The Millennial Crisis

HarleighQ is back, baby! I hope you didn’t miss my love-filled rambles too much. I came to the realisation that something has been missing in my life, and although I don’t always take myself seriously as a writer, this thing is my baby! I have been throwing myself in to my fiction (we’re about 10 chapters in to my yet untitled epic) but my baby needs to be nurtured. As do I.

Which brings me to the topic at hand… the Millennial Crisis.

Welcome to the beginning of a series I’m going to call ‘First World Problems’ where I will unashamedly discuss things that are petty but relevant to my generation, because we all deserve to be heard, and we all need to know we aren’t alone.

Our government rarely listens to us, we’re struggling financially, we don’t know what we want to do with our lives, our love life is a shambles, our mental health is struggling, our friends are just as fucked up as we are or they’re already married with kids. There’s constant pressure to work out our future, have savings, be loved by everyone, settle down and appreciate how ‘good’ we have it. Fucking hell. Hello quarter life crisis. My name is Leigh and I have no idea what I’m doing.

I’m sure I’m not alone in expressing my guilt when it comes to how overwhelmed I feel. I often sit and reflect on how it was for our parents’ generation, and their parents. They didn’t have the freedom we do, the endless opportunities when it comes to careers and following our dreams. They were ruled by obligation and inherent sexism. We are so lucky! We are so privileged! Yet why do so many of us feel like we are swimming upstream, mere seconds from drowning?

I think it comes down to the simple fact that we want happiness to be a constant, not a fleeting memory. Every human on this planet deserves happiness. Otherwise, what’s the point? Just because it’s taken until now for us to practically be able to pursue this mentality doesn’t mean that we’re wrong, or dumb, or dreamers. We’ve just finally come to terms with how short life is and how important it is to live it to the fullest. Why shouldn’t we spend it smiling and choosing not to hurt anyone in the process?

What’s my crisis? Take a seat friends.

I am a dramatic person. I will own that. But I also struggle with quite severe anxiety. It’s come on as a mixture of things in my life, a combination of genetics and experiences I’m sure. Sometimes I don’t know where to draw the line between my dramatics and an actual genuine feeling of being overwhelmed by life. Then I start to feel tremendously bad. I have the most incredible family, and career wise I am totally sorted. But you know what? Everything else is a struggle! I’m allowed to admit that. At the moment, it really is.

I travelled so much in the last couple of years with little regard for future Leigh, and now I’m paying for it. It was so worth it at the time, but now my life is on hold while I move home to do damage control. Yeah that’s right, most of my issues are totally self inflicted!

Let’s not even get started on my love life. There’s a reason I declared myself Millennial Bridget Jones on Facebook the other day. I am well and truly stuck in Daniel Cleaver faze. Honestly? I don’t deserve any better either. I’m not ready.

I’m pretty lonely, living in quite an isolated suburb in an isolated city spending more time with myself than anyone else. I’m an extrovert. I drive myself and my family crazy after a while. I really am a lot. I start fixating on things like the news as a mental escape which only drives me more mental.

I feel guilty when I don’t believe all of the claims in the #metoo movement pinpointing men in Hollywood, my heart bleeds for my American friends dealing with a tyrant like Trump. I want to cry because our government wasted billions of dollars humiliating my friends in the queer community just to prove a point, and the reef is dying, as are the people abandoned on Nauru. There are so many things swirling around my mind at all times that sometimes I wish I could revert back to childhood, when my only worry was if my bike chain fell off. Even then, I knew how to fix it.

None of this is a poor me, or a poor us. But if we don’t change this mentality of ‘you don’t know how good you’ve got it’ whenever people bring up mental health issues, we’re going to go backwards. We have come so far from that toughen up mentality. Let’s keep moving.

We are such a powerful, caring, socially conscious generation. I’m writing this post to remind my beautiful friends that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed. We are just trying to do our best, and make the world a better place as we go. That weighs really fucking heavy sometimes. We are trying to reverse decades worth of damage. We have to remind ourself and our peers daily that it’s okay to be who you are. You don’t have to hide anymore. You don’t have to feel ashamed; be it your sexuality, mental health, gender identity, kinks, dreams, stupid financial decisions, putting travel before your career or vice versa.

