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Whether we like it or not, social media plays a pretty decent role in how people see us or even how we see ourselves. It’s become a battleground for labels- whether you’re a self-confessed such and such or whether it’s someone calling you a name after you voice your beliefs or interests. We often spend what feels like forever trying to come up with the perfect bio that sums us up as the person we want other people to try and see. Whether or not it actually is us, is another story in itself. In this day in age, so much of what we do ends up online- whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or somewhere else. Some of us just want to stay in touch with family, see what our old friends are up to or just have the accounts for the sake of having an account. Others of us just want to post photos of what we’re up to,where we are and who we hang out. I mean, I guess when you think about it there is a sense of showing off about it, especially when you’re on a holiday and everyone else is stuck doing their usual daily grind. Or, there are those photos when you’ve got a new hairstyle or you’re looking super fabulous and you wouldn’t mind a few more people commenting like “Gurrrrrl” or “*insert flame emojis here*”.

We’ve all gained solace from likes, which in the short term is satisfying but when you really think about it, it’s quite sad to see what society has become. But then again, technology and the likes of social media are the new age of communication. It’s basically an easier way for people to comment on your photos- instead of face to face when they’re holding a physical photo of you, they’re just doing it online.

Labelling and name-calling has become a bit of a thing on social media. Some people define themselves by how they’re viewed and that can either be a good thing or a bad thing. Well, usually it can be annoying more so than bad. You have the people who have online brands for their blogs that take a more business aspect to it which is fair enough. I mean, that’s what I’m working towards establishing. Then you have the activists who list every possible -ist that fits them that often leaves the average, non-Twitter or Instagram user reaching for the dictionary.

I’ve found with a number of political and human rights issues in particular, the name-calling is rife. I feel like many people are often wary of what they say online, both for the fact that they don’t want potential employers seeing something they wrote and disagreeing with them and also for the fact that they don’t want to be labelled as something deemed negative and frowned up. Or, more so, they just cannot be bothered taking part in an online feud that really gets nobody anywhere. Usually these feuds are filled with names, often dissing the opposing party for their views. Both sides of politics have been at fault for this and it is really, honestly, seriously so immature.

I’ve been deemed a social justice warrior. I’ve fallen into the class of a supposed snowflake. I’ve been considered anti-feminist. I’ve been considered as a radical feminist. If it was up to some people, I’d be named as a warmongering murderer. Even if you’re not directly called any of the above, when you see other  people who have the same or similar views to you being labelled as such, you subconsciously class yourself by those labels too no matter how hard you try. The result is that you become hesitant to voice your opinions, often weighing up whether you can deal with being called a name with negative connotations.

So am I a social justice warrior? Am I a snowflake? Am I anti-feminist? Am I a radical feminist? Am I a warmongering murderer?

Well according to social media, it really depends who you ask.

Honestly, I really don’t care. Well, yeah I do in a sense. But then I also really don’t? I mean, yeah, I care enough to write this post because I’ve realised the dichotomy of name-calling that you can face when you use social media. But I don’t care enough to get riled up when I’m called a snowflake (trust me, I’m not) or if someone complains about my support for the defence force. More often than not, those people who do call me names or call others with similar views names generally just fly off the handle after a couple of words without getting the entire perspective.

Personally, I have a multifaceted view on political issues. There’s a reason I label myself as a centrist. I support elements of both the left and the right. I generally roll my eyes at the extreme left and the extreme right because you know what, that’s my right (well, supposedly). We’re all entitled to opinions. We’re all entitled to disagree with them.

But come on social media, I thought we left the name calling to the bullies in primary school. You have a brain, you have the internet that has a wide range of resources to do your research. Stay open-minded, articulate your point of view in an intelligent and understandable manner.

But please, grow up and get over the labeling and the name-calling.

 

Usually from the middle to the end of January, our newsfeeds are often clogged up with different opinions on when Australia Day should be. You have one side who think the ‘lefties’ are back at it with their social justice warrior ways, saying that the date does not need to be changed and these ‘lefties’ are just overreacting and making a big deal out of nothing. Then you have the other side (the ‘lefties’) who advocate to change the date of Australia day because it is appalling that such a day that has affected so many native Australians is celebrated like it’s one big party. The day stirs up controversy every year without fail and it’s always the same arguments from both sides. I hear it on the news, at home and online and honestly, it’s getting a tad annoying. Year after year, it’s always the same sort of rhetoric spat out and no real changes have been made. Honestly, I just have to roll my eyes and bang my head against my desk.

