Starting the year off right

If you’re wondering what I’ve been up to this month (since it clearly didn’t include posting here), I thought I’d share some highlights from the month of January…

I rang in the new year with AB and company, in Long Island. Kissed AB during midnight, and fell asleep about 15 minutes later… In all, a pretty great start to the year.

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I chipped away at a few of my bucket list items, including an amazing underground dinner (#22, check) with Captain America, that featured seven courses – five incorporated oysters (#20, check). I’m lagging on a post, but check out the beautiful things!!

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And speaking about posting… just because I haven’t been posting here, doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing. I’ve been taking on more and more writing opportunities with the Innovation Mill:

And (this is the BIG ONE), I’ve been cheating on MSW with another blog… I started a new blog venture with my supercalafragislistic mom all about travel. Check out Jet-Set Brunettes <3 (#40 Publish something, checkkkkk).

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While starting this blog was a bit impulsive, it’s nonetheless a huge accomplishment, and I’m so excited by the possibilities. When my mom visited me in New York in November, she’d just returned from Hawaii for a girls’ trip. While there, she resolved that in five years, she’d have put all the necessary pieces in play to be able to spend three months a year living elsewhere.

What is it about elsewhere that’s so damn sexy and exciting? I’m not the anywhere-but-here type, but I love travel and am thrilled at the elsewhere-ism of it.

Anyway… the blog is like a constant little fire under her (and me) urging us not to forget about that goal, and providing a creative outlet to boot. Spurred by my mom, and a few other travel blogs, I also established a little travel goal of my own: I want to take one trip a month. They don’t have to be extravagant vacations, but the idea is to get out and see new places, old friends, and eat some delicious food.

So this month I went to Boston. And I bought tickets to Houston for Laura Max’s wedding (WHAT?!) and I bought tickets to Chicago in June for a birthday weekend vacation with Ma. Busy, busy bee. I’ve got a handful of trips in the hopper – some big, some small, but it’s going to be an awesome year.

Some pictures from Boston, where I had bagels, mimosas, and facials with my girlfriend, and treated my baby brother to brunch :)

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In other bucket list news, I learned to make a bomb French 75 (I add fresh pomegranate seeds because why not; #19, check), bought myself some flowers (#3, check), and tried to keep the disposable cups to a minimum (for my first month of my 12 Months of Meaningful Improvement).

I slipped up a few times, and found my self unprepared, aka without my water bottle: New Years, Starbucks runs, and the bus ride to Boston. But in general, feel pretty good, and will make every effort to keep it up.

Next up: A month of only water and protein shakes. Meaning no booze, no coffee, I’m even trying to cut tea, but will allow myself hot water and lemon in the mornings. I’m so under-prepared for this, and totally forgot about the no booze thing. This will be interesting…

Stay tuned, and have a stellar February!

 

Positive Momentum: 2015 Bucket List

IMG_4532Ladies and gents, I’m excited to present my 2015 Bucket List! I started crafting this year’s list in about August, and as you’ll see, have already made headway on a few items.

This year is about harnessing the positive momentum. 2014 was an incredible year, and I want to keep the positivity flowing.

Now to briefly backtrack, here’s my reasoning behind annual bucket lists, rather than resolutions: Resolutions start with the negative and then turn into proactive “resolutions” which are hardly resolute; they’re followed for the first couple of weeks of the new year, before they fall by the wayside and all you’re left with is a monthly gym membership fee.

Bucket lists are lists of action items, things I would like to do/learn/accomplish just for the sake of doing/learning/accomplishing them. I hold myself accountable, and regularly check in to share updates, accomplishments, even supplements. So without further ado, my seventh annual list:

TREAT YO’SELF
1. Have my DNA tested (via 23andme or another).
2. Have a real Christmas tree (even if I have to call it a Hanukkah bush). Did this this year :) It’s tiny, but festive!
3. Buy myself a bouquet of flowers.
4. Get a waffle maker☺. AB already got me one for our Secret Santa exchange!
5. Find a perfect purse (currently on the wait list for this one). I got a jumpstart and bought it over Black Friday weekend!
6. Buy a mirror for my living room.
7. Treat myself to a spa day.
8. Re-pierce my ears and buy a pair of earrings to celebrate (love these Kate Spades or a simple pair that goes with everything).
9. Find a new perfume that’s all me.
10. Buy myself new running / training shoes (probs these).

