My left breast is bigger than my right. It seems sadder somehow, like it’s the one carrying the weight of all my expectations and failing to meet them. When I sit, hunched over as I am now, my naked breasts look like eyes and the folds of my stomach resemble the lipless smile of Jabba the Hut, his laughs taunting me through the mirror.

But my eyes lift and I stare at their colour – the same as my mother’s – and I smile. The creases at the edges of my eyes fold into their laughing lines and the slight dimple below the right corner of my mouth appears. I move my hands to feel Jabba’s face and eyes and remark at how soft they are; how lucky I am to be soft.

The scars on my abdomen stretch and glisten in the light with the movement of my straightening back; my broad swimmers’ shoulders rolling backwards into a posture that tightens the skin on my chest and reveals the stretch marks on my breasts. How lucky I am to have a body that tells a story; a body that is not perfect. Perfect imperfection.

My freckles are more obvious the longer I stare into my reflection. Sun spots from my youth spent at swimming pools and my adulthood in the sun, chasing waves and tans and feeling the sand between my toes; the cement hot on the soles of my feet.

Ahh, my feet. They are still flat, covered in callouses and thick skin. Not soft to the touch, they’re the literal walking portrait of time spent running, jumping and revelling in a shoeless paradise. They are works of art, a gallery of curated blisters, thickened callouses, knobbly bone and scars from sticks and stones. I hated them once but now they remind me of the choices I’ve made. The hard roads I’ve travelled down; the liberation of shedding expectations.

My hair misses the Australian sun. As its colour deepens, so too do my eyes. My stare is more penetrating than it was before. I see more. I see more clearly.

As I get older the chip on my front tooth becomes more obvious: a relic of a childhood fear of hurting my eyes with chlorinated water and the social price of wearing goggles outside of swimming training.

Stories are everywhere I look.

I look back at my stomach and see the family sized packet of chocolate I ate earlier tonight, entirely spoiling my dinner. I grin, a cheeky grin with a chipped tooth. I no longer fear the social price.

I relax my shoulders and look back at Jabba. Iconic. I chuckle.