You don’t have to be strong and closed off. Openness is beautiful. It’s not dangerous to let people in, to wear your heart on your sleeve, to stand up for what you believe in. It’s okay to be kind, honest, sweet. Getting hurt is a part of life. Pick yourself up, dust off, and let them all back in again. If you need help with that, I’m always here with advice. I don’t follow my own, naturally. I’ve got lots of love to give though!

Pain is relative. I have nervy b’s every few days and you know what? I’m going to stop beating myself up over my sensitivity. I have pretty valid reasons to be upset most of the time, and just because I’m privileged doesn’t mean I can’t cry. We all need to cry it out sometimes.

We don’t have to know what we’re doing, or where we’re going. We just need to be kind, listen to our hearts, surround ourselves with supportive people and the rest will follow.

I love you all so much. Never feel like your feelings aren’t valid. Life is a roller coaster, baby. It’s better to feel the highs and the lows than nothing at all.

Some people may call us weak, but you know what? I’d rather be weak than an asshole.

I hope a few of my fellow crisis kids feel a little better after reading this. I promise, you aren’t alone. It’s going to be okay.

Harleigh Q

Xo

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Who Are You?

My darlings.

I'm starting this post having just rewatched the first ever episode of a show I feel I've grown up with, Catfish.

For anyone unfamiliar with concept, Catfish features two amazing men, Nev and Max, who help people who have started relationships online with people they have never met. Spoiler alert, more often than not, the people they are speaking to aren't who they say they are. Be it fake photos stolen from someone else on the internet or pretending to be someone they know personally, it's clear that the Catfishers are unhappy with who they are.

Often they've been bullied or have had a hard time and use this persona like a shield. They don't feel good enough.

I think it takes a pretty cruel person to bring someone in to your insecurity, and use them to boost your self esteem through deception. However… imagine if they channeled their negative life experiences in to making themselves better people. Instead of using a mask of someone else.. imagine the self love they could generate!

Dialling it back, let me tell you my story.

I remember starting high school. It was a big public one a half an hour walk from my house, just outside the Yorkshire village I grew up in. Almost all the kids I went to primary school with went with me. Masses off us trudged through the rain and the snow, across the train tracks to the intimidatingly massive new chapter.

In time I grew to love that school and it's long corridors and kids twice the size of me, shoving everyone around for fun. You had to have a drawstring bag otherwise someone was bound to unzip it and knock your stuff on the floor. You had to keep your hand down in class so no one could take the piss out of your answers. You also knew very quickly who the top dogs were and to remember your place.

Bullying is such a normal part of growing up. I put it down to trying to fit in to this new environment, and me being a bit of a bossy boots by nature, but my two best friends from primary school decided they didn't like me anymore. After that, I had a really hard time making friends.

When I did start to bond with someone, often a false rumour stating I'd said something behind their back quickly ended it. I guess that was the thing with me. If I took issue with someone, I would just say it to their face. Maybe that was my problem. Being too upfront made me a target for the whisperers. I was so scared of what I did say getting twisted that I just stopped speaking. It took me years to get the confidence to voice my opinion back. I make up for it now 😊.

I wound up having to go to a 'friendship group'. It was designed for myself and fellow lonely kids who were struggling a bit. We'd do quizzes and talk about our interests and hobbies. Everyone was weird and it was nice to have people to eat lunch with. Yes, there were a few sandwiches ate in a toilet cubicle. What a cliché.

A few long months in, having truly learned the importance of empathy, I reconnected with a couple of the girls from my primary school. We ended up in our own tight knit group.

Rarely a week went by without some of the five of us falling out, of course, but blissful were the lunch breaks spent giggling our heads off in the hot lunch room and getting kicked out for being too loud. Through many hours spent in the library, I discovered Louise Rennison's book series about the most relatable tween on the planet, Georgia Nicolson. I was proud of my new little Ace Gang.

