2015 – June 2016 Travel Update

Standard

I’ve had the below blog-post sitting in my drafts for 4 months.. I’ve finally decided to unleash to the world with a few tweaks.

12274279_10156333629340128_2403048077811597180_n

St Thomas, Virgin Islands

I was reading my previous posts and realise how much I miss writing. I miss the process of brainstorming potential blog ideas and seeing one of them come to fruition.  I know that I haven’t posted in over 18 months – I felt I needed a break from the blogging sphere.

1417495_10154080695282223_5728451824677296170_o

Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

However, I’m back and here to bother you about my main love – travel.  Since October 2014 (yikes!), I have traveled to Turkey (Antalya), Miami, the US virgin islands, Puerto Rico, Dubai, Canary Islands (Fuerteventura & Lanzarote) and visited Rottendam and the Hague in Holland for a wedding. I will be visiting Morocco in a few weeks and Barbados is on the cards for October.

10683664_10154080699852223_8993874315900186593_o

Vieques, Puerto Rico

Miami, the U.S Virgin islands and Puerto Rico trip was another solo adventure that was pretty similar to my South East Asia trip.

13173969_10157052505540128_3106596559544713575_n

Marina, Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Flights were booked via Skyscanner  and although accommodation was not prebooked, it was sought out on the day I arrived in each city and town.

12243504_10156333629415128_2409784861909132700_n

Coki Beach, St Thomas, Virgin Islands

It’s funny – whenever I tell people about my solo trip, they think it’s the craziest thing ever!

11182785_10155489563080128_5074141883584865280_o

Roman Amphitheater, Antalya, Turkey

I do like travelling with family and friends but the sense of freedom I have when I am on my own electrifies me. I loved making last minute decisions without consulting anybody and having sole control over the decisions I make.

10985954_10155624792870128_1897764099262152217_n

Rotterdam Market, Holland

Many people won’t understand it but then, that’s what makes me, me.🙂

12705197_10156666282290128_4403172024348718930_n

Jumeirah Beach, Dubai, UAE

I wish I could tell you more in detail but due to bad memory haha, I’m hoping my  images can describe my travel experiences better than I am right now!

12715454_10156666282615128_6624126366480818938_n

Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, UAE

In the meantime, I pledge to blog more regularly… it’s nice to be back!

 

Getting an internship in the creative industry

Standard

A lot of people have asked me how I managed to rack up so much experience in the PR industry.  So I  thought I would write a “straight to the point” blogpost about it. I hope the tips I have below prove to be useful!

1) Networks – Being part of the Taylor Bennett Foundation alumni has opened me up to many networks. Jobs and internships has been sent exclusively to the trainees and alumnis which has helped. Joining a PR group on linkedin for example could be a way of you making your own networks in the industry. Also, people who I have had interviews with have referred me to other agencies where they feel I may be more compatible, which leads me to my next point…

2) Keep in touch with people you have met throughout your job search. Doing this through Linkedin is the easiest. You may not have gotten the job but they may prove to be incredibly helpful when it comes to advancing your career.

2) To stand out, I made a visual Cover letter using prezi. Recruiters and potential employers are usually impressed with this because it shows creativity, passion and initiative.  Create something unique enough to grab their attention.

3) I used social media to search for jobs that may have not been posted on Indeed for example. I used keywords such as #Prjobs, pr intern, pr internship etc to find people and agencies who are looking for interns via their twitter. This way, there’s less competition for those positions as opposed to those posted on Indeed. I also search through Linkedin using specific keywords.

4) Although speculative applications have worked the best for me, I never sent it to the typical jobs email address (e.g. jobs@somethingpr.com). I usually found an employee from an agency or company of interest that is around mid management level through linkedin, work out their email and personalise my cover letter and CV directly to them.

6) Sometimes all you need is a bit of luck. The more time you dedicate to your job search, the more likely that luck will be on your side.

Finding an internship can be hard but keep at it, don’t give up and you’re sure to be rewarded with worthwhile experience. Good luck!🙂

Happy two year anniversary!

Standard

I’ve had this blog for two years now which is a pretty long time. It has evolved from what was initially a travel blog to something more general.

I’ve genuinely enjoyed writing a blog and it has improved my writing and research skills greatly, which is a bonus!

So yes, happy anniversary and may continue to be many more!🙂

Alain de Botton: A kinder, gentler philosophy of success

Standard

Ever since I got introduced to Ted Talks earlier this year, I have been hooked.

Although I have found some videos to be utter bull, I have delighted in watching others. One of them happens to be by Alain de Bottom and it centred on his philosophy of success.

