Should I go to uni and live in my van full time?

2 years ago I was all set to head back off to uni to start a masters in forensic anthropology. Before this new venture even started it came crashing to a stop and I had to cancel my place on the course. I’d been suffering from a chronic spinal condition and found out that I’d be needing surgery. I decided the best thing to do was to focus on my health and recover with no distractions so going to uni wasn't an option at the time. 
But now I look back thinking if I had gone, I’d have my masters. And thats depressing as fuck! I know I couldn't change my past so thinking this is stupid because surgery had to happen but I still think where would I be now if my health didn't fail me. Would I be working abroad? Would I be in further education? Would I be making something of my life which I don't feel I am right now?
I’ve been thinking a lot about if going back to uni is the right decision, especially with me wanting to study such a niche course. Jobs are scarce and competition is high. Would I even be working in the field if I had done the degree as planned? Hell my undergrad degree is in animal welfare and management and I work in a food store! 

What would I study? I have a couple of interests, I love bones and the story they can tell about someone, 2 years ago this was linked to forensics, but now I’m becoming more interested in historical remains, so what do I study?! Do I stick with forensic anthropology because that won last time, or do I consider that I’m in a much different place physically and mentally than I was 2 years ago and consider studying osteoarchaeology? I can also include animal remains with this course which I have background in studying so I wouldn't be a total noob like if I was to study forensic anthropology where I have no background. Oh my gaaaaahhhhh I don't know!!

What I do know is I’ve already decided if I was to head back off to uni I'm 99% sure I’d live in my campervan full time. I haven't looked recently but my masters was going to cost £5500 2 years ago, accommodation was a further £3-4000 plus bills on top! Crazy! If I was to live in my van full time I’d have fuel costs, replacing my gas when it ran out and my usual bills such as mobile phone and food. So my overall cost would drastically decrease. Plus I’d absolutely love one day to take the plunge and try living the full time van life. My goal for this year is to get over my fear and try and start making some money from my photography, hopefully growing it into a business and being able to sustain myself living and working from my van. It might never happen, I have major doubts about my photography skills and I'm terrified of fucking up someones wedding or something and I couldn't live with myself if I had to tell newlyweds they had no photos of their special day. Its terrifying!
I think too that having a business already in place before heading off to uni will be super sensible. Easier said than done for this self doubting moron! 

Can you tell I’m just a tad conflicted about the decisions I have ahead of me?! I guess because I lost a good chunk of my twenties to my back problem I'm stuck up on trying to claw back all the things I've missed out on and getting overwhelmed thinking about too much at once! But ultimately I really would love to get in my van and drive off to uni one day.

Disclaimer! I’m a little brain fucked on painkillers writing this! I’ll probably read it tomorrow and take it down because it might make no sense! Or I’ll have forgotten I've written it! Either way I hope you've enjoyed my rambling and if you haven't then you've just wasted precious minutes of your life. 

See ya later monkeys!



My thoughts and opinions on YouTube.

In the last few months I've been feeling like youtube isn't quite the place it used to be. Change is good, but this change feels uneasy, it feels like its pooping on the little guys, and letting the big ones get away with some naughty stuff!
First off I wanna say about this new thing youtube are doing demonetising channels with under 1k subscribers and 4k hours viewing time, I, and the youtubers I know aren't in to youtube for the money, so fine youtube, take it. What I am miffed about is the way that youtube communicated this change. With comments such as it wants to support thriving channels. Clearly there are two sides to this word. Thriving to me is a channel that has creative content that captures me, lovely comments, the channel owner responding to comments, the subscriber count going up slow and steady with people in it genuinely for the content they enjoy. Its clear on these channels that they aren't in it for the money, if it happens then fab, if not then thats ok! You can see they enjoy making videos and engaging with their subscribers. That to me and many others out there is a thriving channel. But youtube says no, a thriving channel is one thats bringing in the big money. And here in lies the upset with smaller youtubers. When you think your doing something amazing, youre having fun and people are loving it, when you're using a platform to do this, than then tells you your channel has no worth, it hurts! You feel angry, unsupported, you lose faith and trust in the platform. 
This is what the issue is. I mean after-all, channels with under 1k subs essentially don't make money anyway! Because it cant be released till you hit £100? Something like that, and channels that small don't make that much. So for people to come out and say they're only upset about the money is completely wrong! 

