Saturday, February 28, 2015

February Favorites

Hi everyone!

Are you all sitting cozy with your coffee / tea / hot chocolate or wine??? 


I hope you enjoy my post today. 
It's just a little look into my February. Which was CRAAAAAAAZY by the way!

I hope you all had an excellent month too and look forward to hearing what exciting things happened to you throughout the month in the comments below! 

Favorite Purchases:

I found my bikini for Bali and Philippines!!!
I fell so in love with this little number I just couldn't resist the splurge... can't wait to pack it in my suitcase and head off for Southeast Asia!

I also FINALLY found my leather backpack that I've been hunting for... and got it at an absolute BARGAIN!!!
The money went towards a good cause too.
I found this little guy while stumbling around town in a pair of painful heels with no soles! I'd crept into this tiny store called Eye Love to give my feet a break when I spotted a leather backpack jammed into the corner window.

It was love at first sight.
And now it's going to be slung across my shoulders when I backpack through Southeast Asia in a few months time!

Favorite thing to do in my spare time:

The ocean is my safe haven. Every chance I get I am down on the shore, digging my bare feet into the sand and enjoying some down time. 

Favorite Photograph:

I took this one evening while the sun was setting over the rolling hills of the beautiful town I am lucky enough to call home.

Favorite Reads:

I started reading A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen. 
I never denied being a crazy cat lady..........

Book review on A Street Cat Named Bob HERE.

I've also been loving lazy Sunday's kicking back with a cup of tea and reading up about Indonesia... My flight's in 4 months time!!!!

Favorite Exercise:

I started Crossfit. 
That is what I look for before Crossfit....

And this is what I look like afterwards:

An absolute sweat monster!

Favorite Laugh:

For anyone who does Crossfit, I'm pretty sure this picture is self-explanatory.

Oh! I also had this pic posted onto my Facebook timeline from my best friend, Lucien... I think tea actually came out of my nose I laughed so hard:

(Every bit of that screams Jade!)

Favorite Decision:

Just over a month ago, I made the decision to stop drinking.
Not altogether... but I decided to cut back a lot. 

It had gotten to a stage where I would open a bottle of wine every single night and in the end I just got sick of it. 
It started making me miserable. 
It was effecting my mind and my body and so I took a stand. 
I replaced alcohol with Crossfit and stuck to teas, hot chocolate, WATER and Bloody Mary's without any vodka in during the evenings. 

I drank only a handful of times this month and all were for good reasons. 
The first glass of wine I had in February was on Wednesday the 4th to celebrate that I'd just booked my flights to the Philippines and Bali!
Another time I indulged in a glass of red (note how I don't say bottle?!) was on my granny's last night in South Africa before she headed back to Scotland.

I just want wine to be special. 
I don't want drinking to be a routine in my life - and I think I'm doing pretty great so far!

Favorite Surprise:

I had a really, really shitty day at the beginning of the month and to cheer me up, an old friend surprised me at work with a gorgeous photograph he'd taken that reminded him of me and he also stuck on a sneaky chocolate! 

Why did I have such a shitty day???? Because I got attacked by a wet wipe box and almost lost my finger! 

I kid you not. 

My finger got stuck inside that thing and two guys had to cut it off me with pocket knives!!!!!
You can't take me anywhere..........

Another cool surprise that happened to me in February was finding my mums old polaroid camera!
I haven't managed to get the film for it yet (it's going to be quite pricey!) but once I've got some spare cash lying around I can't wait to play with this guy!

Favorite Moment:

When I realized that even though there was no electricity, I could prevail. 
I had a fully charged laptop, an internet dongle to connect to blog world and a gas stove to boil some water in order to make some plunger coffee!

Favorite Times With Friends:

Cooking my best friend, Lucien, a big seafood dinner and having a cozy night in watching horror movies!

Favorite Feeling:

Being comfortable in my baggy pj's and sweat-pants, no makeup and reading glasses on while pottering around the house.
No need to impress anyone... just 'ou naturel' and chilling OUT....
Such a great feeling over the weekends rather than caking up in makeup and slipping into tight clothes and going out partying, spending all your money.

Instead, I've been reading books and enjoying time at home with my cats and dogs.


