May favourites

May was something of a crazy month for me. I went on holiday to Venice for week, and then yesterday I moved to a new city to start a new job – after a manic few weeks finishing up any outstanding freelance projects before that phase of my life (thankfully) reached a close. For now.

I am a totally shy introvert, so moving to a new city full of strangers into a house full of strangers (I am living in a slightly weird place that used to be a B&B, with six other people) feels like a Big Deal. I’ve moved here for a temporary, but very exciting job, so I’m doing my best to put my anxieties aside (by which I obviously mean read lots of books and watch lots of TV and try not to think about them) and enjoy myself.

So far I’m not doing too badly. I took myself out for a coffee date this morning. Yesterday I made my room pretty.

It’s in progress.

Anyway, onto my favourites from May!

Travelling by myself

In the weeks leading up to Venice, whenever I mentioned I was going away, and then, when asked, revealed that it was by myself, I got some funny looks. I felt like I had to make excuses for myself. Reassure people that I did have friends. Mention that you have to do some things by yourself when you’re single as if that was something I felt regretful about.

The truth?

I fucking love going on holiday by myself.

Wandering aimlessly for hours, not worrying that I’m boring someone else, whether their needs are being met… it’s the best. I’ve been away alone three times now and every time I wait for myself to get lonely and I just… don’t.

There might be something wrong with me.

All I can say is it felt like freedom.

F Word

This is a series on the Soul Pancake YouTube channel about a queer couple looking to foster and perhaps adopt a child. It offers a fascinating insight into the foster and adopt process in the US, casting an analytical eye over systemic racism in the system – people of colour are much more likely to have their children removed in situations where white parents are allowed to keep theirs – the limbo potential foster and adoptive parents experience as they negotiate the system and the tensions between biological parents and foster parents. It is emotional AF (I cried. A lot.) and painful and hopeful and heart-breaking – and an invaluable look at a much under-represented experience. The episode where they interview bio parents fighting to get their rights to their children reinstated is particularly devastating and necessary.

See Something Say Something

The See Something Say Something podcast is back! One of the most tragic losses of the great Buzzfeed podcast cull of 2018, I was thrilled to see Ahmed Ali Akbar and guests back on the air as an independent outfit. See Something Say Something is a podcast about being a Muslim in the US right now. From their award-winning Ramadan series to interviews with some amazing guests like everybody’s fave chef, Samin Nosrat and author Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib AKA Carly Rae Jepsen’s no. 1 fan among many other great people, every episode is a blend of political commentary, pop culture (RIP Zayn and Gigi) and just a chance to spend time with some awesome people.

Aja Barber

Aja Barber is an activist-writer-stylist talking about systematic racism, sustainable fashion and saving the planet. Through her Instagram and Patreon accounts she dissects the role of white supremacy in the climate emergency, and how we can all hold each other accountable – most especially white people – for the role we are playing in the destruction of the planet. I feel really strongly about the destructive power of fast fashion, but for a long time I couldn’t find many voices within the sustainable fashion movement that really resonated with me. It’s a lot of very rich, mostly white women dancing in fields wearing flowing dresses and talking about veganism. And while that’s fine for them, the story a lot of those accounts tell lacked the urgency and complexity with which I wanted to see the conversation take place – also, to be frank, they showed a lifestyle totally financially unattainable to me. Then I found Barber’s work. She discusses the problem of fast fashion with the intelligence, nuance and analytical complexity I’d been looking for. She constantly challenges the white woman in her audience to be better, more accountable, more intersectional in their perspective and has pushed me to consider what doing my best really looks like. And, with her particular interest in second hand shopping, she shows that living sustainably is more accessible than we might think.

If you fancy catching up, this month I reviewed…

How to be a Craftivist by Sarah Corbett
The Astonishing Colour of After by Emily X. R. Pan
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

How was your May? Have you ever moved to a new place for a job? Any tips would be much appreciated!

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Author: Lydia Tewkesbury

26. Loves a good story.

14 thoughts on “May favourites”

  1. That’s great that you enjoyed traveling by yourself. I’m a bit afraid, mostly because I’m afraid to get lost and won’t be able to find my way 😂 Congrats on your new job. I have never done that, moving away from home and live with strangers. Good luck! However, I do love to go shopping by myself and take as long as I want.

