Choose who you are going to be, then make it happen.

Warning – I am passionate, I will swear – they are just words, grow up.

If you are reading this and can say you are honestly content, please leave, this isn’t for you.

Right now they are gone let’s get a few things straight. Content – the most god awful word I have come across, it tells me two things; 1 – You don’t dream big enough, 2 – You lack drive.

Be the person striving for more, pushing yourself till it hurts, finding the limits you’ve set yourself and breaking them down.

I decided who I was going to be, I even went as far as to make a plan, a plan I have fought for, suffered for, that sure as shit was never going to be easy and I am god damn happy that it wasn’t, a plan that does not have an end and has requirements where failure or becoming ‘content’ will take everything from me.

I sit here looking at a sheet of paper, a sheet that in essence says ‘step 4 – Tick’. I don’t take more pride than that in it, it is the sum of three years and hundreds of hours, but to me it is just another bullet point. So was the £450 qualification handled in two weeks, or the few thousand hours of training and studying, even the accredited masters that requires a bank loan.

We all have something we want out of life, but we look at the road it takes to get there and shudder, the idea of sacrifice or hardship terrifies us, and so content seems like a suitable plan B. Let me say something that will get a scorn expression from many – fuck content, fuck your fear. I have had my own hell and hardships, there are moments that I would give anything to fix or get rid of from memory, but my goal, my dream requires so much god damn more. State your dream, wait no, let’s really do this –

Right now, say your dream, in 5 words or less – Might be a job/place/mood/ anything.

Next, state the minimum of what it’ll take to get there – cost/ hours/ ears/ qualifications

Now, and take this part seriously, are you brave enough? Could you take that on and accept the struggle that entails? Let us be very serious, if you look at it now, before even the first damn step in that direction and can’t say with certainty you are willing, when those moments come around that bring you to tears, that keep you awake at night, that lose you friends, to accept that this is all part of the plan, then don’t even start, and get really fucking familiar with – content.

Oh and if I need validation –

– Every damn friend I lost

– The hundreds of hours needed just to change appearance

– The tens of thousands of pounds for my qualifications

– The utter failure come competition day

– The loneliness for 3 years

– The laughter and judging

– The five years of work to just get my foot in the door

– The agony every fucking day

– The scars, history to overcome

and the rest of it that frankly if you need to hear, you were never going to be convinced anyway.

Be brave because in reality, if you aren’t living for those dreams, what is the damn point?

Aspire to Inspire.

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Travel Basics.