Not only did I find him engaging and witty, he also touches on so many points in a short amount of time. What really resonated with me was his idea on snobbery and how the western world perceives those who are considered failures. Centuries past, these “failures” would simply have been deemed unfortunate and people would have sympathised with them. However, nowadays, with the media being the biggest culprits, they are seen as losers with the world laughing at you.

It’s perhaps one of the reasons why there is so much emphasise on getting that great job or having materialistic things.

Anyways, enjoy watching!

At 11, I married my 60 years old husband.

Standard

Take yourself back to when you were 11 years old. Imagine on a warm summer’s morning, your mum beckons for you to come over. She dresses you up in a pretty pink dress, adorns you in jewellery and even adds some makeup. You’re excited because you only get dressed up when it’s a special occasion. Afterwards, your mother lovingly carries you towards a place that is decorated much like a wedding venue. You get even more excited because you love weddings! You’re taken to a man of 60 years and told you you are going to be his wife. You look at your mum to make sure she is joking but sadly, she’s not.

At that revelation, you would probably feel incredibly scared, bewildered and disbelieving. Unfortunately, this is not a horror movie, only a sad reality for many children around the world. The thought of going through that horrifies me and yet, it’s happening. In fact, it is so common that it affects 39,000 children a day or a child every 2 seconds. In India, 47% of girls that are married are under 18 and in Yemen, over 50% of female children under 18 are married.* These girls are regularly married off to a male adult.

513420021

Parents marry off their girls young due to various cultural and religious reasons. They think they are protecting their kids and feel early marriage prevents them from rape. They may also do it because of poverty and it is one less mouth to feed. A lack of education about child marriage also plays a part in it.

When married, the girls are usually pulled out of school, isolated from friends and family, forced to engage in sexual conduct and have children when they are not mentally and physically ready.

yemeni-child-brides-husbands-615

A few reasons for taking the married child out of school is for fear they may partake in sexual activity outside of the marriage. It’s also seen as a reason to allow more time to take part in domestic duties.

More often than not, they are treated like properties – regularly beaten senselessly or maimed or even killed. With no form of education and support, these children have little to no chances of escaping such a situation.

These girls are treated so badly that they resort to self-immolation, the deed of putting themselves on fire. Usually an act of extreme political and religious protest, it’s committed in utter desperation.

To find out more about child, early and forced marriages, I would suggest you visit www.tooyoungtowed.org. They are currently doing a travelling exhibition around the world and happen to be in the London School of Economics until the 1st of August at 2pm. It is open to all and no tickets are required.

 

“All statistics are provided from Too Young To Wed.

Turning 25: Lessons I have learnt along the way

Standard

A few days ago, as I regularly do, I went through my “Diary of Doom”.

Displaying image.png

A journal I started in my early teens, it is so called because it is full of teenage angst and depressing anecdotes of the bad times. I giggle every time I read it because I still can’t believe how over-dramatic I was. Anyways, at the end of writing a journal post, I would note down what I had learned from the situation. Like everybody else, I have faced some challenges and through it, I have learned some powerful lessons. Having just turned 25 myself, I thought it would be appropriate to share 25 of the poignant lessons I’ve learnt over my time on earth.

1) Rejection: Never see it as that but as a result. A certainty in life, it can be incredibly hard to accept. Don’t beat yourself up about it and move on as there are usually equal or even better options out there.

2) Nobody is perfect even if they seem to be through their Instagram and Facebook posts. Everybody bleeds and cries.

3) We all make mistakes. Life is about trial and error. Some people get it right the first time and for others, it takes a few tries. When a mistake is made, acknowledge it and try not to make it again. If you try to blame it on others or ignore it, it may lead to your downfall. I have made many mistakes in my professional life but because I have been able to acknowledge them early on, I have given myself the chance to improve and grow.

4) In life, you go through many failures and disappointments, especially when chasing your dream. It’s how you handle these that will determine your success.

5) Keeping a list of your goals, whether short term or long term helps you clarify and work through them much more easily.

6) Strive to keep learning about anything and everything. It doesn’t matter how or what you learn as long as you continue to do so. I’ve always enjoyed reading. When I was younger, it gave me a glimpse into a world that my parents were fiercely trying to protect and cushion me from. It helped satisfy a curiosity I’ve always had. As I grow older, travelling and keeping current via the media also contribute to quenching my natural curiosity.

7) No matter how nice you are to people, not everybody will show you the same courtesy. Despite this, continue being the nice, friendly individual you are and you will be more respected among your peers.

8) Invest in yourself. I class my internships as a great investment as they have improved my chances of acquiring that coveted role in PR. Although, it’s been difficult and sacrifices have had to be made, it has put me in a much better position that I was a year ago.