Times got real tough again when I found out I was moving to Australia. Slowly but surely I felt the girls retreating from me, my closest friend especially. She became quite cruel, and though an adult brain understands self preservation and the primal need to lash out in order to protect ourselves, a scared thirteen year old did not. Some of my memories of this time are so vivid. One, I was sobbing at my work station in Food, not wanting anyone to see me. I'd been handed the notes some of the girls had been passing about me. I think it said something about me being a try hard and a made up thing I hadn't said. I'm pretty sure that was the day we made rice pudding.

In the very end they had tried to fix some of the damage caused, and there was a leaving party at my best friends house with Sing Star, baked goods and lots of trampolining. It felt like the end of the world.

Then I left England and didn't really look back.

As with most new kids, I found myself right back where I started in Australia, too.

This new high school was tiny, and I started week three of term three of year nine to be precise. I was buddied with one of the 'cool' girls. I think my teacher thought she was doing me a favour, but she and her friends were very uninterested in me. We were very different people.

In this school watched Napoleon Dynamite, I heard rumours about a boy getting a hand job behind a textbook in class, and got teased for my big shoes. I had to wear UGG boots and a miniskirt to be cool, and I definitely had to shave my legs and pluck my mad Wog eyebrows. What a different world this was!

Yet again, I had a hard time making friends. I'm a girl with a lot of passions. At the age of fourteen, it was Harry Potter and Home and Away. I could barely make eye contact with a boy without turning crimson and I was best friends with my family (and still am).

It was a long and lonely summer, but year 10 began my ascent in to one happy young lady. I made friends with four incredible girls. I can't remember how we found each other exactly, but I distinctly remember one incident in particular.

I was eating cheese and pickle sandwiches for lunch. English people reading this know what I am referring to I'm sure. The two Australian girls that would let me sit near them had no idea what the weird brown stuff I had was. They were loudly ridiculing me, for not the first time unfortunately, when a tiny, wonderful, sparkly eyed girl from southern England barked at them 'its Branston pickle?' With a level of sass I've yet to hear since. They soon shut up, and I soon changed who I sat with at lunch.

Next joined Shaz, a witty and cool as a cucumber girl whose best friend had recently changed school. Then there I was Bek, the green eyed and incredibly intelligent girl that I absolutely idolised (and still do). Thus, Ace Gang 2.0 began. We had sleepovers, long chats, giggles and an obsession with YouTube videos. We talked and sang and danced and we're allowed, encouraged, to be 100% ourselves with each other. We were not without our disagreements of course, teenage girls are a nightmare, but we thrived together. They saw me through my first kiss (literally) and all those other fun things 15 year olds do.

I got in to anime and started writing fan fiction and making music videos. I made the pilgrimage to the city for the final Harry Potter book with Abby and Danica, the two pickle-girl life savers, at 530am one brisk morning. I drew a lot, very averagely. I had a puppy Rio and two six month long crushes that went absolutely nowhere. Two others joined our crew, and soon we were going on adventures to Freo for Timezone photos and sushi train.

My second six month long crush, and first taste of heartbreak, got wind of my affections when I got up the courage to ask for his number on the school bus one day. 'I don't know it,' was his earth-shattering response. Lorraine, one of our new editions, heard from a mutual friend that he intended to pretend to like me and then thoroughly humiliate me in front of everyone on the bus the next day, so she decided to berate him in the hallway for all to hear. My heart was crushed but my friend was golden.

Of course, things changed over time. Boys, Abby moving back to England and just growing up different pulled us apart. By year 12 I was back to my lonely self, this time with two equally lonely companions, Jessie and Arran. Those cynical bastards are still my best friends to this day. God love them.

It wasn't until many years later, having lost all of the things that made me me, that I realised just how important it is for us to be true to ourselves.

I can pinpoint the time when I started to lose my kook. I was deep in a relationship where I didn't feel like myself anymore. It can be hard for natural born people-pleasers like myself and every other Cancerian in the world to stay true to ourselves when we're in love. Sometimes we go too far the other way.

For a lot of people it's their experiences with bullying at school that dilutes their colours. They're sparkling too brightly, and it seems to be in a lot of humans' nature to dim that rival sparkle as much as possible. But the thing is, if we don't care what other people think of us, it completely removes their power.