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  2. I feel you deeply on travelling alone! I have to admit that I enjoy hanging out with others and I kind of tend to make friends as I go along, but overall, I have had the best of times when I ventured out into the unknown all by myself. I just love that is showed me that I don’t need anyone else and that I have the freedom to do things my way, so when I do want to spend time with someone or want someone along for the ride, it’s really my choice rather than a necessity. People always gave me funny looks or told me how “brave” I am for travelling on my own too, but I never really saw it as something strange. Good on you for doing it!
    And as far as new cities for new jobs go, I have also experienced that before. Living with people is definitely an advantage as it will help getting to know someone if want to meet people. I have found it increasingly difficult to make friends the older I got, so having roommates of sorts makes them your kind of default friends for a little bit.

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    1. I’m definitely finding that with my roommates. It is definitely much harder to make friends as an adult – it’s funny, I don’t think it’s so much that people don’t want to as everyone perceiving everyone else to have friends already. Plus, less time.

      Thanks! I’m always glad to find other people who have travelled alone. I think if I were to go off for a longer stretch then I would definitely try harder to make friends while away – next time!

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  3. I have never really travelled alone -if you don’t count the travelling and leaving for university 500 km away from home and… I’m so used to having my usual travel companion (most of the time my sister) that I think I’d be completely lost without her, but I also know I’m fairly lucky to have a sister that kind of knows how I feel and just, we get along too well so that’s nice to travel ahah. I’m rambling here ahah, I’m so glad you got to travel alone and Venice sounds like such a beautiful place, I can’t wait to visit someday!
    I hope you’ll settle in with your new job and in the new city soon, at least you’re not living completely alone so that’s a nice start, to make some new friends and all! Sending you all the love and courage for this new exciting month ahead! x

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  4. Best of luck with everything, Lydia! Moving to a new town can be the most nerve-wracking experience ever, I can totally relate. But you seem to be doing amazing and you know, not living by yourself can be extremely rewarding when you have no friends at the new place – your housemates will be the first ones you meet and they’ll introduce you to new people as well! I know it can feel quite daunting for an introvert (I am one too) but it’ll make things so much easier for you in the long run 🙂
    This is a great collection of diverse recs you have here, and I can’t wait to try them out! I’ve been trying to read more so not a lot of TV/YouTube for me these days BUT I can catch up here and there when it’s something truly interesting and unique ^^
    Again, wishing you an excellent month and keep us posted on the new job and new life! I’d love to get updates on how you’re doing 🙂

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    1. Thanks so much! I’ve made it through my first week. My housemates seem like a really nice bunch of people, and I feel relatively settled here. I just have a couple things I need to sort out in my room – my shelves fell down when I put my books on them! – but once they’re fixed I think it’ll feel much more homely in here.

      I totally get that with the TV and YouTube. I’m using moving as an opportunity to also try and shake up my routine a bit so I’m trying to have a bit less Netflix time and a bit more book time!

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      1. Oh no! Too many books? 😛
        Yeah I’m also aiming for that but at the same time, I feel guilty that I’m paying for it and not using it? xD So my next plan of action will probably be to give up on my Netflix subscription altogether, and then I won’t have the temptation hovering over me!

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  5. Absolutely fantastic that you made such a huge move in your life and are embracing it with all your heart, Lydia! Recently did a trip solo for a criminology conference where I was to present a project and got the time before my presentation to explore Ottawa, Canada solo and it was quite exciting, although it was raining cats and dogs hahaah It’s nothing compared to what you’re doing but I do think you made such an ambitious and beautiful life decision and hope that you’ll know happiness in what you’re doing now! Stay awesome!~ 😀

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  6. Oh wow, it sounds like you have been going through a lot of exciting (albeit nerwracking) experiences! Congrats on the new job- I hope it is all going swimmingly 🙂
    And Venice looks great! Definitely one to add to my bucket list
    I’ve been thinking about travelling by myself for the first time this year- but my biggest issue is that I don’t really like the idea of eating in restaurants by myself! Are you fine with this, or do you have any tips? Being single and the only one living in my current town I feel like I need to just go ahead and try travelling by myself at least once to see how it goes 😛

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