How moving to a foreign country helped my anxiety.

When I first realised I was moving to another country where I didn’t speak the language, know anyone, have a job, have a place to live or any general idea about the country. Yes I think it’s fair to say… I was perhaps the most anxious I’d ever been.

Anxiety : noun

1. a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.

Worried? Nervous? Uneasy?

CHECK CHECK CHECK.

Oh boy, I thought. Am I about to make a huge mistake?

Well…now here’s a little spoiler alert.

I didn’t.

See, here’s the section where I could ramble on about how I overcame challenges. How I put myself forward, I jumped into a new lifestyle and without realising, all of these little accomplishments shifted my thought pattern. But to summarise that I’ll just say; Day by day, I became a little more comfortable with handling tasks that others find simple.

Living in Vietnam for Over 1 Year I have become familiar to not understanding everything and eventually my shoulders began to relax when I walked amongst new surroundings, faces and smells.

I began to accept that I won’t understand everything and give myself the acceptance and patience to slowly stop being afraid.

My Social Anxiety.

I have had to socialise more than ever. Yes that’s right I say I have HAD to. Not that I don’t want to…because I do, but not ALL the time. However it’s fact here, if you don’t go out, you wont meet many other humans who are over the age of 15 Vietnamese and not students in your day to day life. Having to actively go out and throw myself into new situations has now become easier, and from doing this I have come to find that, I usually give off a first impression that doesn’t reflect my personality at all. *HIGH 5 to all my other resting bitch face owners out there* which is something I obviously want to change.I try harder to let people in and not be so closed off. I’m working on it.

My academic anxiety

I started taking Vietnamese classes, throwing myself into learning a new skill has helped me dramatically. Something about reshaping and adding another language to my brain, refocusing my energy when amongst a group of people who speak a different native language has helped social occasions to feel less intimidating and more like a challenge or test, where I can see how much I do understand or recognise.

My career anxiety.

I gave myself the ability to show how I can handle leadership. Having to be in charge and take responsibility for a team in my current head teaching role, again, has helped my self journey evolve. I can’t shy away from problems or take a back seat. I’m expected to lead the way, and to show others how to perform. This for me has changed my entire outlook on my career anxiety. I am capable. I am powerful. I am allowed to speak up and voice my opinion.

So there we have it.

I hope you can understand how moving to Vietnam has helped my anxiety, Socially, Academically and Career-wise.

I wrote this in hopes that someone out there who is scared about moving may take comfort from my personal experience, and though I cannot guarantee the same, I hope you get the same results and feel comfortable enough to say ‘I’m going to try’

Thanks for reading.

Danielle Jade x

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Top 5 sights of 2017. Photo edition.

Whilst 2017 was here i had the chance to see some of the most amazing sights i know i will remember forever, here are 5 of my 2017 Highlights.

 

  1. This breath taking view of Halong Bay – Vietnam17800479_10210898603675953_2569654345430785814_n
  2. This amazing view from the top of a mountain over looking Chang Mai – Thailand. 16487030_10210345653172536_6245185521777679810_o
    Looking for the perfect day trip out of Chang Mai including this view point watch my Youtube Video: Day Trip – Thailand
  3. This mesmerising 5am sunrise in Hoi An – Vietnam21272153_10212344435780852_7404308570545343617_n
    Thinking of visiting Hoi An check this out: What to do in Hoi An : Vietnam. 
  4. This wonderful screenshot of the best day of my life, Spending the day with Elephants in Pai – Thailand16473164_10210313210161481_234798686360280960_n
    To see more on my day with elephants follow this link: Spend the day with Elephants in Thailand.
  5. This picturesque view of an old temple in Ninh Binh – Vietnam
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    Find out what to do in Ninh Binh here: Ninh Binh – Vietnam. What to do and where to go! 

    I feel so privileged and honoured to see some of the amazing sights i’ve seen in this world and i cannot wait to see more in 2018!

    What was your favourite photo i took?,Please comment below.
    Thanks for reading,

    Danielle Jade
    x

    PEACEEEEE.

A guide to tailor made clothes in Hoi An.

Hoi An is home to perhaps some of the best tailors we have on this planet. Bold statement, i know. BUT TRUE.

Where to find a tailor?
Just wander around the Ancient town and the lantern lit streets are lined with tailors. The whole experience can be some what overwhelming as they all look to be incredible good. In each and every shop, there are more fabrics than you could imagine, more designs than your eyes can focus on and more options than decisions will be made.
Thats why it’s important to go with a plan of what you would like made.
Trust me, leaving it to chance of ‘i’ll decide when i get there’ can only go one of two ways;
A) You leave empty handed, and a stressed (probably) sweaty mess.
b) You leave with more items than you can fit back in your backpack.
Having a plan of what you would like made, will help you stay on task.