I am incredibly proud of baby Leigh, because my God did she stay true. I wore all of the nerdy, weird shit I loved on my sleeve for all the world to see and I never felt any shame for it. I surrounded myself with people who were proud of me, and I was proud of them. We lifted each other up and protected one another from the evil outside which slowly stopped mattering. My self preservation developed in to completely cutting people out who I feared would hurt me. It's served me quite well so far. I just can't do fake politeness. My face is too emotive. I give myself away.

As an adult I've gone through the cycle again. When I don't feel like I can be myself I tend to retreat. I look inwardly for that place of peace and power. I remind myself why I like me, regardless of if others do or not. I'm still a pleaser, and I still need validation, but I'm getting better. Maybe I need to ask baby Leigh how she did it. Through all the shit, I was always me.

In telling this story I'm hoping that others who have been shaken by self-doubt due of external factors realise that they were never ever the problem. If you have a good heart, that's all that matters. Let your freak flag fly! The most attractive people in the world to me are the passionate ones. I don't care what you love, if it matters that much to you then you're a dream come true. Tell me yours and I'll tell you mine.

At the ripe old age of 26 I know who I am and what makes me happy.

I love the Beatles, I love looking like I just walked out of the 70s, I love loud live music and I love writing. I love connecting with people, and I love talking about aliens and politics and nature. I love the ocean, and I love red wine and cheese platters.

Most of all I love all of the incredible people all over the world that I have met. Be they weird, loud, artistic, spiritual, gentle, wild, funny or my polar opposite, they are completely and unapologetically themselves.

Being a people pleaser isn't as good a quality as it sounds. It's easy to lose yourself, or change to fit an ideal instead of fulfilling who you really are. Being judged is scary. It's a constant battle not to care too much.

Two years ago I would never have walked down the street in my Rockabilly gear. I also didn't eat much and was overall pretty fucking lost.

Now I find myself curvaceous, sassy and proud of my wild outfits and huge smile. I am proud of myself for all I've done, and I love the person I have become very much. I still love all my nerdy things, and I will gladly talk about them to anyone with remote interest (glazed over eyes works too). If it wasn't for all of the negative experiences I've had, not fitting in, feeling lonely, having my heart broken, I wouldn't be who I am now.

None of us would be real without the shit. Don't let it change you, though.

There may be people who love you unconditionally, but it's you who needs to love you most. You're the cheerleader. You're the one whose been there through it all and lived to tell the tale. You're a bloody legend!

Talk about yourself, be proud. It's ok to blow your own horn sometimes. If the people around you don't want to listen, they aren't your people babe. We should all be rooting for each other. What are friends for?

We are all so unique and have so many stories and experiences. We are all part of this great big mad world, but there's only one YOU.

So be you, be free, be everything you've ever wanted to be. Let the love pour out of you. You'll attract the right people, this I promise you.

In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

So tell me, beautiful people, who are you?

Love your second biggest fan,

Harleigh Q

Xo

Magical Fairbridge Festival

On 20th April one of my favourite bands hit my coast. What was supposed to be a couple of wild nights around the city ended up being a five day long groupie adventure.

Their name?

Sex on Toast

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Much as I adore my band aid tales they are mine to cherish. This post isn’t about my honeys, it’s about the magic I discovered in a haunted little place called Fairbridge. I haven’t felt so connected to a hippy haven since my experience at Jungle Love last year.

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The first night I headed down, I was a little behind schedule due to the ridiculous appeal of my little nephew and his snuggles.

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The road was long, windy and dark. The dirt flicked up madly behind my little car and the trees loomed heavy at either side. I’m not going to lie, I was having heard palpitations. I am terrified of ghosts. James pointedly reminded me that they live inside my head the following day, but that didn’t stop me freaking the eff out on the way in.

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I managed to schmooze my way in to the artist camp ground and parked up perfectly a stones throw away from the Backlot stage. This meant each morning I awoke to a gentle acoustic set and fell asleep to heavy bongo beats. It was magnificent. Fairy lights lit the pathways. My favourite thing.

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They had a number of main stages set up around the camp grounds. The largest of which was in the centre, opposite a sweet little makeshift pub.

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Down one end there was a brewery style outdoor setting, next to my second favourite stage, Hoopla. At the far end, where I lived, was Backlot. This was an open air stage with large wooden dance floor below it. This one I dug hard core.

