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Letting Go of Control: Taming Your Inner Control Freak

I will be the first to admit that I am a massive control freak. I like knowing when things are going to happen, why these things are happening, and preparing for any potential speed bumps that may occur along the way. I tend to freak out if that plan gets changed or if they are not going as quickly as I would like (I'm looking at you Australian Immigration). 

It would appear that as I've gotten older, the anxiety surrounding my ability to control things has increased. I've gotten into the bad habit of expecting specific outcomes and wasting energy trying to force them into the way I saw things in my mind. 

As this is obviously an unhealthy approach to life, I began to dig a little deeper to find the cause of this maladaptive coping skill. I discovered that the primary source of this unwanted anxiety stemmed from perfectionism and a lack of trust. 

Cool, I've figured out what the source of the control issue was but how does one begin to adjust and let go? How does one learn to just go with the flow? 

1. What Can You Do About It Right Now?
For me, my anxiety can be quite cyclic. I get stuck in the vicious cycle of overanalysing, with each cycle finding something else that I need to stress about it. When this happens, ask yourself one simple question "What can you do about this right now?". If you find you're unable to do jack diddly squat, MOVE ON! Find something else to focus your time and energy on. If you realise there's something you can do, do it! Once that's complete, ask the question again until you find you've done all you can. At this point, it's time to move on and move forward. 

2. Be Honest With Yourself
Sometimes you just need to take a look in the mirror and be honest with yourself as to why you need such control in your life. This can be challenging. It's hard to realise and accept our flaws. Ask yourself where, why, and how this behaviour impacts your life. At the same time, assess how this controlling behaviour affects you and those around you. 

3. Look At Your Support Network
Do you have a strong support network? Do you feel comfortable turning to them in times of distress? If so, lean on them for support. This can often be incredibly challenging for some. Asking for help can be difficult. We often fear we are weak or needy when we ask for help. By relinquishing this control and asking for help, it aids in teaching us we're not alone nor do we have to go through challenging situations alone. NEVER feel afraid of asking for help. 

4. Sometimes You Just Have To Be Patient
Why does patience have to be a virtue? Why can't hurry the frick up be a virtue? Unfortunately, most of our lives are spent waiting. But this doesn't have to be a negative thing. Could you imagine the mess the world would be in if people just acted and didn't think through their actions? (The Earth would be in nuclear winter by now). This cooling off period is hugely beneficial. Learn to embrace it. Instead of cyclically stressing about the unknown, go for a run, read a book, cook dinner, or hang out with your fantastic support network. Next thing you know, time will have passed, and you'll have your answer. 

5. Challenge Yourself With the Unpredictable
This can be one of the scariest steps to truly letting go. We are a creature of familiarity. We thrive having a schedule and a routine. But adding unpredictability to your day-to-day can help develop healthy coping mechanisms to deal with change. I'm not saying go out tomorrow and buy a new car or quit your job. Nothing that drastic. It can be little things. Take an unfamiliar route home from work. Try food from a country you've never tried. Order a mystery box from eBay or another retailer. I did that recently and was pleasantly surprised! It doesn't need to be life-altering, just something out of the usual. 

Change can be daunting, but it does not have to be anxiety provoking. Unpredictability is a thing of life, and it is something we can learn to handle. How do you tame your inner control freak? Share it in the comments below!

And until next time...
Stay curious!

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Chiang Mai Tiger Kingdom: A Bittersweet Travel Experience

It was an experience I had waited my entire life to have. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always wanted to interact with tigers. I had heard that most of the tiger sanctuaries in Thailand drugged and mistreated the tigers. Those were not the types of establishments I wanted to spend my money on. Just like the elephants, I sat and did hours of research until I found a tiger sanctuary that appeared to be a reputable company. I wish I could say that my tiger encounter was as magical as the elephant, but I was gravely disappointed. 

