Bonjour Coley 2.0 | Life Update
New year, new me... Is that still a phrase people use in February? Or is it a little delayed? Either way, it hasn't stopped me from getting a brand new makeover over here on Bonjour Coley. Some of you might be wondering where I've been (especially since I haven't posted since September in 2015... oops!), so I figured what better way to show you guys the new site then to give you all a bit of a life update!
Welcome to the new Bonjour Coley.
2016 was hands down the craziest year of my entire life. After running amok across Europe for the better half of 2015, I came home to a bit of a rude awakening as I tried to adjust back into the real world. You always hear people say that when you go away travelling it changes you as a person, but I never really believed it until I got home. Saying I had been bit by the travel bug, as stereotypical as it is, almost feels like an understatement. It was as if a light switch had gone off inside me and suddenly all of my passions and what drives me in life became crystal clear - I wanted to travel, and I wanted to figure out how to do it for a living.
2016 turned into a year of me trying to travel as far and as frequently as possible. As I was finishing up school at the Vancouver Institute Of Media Arts studying Digital Photography, everything I did in school was around this idea of making a life out of living abroad. Shooting for my portfolio, I traveled all over Australia, North America and even managed to spend a Christmas down in Jamaica as well.
But I'd be lying if I didn't tell you that it came with a price. I've never wanted to be the kind of blogger/youtuber/social media person who's life looked more glamorous then it actually was so I'm going to be honest with you guys, my emotional stability and physical health basically fell apart. I'm talking over a dozen rounds of antibiotics, a couple of parasites, a concussion from a car accident that cost me my car, a 35 pound weight gain, and the worst bout of chronic anxiety that I have ever had in my entire life (daily panic attacks included).
It was just great.
I've spent the major part of the last four years of my life in full time school, working, and trying to manage these platforms. My counsellor always likes to point out to me that I've done the amount of schooling that most people do in 10 years in roughly 3 and a half. So when I got home from Europe and started full time school 3 weeks later, it was the first time in my life I felt the marathon of work I had been doing start to catch up on me.
This was one of the most intense school programs I had ever done. As I tried to focus on graduating and getting my life together, I found the things I'm the most passionate about, this blog and my youtube channel, start slowly slipping away from me as they took a place on the back burner. It broke my heart. But I knew that if I just put my head down and finished, the grass was going to be greener on the other side. I poured basically every inch of energy I had left into making sure I produced the best portfolio I could and that when I walked out of that school I was ready to dive head first into expanding my business and have it become my only source of income.
I started to lose myself. That light that had gone off in Europe slowly started to dim and I found my self doubting everything I was doing and everything I wanted to do. I knew this was the last time I would be in school, and the dread of graduating overwhelmed me like a black cloud of distress. I was just unhappy. It wasn't that I didn't love my school and didn't love what I was doing, but I think I was just burnt out. Graduation, from any level of education, can be one of the most emotionally stressful time of your life. The idea of going into the next phase of life can be so overwhelming for people. At least it was for me. The idea of the unknown was pretty hard for me to handle.
I have always been the kind of girl with the one year, five year and twenty year plan. If you asked me in 2013 what I would be doing for the next few years I could tell you, almost down to the month, exactly what I was doing and where I'd be, up until September of 2016. After that, I was free to do whatever I wanted. Whilst part of me feels like this day slowly crept up on me, there's also a huge part of me that felt like it came out of no where and was a giant slap in the face. Going from a 9-5 (though some days felt more like a 7-12) schedule to suddenly having absolutely nothing to do was another one of those big rude awakenings. For the first month of it, I spent every day in bed crying and watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians (something I'm not super proud to admit).
It was like 4 years of pent up emotions and self doubt that I had put on the back burner had suddenly come to the surface and my body was ready to start forcing me to process some of them. I worked through it, allowing myself a break to do absolutely nothing for a few months before it started to drive me crazy and the work horse in side me was begging to come out. As we rang in the new year my blurred focus had become clear, and I knew what I wanted (and needed) 2017 to be.
I would be lying though if I said all of 2016 was all shit. Whilst it was one of the hardest and craziest years of my life, it was also one of the most amazing. I got to ring in the start of the year in one of my favourite places in the world: Jamaica. It was my parents 25th wedding anniversary, so instead of doing Christmas we decided to go back to the place that they got married and spent the entire holidays there. I learnt how to scuba dive, and quickly became obsessed with the hobby that I now consider such a fundamental part of my life. I got to go to Australia and Indonesia and go see all my friends I had met in Europe, something that I found grounding in a way. It made me fall in love with the country so much that I might even one day make it my home. I also got to travel all across the Pacific North West of the US and Canada with my best friend and now partner, Julian. Starting off with a road trip from Vancouver down to Santa Cruz then Over to Yosemite, back through San Francisco before journeying up the i5 home. After that it was as many weekend trips as possible, wether it was over to Tofino, down to LA, or even just up to my cabin for a little R+R. In the next few weeks I am going to start writing some more about these adventures and sharing some of the photos that you all might not have seen yet (even if you do follow me on instagram).
I've taken so many pictures now of so many amazing places, and I was so proud to be able to graduate school with a really large portfolio of work that was really highly received. I even got to have my own gallery show, something I never in my life dreamed of getting to do. Whilst I still feel like I have plenty of work to do and room to grow with my photography, I am finally in a place where I am excited and happy with the direction it's going. This is another massive reason I wanted to make travel my full time thing, so that I can continue to grow as an artist and continue to capture cultures and places for you guys. There's never been something that makes me more happy and so at home. I feel like some people spend a lifetime trying to figure out what they are meant to do, but for me, I feel like I've already found it.
All of last year, the good and the bad, is what makes me so excited for 2017. This is the first time in my life I haven't had to be home for anything. I don't have school, I don't have an office job, it's just me and my company free to do whatever I want. So I am doing what I do best: travelling. You may have already sussed this out if you follow me over on instagram, but I am back in Australia. I flew here at the end of January, and get to spend two months going across the country until April when I fly to New Zealand to meet Julian. From there, it's really just up to us. We're hoping to head to South East Asia for a while after road tripping across New Zealand, but really our only plan is to not have a plan and to see where it takes us. Which (as scary as it is for the girl who usually always has a plan) is a pretty amazing feeling.
The reason I decided to call this post Bonjour Coley 2.0 is because of this new phase of my life. As my life gets upgraded to it's next chapter, it felt only appropriate to update Bonjour Coley as well. As I come back to my roots as a writer, blogger, and youtuber, I want to do it right. Starting with the new site. I am so ready for this new year and exciting phase of my life, and I can't wait to take all of you along with me.