Top menu

Author Archive | Brenna Holeman

My Month Without Alcohol… and Men (Week Two)

Once again, I wake up far too late. I have no idea what’s happening or why it takes me so long to fall asleep each evening, but it’s starting to really annoy me. As soon as I’m awake, however, I pull on some clothes and leave my flat to get a coffee and go for a walk down Regent’s Canal. Weekends are so crowded on the canal that sometimes I skip this route all together if I can. With bicycles, prams, and dogs thrown into the mix, the walkway is teeming with people who all seem to have the same brilliant idea: congregate directly in the middle of the path to check their phones, oblivious to the individuals that want to pass. One guy even refuses to move out of my way after I say “Excuse me,” and for a split second I picture him pushing me into the canal (this must have happened to someone, and let me tell you… Regent’s Canal is RANK. It looks pretty, but that water is a festering cesspit of duck poop, broken bottles, old bicycles, used condoms, and, I’m not kidding, body parts. OK, once they found body parts in the canal, but still. RANK. I walk along it every day and every day I think, “Well, today’s the day I fall in, catch dysentery or some old-timey disease that’s been eradicated in the developed world, and meet a grisly end.” That being said, when it’s not as crowded, it’s one of my favourite routes to walk in London).

When I get home I do some work, make some food, and check Tinder to see how the conversation between Cute Boy and I is going.

Continue Reading 14

Every Single Thing I Know About Social Media (The General)

I decided to divide everything I have to say into two posts, because I am both a masochist and a sadist. First, in this post, I’ll talk about some general tips (more like opinions, if I’m honest) about social media that will hopefully apply to all channels in some form or another, although it’s important to note that each social media platform has its own value and use as well as its own audience, though they do overlap. In the post that will follow next week, I’ll outline some specific tips regarding the social media platforms I use the most. For the sake of the length of these posts (and our collective sanity) I am not mentioning YouTube or Vimeo at all, because I am not a vlogger, and video is so huge that it would require its own post by someone much more qualified (though I will mention Facebook live videos in the post about specifics).

So. Buckle up, get a cup of tea (or something stronger), and here we go… every single thing I know about social media.

Continue Reading 43

My Month Without Alcohol… and Men (Week One)

I wake up with one of the worst hangovers I can remember having. No, wait a second, I had an equally bad hangover in the Netherlands in November, when I spent an entire evening drinking sugary cocktails and shots of bourbon. And… yeah, scratch that, because I woke up the day after Boxing Day with a splitting headache, too, a result of a night of beer pong and margaritas that were purely tequila and a few squeezes of lime. Shit.

I’m pretty sure the first step of realising you’re addicted to something is denying that you have a problem, but, despite the three stories I just told you, I am not addicted to alcohol. I don’t drink every day. I (again, despite those three stories) rarely drink to excess or to “get drunk”. There is no alcoholism in my family. I’ve never “blacked out” or not been able to remember what I’ve done while drinking. Other than my birthday last year, when I drank sparkling wine with breakfast, the thought of drinking in the morning or on an empty stomach makes me want to hurl. I’d say I drink the average amount for a 30-something in London: a couple of glasses of wine with dinner a few times a week, and maybe a night or two in the pub where I have a few beers or spirits.

But oh, how I love alcohol. I really do. So why am I giving it up for January?

Continue Reading 59

The Last Time I Saw You (Part Six)

The last time I saw you, we said goodbye casually, like new friends. We were surrounded by other people, everyone hugging each other goodbye, and you and I hugged just once, brief and unfamiliar. I kissed you, a quick one, on the side of your mouth. I don’t think you were expecting it.

“Have an amazing time, whatever you end up doing,” I said to you, looking up. You were always one of the tallest in the group. You smiled at me, your eyes crinkling, but your mouth stayed tight-lipped, not showing your teeth. You nodded once, and turned to hug someone else, my last image of you being one of someone else’s embrace.

Continue Reading 27

2016: A Year in Review

I almost never do these kinds of review posts – I’m always so impressed with bloggers who manage to do monthly round-ups. I often think how great it would be to do the same, and that it would keep me motivated and probably make me post more, but then I remember how lazy I am and laugh. It seems like every blogger has already done a review of their 2016, and I don’t even know who reads these kinds of things, but hey, I just had a fantastic breakfast at Falafel House (fellow Winnipeggers, you know what I’m talking about… I always get the corned beef hash and a glass of chocolate milk), two cups of coffee, and nobody else is home, so I thought I’d use these couple of hours to do something semi-productive. Usually I’d just be binge-watching Forensic Files, so I’m going to count this as a win.

