Thursday, 24 July 2014

A World Away

Hey Guys,

So as a lot of you probably know I went to Thailand last week and it's safe to say it was one of the best experiences of my life. And it's just so incredible that something as awesome as the trip I had last week, has things to compete with to be the best experience of my life!
To be honest, the thing that I spent most of my time thinking about was how much I have in my life to be grateful for, not just in that I get to travel to places like Thailand that are so beautiful and different from Australia. But that I get to come home afterward.

That sounds odd because who wants to come home from luxury resorts and constant 30 degree days?
But I have so much to come back to. So much love and adventures to still be had.

You can never be appreciative enough of the things you have and something else I learnt is to not feel guilty but to appreciate and share. I want to share all the good things in my life, and I'm also grateful that I have been taught generosity in my life. I don't think there is anything more important in another person than generosity and I'm grateful to have parents who taught me generosity through example.

So lets get down to it. Thailand, you are beautiful, your people are beautiful, the weather is, sometimes overcast and it's hard to stay dry but nonetheless, beautiful.

I travelled to Thailand with Elle who you will have seen and heard about on here before (beautiful long blonde hair in my St Kilda Pier photography) and we met up with Viv, Danni, Lis and Gwen. You will probably have heard about Viv a lot as well, (I could link you to every post involving her but we could be here a while) but one of the best parts about this last week was getting to know Gwen, Lis and Danni better as well as time with two of my best friends. I am so lucky to have gotten to travel with such considerate and mature, not to mention very fun, young women.
I will miss the way Lis makes friends with everyone we meet, even if she has to speak Chinese to do it. I will miss the way Thai sunburn doesn't really hurt like Australian sunburn and that I have to put on 6 layers of sunscreen and still get burnt. I will miss Viv gopro-ing everything we did. I'll miss movie nights and room service with Danni. I will miss screw drivers and Maisy. I'll miss all the girls and 7 course breakfasts.

The first full day that I was there we went into Karon and did a bit of shopping and this was my first experience of haggling. I am not very good at it. I can't take the conflict, so I get Viv or Lis to help haha. It was cool to explore though and get a taste of what it's like outside the resort. We went and got our nails done for 150 baht, which is a whole $4.50 Australian. It was really fun and Lis made friends with the lady who worked there and we got to hear about her life, and how her family is in Bangkok. We ended up having a photo with her before we left because we are that cool.
There were a few highlights of what was an all round fantastic week. Phi Phi Islands would have to be the first one. We did a cruise to Phi Phi, stopping at about 5 different spots and two different Islands. So this is a really touristy thing to do, and I was really shocked by how many boats there were around Phi Phi and how many people they were squeezing onto each boat. I only really noticed this at the Island where we had lunch. This was like an Island with a hotel and markets, so I think it's where most boats stop to have lunch. All I can say is thank god for Vivienne Dinh. So Viv's organisation skills are a gift. She looked up the best one of these tour things on Trip Advisor, did all the depositing for us (she did this with all our tours) so we got the best deals and experiences. Like all I had to do was transfer her money. She is truly a gem. So because we got the best tour, it left a bit earlier so that we got to the islands and spots before they got crowded and there was a lot of space on our boat.

The whole hour trip there, the four of us, Lis, Gwen, Viv and I got to sit up on the front of the boat in the fresh air. And it was the first day since we had been there that is wasn't overcast, so we really choose the perfect day :) At the first Island we had our own private beach with crystal clear water beautiful trees for shade (when you have skin as pale as mine you notice the shade haha). It was pretty surreal. I found Phuket confronting in many ways because there is no sugar coating that Thailand is a third world country and that in comparison to the wealth of those who visit there, the people do not have a lot. I think in that way, there is a difference between those who holiday and those who travel.