But now it’s April, and gone is the hysteria associated with having a couple of beers with the fam around the barbeque whilst Triple J’s top 100 countdown plays in the background. Australia Day is not even a passing thought at the this time of year for most Australians. Hence, that’s why I’ve decided to bring it up. Something I’ve found with a lot of issues is that the controversy usually only lasts a couple of news cycles, if that, and then the media tosses it out and it’s onto the next thing. Many of these ‘controversies’ are usually rights issues, which makes it even more frustrating and leaves marginalised groups on their own again.

I’m a true blue Aussie who’s proud of her European heritage. I’m second generation Australian from my mum’s side and first on my dad’s. I’m not the typical skippy whose family has been living in Australia for generations. When my relatives first came here they experienced racism, being called wogs and being discriminated against because they didn’t have the typical Anglo last name. Even then, I’m proud to come from Australia. My dad insists that I call myself an Australian every time I say I’m Croatian. I’ve even considered getting a southern cross tattoo to which a number of my friends have called me a bogan for having such a thought. I mean, I’m planning on representing this country at the Olympic Games.

I would love more than anything to have a day where we can celebrate Australia and realise how lucky we are to be living in such a wicked country. I’d love to don the green and gold (like I do the red and white checkers) and wave around an Aussie flag, watching the fireworks and singing along to I am Australian and Horses like an utter dork.

But I can’t.

I physically and mentally cannot bring myself to get caught up in the festivities of January 26th. I’m proud to be Australian, but I’m not proud that we celebrate being Australian on a day that has so heavily affected the lives of Indigenous Australians.

Mate, I reckon we should change the date. I don’t know when, but to another day that doesn’t have such negative connotations in the Indigenous community.

It’s just a date, some say. It was over 200 years ago, others say. The Indigenous people need to get over it, another group says. If it wasn’t for the British, there’d still be kangaroos hopping down Flinders Street, more say.

A) It’s not just a date.

B) And? You’re not allowed to remember the past? Oh wait, maybe that’s only when it suits you.

C) Tell that to the Jewish community and the Holocaust. Tell that to the countless of other groups who remember and will never forget the things their ancestors had to the go through.

D) It’s true that the British brought progression to Australia. It’s also true that immigration  has enabled Australia to progress to what it has become today. That, however, is not a valid excuse for not changing the date of Australia day. That still doesn’t overshadow the number of Indigenous Australians slaughtered on that day, let alone the oppressive laws that have followed. Sure, Indigenous Australians aren’t perfect- but is anybody? Everyone has issues and it’s unfair to just pinpoint a specific group and use their flaws against them.

When this argument pops up every single year in January, some people miss the point. They think the Change the Date movement is saying we shouldn’t celebrate Australia Day.

Change.

The.

Date.

The word change means to make different or to use another instead of. It doesn’t mean to not celebrate Australia at all. It means to, quite literally, use another date to celebrate Australia Day instead of January 26th. I don’t know how I could put that any simpler.

Then there’s the argument of tradition and how for decades Australia Day has been celebrated on the 26th of January. Well actually, the 26th of January has only been a public holiday since 1994. So much for decades.

One of the most common arguments regarding Change the Date is that it won’t change anything. It’s not going to solve all the issues that Indigenous Australians face. It’s not going to change the past. It’s not a big deal.

No, it won’t solve all the issues. It’s not going to change the past. Nothing can change the past. But changing the date is a step in the right direction. It’ll indicate that this country is as respectful to cultures as it’s supposed to be. It’s an ounce of relief for so many Indigenous Australians.

And besides, if it’s not such a big deal then what’s the big deal in changing it? If it’s no biggie, then why are you so adamant to keep the date? It’s just a “date” afterall. What’s it to you, the average person, if it’s on the 26th of January or May 8th? It won’t affect you at the end of the day, but it’s a small reward for Indigenous Australians.

No, this isn’t white person’s guilt. I personally, nor my ancestors, have anything to do with the First Fleet. I have nothing to do with imperialism and the like. As someone whose family has experienced the horrors of war, I wouldn’t appreciate people getting rowdy on days where so many people’s lives had changed forever.

Look mate, all I’m saying is that we should just change the date of Australia Day. Australia Day is supposed to be about coming together as a nation and unite as one, but that doesn’t happen and it’s understandable why. Yeah sure, there are always going to be unhappy people- but changing the date is a step in the right direction, even if it seems like a minor detail.