I originally thought about organising this post by the trips I’ve taken this year, but my life is more than just my travels, and this blog is slowly encompassing more than travelling, so I’ve decided to organise it month by month.

Without further ado, here’s my year in review. No, I did not mean to rhyme that.

Continue Reading 27

Um, Did I Just Quit My Job to Travel?!

If you, like me, follow a lot of travel blogs and websites, I’m sure you’ve seen it: that image of the person standing somewhere beautiful, looking free and happy and contemplative; perhaps their arms are outstretched, or they’re reaching up to hold on to their hat just so. I’m not criticising – I’m guilty of this pose, too, because of the mere fact that it adds some dynamic to your photos, and also, if you’re like me, you don’t have to worry about what to do with your face (I swear my eyes are closed in half of those taken). But sometimes – more than ever, these days – that photo is accompanied by a headline that says something like, “I quit my job to travel and am now my own boss” or “I quit my job to travel the world and am now happier than ever”, and so on, and so forth. I feel like Business Insider and Buzzfeed do some variation of this almost weekly.

But wait… did I just follow their advice and quit my job to travel, too?!

Continue Reading 75

Best of London: Silent Disco at the Shard

The reason I love London so much is that it has a never-ending amount of things to do. You know that saying by Samuel Johnson where he says, “Tired of London, tired of life”? I have to admit, I kind of agree with it. Despite living in London for over three years (going on four, actually, I can’t believe it… it’s the longest I’ve ever lived somewhere in my adult life), I honestly never run out of things to do. The list of things I still want to do in this city grows ever longer.

One of those things, and something that topped the list for quite some time, was a silent disco at The Shard.

Continue Reading 16

My 2017 Travel Goals

I am all about writing lists. I love making lists of things to do, places to go, books to read, blog posts to write. Whether or not I actually accomplish everything on those lists is another matter all together, but hey, it’s the thought that counts, right? Actually, don’t answer that.

Anyway, last year I wrote a list of my 2016 travel goals. I knew, when writing it, that there was no way I would actually be able to visit every single place on that list, because, as I said then, I’m not a millionaire, and I’m also not a full-time traveller. Although I have spent quite a bit of time on the road, even spending a couple of years travelling continuously, at the moment I am happily based in London and I travel abroad once or twice a month. I did actually accomplish some of the travel goals I had from last year… and so, without further ado, here are my 2017 travel goals.

Continue Reading 48

Sailing Around the Göcek Islands of Turkey

The cobalt sea stretched out ahead of me. In every direction, islands of the archipelago jutted up from the calm Mediterranean waters, some covered in the pale brown of a rock face, others overflowing with swathes of green forest. The sun shone bright in the blue sky above. Our big white boat carried us across the water with ease, the smooth journey bringing us just the right amount of warm wind, a sweet smell in the air blowing in from the pine-forested island shores. I realised I hadn’t even heard of this place until the day before – blasphemy, it seemed, as I experienced this paradise unfolding before me.

This was the beautiful, the quiet, the utopian region of the Göcek Islands of Turkey.

Continue Reading 8

How We Can Help (If We’re Not American)

It’s hard for me to put into words how I’ve been feeling since yesterday morning, just as I imagine it is for so many people around the world. I can’t even fathom how it must feel to be an American who did not want this result. My Facebook and Instagram feeds are all filled with sorrow, anger, and fear. There is so much I want to say and yet I, too, am too angry and too sad to articulate it properly. But, I have to admit, I am not completely shocked at what has happened. After watching what the UK decided this summer with Brexit, and after watching the American presidential campaigns unfold over the last year, I have been horrified at the racism, misogyny, bigotry, homophobia, and hatred that has emerged. Perhaps it was inevitable that it would come to a boiling point, and it has done so in the worst way possible.

But now, the day after the results of the election, I sit here wondering what I can do. As mentioned, I’m a Canadian living in the UK – a privileged migrant – and some may argue this is not my fight. However, I believe that it is, in fact, our duty to reach out in times of need, no matter where we come from or what our backgrounds may be. I have spent considerable time in America, have many American friends, have lived next to America for the majority of my life, and, most importantly, I do not want to idly stand by when there is so much work to be done. The fight for human rights is on all of our shoulders, no matter our gender, religion, sexual orientation, country of origin, or colour of skin.

So how can those of us who aren’t American help out right now?

Continue Reading 33