Photoshopped.

It all started when I was born.

Well, okay, it started when my Grandad was born. In Ireland. Before he moved to Australia. And since that happened, and apparently Ireland will let anyone be a citizen, I am entitled to citizenship there too.

So I got into my ‘getting-shit-done’ mode. I hadn’t had an Australian passport since some ridiculous year, and had always been meaning to get the right bits and pieces to get myself into the Irish consulate to sort out my Irishness. Both of these things, as you’d expect, require proof of ID in the form of authorised, unflattering, passport photographs.

My self-esteem was high. I was getting everything I needed sorted. I even left home early for work one day (a rare event) so I could get my picture taken when I was looking as fresh and sparkling as possible.

It was the usual process. I went in. Got hair out of my face. Sat awkwardly low in front of a white screen. And the dude taking the pictures did his thing and told me to collect them at lunchtime. I proudly paid and set off, ready to succeed at being an adult like I had that morning.

Then, it happened.

I went back to pick up my photos, keen to finish my applications. As I opened the little photo envelope, I couldn’t wait to see those little 45x35mm pieces of success so I could join in on all the jokes about “how crap my passport photo is, ahahaha.”

Guys.

HE PHOTOSHOPPED ME.

Here is a picture of me that I just took. It is one of the most unflattering pictures of me ever on a humid summer day, with no make up, and my hair undid, but it is my ACTUAL face shape.

Screen Shot 2014-12-07 at 6.15.36 pm

Here is his version.

Screen Shot 2014-12-07 at 6.18.23 pm

Not only did he give me gills on my neck, he brought my eyes closer together. Did something to my jawline. And I can’t even explain what happened to one side of my face.

And did you HAPPEN TO NOTICE MY FUCKING EYEBROWS?

I hurriedly took the photos and ran away, only to return a day later asking for my money back. He was pretty annoyed too. When he asked why I said? “DO YOU THINK THIS LOOKS LIKE ME?!” and held it up next to my face.

And HE said, “I just try to make you look better.”

Oh. Okay.

After that, I spent approximately 12 hours examining my eyebrows in a mirror.

Now I know how supermodels feel.

Why Contiki isn’t for me.

While exploring my options, I did vaguely consider doing some sort of tour. Being a first timer on this sort of trip, I thought – like everyone does – that it may be a good way to see the sights. Intrepid looked nice. But apart from the fact the age group for Contiki is 18-39 (Or, the place where Toolies go when everyone else is in school), there was something else that ruined the idea for me.

I had just graduated high school in Canberra. And while  my hometown lived up to the stereotype of many-a-public-servant, there was also a fairly strong Defence Force contingent hanging around the Nash Cap.

So one day, innocently enough, I found myself at one of the heavily Irish-themed pubs in town with a couple of friends. While we were there, a group of young men who were in the Army, and doused in Lynx Africa, asked if they could join our table.

We politely obliged – still excited about being able to drink Vodka Cruisers in public.

It was nearing summer, and talk quickly turned to the kinds of holidays we were all going to be on over the Christmas period. I was doing my usual Canberra/Sydney/Newcastle jaunt to see all the relatives. A friend of mine was heading off to America to work as an au pair. But then this guy, turned to me with a huge grin, and goes…

“I’m goin’ on a chuck ‘n’ f*ck.”

I was like:
britney-spears-emblem-3-face

And he was like: “It’s called Contiki, apparently everyone just roots each other and you go to all these places in Europe and yeah, PAAAAAAARTY.”

He offered to buy me a drink after that. In shocking news, I said no.

Now look, I know there are exceptions to every rule. And I know that my friends and family have done these tours and loved (or hated them), or even met their future spouses on them.

But for me?

I think doing my own thing will do me just fine.

Git.

carriepretty

Yeah, so.

I always had this goal in mind that I would go to Europe before I turned 30. It was just this milestone that I had in my head, and if it didn’t happen, I was a loser.

For a trillion and one reasons, it hasn’t happened yet.

It being travel. Outside of Australia. Since I was a lot younger.

I blame the GFC.

But, this year, a very good (and very accomplished) pal of mine, Lauren, used her ~mad skillz~ to get me a very decent ticket into Berlin and out of Dublin.

In March.

Two weeks after the big 3-0.

For 26 nights.

The rest is up to me.

How are you feeling about it all?

I’m pretty much sitting here in a bubble of overwhelm, having personal crises about whether I’m too old to stay in a hostel (private room, thanks), whether I should catch trains or fly through Europe, or whether I’ll get arrested on the plane for having a meltdown mid-flight thanks to a pretty solid fear of flying.

What countries are you going to?

Good question! I actually don’t know yet.

What I can tell you is that I’d worked out I could spend 3 days in like… 8 countries (maths) and I would be a European hero.

But I was talking to a friend*, and to paraphrase, she was like, “Bitch, calm down. You can go to Europe any day. People who do Europe right, do it in stages. Like me. Because I’m fierce. Stop stressing. Enjoy. Live. Laugh. Love. Om.”

What’s your next move?

Figure out how much money I can make from all of my possessions to cover the GBP exchange rate, take half-arsed French, German, Dutch, and British lessons on YouTube, and probably have 50 mental breakdowns.

Why are you blogging about this, you psycho?

Because it just feels like the right thing to do. After all, if you can’t be cathartic on the internet, where can you be?

(Plus I paid $18 for a domain name.)

Stay tuned.

*Psychiatrist