Feature image by Lucrezia Carnelos on Unsplash

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  • I used to think that the seagulls in Australia (like old mate here) were bold. Bloody hell, past Rowie would be floored if she saw the ones that get around in the UK. They're monsters. They're terrifying. They are freaking huge and scary. Australian seagulls are cute as hell in comparison. Just look at this little fella.⠀
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#theunpreparedtraveller #rowtrip #expat #expatlife #travelblog #travelblogger #aussieblog #aussieblogger #presetsbykelsey #instapassport #aroundtheworldpix #mytinyatlas #newcastlensw #newcastleaustralia #mynewcastle #barbeach #seagull#beachlife #ig_australia #artofvisuals #alifesheloves #dametraveller #femaletraveller #thehappynow #instagood
  • Anyone know what this place is? Hint: it's the home of the wife of possibly the most famous Englishman in the world... You probably had to study him and/or his work in high school. Still no? Mate. This is the home of Anne Hathaway, wife of William Shakespeare. Well worth the detour just to see what it looked like. Didn't pay to go in because I'm cheap af. In all honesty it's a pretty huge house considering the sizes of homes back then and it's got a pretty sick garden. Can't believe it's still bloody standing. Classic England.⠀
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#theunpreparedtraveller #rowtrip #expat #expatlife #travelblog #travelblogger #aussieblog #aussieblogger #presetsbykelsey #instapassport #aroundtheworldpix #mytinyatlas #artofvisuals #alifesheloves #dametraveller #femaletraveller #thehappynow #instagood #annehathaway #shakespeare #lovegreatbritain #visitengland #englandtourism #agameoftones
  • A Belgian, a Frenchwoman and an Australian climbed a hill in Canterbury during February to watch the sun set. We were surrounded by roads, a park and a bunch of teenagers who were making out. Classic.⠀
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#theunpreparedtraveller #rowtrip #expat #expatlife #travelblog #travelblogger #aussieblog #aussieblogger #presetsbykelsey #instapassport #aroundtheworldpix #mytinyatlas #lovegreatbritain #visitengland #englandtourism #agameoftones #alifesheloves #dametraveller #femaletraveller #thehappynow #instagood #canterbury #monument #memorial
  • I know that these pictures of galleries don't get that many likes but I really do not give a shit. These are happy places for me and I'll be DAMNED if I don't fill my feed with shit that makes me happy. Like these Lowry paintings. Because ART.⠀
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#theunpreparedtraveller #rowtrip #expat #expatlife #travelblog #travelblogger #aussieblog #aussieblogger #presetsbykelsey #instapassport #aroundtheworldpix #mytinyatlas #artofvisuals #alifesheloves #dametraveller #femaletraveller #thehappynow #instagood #mcr #manchesterartgallery #artappreciation #lowry
  • Gimme dat sandstone. Gimme those arches. Gimme great staircases. Argh, the buildings over here are MAGNIFICENT and I will never apologise for sneaking into universities to see what they're like inside because I am a REBEL WITH A CAUSE⠀
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#theunpreparedtraveller #rowtrip #expat #expatlife #travelblog #travelblogger #aussieblog #aussieblogger #presetsbykelsey #instapassport #aroundtheworldpix #mytinyatlas #artofvisuals #alifesheloves #dametraveller #femaletraveller #thehappynow #instagood #aberystwyth #cymru #wales #architecturepix #architecture #interiors
  • There are some beautiful fountains in the UK... and then there are some that look like a child's head has been chiselled open and had a tube stuck in it while their mouth is a yawning cavern of terror. Like this one.
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#theunpreparedtraveller #rowtrip #aussieblog #aussieblogger #travelblog #travelblogger #expatlife #expat #solotraveller #fountains #unitedkingdom #dametraveller #visitengland #alifesheloves #thehappynow  #presetsbykelsey #aband0n_all_h0pe #grime_lords #glitz_n_grime #forgotten #ig_abandoned #ig_captures_decay #beautyindecay #forahappymoment #exploringtheglobe #lovegreatbritain #photosofengland #englandtrip #photosofbritain #englandtourism
  • Lowry 🧡
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#theunpreparedtraveller #rowtrip #mytinyatlas #artofvisuals #artappreciation #lowry #franklowry #mcr #manchester #landscape #painting #lovegreatbritain #travellife #gallerylife
  • Wandering through the UK towards the end of winter and at the start of spring you see a lot of daffodils. I hate daffodils. So when I found some GIANT SUNFLOWERS (no matter how painted on a wall they are), I had to get a photo with them to shoe my solidarity with oft ignored other yellow flowers of this world 🌻
📷 @levy1989
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#theunpreparedtraveller #rowtrip #aussieblogger #travelblogger #aberystwyth #wales #cymru #sunflowers #dametraveller #solotravel #sheisnotlost #expat #expatlife #uk #streetart #mural #thehappynow
  • Sometimes joy comes from watching other people travel! I got to drop off my big brother and his girlfriend at the airport earlier this year - he was taking her on a surprise holiday for her 30th birthday! Pure joy in those smiles ❤️⠀
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#theunpreparedtraveller #rowtrip #expat #expatlife #travelblog #travelblogger #aussieblog #aussieblogger #presetsbykelsey #instapassport #aroundtheworldpix #mytinyatlas #artofvisuals #alifesheloves #dametraveller #femaletraveller #thehappynow #instagood

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Mate, who am i?

(I ask myself the same thing)

Travelling can be really hard when you never feel like you're prepared. But, the more I do it the more I realise that being unprepared is the best way to travel. I’m Rowena. I live with depression and an anxiety disorder, which inspires a lot of my writing. My first reaction is to over-pack, over-worry, freak out, and give myself a headache. I’m consciously rebelling against that.

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