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During the day the centre was filled with every kind of healthy food truck you can think of. I unintentionally turned vegan for three days. My body was loving it!

Indian Mexican fusion?

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Vegan bagels?

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Each day I would wind my way around the markets, drifting from stage to stage, looking at the gorgeous patterns and resisting the urge to buy everything.

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I found a handful of excellent new bands I have been researching ever since.

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At one point I stumbled upon African dance lessons in a back hut shaped like a circus tent.

Later that night I found myself hip wiggling in my element to some stunning Cuban music.

The sense of love and community at Fairbridge was so intoxicating. I was there alone, aside from hanging out with my boys later in the evenings, but I never felt lonely. I would wander, munch, and sit admiring music I would never normally seek out. I discovered a Sicilian folk group, an all lady acapella gang, a wee family strumming out a 60s medley and a a clan of old navy-men singing sweets songs of love and loss on the high seas.

 

One night as I sat perched on the floor at the foot of the stage a young girl next to me turned and introduced herself. I got chatting to her and the girl at the other side of me and before I knew it I had my own groupies when they found out I knew the band. Sharing smiles and passions with strangers has got to be my favourite life experience. We’re all one and the same at the end of the day. I would love to connect with as many people as possible.

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I didn’t make it to all of the venues. Next year, if I can afford coming home from Brissie for it, I will absolutely be back. Knowing my honeys really was a massive highlight though. I do truly love the company of funny, conscious and weird musos. We are very much on the same wavelength. I just lack the skills, but I can make up for it in sick sense of humour and excellent taste.

Thank you Pinjarra for providing such a gem. I may have been the only person there bar performers in my 20s, but the teens, families and golden oldies were fantastic company.

Until next time fellow Bohemians.

Peace, love and Rock and Roll.

Harleigh Q

xo

Living in Limbo

Being home these last two weeks has been thoroughly bizarre.

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It’s such a stark contrast to how it was when I came home for a week at the end of February. At that time my Nan was here, I was incredibly home sick and just needed a bit of a break. I breathed in the West Aussie air with such enthusiasm I couldn’t wait until we would be moving back again.

Fast forward to two weeks ago, when we sat sipping our final beverages on that lovely balcony, and we didn’t want to come home at all. I think sometimes you don’t appreciate what you have until you know you’re going to lose it. Such is life.

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The last two weeks have been spent catching up with friends, binge watching Netflix, drinking, partying and just having a generally chilled out time. It’s been great! Spending time with my family is my favourite thing in the world.

However, I feel like I’ve been hovering in no-man’s land. No work, which pathetically enough I’ve been missing, no home of our own, no where new to explore. It’s been like returning to the womb. Weird analogy but that’s all I can think to compare it to! We are back in the safety zone before our next big adventure.

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America is easy in my mind. We are going to be surrounded by English speaking people in well built up areas. It’s not quite Europe on a foreign train system or South East Asia on a local boat. I know we will be totally fine. The whole process has felt terribly impersonal! Squeezing hotel reviews in during lunch breaks while fielding domestic enquiries had me forgetting this is actually our trip! It’ll probably hit me while we sit on the plane tonight that we are actually going. For 10 weeks no less. Good luck Americans, the Charmeleons are coming…

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One thing I do want to gush about is my incredible weekend in my second home, Margaret River, with my one and only Ling, Elana. One year ago we did this trip for the first time and had such a blast at the dodgy little after party. This year we were determined to pack in as much pro action as possible, and oh man did we.

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Steph Gilmore has been my favourite since I met her three years ago. She’s strong and laidback and surfs with such grace. Seeing her again was such a wow moment for me.

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Laura Enever I started noticing late in to the tour last year and fell in love with when she did some presenting at the Aus Open of Surfing on Manly Beach last month. I was glued to the TV that day. What a sweet heart! She was absolutely lovely and has definitely cemented her place in my top three (I’ll get you one day Sally, I’m determined!).

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It was great to connect with the girl I chat shit with every day most of all though. She’ll be jetting off to Darwin for her own taste of adventure not long after I return, and I couldn’t be more proud or excited. Distance means nothing when you’ve got a true bond. That’s one thing I have learned over the years. Good friends are hard to come by but just as hard to get rid of.

