Posted in being grown up, travel

The Dubliners

It was so exciting to finally arrive in Dublin. The clouds surrounding the plane parted to reveal the iridescent emerald patchwork of fields and hedgerows that Ireland is famous for.
Of course, it was raining, but it was only a light shower and didn’t last long.

After withdrawing our first Euros from the ATM we caught a taxi to our BnB. Our first task was a much longed for shower.

‘So what now?’ I asked.


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There have been times I have lacked confidence. I have wondered whether something someone has asked me to do has been within my competency.

But then I’ve thought if they think I can do it, perhaps I should give it a go. 

– Jan Mason (quoted from AFR)

Posted in being grown up, goals

The Listmaker – 5 Reasons Why Lists are Great

When I was a little kid, 7 or 8 years old, I read a book called ‘The Listmaker’ by Robin Klein. I don’t remember it too well, and from memory I found it a bit dull, but it’s basically about a young girl who compulsively writes lists to try to keep control of her life.

I remembered it recently because I realised that I myself write a hell of a lot of lists. Half of my blog posts have a list included in them. I have a list of Wedding To-Do’s, a list of Things to Do Before Travelling, a list of Things to Do While Overseas, and a list of To-Do’s Before Settlement on the Apartment. I keep lists to track my budget. I list my Current Work Tasks and keep a Fitness Goals list. I have a Five Year Plan list and an Ideas for Blog Posts list. Thanks to this post, I now appear to have a List of My Lists.

I can’t be the only one. There are whole websites, YouTube channels and books dedicated to making lists on just about every imaginable subject.

Is it a sickness, this incessant listing? Or a sign of a disorganised mind trying to keep some order? Perhaps it’s just my anxiety playing out. I don’t know. I suppose it doesn’t really matter.

In honour of my moment of self-realisation, I’m going to write a kind of List-Inception list. Here it is:

My List of Why Lists Are Great:

  1. Lists Give Importance to All Things Equally                                                                They don’t discriminate based on the size of your ideas. Just give it its own dot point, and it’s worthy of attention.
  2. Lists are Easy to Read                                                                                                They give order to ideas without the need for extra filler like connecting statements. They also create negative space on the page, which helps with pace. You only have to concentrate on a chunk at a time. Brilliant.
  3. Lists are Easy to Skim Read                                                                                          I bet some of you are only reading the italicised headings…
  4. Lists Help Us to Focus                                                                                               When there are ten trillion things on your mind, writing a list gives some clarity to what needs to be done and takes away the fear of forgetting something. Which leads me to Number 5.
  5. Lists Give a Sense of Accomplishment                                                                         Whether you tick or cross off those Do-To lists, there is so much satisfaction in recording what you’ve achieved.

There are probably other reasons why people enjoy making and reading lists. I’d love to see your own list in the comments.

This is Julia, being grown up.

Posted in being grown up, employment

Counting Down

I have five weeks left at work before I begin a one-year holiday in Europe!

25 week days.

600 hours.

36,000 minutes

…okay stop. I have to admit, I’m getting distracted.

Keeping motivation at work is becoming difficult. I regularly find myself minimizing whatever I am supposed to be doing and googling hotels I might stay in or festivals I might go to, places I want to visit and all other sorts of travel related diversions. It’s fair to say that my productivity has decreased – mentally, I’ve already checked out from my job.

So I’ve been gathering some tips for staying motivated at work:

  • Keep a ‘To-Do’ list:

This is sort of a reminder for me. I religiously write down all my tasks and projects at work. Nothing is too small of a task to be written down. But lately, I can get to the end of the day and realise I haven’t even gotten my notebook out of the filing cabinet.

  • Take regular stock take of what you’ve achieved:

The To-Do list will help! It’s so rewarding to see all those little ticks.

  • Take coffee/chat/walk breaks:

Don’t try to concentrate all day long – this is pretty much setting up for failure. I inevitably find myself back googling ways to survive the weather in Iceland or how to pack a suitcase most effectively.

  • Tidy your desk:

Chaos and productivity are not friends – at least not for me. So I take a few minutes a couple of times a day to clean my coffee mug and organise my books and papers.

And the final tip:

  • Cut yourself a little slack:


This is Julia, being grown up.

