Born and bred Brightonian, I spent my childhood by the sea, playing imaginary games, watching the original Robin Hood on VHS and refusing all food that wasn’t marmite toast. I loved the carefree atmosphere of primary school but secondary school was a bit more of a struggle for me, and I became plagued by anxiety.
With an ambition as stubborn as my commitment to marmite, I was determined to do well regardless of my shaky mental health and ended up studying the IB at college whilst working part time to save up money to fulfil my future travelling dreams. Two years later, and to my disbelief, I emerged from the other side of the IB (any fellow IB survivors out there?) and embarked on a six-month solo trip quite literally all around the globe: from visiting friends in Florida, au pairing in Canada, picking veggies and living in a tent in Hawaii, to waitressing in Sydney, camping in the Aussie outback and touring New Zealand by bus, it was as unforgettable as it sounds.
Once I returned home, I started working in an ice cream shop back in my hometown for the summer. I felt directionless; I wanted more than anything to stretch my mind again by learning new things and gaining further qualifications. At that point, the status of my mental health meant that attending university wasn’t a viable option. Instead, I enrolled with the Open University and studied alongside working in my new job as a healthcare assitant at my local hospital.
It was at this point Alys Journals was born: a little piece of the internet for documenting my past and future travel adventures, mental health struggles and tips, life as a student and general thoughts of a young adult in the contemporary world. Balancing the fast growth of my online community in that first year along with academic work and a draining day job allowed my confidence and resiliance to grow; I finally felt like university could become my reality, rather than a distant dream.
I started my Sociology degree in 2018 and have learnt so much in my first year – most importantly, what I’m capable of achieving even in the hardest of moments. My tiny corner of the internet took a backseat during this time as I contended with living in a new town, making friends, being back in education and completing two different internships. As I head into my second year, and now that I’m feeling more settled, I am hoping to relaunch Alys Journals as a space for personal reflection and connection with others.
So if you want to stay up-to-date with my unconventional journey and spur-of-the-moment decisions, hop along for the ride 🙂