Where do i recommend? 
I have now tried a couple of tailors in Hoi An and my favourite so far are Maya Design.
The turn over of their products is literally over-night and the staff are so friendly. They will let you design anything you have a vision of, whilst offering tips and tricks from their side of it and what works well for the fabric you have chosen.
The staff spoke good english, and were more than happy to help!

What is the process?
Within seconds of being in the shop i had already been asked if they could help and what i was looking for. I explained i would like trousers and a playsuit and i was shown fabric choices and styles, a few moments later i had found what i wanted and we began the sketching process.
This is where they will draw up a quick mock of your product and ask if you want any additions such as belt loops, pockets, sleeve lengths etc. Quick Tip: This usually can be helped if you go in with a picture of what you want making and they will essentially copy the image,
The next step was getting measured. One of the best parts of having tailor made clothes is the fact it is custom-made to your exact measurements. PERFECT.
Be aware you will be measured in front of the rest of the shop so do wear clothing that allows this process to be as easy as possible. (I’d give skirts a miss)

How long does it usually take?
The turn around from sketching to final product is a super speedy process, we arrived at 12(ish) and went back at 2:30 the next day for final fittings before getting our products later that night. Be sure to stay in Hoi-An for a couple of days incase of alterations or changes. Of course the bigger the order the more time they may need. You can always ask in the shop too and be sure to tell them when you are leaving so your items are made in time.

What is the price like?
Not only are the clothes made incredibly quick but the price is more than fair compared to other Tailors i have been to. Remember though, as with anything, you par for what you get. I suggest thinking about the occasion the fabric and the purpose of your garment. Also be prepared to pay more for things added like, pockets , belts, lining etc I designed one pair of trousers and one playsuit and payed just over 2million for them both (£66)

 

(Jumpsuits we had made in Hoi An ) 

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions please do leave them in the comments and i’ll see you next time.

What to do in Ho Chi Minh – Saigon.

Hello everyone i’m here to tell you about what to do during short weekend in Ho Chi Minh.

Ok what to do:

Bitexco Financial tower. Go to the observation sky deck. It’s an incredible view. I loved being up there and seeing all of the city. You have 360degree view out over Saigon and you can even look through telescopes to zoom in different areas you want to explore.

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Get yourself a hotel with a pool to catch that early morning sun. We went to the rooftop of out hotel Sunland every morning to set ourselves up for the day. It can get pretty hot in Ho Chi Minh so having a place to dip in and cool off was perfect.

Go to the War remnants museum. Though this can get a little tough at points the war museum is a good way to get to know what the Vietnamese have been though. It’s all obviously very biased and full of propaganda but, it does give you an insight.

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Marvel at the Saigon Notre-Dame , it’s hard to believe this is in Vietnam really, the Notre Dame is bigger than i expected and equally as beautiful. Well worth a stroll to see. I recommend getting an ice-cream from the shop on the corner before hand too.

Visit the Post Office, which by the way is HUGE! Just over the road from the Notre Dame, the central post office is more than your regular old post office. Look up high to see the fantastic murals.

Walk around the markets, Ben Thanh market in particular really shows off Ho Chi Minh as a city. The front is full of stalls, beautiful fabrics, intricate trinkets, handmade items as far as the eye can see, from models of boats, to great big fans and rip-off designer clothing. It is a bustling room of everything you could every hoard. At the back there is a small food section also, probably not the most clean of areas to eat in, we gave it a miss but it smelt delicious.

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Visit Tao Dan park, this park is incredibly picturesque. Spend time strolling around here. It’s the perfect spot to take a packed lunch to also. Sit amongst the flowers, cactus, pagodas and lakes for an easy afternoon.

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Head to the Jazz Cafe in the evening, the music is incredible. Be aware though they add a cover fee of 100,000vnd PER PERSON to the bill for the artists and a further 15% tip. So you need to be loaded to enjoy more than one drink here. We had one drink each and between three of us it was around 900,000vnd.

What/Where to eat?
Bun Cha – Just north of the Tao Dan park there is an amazing Bun Cha place you cant miss it
Pizza 4ps – There are two in HCM and it’s the best pizza in Vietnam
Cuba La Casa Del Mojito – Tapas and incredible cocktails paired with a free salsa lesson. Dance and drink you night away!
Sancho Cantina – Mexican . Need i say anymore.

