travel without travelling

 

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As you may or may not know, I’m not the biggest fan of travelling. You could even say that I dislike it. This is, however, dependent on a number of factors – who I’m with, how I feel, etc. So it isn’t always awful.

One of the main issues I have with going abroad – i.e. physically travelling –  is that I don’t gain a whole lot from the mere act of seeing a new place. It does not fill a void in my soul, nor does it bestow me with the travel bug. I can count on one hand the number of times visiting somewhere new has put a bounce in my step rather than a weight on my shoulders. This unsolicited ‘weight on my shoulders’ has allowed me to delve further into the concept of travelling, and what it signifies for so many.

Why do we travel? For enjoyment? Distraction? Enlightenment? Perhaps for all of the above and more. The word ‘novelty’ itself has its roots in the Old French term for ‘new’; we are constantly seeking novelty from the daily grind. A new perspective. Or maybe we just want to get away for a while.

If travelling fundamentally consists of that which is new, why must we travel to experience said newness? Do we really have to physically transport ourselves to foreign lands in order to relieve ourselves of mundanity? To set out on a path of self-discovery?

When we break down travelling like this, we can begin to comprehend how the physical act of travelling is not necessary for travel to take place. Your mind is means enough for you to explore new realms; what’s to say that the beat of a song can’t warm you up like the blazing sun? A new city is a new story – find it within yourself instead of crossing seas to hear it.

If you travel to seek distraction or escapism, I am of the opinion that you may want to take a step back and pinpoint that from which you are running. Oftentimes the only way out is through; your problems will still be there when you inevitably return home. You are not escaping so much as you are stalling.

There is much to gain from considering what it means to travel rather than the literal act of travelling, or of transporting oneself to new places. When the concept of travelling is broken down, I would almost go as far as to say that I enjoy it; that is a revelation no plane journey could have given me.

Love and luck,

Clodagh X

Latest video: https://youtu.be/AfrOSKclT5A

Twitter: twitter.com/clodaghmcginley

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acceptance over love

 

I can’t honestly say that I love myself. I do not embrace my flaws or scream ‘I am what I am’ over the rooftops. At one level, this makes me feel somewhat alienated from those who are unashamedly themselves. The people who don’t question every word they say. I don’t, however, let this bog me down; I may not love myself, but I accept myself.

There is a rhetoric floating around these days that speaks of how we must love ourselves before we love others. We must embrace our differences and eradicate self-loathing. On the surface this sounds ideal. We all just give ourselves a big hug and everything is fine! If only it were that simple.

As far as I’m concerned, it is far more important to accept yourself before you love yourself. Even if you accept yourself and you don’t end up loving every inch of your being, you’ll still be better equipped to face the world.

There is a strange guilt that comes with not expressing love for your (apparent) flaws; you feel as though your lack of self-love will inhibit your potential to love and appreciate others. You’re a disappointment to compassion.

This is where self-acceptance is key. You do not have to cherish your imperfections. You can acknowledge their presence and accept the role they play in your life, but loving them is unessential. I categorically do not love my crooked spine, asymmetrical jaw, introverted nature or tendency to assume the worse case scenario. But they’re a part of me, and that’s just fine. These things have taught me a lot, and they’ll probably continue to do so as I become older and – hopefully – wiser.

Let’s stop making people feel guilty for not ‘owning’ their flaws. You can feel lacklustre about yourself while continuing to love others. The more we accept, the more we can move on and unshackle ourselves from the impossible task of loving what we hate.

Love and luck,

Clodagh X

Latest video: https://youtu.be/AfrOSKclT5A

Twitter: twitter.com/clodaghmcginley

Instagram: instagram.com/clodagh.mcginley

 

rigidity and authority

It can take a very long time to accept that you will never please everyone. Some people never accept it at all. They find themselves cornered by the opinions of others, unable to make any meaningful change in their life.

This is absolutely something I have dealt with; I can’t count the number of times I’ve woken up to searing self-doubt and non-existent self-esteem. It is no way to live, trust me.

A lot of it boils down to this feeling of never gaining approval from certain – wholly unimportant – individuals. No matter what you do they don’t seem to care. They continue to push their interests and their tastes upon those around them. It is exhausting even attempting to burst their bubble.

And thus we come to the issue. Why is their ‘bubble’ of what they deem to be ‘good’ or ‘worthy’ so definitive? It is a well-known fact that taste is purely subjective. What I hate, you may love. And vice versa. We all agree on that.

It is also a well-known fact, however, that it is very easy to present opinion as fact. It is disgustingly easy to convince someone that ‘this is better than that’ just because you say so. In short: rigidity of belief can translate to authority of belief if we are not careful.