9) Don’t let anybody take advantage of you.

10) Cultivate your professional relationships. Networking is widely known as one of the key ways to gain that dream role.

11) Always make time for your family and friends. They will be that cushion to fall back on when times get rough.

12) Don’t bury your head in the sand. Face your problems head on no matter how difficult that is. The problem isn’t going to go away by ignoring it so might as well sort it out sooner rather than later.

13) Attention to detail is incredibly important. The company report that you have slaved over for a week may be discredited because you spelt the name of the company wrong. If in doubt, triple check everything and ask a colleague to check for you.

14) Always stand up for yourself.

15) Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. It would be harder to evolve without doing so.

16) Start a hobby. It is a great way to help gain confidence that will be beneficial in other areas in your life.

17) One of the simplest ways to brighten someone’s day is by giving a compliment. Don’t be afraid to dish it out, it’s free!

18) Always say thank you. At the end of an internship, after an interview or even after being rejected, those two magic words go a long way. It’s also just common courtesy.

19) Eat well, exercise and take personal pride in your appearance.

20) It’s smarter to admit that you don’t know than to try to pretend you do.

21) Nothing comes easily so work hard, persevere, be determined and motivated when striving for your goals.

22) Times goes by whatever you do so make the most of it.

23) Putting others down will not bring good to anybody so avoid it.

24) There is no harm in trying. Do not limit yourself because it seems impossible.

25) Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. At best, it could positively change your life. At worst, they could say is “No”or ignore you. It’s not the end of the world if they do.

So there you have it! In my next post, I will write about a trip to Ireland I took a couple of weeks ago.

 What lessons have you learned that is bound to help you in the future?

My ode to Topshop.

Standard

As a female who was 6ft tall and slim by the age of 15, I had always found it incredibly difficult to secure clothes that fit me well and most importantly, that were stylish and bang on trend.

This was until I walked into the Bullring’s Topshop one day in Birmingham after a day of participating in mock GCSE’s at school, with the urging of my friends. I remember glimpsing a sign that was titled “Tall” and thinking ” Yh right, I bet the clothes won’t fit me”.


Despite this negative notion, my curiousity got the better of me and I walked over to the section where a rack of jeans stood prettily.

I lightly touched a pair of dark wash skinny jeans that caught my eye instantly and seemed to glow brightly among the rest of the stock. My friend noticed me admiring it and encouraged me to try it on.

“What if it’s too short? ” I asked but she told me to stop being a baby. She didnt understand my fear of being rejected by this beautiful piece of art.

I reluctantly strolled to the changing rooms, closed the curtains and began the process of trying on the jeans. With my palms sweaty and shaky from the combined feelings of anticipation and fear, I had to take a few short moments to calm myself. When the zip was up and the button in place, I counted to 5 before I allowed myself to turn around to face my fate in the mirror.

What I saw astonished me. At that moment was when I knew my transformation from a child to a woman was complete. The jeans fitted perfectly and it looked even more beautiful on me. Who knew that a pair of jeans could have such an impact?

It wasn’t just the jeans that had an effect on me. It was the realisation that I had found a brand that will cater to my needs. A brand that will express my feelings without me having to say it. It was an amazing discovery.

That moment was when my love affair with Topshop began and it is still going, stronger than ever.

The Island of Salt

Standard

aka Llha Do Sal, my first trip abroad in 2014.

In the plane as I arrived at one of the 10 islands that made up Cape Verde, I primarily noticed the clear blue-green ocean glistening  against the sun. It looked beautiful as it eventually splashed onto the brown dry desert-like plains of the island. It was a peculiar sight.

Plane view

At first glance, Sal seemed abandoned except for the airport and a plane or two. After being separated from my family in the air-plane due to a late check-in, we reunited and proceeded straight to passport control.  As my passport came late, my visa was not prearranged so I went to the “Visa request” queue and got it sorted quickly for 25 euros.

We arrived at our hotel and for the week, we mostly relaxed, either by the pool or the beach. We quickly learned that Cape Verdians usually speak Creole but their official language is Portugese.  The weather was perfect as it was warm but not too hot that you were stifled by the heat and unable to do basic tasks. The cuisine consisted of seafood which I generally enjoyed (and yes, I tried as much as I could).

Within Sal, two towns exists – Santa Maria and Espargos.  Santa Maria hosts a fusion of cultures that celebrates Portuguese, Brazilian and west African influences. The small town consists of a small museum, a school and bars that cater to locals, expats and tourists. It has a active nightlife so there is something to do if you want to go out. Finally, it also has one of the most beautiful beaches I have seen so far.