Next I wanna talk about how my own youtube world has changed. So I’ve kind of started a channel, if you can call it that! Its more of a place for me to use as a video journal, but if people wanna watch what I'm up to then fab. Its also a place for me to develop myself, I’m incredibly camera shy and built up having my face in a shot with music in the background, then I plucked up the courage a few weeks ago to attempt a vlog!! I’m converting a van into campervan and wanted to talk through my electric hook up and the progress I’d made so far and I did it!! Its really helping me to develop some confidence. I also have a terrible memory, so having videos to look back on of what I've been up to is nice knowing I won’t forget it all!
I’ve also changed a lot of the content I watch. I’ve unsubscribed from a lot of larger youtubers in favour of smaller ones. I’ve also been feeling like some of the bigger ones I watch have become quite entitled, like their success has gone to their heads a bit and it turns me right off. I’m so tempted to name and shame right now but no, I’ll save the names for the awesome guys and dolls I've been enjoying! So the only big youtubers I watch on the regular right now is Joe Sugg vlogs, thats another thing, I've shifted from like sit down videos to vlogs! James Charles, Graveyardgirl, and my all time favourite Exploring with Josh, someone send this guy to me for my birthday please! Major crush on this bundle of cuteness!!
These guys are literally the only ones I watch with over a million subs every time they upload. I cant even think of anyone else I watch not very often with over a million!
These guys are a mix of literally a few hundred to a few thousand subs who I cant get enough of! Ellis Woolley, JaackMaate, JessieB, Danelle Hallan, ayydubs, Gabriella Lindley, Bubbaloostitch, Kate Murnane, Rnkall day, Ask a mortician, minimal millenials, Leah Turner, Melanie Murphy, actingmylife.
The list goes on and on, and I want more small channels to watch!! I don't have enough really small channels and I want more! Give me more!!

Since stepping my toe in the van life scene, I’ve noticed a massive shift in the channels I watch, it used to be a certain group and their friends and they all recycled the same videos over and over and copy each other and do tags and stuff and Im just bored with it. Its the same shit over and over! I’ve noticed myself watching more vlogs, travel vlogs, exploring videos, travel content, van life content, channels with real life, channels that show me more of the world and open my eyes to  things I’d never have known, take Ask a Mortician for example, she has opened my eyes, in a time of my life where I was involved in planning many funerals that we have a very “keep death away” attitude and it should be the opposite, I’ve learnt about more eco friendly ways of body disposal and to be more at one with death. This channel meant I was able to take my dog to be put to sleep and instead of avoiding her death, I stayed with her till the end and she died in my arms, I’d have never done this if I hadn't had Caitlin show me that death shouldn't be kept hidden and looked away from and its channels like this that spread education and don't follow the trends that hook me in.

If by any chance there is a person reading this….hahahahaha! No one reads this blog! Get real Vik! Please shout out some small youtubers, if you're a youtuber yourself tag your channel, share the love and lets get those smaller channels out there! But not just youtube, tag your social media too! Hint hint, personally I love a good travel themed instagram, but tag and share and spread the love. 
I’m writing this as if people are actually going to do this, but no one comes to my blog so I’ll just live in my delusion and one can hope haha

Thanks for reading bumheads!



The Greatest Showman Review.

It's been a very long time since I've seen a film at the cinema and its just hooked me in. The Greatest Showman was absolutely incredible!
Not 15 seconds in I turned to my friend and said “I'm already in love with this film” and I don't think I blinked again. I was engrossed, taken away, a fire could have broke out in the cinema and I wouldn't have realised!

I have a love/hate relationship with musicals. There are some like The Blues Brothers, Grease and Pitch Perfect which are fab, and others like La La Land which is probably one of the worst films I've ever seen. It still irks me today I paid £9 to see that god awful sad excuse of a film! And then I found out the same people who did La La Land’s music did this (or something else! I know people who worked on La La Land worked on The Greatest Showman) so I was worried I’d think this film would suck too but I can’t remember a film I've seen in a long time that has made me want to go right back and see it again. I’ve downloaded the soundtrack, I'm obsessed with youtube interviews and behind the scenes and I will for sure be seeing it again. 
My two favourite songs from the film are This Is Me and Rewrite The Stars. Whoever wrote these songs I take my hat off to, they are all kinds of stunning. The scene with Zac Efron and Zendeya performing Rewrite The Stars was just beautiful.
Zendeya really stole the show for me. I’ve heard of her, but never seen her in anything other than Spiderman Homecoming so didn't actually know she was a singer! Turns out she can sing, act, dance, and trapeze. They wanted to use the stunt double as little as possible so she learnt how to trapeze and that was her doing all that wonderful trapezing! Girl crushing!
Speaking of crushes, Zac is a beautiful man. And in this film he just epitomises a kind and understanding man and its a breath of fresh air to see in a world full of hate.
This film is just what we need right now. There is so much judgement placed on people in the world who are “different” and it needs to change. My own personal views are that yes, they are different, but that to me is magical. A world where everyone is the same is boring. Different colour skin, hair, people with missing limbs, disabilities, whatever makes us unique and interesting and should be celebrated. Far too much emphasis is placed on looks and not enough on a persons true self, their personality and this film teaches that. 
The whole production on this film was one of the best I've ever seen. Everything from the story to the music to the dances to the meanings behind the words of the songs to the actors is outstanding. 