Do not let this happen. If you like what you created, that’s the most important part. Whether or not other people like it is (unfortunately) not in your control; from a more positive angle, this also means that what other people like is not something that you are in charge of. This means that you are under no obligation to pay attention to what somebody says is good or bad. Something just ‘is’.

In no way is this post unique or groundbreaking, but it’s phenomenal how easy it is to forget that rigidity does not equate to authority. You will never, ever please the whole world at once.

Love and luck,

Clodagh X

handedness and language learning

It’s been a while since I did a language-related post, and if I’m being honest this may be one of my last! I’ll be finished my degree in May, which means no more languages pour moi (no pun intended). I can’t say I’m upset…

For my final year dissertation, I did research on the link between handedness and language learning. I effectively forced people to be (somewhat) ambidextrous for two weeks, and then explored whether or not this had an impact on their ability to require new, foreign vocabulary.

Thus far, the link between handedness and language learning hasn’t been broadly researched; this is a bit of a double-edged sword as it meant that I had a unique topic to investigate, but that finding previous studies upon which I could base my research was challenging.

In spite of this – and in spite of my small sample size – there was a definite link between ambidexterity and more successful language learning. The small sample size is obviously something to be wary of, but all in all the results of the study were promising!

So, next time you’re trying to learn a language, try doing something with your non-dominant hand for five minutes each day for a period of time; it could be something as simple as brushing your teeth or writing your name. The idea is that the ‘forced ambidexterity’ will result in higher levels of interhemispherical activity in the brain, thus bringing about more successful language learning. Sounds a bit wishy-washy, but the theory seems to hold up.

Do you have any unusual language-learning methods? Have you ever had to learn a language in a hurry? Do leave a comment down below!

Love and luck,

Clodagh X

security lulls and shouts all at once

The future used to be my happy place. A place where I would be free to dream, achieve, and prosper. A place I would propel myself at the grand old age of 15, having come home from countless awful days at school, wishing it was all different. Fast forward seven years and things are not how I imagined they would be. For want of a more elegant phrase, life comes at ya fast.

What I am experiencing now is the future of 15-year-old Clodagh. In some respects, it’s exactly how I wanted it to be, and many of the worries I faced at that age are a thing of the past. I have, however, gone through excruciating psychological pain that I didn’t account for in the slightest. Pain that seeps into all elements of my life, tainting everything I love and live for. It’s been fun!

The changes I have endured mean that the future is a very, very different place now. I don’t dream of liberation so much as I crave security and long for contentedness. What’s more, seven years from now I’ll be 29, which is terrifying. To be frank, if I don’t have my life in order by then, I know that I’m going to feel like a complete failure. Mainly in terms of my career.

There is a simple remedy to this problem; settle right on down into a cosy, secure career and make peace with my life as it is. It almost sounds seductive. Certainty, approval, and financial security. What more could you want?!

This is where the lulling comes into play. I feel as though security is a kind of sleep you can fall into, blissfully swaddled in the rhythm of life – not dissimilar to the philosophy of Gurdjieff, who believed we all live in a kind of waking hypnosis.

I really, really, really do not want to succumb to security. This, however, is where the shouting takes centre stage. In order to live, we do need security of some kind. Financial security, a roof over our heads, etc. For this to happen, it goes without saying that stability in your profession is a huge help, if not essential. The worry that I could one day be struggling to keep a roof over my head yells at me every single time I think about the future. It ain’t fun.

There’s no real conclusion to this post, other than the fact that I know how hard I’ll have to fight both my instincts and the naysayers to prevent myself from falling asleep. I’d rather be painfully aware than blissfully unaware of what life could be like.

Love and luck,

Clodagh X

learning to construct

Something I’ve hit upon of late is the benefit of construction. Of making a point to construct rather than destruct. It can be easier said than done, but bear with me.

We all go through destructive periods in life. Times where we almost want something to be torn apart for the sake of it. Personally, I have found myself almost wanting to fail my degree just so I can feel something again. Indifference is hell.

When you start to feel like this, it is essential to make a conscious effort to construct. If you feel like destroying, put your mind elsewhere and create something. It can be as simple as tidying your room, or baking a cake. Really.

Perhaps it’s just me, but I find that when I’m making an effort – albeit unintentional – to keep my life in check, I am sending a message to my brain that now is a time to construct rather than destruct. So my brain stops hitting the big red button that sends everything to pieces.

Slowly but surely things will come together again. Your autopilot will put things in order and keep you safe rather than forcing you down the horrible path of self sabotage.