In the past 14 years, I’ve been lucky enough to experience the wonders of both individual and team sports. I’ve reaped the benefits of both and I would recommend for everyone to have a shot at both. But first, we have to look at the differences between the two- because there are plenty of them and they’re obvious. That being said, don’t be alarmed if you’ve only ever participated in individual sports and vice versa. You can apply your skills from one into the other, whilst also opening yourself up to learning new things.

Individual sports:
Individual sports offer the opportunity to learn about independence and being self-reliant. They also teach you a certain type of focus that can easily be applied to other areas of life like work and academics. Generally when you’re studying you’re usually doing so on your own therefore you need a specific type of focus in order to achieve your goals for that session or that exam or test. Additionally, individual sports help you focus on yourself and only yourself without feeling the pressure of the results of the people on your own team. Your performances affect you and you alone. There’s less pressure to be up to standards with everyone else or praying you don’t make a mistake that could cost the team a game. Sure, sometimes your individual results add up points for the team, however you’re still competing on your own.  You often train together as a team, but you compete as individuals and in that sense, the lines are blurred between team and individual sports. In individual sports, you play for yourself at the end of the day. You don’t have to worry about your teammates around you. You can make decisions on your own and the results primarily only affect you.

Types of individual sports:  Karate and other forms of martial arts, tennis, swimming, athletics, cycling, surfing, snowboarding

Team sports:
In team sports, you learn how to communicate and how to work as a team. Communication is something I didn’t really need to do much of in karate. It was just me on the mat as I competed, so I didn’t exactly need to call out to my teammate asking for them to pass me the ball or that I had a particular player. Naturally, it has become something I need to work on in rugby as I’m not used to yelling around in a game. Another difference is that it’s a much more sociable environment. Usually with karate, you did a lot of things on your own. Unless you were close with other competitors or your coaches, you generally just went to training, trained and then went home. In team sports, you often spend time hanging out with your teammates, catching up on the latest gossip, having a good laugh and then having a bite to eat after training for some team bonding.  Eventually, you’re not just a team, you’re a family.  You have people that have your back and you help each other out.  You also have the opportunity to learn from other people, and not just in the sense of the game.  When you’re playing a team sport, you’re doing something that’s much bigger than yourself. Every decision you make doesn’t just affect you, it affects the whole team. Sometimes it’ll be a good result, other times it’ll be costly. But that’s just the beauty of sport, you win some, you lose some and you learn. It’s one big learning experience that can help shape the person you can become.

Types of team sports: Rugby, basketball, AFL, football, cricket, baseball, netball, hockey



I survived my first rugby union match last week. Five months after deciding that I wanted to go to the Olympics and three months after starting pre-season training, it was finally game day. Now some people might expect me to say I slayed, that I scored a try, that I threw girls double my size on the ground and that out-stepped the opposition. No. No, I didn’t. I did none of that. It was more of a comedic debut and it came as no surprise. What else would I expect? I had never played a rugby union game in my life so of course I would look like a baby giraffe trying to walk. It’ll be a hilarious story in a couple of years when I look back. My first touch was the ball quite literally bouncing off my shoulder. My dad laughed. I shook my head and kept going. What else was I going to do? Let’s just say that overall, give me a couple of games and just watch the decision making improve. Within three months of playing, I have to say I’ve learnt a lot from rugby already and cannot wait to see what I learn in the future.

For now, this is what I have learnt:

-You’re not going to be a superstar in your first game…or even in the first few games or longer
→ when you’re starting a new sport, you’re basically learning how to walk all over again. In a sense, it’s easier to start a new sport younger as a kid than when you’re in your late teens or as an adult. In my case at least, I’ve always been on top or close to the top in whatever endeavour I take part it- whether academic or karate related. Coming to rugby, I’m far from the top at the moment. I mean, I’ve never played rugby union, I’ve always been a huge league fan and I’ve only dabbled in a bit of touch in year 8 at high school. It takes time to become equipped with the skills and it’s important to remember that you’re going to make mistakes Also, training is one thing, game day is another. It’s going to take a couple of games to get into the motion of things and to learn the ropes of the sport and the tricks of the trade. With experience, comes knowledge.