Anyway, there’s my quick easy summary of my highlights.

Thanks for reading

Danielle
X

 

 

A taste of the island life! What to do in Koh Pha Ngan; Thailand. 

Ok so as some of you may know already Naomi and I went over to the beautiful island of Koh Pha Ngan for our first Christmas away from home. We went for 6days and despite the horrendously long journey it was more than worth it in the end…

Just look at that beautiful beach!


Koh Phangan is blessed with incredible weather which meant it was minimum 28degrees everyday even the next morning after it rained during the night!

How to get to Koh Phangan?
Now there are two main ways to get to Koh Phangan depending on your budget…want the quickest way, you’ll pay the most money. You can simply hop on a flight to the nearest airports and get the three hour ferry over to Koh Phangan.

Or if you’re budgeting then you can fly to Bangkok and get the 8hour bus ride and then ferry the next morning to Koh Phangan. All in all it could take from 11-12 excluding the flight and wait time in the airport. Not ideal if you hate waiting around but cost effective! Perfect for travellers and backpackers.


Where we stayed?

We dated at dreamland resorts in the more secluded and expensive north of the island. Away from the hustle and bustle of the port this area was more family and relaxation friendly.

The beaches were beautiful and calm with significantly less people on them than the most popular tourist hit beaches.


Our resort was in the form of little cabins ours was literally a 30second walk from decking to the shore and into the sea. I understand completely why it’s called dreamland. Now the rooms are pretty basic and not perfect but that honestly didn’t bother us as we spent 90% of our time lounging around the pool , pool bar and by the sea.
Just look at this view from my seat along the side of the pool, straight onto the beach!


What to do in Koh Phangan?
Here’s my top 5 ‘to do’ attractions in Koh Phangan;

1. Do go chasing waterfalls! Go and swim in the natural pools they have formed and gaze at the wonderful scenery. Our favourite was paradise waterfall, well worth taking the trip to. 

2. Hire a bike and ride around the island, there are very few roads in Koh Phangan and the two main ones literally take you from point a to point b covering the whole island. The views you will see as you circle the island are mesmoring. Our bike hire cost 200baht day which was significantly less than the 800baht taxis we were getting . I must say though, Koh Phangan is a very mountainous island so drive exceptionally carefully. If this is your first time driving I wouldn’t recommend learning here, it’s very steep and very windy. Be safe. Wear a helmet and cover your knees/elbows if possible. 

3. Speaking of views make sure to take a trip to Amsterdam bar if you are wanting to see Koh Phangan. look at this; the bar is one of the most chilled places we visited. It is called Amsterdam bar for a reason after all. The shakes are just as amazing as the view.


4. Watersports and/or diving tours . Well this could have been more fun had I not been convinced I’d seen a shark freaked out and yelled at Naomi IM GOING TO DIE. Let me set one thing straight, I’m not the best in the water but I really wanted to conquer that fear so we kayaked. Naomi seemed to love it, safe to say I’ll try something else like jet skiing next time! One thing I do know is I won’t be kayaking again any time soon.

5. Enjoy the party atmosphere. Get to 7/11 and get some cheap beers to pre drink with back at your hotel/hostel/beach and head to one of the parties! There are so many to choose from. Time it right and you just may make the full moon/half moon party. If you’re not there to make them we recommend the waterfall party for all your neon glitter and fire needs. Bonus: they literally sell food in the place.


We truly loved our time in Koh Phangan it was the perfect balance of entertainment and relaxation.

There are more ways to make this trip action filled just have a ride around the island to see more!
Hope you enjoyed reading.

Danielle Jade

All the way to the USA ✈️🇺🇸

Hello everyone, fancy this, me actually having time to sit down and write. It’s a miracle. Im back!

Now if you don’t already follow me on Instagram, you may or may not know i went to the USA for just over two weeks.

I recently went to visit my Aunt and the family in San Diego, however we did pitstop at a few places along the way including, LA & Vegas BABY!

So Lets begin with : Los Angeles.

Hop on the plane from Manchester, fast forward 11hours (9 of which took my whole mental and physical will power and restraint not to pull the hair of the woman who’s messy bun, was messing all over my little head seat TV screen) and we finally touched down in sunny LA! 

‘You know, LA traffic where the city is slow’  and boy oh boy is the city  slow. The traffic is out of control here. 

Thankfully we had the worlds most optimistic uber driver playing the role of our own personal tour guide as we coasted towards our hotel, The Radisson Midtown USC.

It was around 4pm once we managed to get to our hotel, get changed and freshen up. So we decided why waste time? Lets go…Hollywood Blvd.