This advice isn’t as simple as ‘bake a cake the next time you feel your life is falling apart’; if only it were that simple! No. Baking a cake is a baby step, perhaps even a symptom of a constructive mindset, one that can be cultivated over time should you make a point of doing so.

Lots of love and luck, and apologies for the lack of writing last week!

Clodagh X

looking through walls | dissatisfaction

One of the most intriguing aspects of feeling and emotion is how they cling to anything and everything.  The sensation of velvet on the skin makes you content inside. A particular shade of orange brings about a feeling of centred-ness.

Feeling also clings to places. Big time.

Have you ever walked into a building and almost felt as though you were crashing right into the walls of that building? An emotion surrounds you and there is no exit in sight. You, quite literally, feel walled in. Trapped.

We often feel trapped at the most inopportune of times. It is just when you have to see something through to the bitter end that you are desperate to leave. Of course this makes sense; if you don’t like something, you want to get rid of it. You want to be free. Leaving, however, isn’t always an option.

This is when you need to think past the boundaries. Place a window in the wall and see your life the way you want it to be. The more you cultivate the outside, the less energy you waste on the inside. By doing this you are putting in groundwork for the future; working the ground and making way for your life to blossom.

There may even come a time when your life starts to weave its way through the window, just as ivy spreads its veins for all to see. Do not be afraid to open the window and connect with this lifeline.

In short: iff there is something caving you in right now, look through the walls and grow your life the way you want it to be.

Love and luck,

Clodagh X

Moment app | did I cut down on screen time?

As promised, here’s the video I put together of my experience with the Moment app. If you didn’t see my last post, the Moment app is something you can use to track how much time you spend glued to your phone (and / or other devices).

Overall it was a helpful experience, although it didn’t have a huge impact on reducing my screen time. In one week alone I spent over 24 hours staring at a screen – 24 hours! That should disgust me, but in reality it doesn’t.

For a start, the app showed me that I only picked up my phone for around 5 minutes at a time, so it’s not as if I’m spending consecutive hours staring at Twitter.

I also used my phone for essential things such as replying to messages, and generally keeping in touch with loved ones.

Give the video a watch if you’re curious as to how the app works and how you can benefit from it!

Love and luck,

Clodagh X

(P.S. : I’m so sorry this is a day late, what with college and other responsibilities there are not enough hours in the day anymore!)

screen time & social media | love + hate

To be very honest, social media is one of the loves of my life. It has brought me to incredible places, both literally and metaphorically. I have met numerous wonderful people all because of networks like Twitter. Hell, I’ve even had a chance to connect to some of the most important people in my life (*cough* Lady Gaga *cough*) purely because of social media.

Websites such as Facebook and Instagram are often cited as sources of cyberbullying, anxiety, and other nefarious goings-on. All of this is true, but the positive elements of these networks are often overlooked. The word network in and of itself says it all; we have the most incredible facility at our fingertips to keep in touch with the world and expand our horizons.

In spite of all of this, I do find myself questioning the amount of time I spend scrolling aimlessly through the web; it’s a wonder I have don’t have square eyes by now! In light of this, I’ve decided to download the ‘Moment’ app. Its main purpose is to monitor your screen time and put you to shame about how much you use your phone. At least that’s how it feels…

In all seriousness, it will be very interesting see whether my experience with the app contributes to my overall wellbeing. I’ve chosen to document my experience in vlog format for my YouTube channel, which you can find here. All going well, the vlog will be up next Friday.

Do you over-use social media? Could you live without it? Let me know in the comments and we can all console each other!

Love and luck,

Clodagh X

I am 22 | getting older

This week – on the 26th September, to be precise – I turned 22. In all honesty, I had a lovely birthday surrounded by the people I love, and for that I am incredibly grateful.

What made me a feel just a little bit melancholy was the realisation that I am getting older. This was my first real birthday as an adult; the years between 18 and 21 are still youthful, in my opinion. 22 sounds like an age where you should have everything together. Realistically I know that very few people in their early twenties actually know what they’re doing, but it can definitely seem as though they do. I’ve yet to hit that sweet spot of wisdom and selflessness. My best self.

I get glimpses of it occasionally. Feeling confidence in the way my jacket sits on my shoulders. Not overthinking every smile and gesture that comes both from me and towards me.

Anyway. This is definitely something I’ll write more about, but for now I’ll leave you with a song that encompasses the above. Coincidentally, it’s one of my favourite songs of all time, something you’ll know if you watched my 50 Facts About Me video (shameless plug number 47472…).  

Love and luck (and apologies for the late post!),

Clodagh X