I wanted to know the people I was buying things from, I wanted to know the stories behind the washed out buildings along the coastline. In the same way there is so much that is culturally beautiful about Thailand that I really didn't want to miss because of how beautiful the tourist destinations are. I don't know, I guess what I'm trying to say is that in the resort, and on this private beach in Phi Phi Island, I was on holidays, it was paradise. There was nothing at all confronting about it, even if I think we do need to be confronted with reality.
We went snorkelling with rainbow fish, and jumped off the boat in a lagoon that was 30 metres deep. We also saw Monkeys, who jumped onto the front of the boat while we were on there and I freaked out something shocking! You can see a lot of this in Viv's video, (above) which you should all go and give some love because it means a lot to me how much effort she put into the trip and into everything our friendship group does :)

The other people on our tour were really nice too and from all around, and Phi Phi really is just one of the most beautiful places you can go.

Another highlight for me was Scuba Diving. Oh boy, this was going to easily be the most challenging part of the trip. A chance to get out of my comfort zone. Just Viv and I decided to go. We went on this really surprisingly fancy boat, it had wifi! It had a few different groups of divers on it, all with their own instructors. So Viv and I had our instructor Lexi who was lovely and showed us the ropes. I was pretty nervous and had some sea sickness on the way there but it was soon replaced with excitement to get in the water.

To get into the water, you have to put on your wetsuit, fins and weight belt, sit down in front of your tank, strap it onto you, put your goggles on. Then the lovely boat crew help you to stand up straight and your tank comes out of it's little hole and you bear its weight. The really nice guys on the boat and other instructor helped us beginners out by holding some of the weight for you while you waddle over to the dive deck trying not to trip forward or fall back onto the weight of your tank. It sounds harder than it is! I found it weirder to adjust after you get out again and pull yourself up onto the deck and all of a sudden have this weight on your back.

Then you jump. You look to the sky, hold one hand on your belt, air thingy in your mouth, other hand on your goggles. You take on big step out into the water.

And shortly after your fancy life jacket thing pops you back up to the top. But the first time it is a bit scary okay! The jackets are cool, you let air in and out of them with buttons to adjust the depth you want to swim to.

After that it's all about equalising your ears (like when you pop them on aeroplanes) and making sure you breathe so your lungs don't explode haha. We did skills underwater. One of them was taking your mouthpiece out and then clearing it of water. This was pretty daunting, I forced myself to do it because I was like "adventure! you can't do this at home!"

So we had sign language with out instructor and Lexi would demonstrate what she had already explained to us on land. We were a fair way underwater (for me anyway!) and I took my mouth piece out, let out gentle bubbles out and then put it back in, cleared it of water and started to breath again. Life achievement right there! and I only panicked a little.

Then we moved to doing the same thing but in-between taking your mouthpiece out and putting it back in you have to tap your tank, hip and bum, and then when you bring your arm back around you put your air back in. I am proud to say I tried this but freaked out and let out too much air instead of little bubbles so before tapping my tank I quickly reached for my air supply haha. But I tried! Then it was time to see the fishies and they were beautiful! There were lots of awesome animals down under the sea, I'll chuck in some snaps that our instructor took for us. I was pretty jelly of her underwater camera :)
We went for two dives, and it was honestly so much fun and such a beautiful day.

For me, I really like to see a new place on the move, so while I loved shopping and walking through the markets and meeting people, getting our hair or nails done. I also really enjoyed the transport parts. Taking a taxi to Patong, and having motorbikes galore passing you. Seeing whole families on a motorbike. When we took a bus to get on the boat for Phi Phi is was early in the morning and all the kids were on the back of motorbikes being driven to school in their uniforms.

On the last day that Elle and I were there, we left the resort at 5am and as we drove across the Island to the airport, the people started to wake up and come alive, and while Elle slept next to me, I couldn't take my eyes off the very few people driving around, the shops that are usually busy with people and tourists empty, the sun just coming up. As the hour drive went by, the roads started to get busier and I said goodbye to a place that is loud and dirty and beautiful, but most of all charmingly unapologetic.

