So what do you do when you finish your final year at university? Take a bit of time out to do your favourite things and completely unwind! That’s exactly what I did this weekend, and it was the perfect reward after 4 years of hard work! Sea swimming, sightseeing and good food were on the agenda, so read on to hear all about my exciting adventures!

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Be Spontaneous!

Considering I only completed my final university exam last Wednesday, so much has happened in the space of a week! I knew that a short trip home might not be enough to give me that complete break that I needed after all of the craziness of exams and other commitments lately, and so on Wednesday evening I booked myself a couple of nights away at my favourite place in Wales. People always wonder how I can be so confident to just book solo trips at the last minute, but for me it’s easy – especially when it’s a place that feels like a second home to me. So on Friday evening I packed up my rucksack and prepared myself for an early train the next morning!

With a coffee in hand for the journey and a notebook to jot down new ideas, I set off on my weekend away. The scenic journey was a great opportunity to sit back and process everything that had happened in the past few months – finishing university, business opportunities, and a few unexpected things to deal with…all of the things that I’d dealt with in my stride, but didn’t realise how much it had worn me out at the time. It was the perfect time to clear my mind and look forward to the exciting new future ahead of me, starting with my trip away!  A couple of hours later I’d arrived and settled down on the harbour wall for lunch and a bit of dolphin spotting, before steeling myself up for a swim – my first one of the year, and a cold one at that!

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I’m smiling now, but that’s before I found out how cold it was!

If there’s one thing that can always clear my mind, it’s a swim – especially when it’s outdoors! Wild swimming is one of my all-time favourite activities, and when given the chance it’s something I just can’t resist – the feel of the water and the natural surroundings will always beat the sight of a lane marker for me! As clichéd as it may sound, I really did feel completely happy in that moment because I was doing what I love, and this is something I’d always advise anyone to do when they’re feeling like things are getting on top of them. It doesn’t have to be something stressful and significant, but even if you’ve been snowed under at work or haven’t been sleeping well, taking a day or two for yourself, doing something that makes you happy – meeting friends, reading a good book, being active – might just give you that bit of a refresh that you need. And trust me, it feels even better when it hasn’t been planned!

Take Time for a Tour

If you’re a traveller at heart like me you’ll know that the time spent on the journey, whether by foot, public transport or air, brings as much joy as the time spent at the destination. I always try to walk or use public transport as much as possible when I travel; it’s the best way to save money, be environmentally-friendly, and see all of the hidden gems that you might otherwise miss! On my travels I managed to find a wonderful little deli, met so many incredible people and returned to some of my favourite places: the harbour wall for dolphin-spotting, the Lime Crab for the seaside classic, fish and chips, and the ice cream parlour for a delicious cappuccino crunch cone…all of these irresistibly indulgent moments really made my trip the perfect re-gen.

I even managed a visit to The Mecca – the wonderful coffee merchant’s I found on my travels last year! It was so nice to see Iain, the friendly merchant, again for a catch up. And of course I couldn’t leave without a few gourmet purchases: tiramisu- and Irish coffee -flavoured grounds and chocolate and cappuccino-coated beans, what a treat! They made for the perfect souvenirs for friends (and for me!) – something a little bit different from the standard box of fudge!

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Coffee beans in all sorts of delicious varieties – it was hard to choose between them!

As much as I enjoy travelling with friends, going solo meant that I could go at my own pace and wander – there’s a greater sense of freedom when you’re only responsible to yourself. I didn’t need to feel guilty for taking my time to explore little independent shops, or for accidentally taking the long route after a few wrong turns!..and because I know that not everybody enjoys the same things as me. In my heart I know that there’s only a finite amount of time I can enjoy these sort of moments, especially since my new career ventures are on the horizon! So I made the most of every minute whilst I could, and made plenty of memories to last me through any stressful or difficult times that may come. But it won’t be long until my next break away – in just 4 weeks I’ll be packing my bags to explore Scandinavia, hosted by a generous friend who I can’t wait to see again (5 years apart is far too long!). Until then, I’ll be sure to keep you all updated with how my new projects are going, as it’s time for The Cooking Yam to set out into the big wide world!

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-TheCookingYam

Written by TheCookingYam

I'm a BSc Sport and Exercise Science Graduate from Loughborough University, and also work as a Nutrition Advisor and recipe developer for organisations such as British Swimming, Colour Fit and Bam Organic. I'm passionate about all things food, health and fitness, and have an ambition to share my knowledge with others. Qualified with Grade Distinction in Level 5 Advanced Diploma in Sports Nutrition to support my interest in food and health for active individuals.

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