-Team sports are different to individual sports
I’m probably going to end up writing a post about this, but I’ve already picked up on the big differences between team sports and individual sports. When it comes to individual sports, you just focus on yourself and your mistakes and your own. For team sports, your mistakes are the team’s mistakes and what you do wrong impacts everyone and not just you.

-With confidence, comes a good outcome
One thing that comes with a lot of contact sports is that when you go in hard and confident, you won’t get hurt. If you hesitate and think too much, that’s when things start going haywire and when you’re more likely to get hurt. When you’re confident and you persist, you’re more likely to get the outcome you’re after. That can be applied to daily life too- tackle things head on and don’t hesitate. When you hesitate, you could miss out or struggle. The important thing is to persist and keep on going. 


-It feels good to be sore and I didn’t realise I missed it so much
Alright this might be an odd one for some, but weirdly a shared sentiment for others. I genuinely miss the feeling of being sore. Firstly, as someone with health anxiety it actually gives me an explanation for the bodily sensations I feel. Secondly, it reminds me that I’ve actually exercised and gotten a good training session/game in. It’s a fab feeling to have and a reminder that I’m doing something I love.

-You’re a part of something bigger than yourself
Going along with the differences between team and individual sports, realising that you’re a part of something bigger than yourself is probably another one of them. You’re there with your team, it’s like a sisterhood. Whinging about a bit of a sore ankle? Seeing your teammate with bruises covering her shins still going hard at it and the other one whose ankle is swollen will soon shut your mouth. Moreover, rugby is a rising sport- particularly for women. You realise how important what you’re doing is and you see that through the support you get from your teammates, your coaches and friends and family who support the club and the sport in general.

-People have got your back regardless
You’re there with your teammates. You’re basically a family. You support each other, you help each other out. Again, it’s like a sisterhood. Both on the field and off the field, your team’s got your back. I don’t know, maybe I picked the right club and was lucky with the group of girls I now call my teammates. But I know for a fact that once you’re on the same team, you’ve got each other’s bags.

I played my second game the other day and I have to admit it was a pretty big improvement from my first game. With experience, comes the skill. I mean, I did duck and swerve away from a girl twice my size so I guess that’s a teeny tiny personal victory for now.  Sure, I still made mistakes but after all it was just my second game. The fact I’m sore now and have a couple of bruises and a sore neck just points out that I did a lot more yesterday than I did last week. It’s only up from here.

If I had to be honest, I struggled to come up with a solid start to this blog post. No matter what I wrote, memories of my speeches in front of my entire high school cohort rushed back to me. I lost count at the number of times I was asked to talk about a particular event in front of my school, let alone the number of hours I spent trying to write a unique, intelligent sounding speech. The thesaurus became my best friend and if I was to be talking with someone else, they would have no complaints when I was giving myself the longer parts to read. I love public speaking, okay? Anyway, everything I wrote just reminded me of standing up on stage, behind the black lectern that had my school’s name capitalised in some fancy gold font with over a thousand students and teachers looking up at me.

Back to the point, at the beginning of March, I headed off to Thailand. I would be staying in Phuket, more specifically Kata Beach, for around 9 days before coming home. Words I would use to describe it? An adventure. An experience. Something that everyone should see and do at least once in their lives. I was lucky in the sense that we went with my uncle who had been there dozens of times and knew the place inside out and all the right people.

Now I have to say, personally I was never really interested in travelling to Asia but I decided this time around, why not? It would be a relaxing getaway before getting to the hustle and bustle of reality and a chance to say “I’ve been there, done that!”. It would be a chance to create unique memories and experience things that I wouldn’t have otherwise had the opportunity to experience.

 

We arrived late Wednesday night after travelling all day. It was about an hour and 15 minutes from the airport to the hotel, but that was quite an eye-opening and entertaining first 75 minutes on Phuket ground. Our taxi driver was quite literally the Thai Eddie Murphy with the things he was saying and it made me realise that by the end of the trip, I would have sore ab muscles from laughing so much. As we drove through the streets, I got to have my first look at Phuket life. It was basically my first look at what it’s like to live in a developing country. People lived in shacks and rundown houses and there were more mopeds and motorcycles than cars. Traffic rules? What are they? Another thing I instantly noticed was the immense respect Thai people have for religion and their late King. There were countless shrines everywhere remembering the King and they weren’t shabby little memorials either. They were pure works of art. It’s something we don’t see much in Australia.

I was going to give you a run-down of what I did day by day, but then I realised that could get a little bit boring so I decided to split it up into different sections.

