Rant On Changing The World, The Importance Of Community In Our Society + My Challenge To You

Warning – this is going to be one very ranty post about a ton of things I’ve been thinking about recently so it might not make any sense. Please bear with me though ahaha. This blog is the one place I can just write my heart out and be totally honest so if anyone would give me their thoughts on this, I’d really appreciate hearing what you have to say 🙂

Everything I see around me shows me just how important it is to make a difference. Watching anthropology (the study of humanity) videos when I can snatch some spare Wi-Fi, hearing people talk about their stories, it makes me realise that our world is such a beautiful, messed up place full of such good, but broken people.

It’s the good things too – not just the bad, like when you see people standing up and making a difference in their communities, people like our friends Finlay and Ella who are striking for climate crisis and taking action for our generation, all the other inspiring people we’ve been meeting on this journey and, most of all, the team at CatZero (the charity my family are raising money for on our challenge).

It’s things I read and watch and the conversations I have. It’s Tip from the episode of ‘the Waltons’ that I watched with my family the other day- he’s the life of the party, so full of stories and extravagance and energy, but it’s all a fake. He has no purpose and no one and he’s dying inside because of it. I’ve written about it countless times because I see it so much in my generation. So many people I know are so over-the-top crazy and take nothing seriously, but I know them well enough to see how much they’re struggling underneath it all. They’ll never admit it though and it breaks my heart.

My Mum tells everyone that this trip is born out of my concern for my generation and the issues we’re facing and, although it’s just a word, I feel like such a fake when she says that. What do I know of their struggles? I feel like screaming. It’s not concern, it’s desperation. Tell me again that I should be ‘concerned’ when my friends are getting pregnant, overdosing on drugs, killing themselves, hurting themselves, being held back by their depression and anxiety, feeling alone and hopeless, tell me again that I should be ‘concerned’. I rattle it off like a list, but these are lives we’re talking about here. Human lives. Lives that being destroyed. Your sister. Your son. Your granddaughter. Your best friend. Tell me I’m being dramatic.

We’ve passed through so many little towns on the East Coast of Scotland, all places with bad reputations for drugs and poverty, visitors to that part of the country go round them or pass straight through and never stop. We were welcomed with open arms. These places are struggling, but they have such a strong sense of community, they are coming together and actively doing something to support one another.

Community is truly the answer. If people had a support network of people who cared about them and who they knew they could always depend on, if they were working together to achieve something and keep their community thriving, it would make such a difference.

Greta Thunberg stopped talking because of the effect the way our planet is heading was having on her and some days I understand how she feels, but every day there’s places for me to go and things for me to do and people for me to meet and I’m learning that action is the only way.

I often feel like I’m not doing enough. I lie awake at night because I’m overwhelmed by it all. When I write this, it makes me sounds so selfless, but that’s not the reality at all. I just feel the pain of my generation kinda like it’s my own and although that hurts a lot, it’s also incredibly motivating.

I’m well aware that it’s easy to ramble on about the faults in society and the struggles of young people (well, all people really) without coming up with any answers so that’s why my family are on a search. It’s been continued throughout this journey since starting a lifetime ago, though I think some of what we’ve experienced on this adventure even just in the last seven weeks has been just about the closest we’ve ever come to finding what we believe is the answer – true community.

It exists in little pockets around the world, for sure. Places like those little Scottish towns, but what we need is community on a worldwide scale. People committed to the well-being of their fellow people, people who care about the future generations, people who work in harmony instead of fighting and starting wars. It sounds a long way off, but it starts here, at home. Your family is a mini community of its own and families are just another thing that have broken down in our society today. If we started applying that same mindset of commitment and understanding to the people closest to us, it might just make a difference and you never know, it may reach Donald Trump eventually hehe.

I went on a climate strike with some friends the other day and it made me realise just how good it felt to stand up for something I believe in. That’s what it’s like on this challenge too. I want to challenge everyone (YOU included) just to take one small step towards making a difference in the world we live in.