Oh yeah.... also treating myself to the occasional glass of wine in the evenings was lovely. I've certainly cut back A LOT... and I can feel the difference already.

Just loving life!

Favorite Spoils:

It was Valentines Day - and this year I decided to spoil myself a bit... OK, A LOT!!!

I bought myself a super cool Go Pro Hero 4 Silver which I haven't had the opportunity to use properly yet because I still need a few of the goodies like 'floaty backdoors' and stuff. I also still need to put a hole into my surfboard so that I can finally get some epic photos of me surfing (well, I like to think they're going to be epic anyway!).
But soon enough I'll put my Go Pro to use and share all the awesome images I capture with you!!!

I also bought myself a lovely book which I'm currently over half way through - I'll feature more of it in next months posts... but just know that it is AMAZING and if you haven't read Wild by Cheryl Strayed then you need to go and find yourself a copy immediately! Especially if you love the outdoors and have a case of Wanderlust!

To make the entire month PERFECT, I used some of the money I have been saving for YEARS now on plane tickets to Bali and Philippines!
It's 100-ish days until I pack up my suitcase, throw a leather backpack over my shoulders and catch a flight out of here!!!

Favorite Activity:

I attended an Angel Connection retreat out on a farm in Rheenendaal and it was nothing short of amazing.
Read more about it HERE.

Favorite Auntie Moment:

Seeing this little guy growing up!
He's getting so big and strong - my heart cannot contain the love!!

Favorite Goal:

I've been editing The Other Woman as much as I possibly can over the month of Feb but as you can see, it's been a pretty crazy month!!!

It is nearly finished though and I hope to have it all polished and ready to go by the end of March!

My goal was to have the book be ready and available by my birth month, May... but now I have a feeling it may just be ready before then!

I'm going to be pushing towards finding an agent now too... I have one in mind based in London who I've already been in contact with. It's all a bit daunting because you have to supply cover letters and a synopsis of your work which has never been one of my strong suits and the thing is that if the agent doesn't like your cover letter or the synopsis then they won't even take a peak at the actual manuscript!!
I think that is what makes me choke. Knowing it rests on those two things... gulp.
But I need to try - and I'm going to!

Wish me luck!

Favorite SURPRISE:

I've turned BACK into a blondie!!!!

And I am absolutely LOVING it!

Being blonde ALWAYS makes me feel happy and more confident. There's something about it that just makes me feel more feminine!

Since re-bleaching it, my hair has been more curly than EVER! Seriously, it's wild!!!
I've also just started to take some hair growth supplements after the devastating realization that I cannot afford extensions..... ever.
So hopefully it'll work and grow down to my ass like I want it to soon! This awkward length it's at now is a right pain....

Had to add the photo of me and my kitty-cat... although she is immensely pissed off with me because I caught her with two legs dangling out of her mouth that just happened to belong to a frog... of course I saved the poor thing... much to her disappointment.

Happy, happy days to being a blondie again!

Favorite Work Event:

We had our first exhibition opening of the year and it was a huge success!


The next morning I was NOT excited to put makeup on and head to work again.
Seriously in need of a chilled day in front of the television!
But I kicked the days butt and got home that evening and continued to pack my life into boxes for the big move....

I never thought I'd feel so emotional about the move... But I do.
I had actual tears this morning although I fought them away as best I could.

Lao Tzu once said, 'New Beginnings Are Often Disguised As Painful Endings'.
And on that note:

Favorite Quote:

When life gives you lemons, squeeze one in your hair and go surf. II Goldfish Kiss.

I loved this quote! 
Enough said.
(and because I've now just turned back into a blondie, the lemons now apply!)

So today is the last day of Feb and I'm about to finish up work and head off to my new house, which I haven't even seen yet!!! Eeeek...
After moving in some boxes and settling the cats and dogs in I'll be slicking back some oysters and welcoming in the new beginning.

I hope Feb's been good to you all.

See you in March ;)
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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Angel Connection - Retreat

This past weekend I did something entirely new and out of my comfort zone. I attended a retreat I guess a lot of my friends and family would associate with some sort of a hippie convention - but I have to tell you it was one of the most reviving, awakening and wonderful things that I have ever done. 
It is an angel retreat, working with archangels Gabriel and Michael and many more to cleanse your mind, body and soul. Over the course of three days you gain purification, clarification, release and quiet introspection. 

