I'm flying solo.

mayanotmya.com

I'm going on my first solo trip and I'm happy, I'm nervous but I'm mostly HELLA EXCITED.

At first, I was hesitant to tell anyone in case it didn't happen...which is silly because solo travel has always been something I've wanted to do and was always going to do.
During the booking process, the discovery of this quote felt perfectly timed and it instantly entered my top five:

'You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea.' 

Living in Europe provides so many opportunities for quick and affordable travel and having lived in the continent my whole life, I've hardly ventured into it. Thanks to Brexit and everything else, there's no time to waste.

Travelling solo, especially as a black woman, can be quite daunting, but it can also be quite liberating (or at least I hope so). I've always been someone who likes to do their own thing and feel I was made for solo travel.

I'll be spending 6 days in Lisbon, Portugal and though I have a list of things I want to do, I don't want to follow a strict itinerary. I just want to explore and enjoy the city (follow the 'gram for stories and photos.)

Have you travelled solo before?

Don't knock the 9 to 5.

Motivational quotes on a desk.

Growing up, I never wanted to work a '9 to 5' as I thought of an office job as the grey cubicle, the dull repetition of menial tasks and being bored AF. I felt you couldn't be very creative" in that environment.

But yet, I find myself in my third office job. And I'm enjoying it. And that's because my job isn't boring AF. I work in digital marketing, which basically means I'm on Twitter and Instagram all day lol jk, but social media is a big chunk of it. 

As I've mentioned previously, I've found my career path and see myself working in it for the next 10, 15 years until the robots take over.

Sure, every millennial's dream job is being a digital nomad; travelling the world, taking pictures and earning money to do so.
Anyone who says they would rather work in an office Monday to Friday is LYING.
I'm sure we've all read the odd "I quit my job and now I travel the world!" blog and whilst it's not impossible, it's not that feasible.

Here's a few pros and cons of working 9 to 5 #whatawaytomakealiving:

PRO - SECURITY. 

Having a regular salary is my most important reason for working full-time, especially as I live in a city as expensive as London. "There's more important things than money," yeah yeah, we all know that, but food and rent do not come for free. 

CON - UNDER-APPRECIATION. 

You work hard to help someone else achieve their goals and it's not always recognised or appreciated as it should be. Working for yourself means putting all your time and energy into your own success AND benefitting from it.

PRO - PEOPLE. 

The people you work with impact on how much you enjoy your job, so it's great when you're working with a team of people that you get on with. I now consider some of my former colleagues friends and I'm grateful to have both met and worked with them. 

CON - ANNUAL LEAVE. 

25-30 days seems to be the average holiday employers give, so travel time is limited. You can't travel for months at a time and are often limited to 2 weeks in a row, unless you're in a higher position.

PRO - PROGRESSION. 

Not just being an intern and working your way up to a senior role, but also in terms of the experience and knowledge you gain from employment. 

CON - COMFORT. 

You can get too comfortable when having a steady job with a steady income and may reduce the amount of risks you take. That comfort can also lead to boredom and lack of caring, which isn't great as you're spending most of your time there.

CON - WORK/LIFE BALANCE

Working Mon-Fri does feel like it takes over your life sometimes and in all honesty, I don't think I'll ever have a GREAT work/life balance whilst full-timing and trying to get my all important 8 hours sleep. I guess it just something you figure out as you go along.

Working full-time isn't for everyone, especially the younger generations, but coming from someone in their mid 20's who once hated the thought of it, it's not all that bad.
Even though I listed more cons than pros.

Do I want to work in an office until I reach retirement? No.
Do I see myself doing it for the next 10 years or so? Yes.

From Photo to Illustration.

I create this transition GIF using both the original photograph and the edited illustration of myself. I created the illustration in Adobe Illustrator (obvz)

I've never been that good at art and crafts. I can't draw, I can't sew and my handwriting is slightly neater than chicken scratch, so I'm glad I've found another way to create art.

I've been using Photoshop since my school days and I'm fairly comfortable with it.
There's a lot of ridiculously expensive graphic classes available, but self-teaching (in my opinion) is the best way to learn this stuff.
I've spent many a hour watching video tutorials on Adobe TV because I'm nerdy like that and believe there's an amazing graphics designer waiting to be unleashed.

An illustration of Drake created via a photograph I took at one of his concerts.
 My first illustration from a Drake concert photo a few years back - I'm no fan girl BTW...

Using the same image trace technique, created this outfit illustration

My favourite of the Adobe products is Illustrator as I quite like turning photographs into illustrations - like the ones in this post - all without having to pick up a pencil.
I create these using the image trace function and edit a lot of the details and colours until I'm satisfied, which is never so I'm always editing!

A photograph of the London skyline

London eye illustration

This one took me quite a while to do and I'm still tweaking it as I'd like to re-add the detail of the Eye and some of the clouds, but it's a good start.

I'm no expert and still have a lot to improve on, but I'm enjoying the learning process and would like to create a varied portfolio of work. Who knows where it could lead to?

Have you created illustrations out of your photographs before? (If not, give it a try!)