There was one part of the week that I felt really conflicted about. With the exception of the instagram I posted at the time I haven't done anything with the photos from our Elephant Trek yet because I don't want to advertise it. If I'm honest, this made me feel really sad. I contributed to an industry that profits from the mistreatment and torture of some of the world's most beautiful and endangered animals.

I debated on writing about this because I think that every one feels different about it, and there is a lot about Elephants and Thailand's culture that I don't understand and that I can't understand because I am not Thai and I'm not a zoologist. I also didn't want to put a downer on the whole week or make others who have tried Elephant Trekking feel bad because like many others, I was kind of swept up in the 'everyone does it' thing. And seeing Elephants in person is pretty amazing.

I'm just going to level with you on this one, because if I can stop others from supporting the industry, I think it's worth it. Because Viv was so good organising everything, she picked the most reputable elephant trekking company (with the best treatment of animals in comparison) but there were still things that made me curious about animal treatment. The chains around the Elephant's legs, I understand they need to keep them somehow and there isn't a great deal of infrastructure, but it bothered me a bit. And then there was the manner in which the men who rode them and steered them yelled at, kicked and hit them. I mean, I don't know about Elephants or how much they feel or what hurts to them but I'm not going to pretend it didn't make me uncomfortable. Also, Elephants are such responsive and intelligent creatures and this might sound borderline neurotic but I really feel that the nature of the people who own them, impacts their quality of life too.

So I did a bit of research, and I found this article that explains the methods used to train Elephants and how it harms them to be ridden, which made me feel a whole lot worse and I wish I'd thought to research it all before hand. So hopefully this helps someone else make a better decision. I think I'm going to try and find a group of people like this to support in the future to try and make amends. And next time I'm in Asia, I look forward to swimming with and washing well treated Elephants instead :)

Anyway, I just want to say how thankful I am to have the chance to do things like this, and meet people from all around the world, and have friendships that can withstand international travel haha.

I hope this wasn't too long and boring! I've missed this space and I'm super excited to post another One Story tomorrow by someone that I sort of found on the internet by chance and I don't think too many of you know, so it will be really great :)

Lots of love,
Meg :)

Saturday, 12 July 2014

One Story #4 - The Earth Through A Lens

About Emma

Country: New Zealand
Blog background: I started my blog just over a year ago now, and I am so glad I did. When I set it up, I was going to call it life through a lens, because I see everything through my glasses. But that url wasn’t available, and I had decided I wanted a matching name and url, so I changed it to the Earth through a Lens, which I like better anyway. :)
Random fact: I really want to have an impromptu dance party, and dance to Everybody Talks by Neon Trees, and I realise the planning of it beforehand does make it significantly less impromptu but I don’t care.
Story prologue: I have been very stressed recently, (as you will know if you follow my blog, hint hint :) ), with a lot of stuff happening, plus I have anxiety which isn’t helpful. Meditation has been helping me a lot, (especially this site), and so this is sort of about that. :)

Emma's Story
The clouds coalesce
A shape forms, whether real or not
I don’t know

This is my solace, my comfort
 Everything else falls away 
in the presence of it

The grass beneath my head 
is cool from the dew 
and yet...

I am here
in this moment,
and that is all that matters. 

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Three Thoughts #5

1/ Today was a pretty exciting day as I got to meet this gorgeous bub, Milla and her big brother Ryan to take their photograph. It was the first time I had taken the photo of young ones with the exception of family/friends who don't really think twice about me snapping away. I was pretty nervous about it but everything went really well and I got a feel to how these things work. Milla and Ryan's Mum Bianca was super lovely and made it a lot easier for me to be in my comfort zone. Editing these is keeping me occupied on this quiet Wednesday night. :)

2/ I am travel ready guys! I spent an unreasonable amount of time looking for the perfect neck pillow yesterday, I was so tempted to get the one that was like a monkey, with it's head on one end and a tail on the other. I went with the practical one though! Elle and I fly out just after midnight on Sunday to meet the other four girls in Thailand! I thought I'd just let you know that I'll be posting another One Story this Friday and then taking a one week break while I'm on holidays, so there might be a period of not a lot going on here :)

3/ I've sat here for about ten minutes trying to think of a third little thought to add and can't really think of anything super important, which is a bit out of the usual for me! So tell me, what is your thought for today? I'd love to hear something that has been happening in your life!


