A Slight Change in Plans! – My Route 66 Charity Tour

Hello my little demons!

So, there has been a ‘slight’ hick-up, which has resulted in changing my plans with my Route 66 Charity Tour.

BUT DONT FEAR! I’m still going!

I won’t go into detail, but long story short – I’ll be going on my own now. The friend I was supposed to go with has decided he no longer wants to be my friend. Don’t ask me why, I cannot answer that. As I cannot for the life of me work out what I said or did, I am just going to assume that it’s got nothing to do with me. I also do not want to divulge into it publicly as it’s not fair to do so. I will wish him luck in the future though.

It never really crossed my mind to cancel any of my plans. We had discussed a trip around the Highlands (the NC500 – Scotland’s Route 66), taking camping gear with us, and I’m still planning on doing that in the Spring/Summer once I’ve got my motorbike. And, of course, he was going to come with me down Route 66. If you’ve been following this story from the beginning, you will know that I tried to do something like this before; I was going to tour America and Canada for Charity, I had actually paid for a working holiday visa to Canada already, but my plans fell through. I’m determined not to let my plans fall through again! You can read about it here.

Plus, I really want to raise funds and awareness for Selective Mutism!

In light of what happened recently, it has made me realise that the only person I really trust is myself. People can easily let you down. So, I’ve made the decision to do this ALONE. It kinda feels poetic, actually, like one of those soppy life-changing movies that hit you in the feels. But with cars, motorbikes, food and the open road!

Hell, it’s going to be scary, but I’m hoping that I’ll build up my confidence, work on my skills filming and editing, and plan the socks off it, all in the next year or so until I go. It also has some new challenges that I never thought of before.

The three main challenges are; 1) filming myself – I have limited filming experience, other than just starting filming myself for my YouTube channel I am going to create, which involves me sat… still… at my desk, I have no idea how this will work. I’m going to research into hand-held cameras, go-pros or similar and figure out what the best options are. I know for sure that my beloved Nikon DSLR isn’t a good option – it only records 20 minutes at a time for a start! And I cannot see the screen to record myself – sitting at a desk is fine because I can set it up and sit still…. or try to at least.

2) the other biggest challenge is doing all the driving! With a second person, the driving can be split between us, but now I will be driving it all. Theoretically, I don’t see it being an issue, as I love driving and I will be taking my time seeing sights anyway along the way, so will be doing plenty of stops. I also am pretty handy, knowing a fair bit about mechanics in case something breaks, and will be considering this in the planning stage in case I need to look into breakdown cover options, researching recovery companies in the areas I drive through, and even taking a set of tools with me. But practically, I could get tired and make mistakes, getting lost or stuck. I also have to be weary when I’m taking to a camera and driving!

3) the last, and probably one of the more important ones, is personal safety. I’m sure the majority of the trip will be safe enough. I will be researching how safe areas are, making sure I only stop in safe areas and stay at hotels that have good ratings and so on. I do have some self-defense training from one of my old job roles, but I am also considering taking self-defense classes too. This is going to be one of the biggest things I will be researching and planning, especially being a female solo traveller!

On the up side though, doing it alone has it’s benefits – I can do what I want without compromise. I’m also introverted; socialising can drain me and I need to recharge, doing a whole month-long trip with someone else can get very tiring, and I know I like my own company. I can also be in control of the music. Also, being a solo-traveller, you’re more likely to get upgrades! 😉

So, although it was a huge shock and was a little upset when I lost a friend, I’m not going to let these things stop me from what I want to do in life!

Watch this space for more updates soon!
Also, watch this space for my first YouTube video – it’s currently being edited and will be uploaded soon!

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Don’t forget to like, reblog, share, comment and/or follow!

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Dealing with low days

With only 4 days left until I pick up my hire car and drive down south to start my Master’s Degree, I had to help my parents put boxing in the loft today.

My parents wanted their spare room back so all my stuff, that I’m not taking with me, had to go into boxes and up into the loft out of the way.

However, one of these boxes, the heavest one, which we had to take a few things out in order to get up the ladder, fell out of my mother’s grasp and hit me in the side/back (right into my rib) and knocked me over.

As a result, and the stress around getting these boxes up into the loft, my mood suddenly plummeted.

I’ve been fine for a while, with my mental health. But for me, it’s vital I DON’T get low, because if I do, it take a lot to get me back on my feet again. I don’t have a huge support network and as such this makes me feel worse. On good days, it doesn’t bother me, I feel independent and don’t care, but it’s not good on low days.

This is also difficult for me as a writer too. How can you pick yourself up to continue on? When you feel like everything is shit, you feel like there’s no point. It’s days like this that you could really do with someone to give you compliments, praise, well wishes, etc.

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[Image Source: https://www.juicylucydesigns.com/products/you-absolutely-did-it-flipping-well-done%5D

As well as the low days, having this mental health issue (I suffer with depression and anxiety), it can affect even every day things. I worry about saying something wrong and upsetting someone, I don’t do well in social situations and putting myself out there can be difficult (not just with my writing, but interacting with people) and as a result of the support network (or lack of), this also affects how I interact with people.

And low days… makes it so much worse!

