A look at the week that was and a little insight into the #bloglife, sharing things I just can’t share anywhere else!
Highlights of the week
What a crazy week it has been! Last we spoke, I was sitting in our hotel room in Kuala Lumpur, waiting to catch our flight home. Welp, AirAsia hooked us the heck up and we found ourselves back in their quiet zone with three seats each again. Holy heck – words cannot describe the relief of knowing you’ve got three seats to yourself – amiright? Matt had the foresight to suggest we bring proper pillows (freakin brilliant) so we got to sprawl out, cuddle up to a pillow and catch some zzz’s on the way home. We got into the Gold Coast feeling a little rough, but pretty good all-in-all.
We got home and straight into bed for a nap, knowing that evening we had a 40th birthday party to go to and it was going to be a rager. I was feeling pretty feral, but an emergency dash down to get my eyebrows threaded and a brand new highlighter had me feeling on top of the world. (Seriously, if you’re in the market for a new highlighter, I’m a bit obsessed with L’Oreal true match highlight in rosy glow – I like it so much I may go back and get the ‘golden glow’ shade too).
Knowing I had a huge amount of work to get through, for a CNN deadline, a hangover was not an option for me. So, I volunteered as tribute (to be designated driver). Somehow both Matt and I came alive and totally beat the shiz out of our jet lag and stayed out until about 11:30 pm. A big deal when you’re a married couple of a certain age. Two beers and about 20 waters later, I had successfully watched Matt do an absolute number on himself. I took him through McDonald’s drive through on the way home and filmed one of the funniest Insta-Stories to-date. He was, of course, morbidly hungover the next day. Amazing.
I spent Sunday and Monday glued to my desk, forsaking all other work and social interaction, working my ass off to meet my deadline. Somehow, I pulled it off and got everything done. I absolutely love writing and to create stories and insight that’ll be published on CNN is a dream come true. I was a bit overwhelmed with the project, to be honest, because it was so important to me. I wanted to do a good job and not fudge it up, so I was really ‘in my head’ about it. I got a bit focused on the detail for a while, but when I relaxed and had fun with it, I was able to get the words to flow and get it all done. It felt so good!
Maybe I haven’t really said it before, I don’t know, but the blog has been a means to an end for me. I didn’t start it to become a blogger, travel or otherwise, I started the blog because I desperately needed an outlet for my writing. It was never intended to be a travel blog, I just started writing whatever I thought or felt and then, one day, Tourism Queensland put me on a list of ‘travel bloggers to watch’ and I just thought, “Oh, okay, travel it is!” haha – crazy, right?
Anyway, I didn’t have the formal training or experience needed to get into the world of writing, so the blog became my learning ground. It became my street cred, resumé, and bargaining chip. I think I got lost in that for a while and focused way too much on my career as a blogger, though if I’m honest, it never felt ‘right’…. I didn’t like being referred to as a blogger. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Little Grey Box so much! I’m not moving away from it or trying to distance myself from it or losing my passion for it in ANY way. I love it hard. I think I’ve just got some new perspective on the whole thing, you know? Like, it’s one part of the puzzle… not the whole picture, and that’s a great thing. My world doesn’t start and end with the blog, it’s just a really wonderful part of it.
If you’re interested, I’m kinda really proud of my photos, TVCs and stories being published on CNN – in my mind, it’s my biggest career achievement to date – you can see it here. The fact they liked my work enough to ask me to do more is an indescribable feeling for me – it’s my dreams coming true and it makes me so very happy. Matt and I have taken a lot of risks and made many sacrifices to chase this dream and after years of very hard work and focus, we’re seeing those dreams come true.
The lovely team at Scrunch also interviewed me for their new ‘Inside Influence’ series, talking to influencers to get insight on this world, from our perspective. If you want to read the interview, you can do that here. Most of these things are the same, I get asked the same questions over and over, this one was totally unique and I loved the challenge of new questions that really made me dig into my knowledge and experience. It was a really great thing because it made me realise how much I’ve learned and grown, I’m not an amateur or newbie blogger anymore – I’m battle-hardened! It was a fantastic way to reflect on all I’ve learned.
You know, I’ve worked with a LOT of different media/PR agencies and Scrunch have been one of the loveliest. They don’t know I’m writing this, but I just want to say thank you to them (especially Teagan). I’ve worked with T on quite a few campaigns now and she always makes my job easy, cos I know I can trust her 100% to do the right thing by me and the client – that’s a very valuable thing in this industry. So, just a big thank you to T and Scrunch for all you guys do – you’re a fantastic group to work with and I appreciate the amazing ethics you have. (Trust me, in this world you work with some amazing agencies and some real turds, so you get to a point where you really, really, appreciate the great ones).
What I learned this week
This week I learned, more than ever, you cannot control what other people do, you can only control yourself. I was upset about a personal issue earlier this week, it was frustrating me no end that I couldn’t get the outcome I wanted. Suddenly I realised that while I couldn’t control the outcome, I could still feel okay in myself. We can’t control what other people say and do, and they can’t control how we feel. It’s hard to explain without going into detail, I’m sorry haha, but I know how I feel inside and that’s what matters most. Nobody in this world gets to tell you how you feel or control your story – you are in control. I realise now that I don’t have to let other’s hate or negativity impact me in any way, if I don’t want it to.
News and updates
LOTS of great things are coming up, you guys! When it rains, it pours! We have so many amazing work trips happening and I’m so freakin excited to share them with you. It honestly feels like there has been a real turning point for us over the last few weeks and things are growing quickly. We’ve even had to turn a few things down – eep!
We’re off to the amazing Capricorn Coast next week, on the stunning Queensland coastline, to do some filming for the tourism board up there. We’ll be exploring Rockhampton, Emu Park, Yeppoon and Great Keppel Island, filming, photographing and curating a few written guides for LGB along the way – I am so excited. I’m Queensland born and bred and I love it so much – I think Queensland is the best place in the world and I LOVE doing any work that helps spread the word about how wonderful it is.
In huge news, we also got an amazing offer to head to Stockholm with the incredible team at Singapore Airlines. The dates actually clashed with the Rockhampton trip, so I have to say a massive thank you to the team there for moving our trip with them so we could fit in the Stockholm trip – it is so very much appreciated. If you’re a long-term follower, you may recall I went to Germany with Singapore Airlines last year and had a fudging INCREDIBLE time. They put together the BEST trips, so I’m buzzing with excitement about this one. Best of all? Matt gets to come with me this time. We jumped around like young girls at a One Direction concert when we got the news – we were so happy. You best believe, if we fly Business Class, we’ll be making the most of every single moment in there, on behalf of every other broke-a$$ like us haha
Because I’ve written SO much everywhere else, I’m going to skip a few other parts and just hit you with the weekly gallery. Hope that’s okay with you!
The weekly gallery
A few photos from this week, just for you… This week, they’re polaroids from the 40th we went to. I rarely share polaroids I take, I kind of feel like I share so much of my life as it is that I need a few things for myself. So I usually take polaroids just for me, adding them to a huge wall of them we have in our house. I’m in a real sharing mood today, in case you hadn’t noticed, so I’m breaking tradition and posting these:
Phoebe Lee is a travel writer and award-winning blogger with a love for storytelling. Phoebe creates practical, fun and engaging written content designed to inspire and energise travel-lovers and dreamers. Follow her and Matt’s adventures at home and around the world, right here on Little Grey Box and through Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.