Sunday, 6 July 2014

You Must Be New Here...

Listening to: As Luck Would Have It - Tom Rosenthal

So I have been thinking about this space and how it has changed over the last year and particularly the last six months. This went from a place where I was talking to no one, to a place where I found my passion, a place others can share, some that I've met in person through reading their blogs. It's a place for me, and now, most importantly, it's a place for you.

I was talking to my mum the other night about how awesome it is that I've created a place where not only do I feel safe sharing my thoughts and troubles, triumphs and adventures, but that others do too.

Lately I've been feeling like that unless you stalk back in my post (which you are more than welcome to do haha) you might not really get an idea of who I am from the most recent posts on here. And there is only so much to be said in a side bar, a twitter description or whatever else. I also feel like I used to talk a lot more and life stuff has butted in and stopped me yabbering away to you (perhaps a blessing in disguise).

So I thought I would introduce myself a little better.

I'm Meg. You can call me that, because I like you (I'm pretty sure), but if I'm not fond of someone, I prefer they call me Megan, it's odd.

meganbethkernaghan is my full name and also my little place on the internet. A+ for originality.
The other day when I met a few of my lovely blogging friends for the first time we actually got to talking about our previous blogs exploits, mine including a blogspot I had when I was in year 8 that literally no one read and it was all photos that I had found on photo bucket. I won't lie, I was pretty cool.
These are my blogging friends in the flesh! Photograph belongs to Sam.
When I was in year 12 (the last year of Australian High School) I bought my first dslr, who I named Neville. We've become pretty good buds, and since then I have been trying to show how I see the world with Neville's help. I've grown to love it a great amount, I feel most comfortable behind a camera.

I am now 20 years old, taking a break from my arts degree to do a different arts degree and I live at home with my parents. When I was 16 we moved from the country town I grew up in to the closest capital city, Melbourne. So at the moment, while I am studying, aka killing time until I get on with my life, it doesn't make sense to move out. But I have a very extensive and unrealistic three year plan in the works that will see me poorer than ever and having to drive 15 minutes to get Mum to do my washing. But at the same time, doing adult things and adventuring with my favourite people!

As I grew up in a small town, I love people I've never met before and I also have a bit of wanderlust tattooed on the back of my brain. As much as I've grown since moving to the city, I will always have a weakness for country Victoria and people who've known you before you knew yourself.

I sip yellow. I'm probably the only 20 year old girl who takes Yellow wine (It's not really wine) to parties. For my 19th birthday my best friends bought me a toaster, a voucher for kmart and a bottle of yellow. Toast with butter is my vegetarian drunk food. It's statement like this, in all their truth, that make me question what I'm doing with my life.

I know all the words to every One Direction song there is, and I'm not even ashamed, most of the time. I've watched every single episode of Law and Order SVU in existence and plan to marry Nick Amaro, at the moment we are just trying to get around the fact he is fictional. I'm most productive late at night and that's when I do the bulk of my blogging and if you want to be my best friend you need only compliment my Instagram.

Despite all my silliness, I'm a pretty sensitive soul. I believe very much in everything happening for a reason and I am keen to learn from others and this world. I'm a thinker and a dreamer.

I have a lot of opinions about politics, I used to want to be the Prime Minister, something that I woke up to pretty quickly, I certainly don't set the bar high or anything! But the core of my beliefs is in caring for others and also respecting all people.

My favourite things are:
>When Steph comes home from where she studies and we get to hang out with this other dork Cassie.
> Eating vegetarian dumpling at RaRamen.
> Photography!
> Taking really close up photos of my own face with my 50mm lens.
> Old 7th Heaven episodes
> Aeroplanes and Airports!