When doing my initial research, I found many people confused Tiger Temple and the Tiger Kingdom. It was effortless to find negative reviews about Tiger Temple, but often the Tiger Kingdom was used interchangeably. Eventually, I was able to find various blog posts from individuals who had volunteered at the Tiger Kingdom for an extended period, and according to these sources, there were no drugs given to the animals, and there were no signs of abuse. After this research, I convinced myself that it would be ok to visit the Tiger Kingdom. 

We booked a tuk tuk to take us from the guest house to the Tiger Kingdom. This happened to be one of the only times while in Chiang Mai that it decided to pour. With the back of the tuk tuk open, the rain somehow managed to wiggle its way onto us. However, the cold rain was refreshing from the hot, humid air. About 30 minutes later, we arrived. My excitement could not be contained. I was finally about to pat a tiger!

We lined up to choose which animal encounter would best fit our budget. If I had the money, I probably would have cuddled all the tigers but, alas, I am a broke a** backpacker, so I had to choose. We opted for the small tiger. If the tiger got angry, it wouldn't completely rip our faces off. Unfortunately, I don't think travellers insurance covers accidental damage due to being mauled by a tiger. After purchasing our tickets, we were told the wait would be approximately 1 hour until we would get to see the tigers. What?!? How am I possibly able to contain my excitement for another hour? 

Luckily, or unluckily, you're able to walk around the grounds of the Tiger Kingdom while waiting. This is where the heartbreak started to set in. Walking around the grounds, you are confronted with larger tigers encaged in a space that is clearly too small for them. Many were pacing back and forth, with extreme looks of anxiety across their face. I started to become increasingly frustrated that I had spent so much time researching only to see the tigers in such distress. 
Awake and ready for some pats!

It was finally time for our tiger encounter. My heart melted. The tiny, little tiger was so adorable! All I wanted to do was give her cuddles. Once in the area with the tigers, you're allowed 15 minutes to take pictures and interact with them. Please keep in mind; tigers sleep a lot throughout the day. Just because they're sleepy doesn't necessarily mean they're drugged. Our little girl did not appear drugged at all. Though tired, she was responsive to our pats and the trainer's commands. She let out a couple of big yawns and some, what sounded like purrs of contentment when we were giving her pats and scratches. 

Please keep in mind; particular rules must be followed when in the room with the tiger. Please follow these rules to avoid being injured. While it was incredibly tempting to want to pick her up and give her a massive cuddle, I opted for the safer options, so I didn't go home being mauled by a tiger. 

Overall, I was grateful I got to experience a close encounter with tigers. Would I do it again? Probably not. I've begun to do extensive research into animal tourism, and it makes my heart hurt. However, if you've always wanted to have a close encounter with a tiger, I highly suggest doing your research before going. Had we gone to the Tiger Kingdom before the Elephant Sanctuary, my opinion might have been different. If you are choosing to meet some tigers while in Thailand, I would thoroughly recommend the Tiger Kingdom over the other options. 

Have you ever had an up close encounter with an aminal? Have you ever been to the Tiger Kingdom? Share your experiences in the comments below!

And until next time...
Stay Curious!

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When The Sun Goes Down, We'll Be Running: The Colour Run Night 5K

I should probably preface this post by stating that running the Colour Run was probably one of the dumbest decisions I've ever made. Listen to your body when you're feeling unwell. Learn from my mistakes, pushing yourself will only lead to hospital stays and increased medical debts. 

I find it more motivation to train and workout when I know I have an event coming up. The fun runs, Spartan races and timed runs are great motivators for me to pick my lazy booty off the couch and go work out. The Colour Night Run was the perfect motivator to continue running but still, have heaps of fun. 

This race is almost the same to the daytime run except it's at night (wow shocker I know!!). All of the colour powders respond to black light, so your colours glow as you run. Your race packet included a glow in the dark t-shirt, a couple of glow in the dark tattoos, and a nifty head lamp (so klutzes like me don't trip and break their neck). 

Unlike most of the races I run, I managed to wrangle up a group of friends to join in! I could not be more grateful for the fact I had other people there with me. It was so much fun, running around like silly children while knowing if I got sick, there were people there who could call an ambulance for me. 