Here’s something I wrote in my journal a couple of weeks ago that is kinda relevant to what I’m talking (ranting) about today –

I’m nearly ready for bed now and my hair is still wet from the sea. The island of Tiree off of the West coast of Scotland has always been my favourite place in the world, but Durness beach (where we are today) may be a contender for second place.

As soon as Mo (our van) pulled up, I leapt out of the back, skidded down the sand dune, ran across the beach and into the sea. The waves were crashing and the water was so beautiful and blue and so I proceeded to spend the next couple of hours in the ocean. I honestly think that one of the times when I’m at my happiest is when I’m swimming in the sea. It’s hard to describe the feeling except to say that it’s almost the opposite of hopelessness.

It’s simple, pure, sweet freedom and it’s so different from the ache that’s sometimes fills my heart. That’s partly why I love swimming so much. I can’t over-think and every single part of me is focused, plus I love the power and control I feel over my own movement and strength. Also, when I swim as part of a team, it’s like another mini community feeling. Being a part of something positive is so important and it’s what we all need.

Being on top of the world is an extreme, but it gives me hope and it makes me realise that we will all be okay.

I can’t get knocked down by negativity or what use I am to the revolution? As my friend Ruby always tells me, you can’t help anyone if you’re crying on the floor – focus on what you can do, focus on the solution.

We’ve all got to do what we can to help others and play our part in creating a better world. It won’t always be easy, but we’ve got to try. Small steps, people, small steps. Please do let me know how you get on!! I’m also well aware that it’s  not always easy to know what you can do to make a difference so if anyone wants to discuss it, shoot me an email through my contact page and we can have a conversation and figure it out together xx

btw, what posts do you all wanna see coming up? I had the idea to do one with letters to people who’ve meant a lot to me throughout my life or there’s always more rants haha…?? Let me know in the comments xx

Use Our Voices – Spoken Word Poetry Guest Post by Vaishnavi + And A Discussion On CHANGE


Heyy guys,

It’s so important that we as young people stand up and use our voices in whatever ways we can and that we support each other in doing so. I recently discovered that the awesome Vaishnavi at Written In The Stars is a fellow spoken word poet and so when she reached out and asked me about guest posting, I jumped at the chance to share some of her incredible work with you all! I’m going to let her take over now, but before I go there’s just a couple of things I wanna mention…..

  1. If there’s something you believe in, speak up about it. Do not be afraid to fight for your future. You may not think you can make a difference and it will definitely not always be easy, but never be scared to take the first small step.
  2. If there’s someone else trying to get their voice heard and make a difference, help them and support them in whatever ways you can. We rise by building others up and we are so much more powerful when we work together.
  3. Finally, I have so much post inspiration atm ahhhhhhh. Basically don’t be too surprised if my demented ramblings start popping up in your reader rather often haha

Anyway, over to Vaishnavi 🙂

Hi everyone! My name is Vaishnavi, but since it’s a mouthful, you can just think of me as Vaish. Gracie gave me the opportunity to share a poem I wrote to you guys, and I couldn’t be more grateful. she is such a funny, sweet, and overall delightful individual and friend, as you guys already know. This poem was important for me to write because first of all, it was for a prompt (a strong emotion) AND I have to present it. After spending days and days toiling over what to write, this came to me in bits and pieces, and little by little, the pieces of me (and hundreds of other voices) were tumbling out. I hope this poem makes you think about this important factor in our lives~
DA POEM PEEPS (hehe Gracie’s back could you tell? Anyway, enjoy this masterpiece of Vaishnavi’s)

Iridescent and looming

Change

Making my mouth contort into words horrifyingly unlike me

I try to run away while tripping over my own two feet

But like a shadow

It’s always, frustratingly, there

Maybe if I tiptoe

It would be as if I was never here
I could finally get a glimpse

Of sunlight

Pure sunlight

A chance to breathe again

Away from the darkness which already consumed my friends

Away from a shrieking tragedy, begging to enter

An aftertaste

Away from this monster who’s taking my life by the limbs and shaking it furiously

Like a play-thing

I’m unable to wear my crown

The cold envelopes my shaking body, sneaking up on me like the tendrils of early smoke

Taunting me

“You can’t hide anymore, we’re coming for you.”