I can’t recommend seeing this film enough. If you have no one to go with hit me up! I’ll see it 100 times over and still be in love!

Thanks for reading!



Blogmas Day 10: Camper van conversion update!

So I’m building a camper van! And I’ve started the conversion, but not made much progress so far if I'm quite honest! I’ve had the van maybe 2 months and so far I've brought lots of stuff and not done much with it! 

Lets start at the beginning.

The first job I had to do was removing two crew seats from the back, I had planned on selling them with no luck, hell I can’t even give them away! So if you're reading this and you're in the market for some van seats, hit me up!

Then it was removing the panels lining the van and a good clean up. I also had to fill the holes left in the floor from the bolts from those annoying crew seats. Turns out I brought the shittest filler cause I was messing in the van today and noticed 2 have come out leaving a nice hole in the floor of my soon to be home on wheels! Not a happy bunny! Gunna buy some better stuff and refill them in the week.

My biggest expense so far and probably overall was having windows fitted. You can buy the windows fairly cheap if you're willing and capable to fit them yourself, but cutting holes in the van and dealing with glass was not something I wanted to take on so I got mine done by a professional. Which obviously cost a bomb and a big chunk of my budget! But they look so good and there was no way I'd have been able to do them myself.

Next it was insulation. I used silver foil bubble wrap for my moisture barrier and a huuuuge roll of  polyester insulation. Not sure why, it was probably cheaper, but I kind of wish I’d brought something a bit more substantial now like boards with the moisture barrier on so all I would have to have done was attach them and be done with it. I used double sided tape and duct tape, I know a lot of people opt for glue but I have asthma and really didn't wanna be struggling with that so tape was easier for me. 
After that I decided to re use the panels that came with the van as they were already pre cut to the shape of the van and in good condition. A good point to remember is to run any wires through the walls before putting panels back on. I have all my electrics in one point of the van, and in the ceiling for the lights. 
I also left a section of the ceiling un-insulated for the time being as I needed my Dad’s help to put the solar panel on and cut the hole for the cable but I finished insulating before he had chance to help me. 
Solar panel! I brought a kit on ebay, but thought I was getting a full kit with all the bits and bobs to hook the entire thing up, but nope! I got the solar panel, fixing brackets and charge controller. Read the description carefully kids! I also wish now I’d spent a tad more and got a flexible panel. I can’t fit under car park barriers by a an inch or two, and having a flat flexible panel would mean I’d be able to. Its something I might look at changing in the future if it becomes a pain in the arse! 
I think I’ll do a separate post about hooking up my solar panel and circuit because this has by far been the most difficult thing I've had to try and do and I've not done much at all yet. I’ve asked probably a billion questions to my online friend Mark who's nearly finished a much bigger van than mine, I'm surprised he hasn't lost his shit with me yet haha!
I recently decided I wanted wood cladding on my ceiling, and to possibly stain it white so the wood grains show through. I brought the cladding a couple of weeks ago and had no idea my dad had started on it till I went in there today! Go Dad! 
This morning I worked a bit on the electrical circuit, hooking up the solar panel to the charge controller and running the wires to where I want my spotlights but thats all I've done so far. After help from Mark I've managed to draw a diagram of my circuit which has helped tonnes so hopefully I’ll feel more confident now but like I said I’ll do a separate post on that when I've finished putting the circuit together and have half an idea about what I'm doing!

And thats as far as I've got so far, my problem with my arm pain has put me off working as much as I should but I'm coming to the end of a flare up of pain so can hopefully get more stuck in now!
I’ve been thinking too a lot about how I want the van to look, pintrest as my inspiration and think I'm definitely heading for a white and grey with pale wood furniture but that could all change! I like to keep my decor quite neutral so that when I get bored with it I can just change the soft furnishings or decorations and things without doing a full redecorate! 

Keep checking in for more van updates, I’ll be posting more stuff when I get more done and hopefully making some more videos of the conversion too. 