I had no idea what to expect when going into this. I like to think I'm open-minded and try to make spirituality a part of my life. But I really just didn't know what it was that I was getting into this time around. 

I arrived at the farm a few minutes late, which is something I seem to be becoming particularly good at these days.... which is odd for someone so pedantic about time!
There were seven other women sitting on plastic chairs in a circle around crystals, candles and pots. One of the pots contained a couple of handfuls of epsom salt which we would later pour surgical spirits over and set alight while we did our first guided meditation with the facilitator. This clears any stagnant energy and is a very powerful way to cleanse you and your home. 

I was welcomed to the group with such warmth and kindness that I instantly felt that I was coming home, which was odd considering I had never been there before. Nor did I know any of the women around me..... or did I? Over the course of the weekend we delved into past lives and reincarnation which was absolutely fascinating. We learned so much about ourselves and each other - and the connection that we all shared. We once belonged to the Celtic times and were a group of powerful women many believed to be witches. Some of us were burnt at the stake. In another life we were in India, training as monks. This I loved as it really helped me to understand my love of India. 

We chatted a while, going around in the circle sharing small snippets of ourselves with each other. 
It kicked off with a very emotional start. Obviously everyone around the circle had a reason for being there and some were more open than others with sharing those reasons. 
I felt a lot of happiness, sadness, anger, joy, pain, love and turmoil while sitting there with everyone. Not just my own, but everyone else's too. 
My caring for every other person in the group was immediate. It was something truly beautiful. 

Our first exercise was walking the labyrinth.
I'd always seen labyrinth's as part of a pretty garden or as a feature of a quirky restaurant like The Heath, but somehow I'd never gotten the curiosity to know what a labyrinth really IS. 
There's a certain path to follow when walking the labyrinth. 
Ours was beautifully set up with a Bodhi Tree right in the center. It is said to be the same tree that Buddha sat under. 
We had earthy colored tiles nestled into the stones riddled with tiny crickets and scattered with rose quartz. 
As we walked, we had to focus on our steps and our moving, slowly starting to let go of all of the things we each needed to. It would have been different for everyone. 
Personally, mine was a lot of pent up anger towards my life. The heartache from lost love and lies. The pain from my dads illness and my parents struggles with certain things in their lives. 
My regrets for ever getting involved with certain people and things that led to self-doubt and depression. There was the fear from abusive relationships as well as the fear of not being good enough... that I had decided that I deserved every inch of what life was throwing at me. 
I'd let it all defeat me - but as I walked that labyrinth, for the first time in many, many years, I realized that I was starting to fight back. 
I was better than this life that I'd become stuck in a rut in.
When we reached the tree, we stood in a circle and dropped all of that negativity and 'junk' there. We stood a while, eyes closed in a tranquil silence - each of us being transported entirely different. To where we felt relief and release and all things good and whole.... until very slowly, we opened our eyes, coming back to the present and taking a deep breath in. 
We started our walk back to the entrance of the labyrinth - this time we weren't to focus on the things we had just left behind at the tree, that was already gone. This time we were to focus on the start of new beginnings and positiveness. 

Labyrinths are extremely powerful things and I hadn't realized that until that day. 
As I walked back through those rose quartz and cricket covered stones, I felt things. Things I'd never expected to feel. Forgiveness. Forgiveness to myself, forgiveness to my family and forgiveness to life. 
I got messages too. In my head whispered words would surface such as, 'Be gentle on your parents, they are going through a lot'. 
I still have no idea if that is a 'normal' experience when walking the labyrinth but it was mine and I appreciated it all so much. It was as though I was getting this closure and clarity and profound wisdom that I'd been batting away before. 
Along the walk I fretted that I was walking too fast, being too close to the person in front of me and tripping over a rose quartz which would just be such a typical 'Jade Thing' to do. No body is perfect - and the beautiful thing was that no one had to be. 

We thanked the labyrinth after the walk before scurrying back in doors to the blankets and tea. 
Here we also did a ritual for grounding and protection before continuing with the meditation. 