The hotel:

We stayed at the Sugar Marina Resort- Fashion in Kata Beach and I have to say, it exceeded my expectations. I had already seen photos of the place and I was super excited about staying there, but there was still a little part of me saying it seemed too good to be true. I had stayed at places before that weren’t all that they hyped up to be but Sugar Marina Resort- Fashion… this was something else. From the amazingly kind staff to the cleanliness and classiness of the rooms to the fact that the room I stayed in quite literally stepped out into the pool. There was a gate on the balcony that you could open and just jump into the pool. It was amazing and allowed excellent Snapchat story material. Also, I should probably add that the hotel was hardly 100 metres away from the beach- you basically just walk out, cross the road and you’re there. It’s a great location and you have everything you need within a short distance- food, supplies, beach, shops, pharmacies- everything.

In addition, the hotel had a restaurant that was specifically for breakfast. It was a buffet styled brekky and it has something for everyone. I’m a fussy eater as is, but I’m the worst at breakfast. Yet, I had no issues with the food there. There were so many options and it filled me up. It’s definitely on the list of highlights for the hotel. To be honest, I don’t think I could fault the hotel for anything.

What I did:

Obviously I spent a lot of time at the beach and pool, duh. Thank you for stating the obvious. As you’ve already read, the pool was pretty snazzy but the beach, the beach was something in itself. A lot of people hear Phuket and instantly think of Patong and it’s often murky waters. Kata Beach has no such issue. The water was crystal clear and it was warm. For the first few days, the ocean was flat so you hardly had any issues with things floating in from the sea. Every morning, you wanted to wake up early because otherwise if you didn’t, you would miss the chance for an early morning walk when it’s not too hot (it got really hot too, just saying). Being the water baby I am, I spent most of my time in the water. I’ve never quite gotten the point of sunbaking but that’s just me. Besides, apparently you have more of a chance of getting tanned when you’re in the water?


Phuket isn’t all just beach, beach, beach. There are a number of other things I did whilst there, including going to the Night Market. Basically every Saturday and Sunday, there was a night market where there were countless stalls selling everything you could possibly imagine. I shopped til I dropped that night, buying a heap of t-shirts, a new pair of shoes, some make-up, a speaker and a present for my brother, two hats amongst other things. I witnessed the art of bartering where although I found it entertaining, part of me felt bad for those who had their prices dropped below the lowest price they would offer. People in Phuket work for almost nothing, and yet some people wanted to pay them less. They need the money much more than I do (and probably ever will). Another thing that broke my heart at the Night Market was the fact that there was an animal section. And I’m not just saying like an animal pen where kids could play with the animals. I’m saying like a section for pet shops. There were so many animals from dogs, rabbits, cats, ducks and so forth caged up there. Personally, I was struggling with the heat and the stuffiness and the chaos of the place- I couldn’t even start to imagine what it would have been like for those animals. Part of me wanted to go in and have a look, but I just couldn’t. Morally, I couldn’t. On a lighter note, there’s something for everyone there and it’s all good to barter, but don’t push it. I hate using the word but you’re seriously privileged in comparison to the people selling you the things there. There are still plenty of amazing products available, which is why it’s good to not pack too much on the way there.

Every night is a Saturday night in Kata beach. It’s a very tourist centric hub and the atmosphere is vibrant. It’s also quite a family friendly place too, so you’re pretty safe there. I mean, I went to 7-11 at 11:30pm…I couldn’t do that in Melbourne. Most nights, we would go out for dinner and then go for a leisurely (5 kilometre) stroll from Kata to Karon and then back. One night, we caught a tuk tuk back which is a must when you’re there. Some of the tuk tuks were decked out with a speaker system and accompanied with lights circling the speakers. It would have been heaven for my brother. There were so many restaurants and bars there, many with live performances. We would often walk past the Lana Bar and the guy singing had the most amazing voice. I genuinely reckon that if he went on The Voice, he would make the finals, if not win it. Many of the live performers had beautiful voices, but this guy by far, had my favourite. Something else that I reckon someone should start up in Melbourne are cocktail combi vans. Basically, people would get a combi van and turn it into a bar. Music would be blasting from the speakers whilst they’d make you cocktails. There were a number of them sporadically placed throughout the Kata beach strip and I think they would be a fabulous and quirky idea here in Melbourne, especially along the coast. And if cocktails are your thing, they’re not expensive and come in a range of sizes. There’s the usual size…and then a bucket, jumbo and tank. Yes, you heard that right. I’m not kidding. Just check out the photo.