Posted in being grown up

Coping with Criticism

Lately I’ve felt like the criticism has been coming from all directions. In the past couple of weeks I have been told about all my faults, and in no uncertain terms.

Image borrowed from http://becuo.comsad-girl-cartoon-images and edited.
Image borrowed from and edited.

My confidence and self-esteem have taken a massive hit. So it was that I found myself at my regular psychologist appointment with a list of all my flaws and a very fragile ego.

But as we worked through the list, I came to notice something. All of the criticisms were based on things others wanted of me, not the things I wanted for myself.

Sure, I am UNMOTIVATED to ride a bike long distances, or to run 10kms, or learn a foreign language. But I am motivated to work, read, sew, create,  travel and to spend time with friends and family.

I am UNSUPPORTIVE in that I am not a counselor. But I will cook a meal for you when you are tired. I will go for a walk with you when you need to clear your head. I will give you a hug and watch a film with you, buy you ice cream and tell bad jokes to see you smile when you are sad and smiles come reluctantly.

Sometimes, I am SELFISH and STINGY with money, because I have discipline and a goal to reach. I won’t show up unannounced on your doorstep with a gift in hand. Not because I am INCONSIDERATE, but because I am shy. But I will open my home to you. I will prepare a meal with care and share it with you from my table. I will invite you to be a part of my family and to share in my moments of celebration. I will always be grateful that you have taken the time to be with me. 

Maybe it will seem NASTY to you when I speak my truth. But I will not simply accept your criticism when I feel it is unfair. If you ask me a question, I promise that I will always been honest with you. It is not that I am INCONSIDERATE of your point of view – it is that I ask you to also consider mine.

I left my appointment with a very important lesson. We must try not to be critical of our critics. But we must always be critical of criticism.

This is Julia, being grown up.

Posted in being grown up, home


Moving out of our house was easily more difficult than moving in. Largely because it was not an exciting prospect to be leaving behind our independence, even if only for three months. Packing is also a much more daunting task when the boxes won’t be opened for 15 months. It just adds an extra layer of difficulty to the job.

Among other things, I was tasked with booking the moving truck.

I don’t know anything about trucks. Until a few months ago, when a mechanic insisted I learn, I had no idea how to check the oil in my car and would continue driving it for weeks after the oil light came on. I’m pretty sure all my tyres are nearly flat and my coolant is always low. When a big piece of plastic fell off the bottom of the car, I picked it up and shoved it in the car boot. Basically, I’m not great with vehicles.

But I did know that we needed automatic transmission. Which is why, when I booked the moving van, it was the only question I asked.

‘Is the truck an auto?’

‘Of course. How would you like to pay?’

So it was quite a horrifying moment when we went to pick up the truck.

‘The clutch is right here,’ the man said. He spoke casually, not noticing the fear that crossed my and le fiancés faces. ‘Works just like a usual manual.’

I think manual is called stick shift in the US, for anyone reading from there. But in both of our minds, it was called Mission Impossible. Fortunately, le fiancé undertook the driving while I followed in the car. Less fortunately, his rage at my mistake was visible and palpable. As I sat behind him at the traffic lights, watching the truck stall and bunny hop, I knew I was in trouble.

Thankfully, when we got back to the house, fiancés best friend was waiting with coffee and pastries, and I wasn’t the focus anymore.

But there was still the issue of the ramp.

Apparently, moving trucks have a range of options for actually getting stuff into the truck. One is a ramp, and another is a hydraulic lift gate.

liftgateI had booked a truck with the former. That was the wrong thing to have done. Three weeks later, I am still paying for this mistake. The other day when I forgot to remind him that we owed rent, fiancé brought it up.

‘You keep making these mistakes that I have to fix. The truck for example.’

Let’s just say it made for a fun day, especially as we had a five hour round trip to where we were storing all the furniture and boxes.

I believe that experiences like this are able to teach us something and to help us to develop. So I’ve decided, as part of becoming a responsible and fully functioning adult, I am going to learn to drive a manual car. I’ll be organising lessons soon and keep you up to date with my progress. In a year or so we’ll have to do the whole process in reverse, and I’ll make sure to book the hydraulic lifter.

This is Julia, being grown up and learning to drive.