As we did our first meditation, we met each of our 'special beings' and discovered their names. I admit that this takes imagination and creativity, or at least it did for me.
It was my first time doing anything like this so I didn't know if I was doing it correctly or if it came more naturally to everyone else.
I really didn't want to share who my 'special being' was but some of the other women did and it was amazing to hear about the figures they saw before them. One women had a special being with the face of a crocodile  and another's shared the name with a Power Ranger!
There was so much humor, lightness and openness involved while at the same time it was still so deep. 

In the meditation our special being gave us a box with a gift inside. Sometimes your special being can even give you a symbol. 
Once again, mid-meditation, I started to fret about not being able to see what was inside of my box and wondered if I just had to sort of make something up. 
In the end, I worried myself out so much that I never did get to see what was in my box but right when I thought all was lost, a symbol of a heart as a pendant on a necklace appeared right in front of me. 

We slowly came out of our meditation and started to share our experiences with each other. 
I started to feel a little deflated because while everyone else seemed to have been given golden orbs and seemingly much more majestic things, I had been given a simple heart. But when it got to me and I muttered my symbol, everyone made me feel so good about it. 
The facilitator mentioned that she could see that I have been through a lot of pain in my life and that my symbol clearly meant that I need to start working on my heart chakra. 
There had been something so symbolic about the heart being whole...

I think that is one of the things I loved most about this retreat - you could share anything with the group and they would be there for you unconditionally. 

It was something I'd never felt in a group before, especially in a group of women. But this was different. 

Night one ended after a gorgeously cooked hot meal of gluten-free, vegetarian risotto and a ginormous slice and moist chocolate cake. 
I was already feeling a world of change. 

We were instructed to meet the next morning for breakfast at 8am. 
Had the weather been nice we'd have gone down to the beach to do a meditation in order to align our chakra's - but it came bucketing down with rain so we cozied up around the crystals, candles and pot filled with epsom salts again. 
Aligning the chakra's is nothing short of a lengthy process, but it is so worth it!
It is basically a guided meditation to balance and align our chakras which helps us to function at an optimal level in our lives - tosses out negative energy and accelerates our Ascension process. 

Saturday was filled with activities and experiences including meditations, chakra alignments and fire ceremonies. 
For me, the fire ceremony was a huge deal. I think that is where I let A LOT of stuff really go. There were tears and the burning of feelings that no longer served us which we'd written down on crumpled up pieces of paper. We were smudged and and cleansed and the entire day was just so beautiful and necessary.

Sunday we walked the labyrinth again and I was dying to get back to it to be honest. There was more that I wanted to dump under that Bodhi tree and walk away from. 
I'd let the weekend slowly sink in.
On the last day we did other new things like draw pictures that had to contain certain things. This in itself was yet another HUGE learning experience for me (because I completely bollocksed the entire exercise up........ obviously).
See, the paper was laid down in front of us in a certain way - but me being me, I went against the tide and swiveled my paper around and started drawing my picture in a different position to everyone else. 
This gave me a good message that was hard to come to terms with - but it was so true. 
I need to stop trying to change things and just let them be the way that they are. 

So much happened and so many messages were sent to me that I really can't share it all.  

All you really need to know is that I left the retreat on Sunday a completely altered person and took so much away with me... not just the delightful goodies like incense, bracelets and meditation CDs but other things too. Things you can't see or touch - things you can't even really explain. 

I'd recommend a weekend like this to absolutely everyone. It is nothing short of absolutely incredible.

If anybody is interested in a weekend away like this, please click the link below for further details:

Peace, love, light, happiness and angels to all 

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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentines Day 2015

There's a quote that goes something like this:

"You have to love yourself before anyone else can." 

This is something I have been trying to practice a lot over the past few months.... to love myself. That's never been an easy thing for me.
A lot of things took place in my younger days that drilled thoughts that I wasn't worth loving into my head.

See, I've been dangling myself off of the edge of the world for a long time now. Darting from here to there - never able to find peace in my soul. 
Something was wrong. 
After a heartbreak so intense it very nearly killed me - I scattered my life into a million different pieces. 
I wanted everything - and I wanted nothing all at once. 
I couldn't choose between left or right, this road or that.
So I continually did whatever my heart desired, without often thinking of the consequences. It was selfish, sporadic and staggeringly dangerous.  
Through it all, I put myself into some really stupid situations - but I wouldn't change any of it. I regret nothing barring the pain I caused upon others during my outlandish fantasies. 