Thanks for reading!



Blogmas Day 9: 2 year update post back surgery

Seems like a blink since I sat down to write my one year update post but here we are. 2 years out of spine surgery! More specifically a l5/s1 microdiscectomy. 

For those who might not know my past, this is a procedure to go in and remove a piece of disc material that has herniated and is pressing on the nerve root, commonly the sciatic nerve which causes “sciatica”. I struggled with the most crippling pain I've ever felt, numbness, weakness, in both my legs, left worse than right and had a pretty bad herniation pressing on both my left and right nerve roots and pushing into my spinal cord. 
I’d love to have been at a point a year ago where I could say I as feeling better and better but sadly I’m not as good as I hoped to be. This isn't related to my surgery but another condition I’ve had for 13 years. I’ve had chronic pain in my right arm, its normal for me now so I don't talk much about it but recovering from my back surgery I was getting a heck of a lot more active, I was doing pilates classes twice a week and at home and my back was getting super strong and I felt fab. But the more active I got the more the pain in my arm increased, now its to the point I can’t carry on with pilates or strengthening exercises and this has obviously had a knock on effect on my back recovery. I’ve lost the strength I gained, my core gets weaker every day and it fucking sucks! I was the healthiest I’d ever been when exercising, I’d lost most of the weight I gained while vegetating waiting for surgery and I was happy. Now I’m a wobbly unfit and aching potato again. I try and do a bit of pilates when I can but can manage 5 mins before the pain becomes so intense in my arm I can’t move. I’d actually say the pain in my arms is worse than my legs ever were. And I’ve had this for 13 years. 13 years of doctors telling me its all in my head and I’m too young to have something wrong with me. But finally I got a doctor to listen after an MRI earlier in the year showed issues with 3 discs in my neck. I have an appointment with a surgeon in January, funnily enough the same surgeon who sliced my back open! 
I think I’m going to talk about my arm issue more in another post because theres so much history and so many symptoms that It would turn this from a 2 year update to a splurge about my arm and that aint what this is about is it now!
So despite my lack of exercise my back is still ok, it aches a bit if I overdo it and I can get the odd niggle of nerve pain, well its not really pain more like a twinge if I do too much or move too fast. I think its my body’s way of telling me to calm down cause its usually when I'm up to something stupid like trying to carry something heavy or falling over!
My whole back in general feels tight and knotty, I should really be going for regular massages but it gets expensive! 
I’m currently doing a lot of diy, I'm converting a van into a camper van on my own, my awesome dad is helping when he can! But I’m trying to do as much as I can alone, kind of feels like something I want to do to be proud of, and that just because I've had back surgery doesn't mean I can’t do anything. Plus I’m feeling like I need to get the years back I lost out on being a carefree twentysomething. I missed out on so much. I hate that I had to cancel my masters degree for surgery, I kick myself now thinking I’d have a masters in forensic anthropology right now if my back didn't get in my way. Instead I work in a food store. That really gets me down! I know I can re apply and go again but I don't think I’m over the grief that I never got to go in the first place, so for me its not right right now.
One other little symptom I do get even now, it just happened which reminded me! Is that I have a patch of skin on my lower leg that goes tingly and numb! Doesn't effect me at all other than it feels weird but I find it strange I still get that even now!

So overall I’m doing ok. I’m not where I wanted to be fitness wise, but soon as my arm is sorted I’ll get there. I’ve got a lot to look forward to, and have been doing so much since surgery I’m feeling alive and hopeful again. 

Just keeping my fingers crossed for my arm to get fixed soon! Hopefully the next step is an accurate diagnosis! 

If you wanna read more about my back and surgery then I have a post you can find here about my symptoms and journey to diagnosis and surgery in my one year update.  

Thanks for reading!



Blogmas Day 8: Who inspires me/Opinion on Exploring withJosh.