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Perth is beautiful, and it will be home for a while. Wild Leigh needs to put her sensible hat on when she comes home and that’s okay. You can’t have or appreciate good times unless you prepare well for them!

2016 you’re shaping up to be the best yet.

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Next post will be from the States!

Harleigh Q

xo

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.

Perth: A Completely Non-Biased Guide to the Best Place in the World

They say home is where the heart is, and in July 2005 that is exactly what Perth became to me. I was 14 and terrified. It’s an absolute world away from the green and fresh and hill filled landscape I was used to.

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One of the first things I noticed: Perth is flat. Everywhere. Sometimes a road may be on a slight hill. Shocking, I know.

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I was so overwhelmed. Suddenly I had red dirt and bush land and a coastline worthy of any award. I got lucky.

Don’t get me wrong, it took a long time to settle, but I met some beautiful souls to help me along the way. Check out the sexy uniforms.

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Now one thing I must say, having not been born in Western Australia I have the unfair advantage of having lived somewhere else. England is beautiful, but there are things about the Australian way of life that are absolutely unbeatable. I’ve made a countdown of my top 5 favourite things about Perth. As previously stated, this is non-biased and completely subjective (yeah right) but for anyone who wonders about the most secluded city in the world, this is why I love her, and she will always be my home.

5.  The Outdoor Lifestyle

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One thing I have honestly struggled with on the East Coast has been the lifestyle. Of course here we are city chicks. Just call me mini Carrie. We haven’t had a car, we uber regularly or occasionally hire. We walk EVERYWHERE. In spite of all of that though, I never feel like I’m outside. Weird right? It must have something to do with the high-rises blocking the direct sunlight. I love the city, but my favourite thing to do at home is go for long walks with Papi. We walk straight down to the beach through our beautiful little piece of the world, the glorious Secret Harbour, and trek a few kms on the sand. Ruma likes to loop around and if it’s warm my toes are hitting that water.

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Even better; the 7am alarm, tea in a thermal cup, wettie on and board in the car. The air is pretty fresh and smells amazing. It’s not easy finding the motivation to crawl out of bed. It was actually around this time 2 years ago that I bought my baby board!

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You really can’t beat that time spent gasping for breath on the sand with a towel wrapped around your head. The ocean is powerful and scary and yet the most peaceful place I’ve ever been.

4. Australia Day

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Aussie flag facial tattoos: $2.00

Hot 100: Sharing excellent taste in music with fellow Australians? Priceless.

3. The Beaches

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From top to bottom the coastline here is breathtaking.

From Cottesloe

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To Shark Bay

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To Denmark

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To my home

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We. Are. Spoilt. Not a jelly fish or croc in sight. Maybe a couple of sharks though… She’ll be right!

2. The Sunsets

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And that’s all I have to say about that.

  1. Margaret River

If you’ve met me, ever, you’ve probably heard me talk of my love for my future home. It has absolutely everything I love and more.

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We have caves!

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We have surf breaks!

Also featuring as more wine than you can poke a stick at. You’re welcome.

I’m going to wait until I’m a little bit more travelled before I descend south. I plan on having a quirky little house with at least 2 dogs (Rottweiler and Boxer) and I’ll do yoga and go for morning runs; grow my own herbs; probably live off green juice and misery. Just kidding. Its my goal though so I’ll make it happen when I’m ready.

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If anyone ever wants to know more about WA, what to see, where to go, just ask! I know it’s far and I know it’s not cheap, but it’s worth every single penny. I sell it for a living and I know I’m only 6 months in, but my love and passion hasn’t wavered. I hope it never does.

Sometimes you need to leave to appreciate what you have. I did, and I do, and I always will.

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Mumma and Papi, thank you for doing the greatest thing you could ever have done for us. You’ve given us the best life possible. I’ll spend the rest of my days adoring you for it. More than life 😘.

Love to my family all over the world

Harleigh Q

xo

P.s. This blog also features the many incarnations of Leigh’s hair and a few more Google pictures than I usually like to use.

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