Over the past few years, I have been in no position to be a girlfriend, a friend or even a daughter.
How could someone love you when you didn't even love yourself?
So my goal was simple - to figure out why I was worth loving. 
That is a lot harder than it may seem... especially for a mid-twenties girl who'd dabbled with drugs and got in too deep before she knew what hit her. 

I think it was the day I had a complete breakdown and made the scariest decision of my life (to tell my parents that I'd been using drugs and that I needed help,) that I started to love myself. 
I made a decision that I was better than this life I was leading and so I changed it. 
It wasn't easy. Far from it. 
There were the cravings... the self-loathing... the actual relapses... the meaningless jobs that I skipped between... becoming a 'mistress' to a married man which you can read about in my latest book being released later this year.
There was the depression and the anxiety, the panic attacks and pure sorrow that fueled my existence. 
It was hard. 

But slowly, very slowly... I started to bloom inside. 
I started to travel and take courses to gain degrees and diplomas. I started writing novels and reading books by the likes of Eckhart Tolle and M. Scott Peck.
I started hiking and surfing, exploring all of the good that the world had to offer.
Traces of a me I'd never known before but had always wanted to started to reveal itself to me.
I was turning into the woman that I had always wanted to become:
Hard-working, ambitious and spiritual. 
There was a blanket of peace and tranquility that had wrapped itself snugly around me that I'd never thought I'd find. 

I was starting to forgive myself.

Today, on the 14th February 2015, I can confidently say that I am happy. 
I have had a hard past filled with darkened corners, severe heartache and turmoil... but I have gotten through it. 
I found the light at the end of the tunnel. 

So I'll end today's post like this:

Don't try and find happiness through someone else. 
Find happiness within yourself and then share that happiness with others. 
Don't rely on someone else to take away your pain and make you feel loved. 
Make yourself feel loved. 
You're worth it.

Happy Valentines Day.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen - Book Review

Have you ever read a book you loved so much that you feel even a glowing book review won't do it any justice? Well, that's what 'A Street Cat Named Bob,' was for me.
I found the book in this quirky little bookstore nestled in Kalk Bay, Cape Town and although I could barely afford to scrape enough together for dinner that night, I just couldn't leave the store without it.

I'll admit, at first I thought it was hilarious. Over the years I have managed to adopt the nickname, Crazy Cat Lady, among my friends... so when I laid eyes on this book in the store I had to laugh and take a photo of it for my friends. I knew they would find it funny. 
But after snapping a quick picture, curiosity got the better of me and I picked the book up to read the blurb on the back:

"When James Bowen found an injured, ginger street cat curled up in the hallway of his sheltered accommodation, he had no idea just how much his life was about to change. James was living hand to mouth on the streets of London and the last thing he needed was a pet.
Yet James couldn't resist helping the strikingly intelligent tom cat, whom he quickly christened Bob. He slowly nursed Bob back to health and then sent the cat on his way, imagining he would never see him again. But Bob had other ideas.
Soon the two were inseparable and their diverse, comic and occasionally dangerous adventures would transform both their lives, slowly healing the scars of each other's troubled pasts.
A Street Cat Named Bob is a moving and uplifting story that will touch the heart of anyone who reads it."

Needless to say, after that I was hooked! 
It is an absolutely gorgeous true story about a busking, heroine addict living on the streets of London. While struggling to beat his addiction, he stumbles upon a seemingly homeless ginger tom cat.  Little does he know that this friendly feline is about to turn his life around. 

This book is so heartwarming and emotionally touching. It is filled with hope and love! It's a story about angel's, blessings and guidance in the most realistic way possible. What I love most about this book is that it isn't written over-dramatically. It is believable and enjoyable to the point where you really can't put it down. I read the entire thing back to front within two days and was absolutely gutted when it came to an end - only because I didn't want it to! So for all the bad that is in this book, like it being quite repetitive, it really would be your loss if you chose not to read it because of the negative aspects it contains. 