A list I found from when I did my first trip across the world. Simple, effective and damn right important. 
1. TORCH
Don’t be that person who returns to the room late at night and switches the main lights on; use a torch to make… your… way… quietly. I recommend the humble head torch. 
2. WET WIPES
They may seem a bit middle-aged woman with a handbag, but trust me — when you’re travelling, wet wipes are a gift. Use them to clean up scrapes and scratches, mop dust of your flip flops, wipe the sweat off your face (nice), freshen-up if you can’t have a shower (double nice)… the list goes on! 
3. DUCT TAPE
Use it to patch up any tears in your backpack! Secure your mosquito net with it! Repairing shoes – trust me I’ve seen it done. The point I’m trying to make is: duct tape is really very useful. Take some with you. 
4. CAMERA
Not only will your memories be preserved forever, you know you’re just dying to be that person on Facebook who makes everyone jealous with their travel pics. 
5. MONEY
Unfortunately, you can’t go travelling without having a bit of money. But instead of carrying loads of cash around with you, stick it on a Travel Cashcard. It works like a credit or debit card, but you preload your money on there, and there’ll be no getting into debt because you can only spend what you have. Genius! It can also be topped up by anyone (hi mum), anywhere, and you can also use it withdraw cash, so you don’t need to exchange currency.
6. CONDOMS
Young, free, single and — Anyway – promoting safe sex; so pack some quality condoms. You don’t want to be bringing any unwanted presents home with you, if you get my drift.
7. PASSPORT
You won’t get very far without your passport, but before you pack it, remember to check that it isn’t about to expire! Lots of countries — including backpacker havens Australia, Thailand and Malaysia — won’t let you in if your passport expires within 6 months of your arrival date. It’s also worth packing a photocopy of your passport, and other important docs. Email a copy of these to yourself so you always have them. Remember to check whether you need a visa to get into the country you’re travelling to.
8. DISCOUNT CARDS
Are you either a student, under 26 or a teacher? Lucky you! You’re eligible for a discount card that you can use all around the world on up to 40,000 discounts; including things like eating out, guidebooks, and getting around. It’s also worth grabbing a YHA card to save you money at all Youth Hostel Association hostels around the world.
9. DRUGS
No, not those kind of drugs though….– I’m talking about the medicinal kind! First up, we have paracetamol. Worth taking a stash with you, since your familiar brand is not always available abroad. Secondly, we have Tiger Balm. If you haven’t discovered this yet, now’s the time. It’s amazing for headaches and insect bites, and you can also slap some on your aching muscles. It’s widely available in Asia, so you can even pick some up on your travels. Thirdly, pack some diarrhoea medication. It’s likely that you will eat something… that, err… .
10. BABY POWDER
Baby powder… can be used from stopping your bag from rubbing, to soothing your skin, to keeping your hair clean, to stopping your shoes from rubbing… the list is endless! I don’t think I need to add anything to that.
11. SLEEPING BAG LINER
If you’re travelling on a budget, a sleeping bag liner is a must. It’s essentially a cosy thin sleeping bag, and it’ll protect you from any bed bugs that might be lurking in the slightly more questionable places you stay. Pop one in your backpack, and get a good night’s sleep instead of worrying about the state of the sheets. 
12. SIM CARD
Stay in contact with family and friends back home. Get aglobal SIM card and save big on international calls, texts and data use. Get coverage in 180 countries worldwide, free incoming calls in more than 70 countries and free Facebook notifications. Drop into store and grab one quick before you leave, or apply online. A global SIM is also a lifesaver (or at least a phone bill saver) when you want to contact friends you make on your travels about where to meet up with them later.
13. EAR PLUGS
Whoever invented ear plugs has definitely spent their fair share of time sleeping in dorm rooms. These nuggets of genius are pretty much essential if you want a good night’s sleep in a hostel. They’re also handy for sleeper trains and buses.
14. MOSQUITO REPELLENT AND MOSQUITO NET
No one likes to itch, and no one likes to be covered in bright red splotches. Even if you’re one of those really annoying people who never seems to get bitten (I hate you), it’s worth spraying on some mossie repellent and investing in a net, particularly in Malaria zones.
15. NOTEBOOK AND PENS
I guarantee that despite your good intentions to start a blog, by the time you get round to typing it up, you’ll have forgotten loads. Nothing beats lying on an isolated beach with a notebook in your hand, writing about your latest travel adventures and capturing how you’re feeling. It would be a shame if all those amazing things will be forgotten… and you can’t capture every experience in pictures or remember every detail forever. so I write them down!
16. TRAVEL INSURANCE
OK it’s boring, and yes, I sound like your mum, but it’s so, so important — not least because you can’t get it once you’ve left! Don’t let getting your iPod nicked or having to fork out for medical treatment ruin your trip. You can buy insurance from only 35p day – especially designed with the young and adventurous traveller in mind. Get covered for over 100 adventure sports and adrenalin activities free of charge.
17. IPOD/IPHONE
Or a similar smartphone with music-listening capabilities. Travelling without music on long bus journeys is no fun; plus, the songs you listen to will forever remind you of your travels. Plus, you can use your smartphone to access wifi. Google maps was invaluable whilst I was away. Before moving to a new town I would load the map area so when I arrived I could never get too lost! Especially useful when arriving somewhere late at night. Just remember to turn data roaming off, or risk being landed with a massive phone bill.
18. PADLOCKS
Take a couple of padlocks. They’ll keep your backpack secure, and you can also use them on lockers in some hostels.
19. TOILET ROLL
Stick some loo roll in your bag, particularly if you’re travelling around Latin America or Asia, where the public toilets may be notably void of hallowed roll. On a toilet-related note; start practising your crouching skills, as the public loos will probably be lacking in seats – squat toilets, anyone? You’ll soon get used to them.
20. SCARF
No, not the woolly winter kind; I’m talking about a nice big lightweight scarf – ladies call them pashminas. Gents, why not try a keffiyeh, or a less-politically-controversial-but-still-manly equivalent. Not only will a scarf keep you warm if the evenings get chilly, it can also double up as a beach blanket, and protect you against subzero air conditioning on a bus or train journey.
21. VISAS!
Make sure you’ve got your visas fixed up, or you’ll be waiting a long, long, long time at the border. If you have fewer than five days to go, no drama, that’s just about time to visit your local store and submit a fast-track visa service, for any entrance visa.
Aspire to Inspire.