If there were a few posts in the last year that you should read to know what this space is about, they would be:
1. Confidence
2. Claustrophobia
3. FEMF - Life in Photos
4. Laneway Festival
5. From the other side of the planet
6. For Harry
7. A pinch and a punch

So... I hope you learnt something, and I didn't alienate you for life. I would really love to hear about you, seriously just write me the story of your life. I have been so gifted with the beautiful souls who have found me on this space and I want to share the love.

Meg xx

Friday, 4 July 2014

One Story #3 - Lucid Stars

About Rachel
Country: Australia
Background blog story: I've possessed my humble space on the Internet for a good 3 years now, after an impulse decision to assemble my very own personal blog. I was twelve, and filled with melancholy. My blog was a place of unspoken acceptance, of which I sought solace in. From thereon, it began to grew after pouring my heart and soul into it. I truly love blogging, I do. Some have been shocked that I'm only fifteen. What a staggering majority of people may not realise, is that the youth are capable of real emotions too.

The journey has been brilliant thus far. I'm rather happy - surprise, surprise! As for serving the purpose of my blog - I aim to document, entertain, inspire, provoke thought, and most importantly, make people smile.

Meaning behind blog name: One day, I realised that I really fancied the word 'lucid' after seeing it somewhere. (The definition of 'lucid': expressed clearly or easy to understand.) See, that's exactly how I'd like my blog to be, and also as relatable as possible. The word is also a synonym for 'bright', and I like how that applies nicely to my obsession with stars. To me, stars represent individuality through the journey of self-discovery - plus, they look pretty radical!

Quirky fact: My favourite pastime, when home alone, is to lie on my living room floor and listen to the Submarine soundtrack.
Rachel's One Story

This promptly taken photo encapsulated the delicate dangle between life and death. I was perched on a balcony off the edge of a cliff, in pure awe at such a sight. It overlooked the view of an active volcano, enshrouded by ceaseless greenery. Everlasting rows myrtle and hunter green, accompanied by mountains galore. Batur was its name - behold, a natural phenomenon. Valleys stretched out beyond the pane, further than the naked eye could ever meet. Rain clouds had occupied the spectacle, drawing in misty fog shortly after. The trip to get there was nothing short of slippery, narrow roads and insipid hours. Well-worth it, I'd say.

More came out of the Bali vacation tour than I thought. I had learnt and been reminded about a great deal, thanks to Mother Nature. Even though I wasn't the most enthusiastic when it came to travelling, I was wholeheartedly convinced: an appetite for adventure is simply imperative. I'm now a firm believer of the fact that exploring does wonders for the soul. The exposure keeps you humble and open to the extraordinary. The vast earth inspires you to be more than common. The sights are gripping, perhaps a little too close for comfort, yet mesmerising.

In that moment, I also swore to lead an gleeful life void of insignificance - for our days are inevitably numbered.

Ending off, here's a huge thank you to the marvellous Meg, whom allowed this to be possible! I'm immensely fortunate to make history in her beautifully crafted blog. Another thank you to those who have been a part of the series so far; I personally love reading about bloggers' own stories. I'm exhilarated as to what others will conjure up! :)

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

James' 22nd - Life in Photos

The last few days have been a bit hectic in the Kernaghan household. I dropped Dad at the airport to go to New Zealand on Sunday for work, yesterday I picked up my car from the mechanic with a very expensive new thingabobby, my passport arrived and I opened the door to the postie in my frog onesie and we went to dinner in St Kilda with my godparents as well as my sister and her boyfriend. Then today was my older Brother James' birthday.

Because Dad isn't here and we had a bit of an early dinner with him on the weekend, we just had a quiet night tonight. 
I went and did Mum's grocery shopping so she could make James' favourites, Salmon and Chocolate fudge cake. Then my sister came over and we had a little bit of cake and some tunes. 

I was literally napping 20 minutes before this so do excuse my delightful hair styling. I made them take this picture over and over until they both smiled in it :)