Santa Maria Beach

Beautiful beach at Santa Maria

At the fishing port in Santa Maria

Santa Maria

Espargos means Asparagus in English, a petite town that is known for its abundance of the vegetable. Consisting predominately of locals, Espargos expresses the charms of its residents. Overall, the people of Sal are very polite and courteous and they stick to their slogan of “No Stress’, which is exactly what the island is.

Residents and locals of Sal

 

During a walking tour, we visited an after school centre called Castella de Sal.  In Cape Verde, children only attended school for half a day and some of the poorer ones spend the rest of their time begging. Castella de Sal is a project set up to keep children of the streets begging and in turn, safe. We thought it was a great initiative and me and my siblings returned to volunteer for a day to help the staff with whatever they needed and to also interact with the kids. Many of them do not have basic provisions such as a healthy meal and dental supplies so the centre supplements this. The staff also take some of them each week to the doctor and dentist for a checkup.

It was truly a rewarding experience, as my sister said “Despite the language barrier, the happiness and laughter in the classrooms transcended everything and it was the most fun I have had in a long time.”

We also took an excusion to visit the whole island. This included a visit to the island’s attractions such as Shark’s Bay and the salt mines. There are many people offering excusions so tourists usually have a number to choose from.

Beautiful cove

I was brave enough to go in the water!

Rocky

Empty

A village in Sal

Dusty terrains

 

.

.

If you plan to visit in the future, consider bringing school supplies and medicine! Paracetamol, which can cost a mere 16p, fetches up to 8 Euros in the Island. This is because almost everything is imported so all the prices are jacked up. In addition to the fact that the local salary averaged from about 200-400 euros a month, it would be appreciated.

My images and words simply do not give the island justice so I would recommend for everybody to visit :). I’m definitely glad I went and in future, I would hope to visit and explore the other islands.

Photo

Oh yea, I’m going to Africa tomorrow.

Standard

I have finally taken some measures to sooth this travel bug that has been disturbing me for some time. Tomorrow, I’ll be leaving for the beautiful country of Cape Verde for a week.

Image

I truly welcome this break and I cannot wait to immerse myself in another culture. There is not much information online about visits to Cape Verde so I plan to write a detailed feature on my trip and hopefully, provide tips that may benefit others. Most people have asked me where Cape Verde is and it is in Africa – west of the Gambia (Not Spain or Portugal). It comprises of 10 volcanic islands in the Atlantic ocean and I will be staying in Sal. One of my main goals during this trip is to visit Santiago, another island where the capital, Praia, is situated. I also plan to try as many local cuisines as humanly possible.

Image

Last week, I discovered my passport was damaged so had to rush off to Durham the next day to sort that out. It was frustrating to have made such a long journey for a procedure that only took less than 30 minutes but it had to be done! I definitely learnt a valuable lesson that day – check your passport before you leave the country! If I had checked it any later, I may have not gotten my documents in time as it was a 7 day process. In all honesty, if I had checked it even earlier, I would have saved so much more time, hassle and money. So guys, learn from my mistakes please🙂

As for the holiday, many pictures will be taken and I will update you  when I get back.

 

Mini Questionaire

Standard

There is no agenda to this particular blog post. I simply had fun filling out this questionnaire and I wanted to share.🙂

1. If you had to sit next to one person on a long-haul flight to Australia (famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional ) who would you choose and why?  Prince Naveen from Disney’s The Princess and The Frog film. There are so many questions I want to ask him. How did  it feel to go from being a handsome, spoiled prince to a slimy, disgusting frog? How did you adjust to such a lifestyle change? Are there times when you felt like giving up and staying a frog forever? How did you keep your confidence through that difficult time?

 Image

2. If you had to get up and sing karaoke in front of the whole company, what would your song choice be and why? Queen -We are the champions. Just to remind myself and the team that I am among a bunch of winners who are wiling to work hard despite adversity to achieve the company’s objectives.

3. If someone wrote a biography about you, what would the title be? The Misadventures of Happy Dami. Too many tales to be told.

4. What would you tell your 21 year old self if you were 80 years old?  I would tell her that’s she is doing so well,  I am extremely proud of her and to keep up the good work. I would also tell her that her dreams will finally come true as she got the chance to see Beyonce live. I would finally add that her slight obsession with baked beans is a bit weird and she should try other types of food.

Image

5. Would you rather have extra-long arms or extra short legs? Extra long arms. I already have long legs so I would not trade that for the world. (Being able to breathe in a packed tube due to my height and being able to see my favourite artist with nobody’s armpits in my face is a bonus). Also, If I had extra long arms, I’m sure I would have been an Olympic swimming champion because the best swimmers usually have long arms. So does Usain Bolt, come to think of it.

Image