 

Yes, that bucket is filled with the cocktail of your choice upon request.

 

We also went and checked out a couple of the sights around Phuket, including Big Buddha and the Chalong temples. It was fascinating to experience and see such important parts of another culture and the views that accompanied it were phenomenal. When in Phuket, I would suggest you visit these particular places just to see the immense respect and admiration the Thai people have for Buddhism. The Chalong temples were stunning in regards to the fine details in its design. The artistry was mind-blowing and it’s something you really need to see for yourself to see how special it really is.

 

Another thing we did was drive along the coast line through Kata-Karon, Hat Nai Han and Rawai. We stopped at a couple of beaches to get some amazing photos and also stopped at the viewpoint. The views there were stunning with the mix of the mountains and the sea. It was serene and a sight to remember. We dropped by Patong and no joke, almost every accent I heard was Australian. Everywhere I turned there was something Aussie and although I actually found that pretty cool, I also thought that I didn’t come to another country just to go to Australian places. Although, it is good to know there are places in Thailand that show the footy – just in case I’m there during the footy season. Anyway, that’s not the point.




I found myself spending a lot of time at one of the massage parlours right next to the hotel called Kata Big Rock massage. The staff were so friendly and welcomed you with open arms- and most importantly they were good at what they did. On the first night, my friend and I asked my uncle what a gentle, “Blue Mountains hotel ad”- like, soft massage would be. He insisted a Thai massage and trusting his word, we decided that’s what we would get. Nekminnut as we’re laying on the table there, I start to feel someone’s knees digging into the bottom of my feet and then with their hands, they started to climb up my legs, pressing down on the muscles. Within ten minutes, I had someone standing on my back. Yeah, so much for “gentle”. Despite the initial surprise and the few moments where I could barely breathe, it was a pretty nice massage- especially for the injury prone, tensed up person like me. I particularly found the most painful parts to be when they were working on my back and side, especially the parts I’ve had the most problems with recently. And yes, everyone should get a Thai massage if they can. They’re amazing. I also got a manicure, pedicure and a foot scrub which was something rare for me considering I don’t do that here in Melbourne.

Within the time frame I had, I didn’t get the chance to explore every part of Thailand, but there’s so much more to see and do if you’re the more adventurous type.

The Food:

If there’s something to do with food that has changed since being in Phuket, it’s my love for fresh coconut water. After finally realising it tasted divine, I would walk to the lady that sold the fresh coconuts every day…sometimes twice or three times and get myself a fresh coconut. It was the most refreshing and tasty thing and the stuff in plastic has nothing on the real thing. There are so many health benefits that come from coconut water too, which leads me onto the fact that when you’re in Phuket, chances are, you’ll probably eat much healthier than you do back home.

The main restaurant we went to was Kitchen 44. It was an authentic Thai restaurant that still had plenty of Western options (which was good for me considering I’m a fussy eater). The food was fantastic and overall, you just knew that you were in good hands there. No matter what you order, it’d taste remarkable and there’d be no issue with food poisoning.

Now, I’m one of those people who’s really skeptical about street food. But, there was one guy who made meat skewers outside one of the 7-11 stores and he was a guaranteed safe eat. After we got back from the night market, we bought a couple and then sat on the balcony back at the hotel room, devouring them. They were fresh, tasty and addictive.

Overall experience:

Overall, it was a pretty amazing trip. I learnt a lot about different cultures and I learnt a lot about myself too. Would I go back? Yes. Would I be more prepared? Yes. Despite my irritating heat rush and my struggles with jet lag and anxiety, the trip was outstanding. For me, I know a place is good when despite the negatives, you still want to go back there. The people there were some of the kindest and warming individuals I’ve ever met and they make the holiday that much better. From the taxi drivers to the hotel staff to the people on the street, it’s inspiring how despite the struggles they go through just to put food on the table and get their families by, they still have the strength to put on the biggest smiles you’ve probably ever seen to make sure you’re having the time of your life. Our taxi driver (that my uncle almost always goes to) and his wife (who’s also a taxi driver and who drove us to the airport) only get to see their son twice a year if they’re lucky. Yet, they were two of the nicest and coolest people I’ve ever met. The saddest thing is, many of these people working in the tourist industry often have similar stories and that in itself is enough to make me want to go back and visit.