I know that this book is based in London - but being put into the shoes of a homeless person for the duration of the read was really eye-opening for someone living in South Africa. Seeing things from their perspective is hard to take in but it is so important to understand it too 

It is so true that people perceive homeless people (or as we call them, 'hobo's), drug addicts and beggars differently. Very often we don't give them a chance and reading this completely changed my view on how to handle it when approached by someone on the streets again. As the author says, he could have been asking someone for the time but the second they see his appearance they shoo him off and won't give him the time of day. It really pulled at my heartstrings. 

One thing that this book reinforced for me was just how clever and incredible cats are... or any animal really. They choose people, you don't choose them - and that was exactly what happened in this book. 
Animals make the world a better place and they make our lives complete too. They are the best companions you could ever ask for and one thing this book really encourages is for you to just appreciate your furry friends.  

I was smiling the ENTIRE way through this book. It was such a feel-good read and to top it off, it had such a happy ending. 
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Thursday, February 5, 2015

My Flights are Booked and Paid For!!!

Hi everyone!

I've got some really big news for all of you. 

Many of you have been reading my blog for months, if not years and putting up with my countless posts based on travel. 
I have one of the worst cases of wanderlust known to man and over the past year I haven't been able to pursue it. 
Backpacking and camping my way through Europe in 2013 left me penniless! I've been working my butt off ever since, saving away as much as possible at the end of each month. 
What I saved went directly into my travel account and now I can finally say that all of this hard work has paid off!!

Yesterday I booked and paid for my flights to the Philippines and to Bali!!!!!!!

My first big stop after a twelve-ish hour flight from Johannesburg, South Africa, is Hong Kong. There are no direct flights from South Africa to the Philippines or Bali so you have to catch a connecting flight from another country.
I was lucky enough to book my connecting flight to Cebu, Philippines from Hong Kong! Never, ever, EVER has Hong Kong crossed my mind as a place that I have wanted to see. Not because I don't like the sound of it - but because I never really looked into how amazing it was over there.
Since knowing that it is a part of my travels, I have been researching a fair bit and now to say that I'm excited to experience Hong Kong is an understatement!
I will have an entire day to explore Hong Kong before my journey to the Philippines continues and although I am still researching, I have absolutely NO idea what I am going to get up to while I'm there. I guess there's only one way to find out!
After some Hong Kong-ish adventures with just me and my suitcase, it will be time to board my connecting flight to Cebu!

I've booked myself into this gorgeous resort on an island in the Philippines where they offer surfing packages. The package that I've chosen includes accommodation (your choice between a standard air-conditioned room which is the most expensive, a cottage equipped with a fan or a basic backpackers room). 

I'll be staying in a dreamy thatch-roofed, air-conditioned home like this during the course of my stay:

The package also includes airport transfers, breakfast every morning, daily surf lessons, transport to  the breathtaking surf spots, all surfing equipment, an hour and a half massage, island hopping tours, wifi and more!

The best part is that it is all so affordable! The Philippines and Bali are so cheap for us South African's which doesn't come often I must say! The Rand exchange rate is usually a pretty painful ordeal so I am really stoked to have stumbled across this... although I owe SO much thanks to Chris over at his amazing travel blog: BackPacker Banter and his gorgeous lady-pie, Tara who also has one of the best travel blogs I've ever read: Where Is Tara?
Without them, I'd never have found this package! I'd probably still be sitting behind my desk at work, picking irritably at my nails and trying desperately to make deals with 'The Man Upstairs,' to somehow help me get out of my rut! A tit for tat sort of thing.

After the Philippines I'll be shooting off to finally live my dream of becoming a beach-bum and water baby in Indonesia. I'll be baking away in the sun, attaching a leash to my ankle and paddling out on a surfboard into the crystal clear ocean. I'll be sipping away at fresh coconut milk straight from the shell and popping meaty crayfish into my mouth in between snorkeling over the coral. I'll be island hopping and soaking up the Balinese sun until I am bronzed and blissed out with happiness.

Travelling alone to South East Asia where I know no one and where the language sounds like gibberish to me is nothing short of daunting... but this is what I have been craving. This is what I have been working so hard towards... and now it is all coming together. 

Do you have any exciting travel plans coming up over 2015? 

Are there any countries that you are dying to explore and saving up for?

I'd love to hear all about your travel dreams in the comments below. 
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