I’ve not been watching Josh’s channel long, a matter of months really, but I haven’t yet found a more beautifully stunning, endearing, exciting and interesting channel as this one.
I remember slobbing on my sofa one day, dog asleep next to me, scrolling through youtube at abandoned videos and came cross an abandoned asylum video by Josh. And I was hooked! I must have spent hours binge watching videos and I am still as excited by his channel as I was that day.
I hate the word fan, but I guess that what I am! A fan girl as my bestie calls me haha!
But I cant help it, without finding this channel I wouldn't have picked up my camera again, I wouldn't have brought a van and be converting it into a camper to see my beautiful country and beyond.
Josh is currently in the UK doing some abandoned places and I’m gunna watch and learn and hopefully take myself to a few places to explore when my vans finished. I’ve always wanted to do some abandoned but never had the confidence to go alone, and probably shouldn't go alone for safety but I haven't much choice! I’m independent and head strong plus I just don't have anyone who can stop their lives to travel the country with me. But thats ok!
At the end of his trip here he’s doing a meet up in London which I've been so lucky to get the day off work to be able to go, and I'm already incredibly friggin nervous! I really struggle meeting new people and I get very awkward and never make a great first impression and I really want to try and make the most out of the entire experience of meeting him, hopefully be able to ask questions and learn and gain some confidence with travelling and exploring abandoned places. I’m gunna try my damn hardest not to clam up and leave!
One thing I’m obsessed with at the moment is Josh’s drone footage! I want a drone so bad but just cant afford one right now but when I watch his footage I'm literally dribbling with awe! And then he did a review of his new drone and did that video at the end and gaaahhh! STUNNING!!
I like to dabble in photography and hope to keep getting better and better the more I shoot and Josh inspires me to do that. I love his instagram and can only hope to have photos like that I can call my own one day. Before we head to Josh’s meet up in London me and my buddy Ellis are planning on a bit of a photography sesh on our visit to the capital city! Leicester just doesn't cut it so were majorly taking advantage of a trip to London!
Josh seems like such a humble, creative talented guy with such an endearing personality. The combo of his content combined with his personality is what wins over any other channel in my eyes. I feel so privileged that I’ll hopefully be meeting him soon. Such an inspiration!
I’ve just thought now finishing this that its occurred to me I'm probably gunna write another post after London about how the meet up went and a general London festive fun trip post so expect more Exploring with Josh ramblings and maybe a video....who knows! I’m getting quite into making videos at the mo so watch this space!

Thanks for reading!



Blogmas Day 7: Supporting small businesses

Supporting small business

I’m sat now, at a Christmas market with my good pal Ellis helping out with her Pastel Elixir stall and thought what better a time to write a post about supporting small businesses than right now surrounded by small businesses.

For small business owners, Christmas starts super early, planning and producing stock to hopefully sell in the run up to Christmas fills a lot of their time. The least we could do is support them for all their hard work.
I know for a fact shopping small business can be a tad bit more expensive than online or the high-street for those of us on a tight budget at Christmas. So one thing you can do is to start your pressie shopping early. This way you're not forking out a tonne of money in one go, or if you like a good splurge then save up a Christmas pressie fund so you can get everything brought in one go. Have a think about the people you're buying for and get searching for some unique handmade gifts. You kill two birds with one stone here, first off you get an awesome gift no one else will have, that will surprise and amaze the gift receiver, and second you are handing your hard earned money over to someone who actually deserves it rather than a greedy corporate snob who wipes their arse with £50’s every day!

So how do you actually find small businesses? Get yourself on websites like Etsy. You'll find some beautiful stuff on there. Some businesses on there will have their own websites and social media accounts you can check out too and from there you might find other small businesses that you find interesting. Small business owners regularly follow each other, supporting their fellows work so chances are if you find one small business you'll find another, and another, and another. 

One way I’ve supported small business this year is to start early. I’m on a tight budget this Christmas but I wanted to try and do my part to help support small business, even if it is only for a few gifts. One trick could be to buy one main pressie and then get some stocking fillers from the high street or online. I’ve done exactly this with a friends birthday present. I brought a vegan soy wax candle in the shape of a skull from a store on Etsy called waxandbonesuk, I got to choose the colour and scent and this was my main pressie, then from Primark I got a picture holder for £1 and some cute fairy lights for £2.50. I also added in a bubble bar from lush! Together they make a nice little bundle of gifts and I spent well under £20. 
Because I managed to save a bit more than expected I was able to get some custom artwork done from Pastel Elixir for my two godsons and my friends baby. Normally I wouldn't spend this much but I really hate buying kids toys and clothes at Christmas! So now they have a nice keepsake! The commissions were £20 each which on reflection is actually pretty cheap when you consider the time the artist takes and the fact you're getting a one of kind piece. Its unique! 
I also got my brother a custom piece for his birthday and he was so thrilled to see something he’d never seen before, and something no one else has. 

It really is easy to shop small business at Christmas. And if you get a couple of gifts from a small business there is a real person at the other end of your order letting out a little squeak of joy because they know they can pay their bills this month! 

Even if you buy one gift this year from a small business you'll have made such a difference. 

Thanks for reading and support small business!