We galloped and sprinted through the various colour sections, making sure to stop and smile for the cameras. We laughed, we ran, we attempted to be fit, and we almost finished without falling over. The best part of the fun runs, they aren't timed. It does matter what level of physical fitness you're in; you can take as long as your heart desires to complete the race. 

If you've ever wanted to run a 5k but were too afraid, I would highly recommend running in a fun run. This way you can get out there, have heaps of fun and complete your goal! Next thing you'll know, you'll be on your way to your first marathon. 

Have you ever ran the Colour Run or any other fun runs? Tell us all about it in the comments below!

And until next time...

Stay Curious!

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18 Things You Wish You'd Known Before You Started Travelling

It's the most incredible feeling in the world. You've saved up, put in heaps of planning, and soon you'll finally be off on your first adventure. Whether you're travelling within your own country or travelling abroad, travel, in general, can be a daunting task. Previously, I've discussed the top 10 travel blunders even the most seasoned traveller can make. As I frequently get asked about travel advice, here is Adventures in Aussieland's list of things I wished I'd known before I started travelling:

1. Everything you're on the fence about bringing, LEAVE IT AT HOME! You're only going to waste space and carry extra weight. 

2. Pack lighter! If you can't easily carry your suitcase up stairs, it's too heavy. No, you will not need twelve different pairs of shoes.

Related Post: What To Pack When Backpacking

3. (This may be obvious) Make sure you have your passport and that it will be valid for the entire length of your travels.  

4. Remember to bring all your medications. Even if you're not on meds, it's wise to pack acetaminophen/ibuprofen, band-aids, an antiemetic, and (sorry mum) contraceptives. It's better to be safe than come home with an STI. 

5. Bring extra memory cards and batteries for your camera. I'm not joking. I took over 3,000 pictures of the Angkor Temples. I was happy to have extra memory cards with me. 

6. I highly advise against drinking on the aeroplane. Yes, it is heaps of fun to try and drink the price of your flight ticket, however, hangovers as soon as you land in a foreign country are not. 

7. It's ok to get up and walk around on the aeroplane. If you're anything like me, you'll puff up bigger than a puff pastry. Not a sexy look. If you're unable to get up and walk around, do the silly little exercises recommended in the pamphlet in the seat back pocket. 

Related Post: 3 Simple Steps to Avoid Jet Lag

8. Carry the essentials in your carry on. By essentials I mean, a toothbrush, tooth paste, brush, wet wipes, deodorant, and a clean pair of underwear. You'll feel like a new person if you freshen up a little bit towards the end of the flight. 

9. Learn a few key phrases in the native language of whatever country you're visiting. I try to learn: "hello", "thank you", do you speak English", and "I'm allergic to pork and fish". 

10. Step out of your comfort zone. You didn't travel half way around the world to feast on the food you could get back home. Try the local cuisine. You won't regret it (or you learn you don't like something and at least you tried!). 

Pin me for later!

11. Don't be afraid to stay in hostels. Staying in a hostel can enhance your travel experience, and you have the opportunity to meet hella cool people. Ask the staff at the hostel for their recommendations around the city. They probably have a better insight than your guide book.

12. While you're at it, meet locals. This is the greatest way to become emersed in the culture and learn all about the incredible city you're visiting. 

13. It's ok to make mistakes while travelling. 

14. Make copies of all important documents. Your passport is your lifeline so do everything in your power not to lose it. 

15. Don't keep all your funds in one place. You can never be too safe. 

Related Post: Ho Chi Minh City: A Rocky Adventure

16. Make the most of your time. Do not try to cram too many activities into a short period. This causes travel burnout. 

17. Every trip will not be perfect. You'll have amazing moments; you'll have hellish moments. Do not let the bad times ruin your time. Use them as learning experiences. 

18. You WILL become addicted to travelling and want to book your next trip the instant your home. 

There will always be uncertainties surrounding travel that even the most season traveller cannot avoid. But as long as you're flexible, you open yourself to an amazing experience. Have any other travel advice? Share it in the comments below!

And until next time...

Stay Curious!

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