So, I’m writing this post for awareness, so people out there not only know a little more about me and my stuggles at becoming an author, but anyone who reads this will know… you’re not alone! Please do connect with me if you, like me, need that little bit of encouragement because you suffer with mental health issues or would generally like to know more!

Have a lovely Sunday everyone!

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[Image Source: https://www.soumo.eu/yellow-happy-sunday-flowers/%5D

Catching out a Catfisher (Fake profile)!

Recently I was approached by a guy on Facebook, who turned out to be fake.

And why am I blogging about it? To raise awareness!

I tried to reach out to Twitter to find the real person behind the photos, and have since had at least one comment; “Why is it necessary to find the real guy?”

It’s not, really, but I wanted to the following:

  1. make sure the real guy knew what was going on, so he can report the profile and it have more chance of it being removed (he’s a real human being at the end of the day);
  2. have a real name so I can report the accounts – sometimes you need a real name otherwise you cannot report, I noticed this on Twitter!
  3. make a difference. I consider myself an influencer. I’m an author. I might not be popular, as I’m only starting my journey, but as such I want to use that rather small voice to make a difference. If even one person reads this, I feel like I’ve helped at least one person! Therefore, if I could get the real name of the lovely guy being the photo, it would make a bigger impact (although, because I haven’t got permission from the real guy, I have had to keep his identity private!)

First, let me explain what happened. I came across a Facebook page which shows tattooed men (I like tattoos and appreciate good ink!) and I came across a really cool back piece! I, with my silly sence of humour, said ‘Where can I get one?’ (and yes, I did mean the guy… although in real life, I am interested in more than just a guy’s good looks!)

A guy approached me and said ‘I’m here Penny. Hit me up!’ and had a profile picture of a guy next to a beautiful staffordshire terrier (a staff to us common people!), so I thought… hey, why not! So, I added him! (I’m a sucker for handsome tattooed men with dogs/cats!)

Basic RGB[image source: http://www.shibdenheadprimaryacademy.co.uk/e-safety/%5D

I knew instantly, when he accepted my request, he wasn’t real. At least not the person behind the photos. He kept repeating the words ‘sexy’ and then said he was US Intelligence. Yeah, pretty cool, but you don’t need to be too smart to realise that those who are in any form of Intelligence, whether that is the US, UK or otherwise, do NOT openly admit it to people they hardly know!

Not to mention, I absolutely HATE it when people judge me for my looks, I don’t think I’m exactly attractive; I’m not a model, but I respect people more if they are actualling interested in knowing about ME… not what’s on the outside! So, even if this guy turned out to be real, I instantly took a dislike to him.

The other scary thing is… he was emotionally manipulative. I unfortunately haven’t got access to the messages he sent anymore, as the profile has been removed since (unfortunately not my doing!), but he said things like ‘don’t scare me off you’, after I called him out whether he was real or not. I’ve been in an emotionally manipulative relationship before, I DONT take kindly to it, and do not tollerate it at all!

sydney-sims-521161-unsplash[Image Source: http://yourrelationshipspecialist.co.uk/gaslighting-and-emotional-abuse/%5D

So, I had one of two choices; block and ignore, or call him out.

I was really worried about vulnerable people, including young girls, coming across this guy. So, I put it upon myself to do some digging! Within a few hours, I found the real guy!

I have a few ‘acquaintances’ who are models, so I asked them if they recognised the guy in the photo, unfortunately no one did.

I also tweeted, with no success! (Including a few models, although I don’t follow models – I appreciate the male body, but I’m not interested in goggling – so I know absolutely nothing about the modelling world, so I had to find some ‘male tattooed models’ in order to tweet, gave up pretty quickly with that idea! No one’s going to listen to a crazy English chick, anyway!)

Luckily, however, one of my friends managed to reverse search the images the catfisher was using and we found a few websites where the photos were being used!

Ironically, I came across yet ANOTHER fake profile on Twitter, thinking it was the real guy, but found the same ‘person’ on Facebook and I realised this was yet another fake profile! Luckily someone else knew the real guy in the photo and called him out on Facebook! (The Twitter profiles have been reported!)

I finally found the real guy behind the pictures!

I was hoping for a lovely dramatic ending to this little adventure, by messaging the guy on Facebook and hoping to reverse catfish the catfisher or something similar, but unfortuantely the catfisher has since been removed from Facebook, and the real model hasn’t responded.

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[Image source: https://thesaurus.plus/related/anticlimax/climax%5D

So, why am I telling you this? To raise awareness! I’m not suggesting everyone does what I did, it can be quite dangerous to do! Especially if the catfisher knows a lot about you already! If you think you’re being catfished, or it seems too good to be true, it probably is! Follow your gut! Block and delete! If you’re worried, talk to someone!

And yes, some catfishers are after money. But NOT ALL OF THEM! Some of them are predators… and they can worm their way into your life over MONTHS… just because you have known them for weeks/months, doesn’t mean they are genuine! PLEASE be careful!

I have deliberately kept the names of my acquaintances and the real model behind the photos hidden! I don’t have permission to use the model’s photos, and this model is in the public eye, it would be unfair for him getting negativity because of someone else.

This goes for both women and men, men can be just as much a target! If you think you are being catfished or are worried about the identity of someone online, talk to someone!

Stay safe, everyone. x