, however I recognise the reason I’ve gained it and understand that perhaps my actual NYR should be to simply stop buying clothes.

Hah.

In all seriousness it is my full intention to not spend a single dollar on clothes for the next three months. Mainly because I spent up in the Boxing Day sales. Sh.

Returning to what I intended to discuss in this post… Money vs travel.

I’ve got a lot of beautiful friends all over the world and we have all made very different choices in the directions of our lives. I know some who are incredibly well set up with their gorgeous homes and partners, babies or engagement rings. I really couldn’t be happier for them. If things had turned out differently I may have been one of them (perish the thought).

I, on the other hand, realised at the ripe old age of 20 that the only thing that I want to do with my life, with absolute certainty, is travel.

It all started while planning my first time venturing out of Western Australia after we had emigrated there six years previously. I nanny’d damn hard that summer and between the dirty nappies and spit sandwiches (let’s not go there) I felt the fire in my belly. I read and reread the Europe travel guide gifted to us by our lovely friends Shaniel, and created what was soon to be known as ‘the Bible’. Coined by my brilliant travel agent Tom, the Bible was my day by day, hostel by hostel, activity by activity, dollar by dollar folder that documented every last inch of our two month European galavant.

There was no going back after we sat excitedly in that Flight Centre store and he uttered the words ‘have you ever thought about being a travel agent?’ – thanks for recognising my calling old mate!

We saved desperately for six months, which honestly wasn’t too hard for a couple of video game loving hermits, and come April 2012 we were on our way.

Ever since that first trip, my entire life has revolved around travel. When I’m not spending my days planning it for other people I’m documenting and researching the places on my own bucket list.

I realise I must sound like a bit of an organisation freak at this point, but I think we’d all have a good laugh if you saw the state of my bedroom.

I have made decisions along the way that have enabled me to literally live my passion without too much financial hardship. I didn’t move out until last year, I didn’t get a credit card until last year (what was necessary at the time is now the devil’s temptation living in my purse), I don’t own a car nor have I ever, I don’t have a house deposit or any animals either (unless we count Jess).

I know I’ve been ridiculously lucky in that my family really are my best friends, and moving away from them was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I’m definitely not saying that this is a lifestyle anyone could afford with the right priorities. Some of us don’t have the option. We all have to make choices. We all have our own path. I thought I was on one and got very abruptly thrown off it, but that’s what I love about life. Just when you start to get off track, she’ll pull you right back again.

I just have lots of lovely people ask me regularly how I do it, and my honest answer is:

  • I’m very single
  • I’m very financial commitment free
  • I have access to cheap deals and the knowledge of the best time to book (which I’ll gladly pass on to anyone interested!)
  • I spend every penny of the savings I manage to accumulate on my next trip

My long term goal is to see as much of this planet as possible, and meet loads of amazing people.  I’m not worried about a house deposit or buying a car because future Leigh will take care of the grown up stuff when she is ready, provided I don’t get her in to too much debt.

You only live once, and who knows how long for? If you’re as passionate as me and you’ve got that rainy day money just sitting there… What the hell are you waiting for? Trust me, like a work out, travel is one thing you will never regret. You do not need someone to go with. Grow a vagina and find a tour itinerary you like and just be yourself for a while with a bunch of strangers. You’ll love each other by the end of it.

Well that’s it for my very first blog post! Sorry for the tangents, you’ll get used to it.

Lots of love

Harleigh Q

xo