WIth any remaining strength

I turn towards a dimming light in the hearth

A blossom of a memory

A piece of a younger me

One more naive

But in a flash, it’s gone

Like it was never really there

Were they merely echoes or projections of unparalleled strength?

Then
My heart is shattered glass

Everything turns cold and lonely

Then I’m forced to look

Up

I meet the glacier-blue eyes which strike chords in my mind

Penetrating my every. last. thought.

An unwanted gaze of a black, apathetic, beast

Then in a split second, just a split second

Everything hurts

When I’m forced by this unknown creature

To look inside me

And meddle with a few things.

A warped vision where everything twists and turns

A tremendous fist

Reaches for my soul

The foundation of everything I am

The fist goes right back and adds everything I will be and-

And-

I’m absolutely terrified of this weakness

But then-

But then if everything is doomed, why is everything clearing up
And sunlight piercing through-

Sunlight everywhere

I look at my hands and I feel renewed

I look back and forth, trying to find the beast that had earlier come

But-
But there was no trace of it

Vanished

Like it was never really there

There’s a gentle breeze caressing me, just within reach

My heart skips a beat

Ever so slowly, I open my eyes

And I come back to where I was

Where I’d always been

At my bed, the windows allowing the songs of the suburbs to sneak past, fingers hovering over the dusty keys

Hesitation

The sentence marks an unfinished thought

And I come upon a new thought– and I’m amazed and shocked

I’m different.

Is there a way

That I could’ve been mistaken?

I search through my memory of my past self

Through rose-tinted glasses

And peer at the life of little me

I feel strange

Confused, but calm

No longer can I see this blurry vision of a beast named change

Just

Someone holding their arms out

A patient, yet an austere fortitude

Allowing you

To come forth

Because everyone changes

Over time, these memories get sutured into my ribcage

Soft and warm undying things

That once made up me

Shades of paint, blossoming wholly inside me

Like they’re trying to impress someone

Remnants and flashes softly follow by heart, immortal but

The colors will always be the same

There is emotion caught up amongst my tongue

Holding me back

I breathe and I say

I say-

“Hey… It’s me again.”

And an exhale”

Thanks so much for sticking through, and thanks Gracie!! What do you guys think about change? 

 

(Gracie again) Come on guys, let’s use our voices and have a discussion? What do you think about change? What does it mean to you? 

#BlueForSudan

*this image is not my own*

Over burning, revolutionary red, today Sudan paints blue,

Though it hurts to hold the paintbrush, they must show the world the truth.

Though the red blood runs in the streets and holds the power in its hands,

They scream for peace, their fists held high,

We say #BlueForSudan

We can’t stop their suffering, but we are not entirely powerless. Use your blog/social media to raise awareness of what’s happening in Sudan and to show them that they are not alone #BlueForSudan #PaintSudanBlue

I’M BACK – Q&A Answers ft Sarcasm, Books, Food, Besties, Beaches and Dungarees

I am in love. With the Scottish Highlands. With Scotland in general tbh. I mean, beaches??? Mountains??? The ocean??? It’s so stunning. It’s also the place that I’ve happened to break down. Not me personally, but my van aka my home aka what is taking me round the entire UK coast on a tenner a day. Welcome ladies and gentlemen, poets and dreamers, rebels and revolutionaries, to the saga of Round The UK On A Day *peace out sign*

 

*casually uses photo of myself as a divider*

Well hello there guys. Guess who’s  supposed to be on hiatus!? Howeverrrrr, even though I’m really really really busy with the challenge, the truth is that I’ve missed having the freedom to write my heart out SO much and although I haven’t been entirely absent from the blogosphere, I’ve missed you all. I’ve realised just how much I love blogging and just how much it means to me.