We walked up and down the street, hopping over peoples names and keeping an eye out for our favourites, enjoying the beautiful heat.
After a while we (very tiredly)  decided to take a ride on a tour of the city bus. You know the ones, they drive you around and point out everything there is to know about the city! We went up the hills to see the Hollywood sign and look out over the city. This was absolutely beautiful! The view was outstanding and we managed to get there before sunset.


As the sun began to set we started winding back down the hills and were pointed towards many different (mainly dead) celebrities houses. Perhaps my favourite moment was when we were literally showed a gate. yep, a famous persons gate. Now had we been more alert we could/should have found this tour interesting but instead we found ourselves laughing at the whole experience.
What can i say? It was one gate too many for us.
After exploring more of the city, getting to see the Chinese Theatre and the city at night. We decided, it’s time to head home.
Also i don’t know if you are aware but there are so many homeless people in LA, and as soon as the sun goes down, the city changes. There is a weird vibe around Hollywood and the atmosphere is less than glamorous. Fun fact: Cat calling is still a thing in LA, only here it tends to begin or end with some ‘white girl’ comment. Fantastic.

Heading back to the hotel, all i could think about is how much i wanted pizza. So you better believe it, i ordered some pizza. Well, by some pizza i mean, THE WORLDS LARGEST PIZZA. EVER. I literally woke Naomi up to eat some pizza with me as i felt bad by how much i would have left.

DAY TWO.

Up bright exceptionally early, we watched the sunrise over the city as our body clocks laughed at what little sleep we had. Choosing not to dwell we went for a walk around USC, grabbed some lunch and my favourite food : FRO-YO. This place challenged all Fro-Yo places. SO MANY FLAVOURS.  I had a coconut cheesecake flavour pot with different fruits on top.

As we wandered around midtown we became very aware we were in an academic area of LA. The pavement was covered with students walking to and from classes, young cool kids hopping on and off their bikes and the streets were beautiful here, big palm trees aligning the roads.


Oh and how LA is this? They were literally filming a movie on campus that day!

As the afternoon got closer as did our deadline to make it to the train station because we were about to hop onboard the Pacific Surfliner to Oceanside – San Diego where we would drop our cases before setting off to LAS VEGAS!


Stay tuned to hear all about our VEGAS adventure…coming up next.
Thanks for reading Danielle Jade x

10 ways to survive that dreaded long haul flight.

1.Choose your seat wisely. Ideally if you can choose a seat before you check in do it. Or turn up early and make sure you get a seat with whoever you are travelling with. Don’t be left alone on a flight thats going to take a while.
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2. Following up on that, if you can get a seat without anyone in front of you, do it. The last thing you want is what happened to me. (A guy thinking it’s completely acceptable to recline his seat onto my lap, wanna just come hop on over and spoon me whilst you’re at it? – if you can’t already tell, i was not impressed)

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3. SNACKS. SNACKS. SNACKS. Plane food, is NOT the win. Now i know some people are fine with that solid bread roll but i, i just cant compare it to an actual edible piece of bread so i take snacks. Sweet & Savoury and a whole lot of water. Keep hydrated.
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4. Try to set your body clock whilst you’re in the air. If it’s 11pm where you’re landing then you should be sleeping on that plane. Try to keep with what time of the day/night it would be in the country you’re about to touch down in.
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5. Wear comfy clothes. The plane is not a catwalk, you’re not going to look your best after being squashed in one seat for a long time anyway so the least you can do is give yourself the most comfort and embrace life in those comfy jumpers/leggings/baggy tee’s whatever it is you feel good in.
ALWAYS keep a jacket though, the air-con is going to hit you at one point so take something you can wrap up in should you need it.
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6. Get up and walk around. You should try to keep as active as possible, stretch your legs. Walk to the bathroom. Make sure you are moving, unless you like pins and needles that is.
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7. Two items i cannot get on a plane without are; headbands and chapstick. These two are my favourite pocket items on a long haul flight. They are simple but effective.
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8. Take advantage of the entertainment on board the flight. The movies, tv shows, music, games, podcasts.(the alcohol) Anything to keep the brain awake.
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9. Now is the perfect time to research and plan your upcoming trip, you have so much time to make an itinerary and to think about exactly what you’re going to do whilst you’re on holiday so make the most of it!
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10. Pack light. Take a nice size bag with all your essentials in it as carry on luggage. Keep your passport, phone, and anything else you’ll immediately need in a separate wallet so you can easy get to them when you need them at the border etc.
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*Credit: all gifs taken from http://www.giphy.com*