 

I also keep coming up with inspiration for posts to write which is kinda annoying when I haven’t had the time to write them haha. So I’ve decided to come back as *unofficially* as I went.

For now though, I’m going to give you a tiny lil update on how the challenge has been going so far and then the answers to all your questions from my last post (most of them are about the trip, but there’s some cracking random ones too haha). Ooooh and also you get to see me attempting unsuccessfully to be a model in ma dungarees. You’re welcome (ahaha that auto corrected to ‘you’re weird’ and it’s the most accurate thing)

 

Anyway, here goes the update.

 

Yep, we’ve broken down in the middle of the Scottish highlands (also commonly known as the middle of nowhere). I am currently sitting in the back of the van whilst a mechanic tinkers with the engine and hopefully we’ll be back on the road soon *crosses fingers* Otherwise, the trip is going amazingly. We are continuing to meet so many incredible people, experience and learn so many new things and be privileged enough to share some of the things people are doing to make a difference in their local communities.

 

I’m now going to stop rambling (haha you wish) and answer all your questions 🙂

 

What’s been your favorite song to listen to in the car on your trip?

 

Rubyyyyy, why must you make me choose?? We’ve actually not had a lot of wifi and what we do have is usually saved to update our social media with photos and videos about the trip and to keep in touch with family and friends. However, before I go on to list a million songs I love listening to when I get the chance, here are a few recent ones that I’ve learnt and loved –

 

-Call Me by Blondie

– Talkin Bout Revolution by Tracy Chapman

– Absolutely anything by Sleeping At Last, Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, Mat Kearney or Billie Eilish

– How To Save A Life by The Fray

 

(Let me know if you love any of these too!)

 

Favorite dish you’ve had?

 

Ahhh that’s such a difficult one. We stayed on a friend’s farm for a night and she cooked this pumpkin casserole thing and then I made ice cream (ok ok she made it – I stirred it) and that was amazingggg. We were also at this place in North East Scotland and everyone made us this traditional local fish soup and I’m not a huge fan of fish, but they went to so much effort to make it for us and it was actually prettyy good *double thumbs up*

 

Do you and your family have a plan for where you travel throughout the UK or is it thought of as you go along?

 

The plan is to stick as close to the coast as possible and since we have £5 a day for fuel we can do about 30 miles a day, but we’re pretty flexible with our planning to say the least lol 🙂  

 

Is there a place you’re looking forward to traveling to especially and if you had to go back to one place you’ve already been to what would you choose?

 

Ahhhh, I am so looking forward to this next part of the coast (the West coast of Scotland) because it’s SO beautiful and I have lots of friends who live there who I’m really really looking forward to seeing. And if I had to go back to one place I would choose either some of the little towns on the East coast of Scotland that had such a bad reputation for poverty and drugs, but were so welcoming to us and had such a strong sense of community spirit or I’d go back to Hull – which is where CatZero (the charity we’re raising money for) is based and also I freaking love that city.

 

are your siblings annoying?

 

Ummm, that’s actually kind of a hard one. Due to the way we’ve been raised, the emphasis our parents put on our relationships and that we’ve grown up living in small spaces (fun fact: I haven’t lived in what most people would consider a ‘proper house’ since I was 5) my siblings and I have always been pretty close. Saying that though, our van is pretty tiny and my brother is pretty crazy…..enough said lol…..

 

What’s been your coolest experience on the trip so far?

 

When we first started the challenge we got to go sailing with CatZero (the charity) and experience first-hand some of the ways they’ve transformed people’s lives. They are so inspiring to me and I believe in what they’re doing with every little piece of my heart and sailing is my passion so yeah all that was pretty cool.

 

Then there was this time that we went to this fitness club. It was run by a guy who used to be an alcoholic, but he’d turned his life around and wanted to help others do the same. He was passionate about fitness and so he started a club where he brings people from all ages across the community to get fit and support one and other. It was absolutely awesome! So much fun, such a great atmosphere and such a sense of community spirit. It’s actually changed people’s lives and continues to do so today and I LOVED IT.

 

what’s been your biggest challenge so far?

 

There’s been quite a few. The van (that we call Mo) has had lots of mechanical issues which has been a liiiiiittle bit of a problem, there’s been people who’ve criticised us without truly understanding what we’re doing or why, we’ve struggled to know how to explain ourselves to others and put our motivation into words because it goes so much deeper than anything we can say and so on.

 

For me personally though, the challenges have been the amount of stress learning how to use social media and keeping it up all the time has put on me and also struggling to come to terms with asking other people for help. It’s something that goes against everything within me, but I’ve come to realise that people are more than happy to give and that your time, attention and enthusiasm are sometimes more than enough to give in return. And these two challenges are what I have learnt the most from so I’m grateful for them.

 

How do you stay motivated on the road?

 

I FREAKING LOVE THIS QUESTION. It means I get to talk about some of the things and people I love more than anything so yayyy!

 

Firstly, CatZero. They are an incredible charity transforming people’s lives and I want to be a part of that so much. They are hope in such a dark world, they are changing lives every day, they are saving lives and that is truly something I’d give everything to support.

 

Secondly, my generation. Someone wise once told me that when things get tough you gotta remember why you’re doing it and it’s because of the young people in my life and whose stories I have heard that I do this. I’ve always been the sort of person who feels others’ pain as if it is her own and that’s hard, but it’s also hugely motivating.

 

Thirdly, my family and my friends. My family because they are in this with me and they don’t give up either. My friends because they make me laugh every single day, they don’t mind when I rant to them, they love me at my best and my worst and because after the longest day, I can call them or text them and let my hair down and be myself and be crazy and everything is good.

 

Ruby, Bri, Aqsa and Liv, you are all amazing and I love you. Hannah (you might know her as Gayle) and Adria, no idea how I came to deserve such besties, I love you and you mean the world to me.

 

Then there’s you lot, the irl friends who may or may not be reading this haha. Since you don’t want your name plastered all over the internet, I’m just gonna say thank you and I love you and yup you still have to put up with me.

 

K, sentimental rant over, people. I’ve stopped crying now.

 

Where’s the best place you have visited so far?

 

I guess I kinda answered this when I said where I’d go back to, but other than those….all the beaches!! The beaches have been amazing all along the coast so definitely them.

 

How have you managed with food along the way?

 

We have £5 a day for food and we’ve been managing pretty well! We eat a lot of pasta, rice, potatoes and stuff like that lol, but people have also been so kind and generous and when they’ve heard about our challenge, they’ve invited us for dinner or brought us a bag of shopping 🙂

 

Now for some awesomely random questions!

 

Favorite book(s)?

 

The Secret Life Of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, Letters To The Lost by Brigid Kemmerer, Are We All Lemmings And Snowflakes by Holly Bourne, the Cherub series by Robert Muchamore, The Order Of Darkness series by Philippa Gregory and the Swallows and Amazons series by Arthur Ransome. Can you tell I’ve done that before haha?

 

How long have you been in the blogosphere?

 

Since I was eleven/nearly twelve so four years 🙂

Blue hearts or red hearts? 💙❤

 

This could actually be the hardest question I’ve been asked so far ahaha. I love blue hearts and I use them more, but then red hearts are kinda better to send to people you’re really close to?? So idk?? Also blue and red are my two fav colours. Blue because duh the ocean and sailing. Red because REVOLUTION.

 

Pineapples on pizza?

 

They’re okay. Not massively opinionated on this one. Saying that though, have you had pineapple in stir fry?? That is absolutely da best.

 

And that’s it guys! Thank you so much for reading and for all of those! If you have any more please let me know and I’ll be happy to answer them in the comments. Ooh also, I’m going to be on Radio 2 on Sunday morning at around 7:20am so if you’re up that early (don’t blame you if you’re not haha) then be sure to listen in…..

 

SO how are you???? How’s life been?? What’s exciting in your world?