EXPERIENCE IT
11. Free kayaking at the Downtown Boathouse in Manhattan.
12. Travel someplace new.
13. Go to the pumpkin patch, or apple picking.
14. Ride a roller coaster.
15. Have high tea.
16. Shoot a gun.
17. Visit the Museum of the City of New York.
18. Eat a new protein – like reindeer or ostrich (I’m recruiting Captain America for his help on this one!).
19. Find a signature drink (French 75?).
20. Eat oysters (I tried my first recently; need to try more! Apparently there are habanero oysters?).
21. See Shakespeare in the park.
22. Attend an underground dinner.
23. Try dim sum in Chinatown.
24. Go to the Newseum in D.C.
25. Go to a festival / fair.
26. Learn a new card game.
27. Spend a day on the beach.
28. Recreate the balloon project on my birthday (or just for fun!).
29. Do something crazy.
30. Share some of my favorite sights with my soon-to-be-assigned Little!

GET MOVING
31. Go hiking (some great ideas here).
32. Run a charitable race (Fifth Avenue Mile, New York Underwear Run, Empire State Run Up, New Year Midnight Run).
33. Try the 100 pushups challenge.
34. Take a cult fitness class – flywheel or barre or kickboxing.
35. Sign up for ballet.
36. Do the splits.

CREATE
37. Read “The Artist’s Way.”
38. Read something by Proust.
39. Read “A Feast for Crows” and “A Dance with Dragons” before the “Game of Thrones” season 5 premier.
40. Publish something.
41. Host a brunch.
42. Craft something I found on Pinterest.
43. Crochet another headband / ear warmer.
44. Make fried okra.
45. Make homemade yogurt.
46. Do a standup comedy routine (via Peppercomm!).
47. Paint my room.
48. Take a photowalk.

MAKE A CHANGE
49. 12 Months of Meaningful Improvement:
January: Month of using zero disposable cups or bottles.
February: Month of drinking nothing but water (and protein shakes).
March: Month of no television.
April: Month of meatless Mondays.
May: Month of twice-weekly blog posts.
June: Month of morning walks.
July: Month supporting only small / local businesses.
August: Month without shopping.
September: Month without taking a cab.
October: Month without gluten. Just shut up and do it.
November: Month of daily gratitudes.
December: Month of random acts of kindness.
50. Implement Thursdays as a spend-free day.
51. Donate my hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths again! This will also require buying a new hair dryer ☺
52. Learn a new(ish) language.

PROGRESS / SAVE
53. Build up a three-month emergency fund.
54. Ask for a raise / promotion.
55. Invest in something, even if it’s just Kiva.
56. Start contributing to my 401(k) (I haven’t reached the minimum time limit yet).
57. Improve my credit score by 10 points.
58. Join a professional group (PRSSA, New York Women in Communications).
69. Attend 5 networking events.
70. Set a date for my next big trip. Contribute $100 (or ideally, much more) to the fund each month!

Have any ideas for future lists? Want to join me for a few? Leave comments, ideas, and share your own lists – I’m always hungry for new ideas and inspiration!

My Week Off in New York: Part 3 (Fri & Weekend)

See parts 1 and 2 of my week off here.

Swept up in the rush and excitement of starting a new job, I didn’t finish recapping my week off (silly me). I’ll get to additional updates shortly, but first…

I started my Friday by walking to 59th street to pick up the tram to Roosevelt Island (free for those with a monthly metro card, and #15 on my bucket list!). The view from the tram was stunning.

(Note: In the interim between adventuring and writing this post, my iPhone was wiped, so pictures are mostly what I posted during the day on Instagram. Womp.)

I putzed around Roosevelt Island a bit – it’s a really residential haven amid the hecticness (hecticocity?) of New York. But a real winner. There’s an old insane asylum still standing (sadly, behind fences and totally off limits. You know me and haunted old buildings), and a funky little park as well.

05asylum_600From there, I hopped on the subway for a long ride out to Coney Island, where – despite less than ideal weather – the rides were running and the ice cream parlors were open. So naturally I had an ice cream cone. Before riding the famed Cyclone (which in retrospect seems like the wrong order).

Stomach in tact, and with wind-blown hair, I last visited the Brooklyn Aquarium. Much of the aquarium is closed to visitors while they rebuild post-Sandy, but the fishies were adorbs and I made a friend of this little guy.

I spent the weekend relaxing, walking around my own neighborhood, reading, and hanging with my Kappa sister Dani before starting my new job – crazy to think it’s already been a month since I started (clearly I’ve been busy) :)

My Week Off in New York: Part 2 (Thurs)

See Part 1 here.

Another day of amazing adventures in New York! Though nothing that I accomplished today was on my bucket list (necessarily), I still feel immensely exhausted. I adventured in Brooklyn today (first time while living here to venture to another borough!), and made the mistake of assuming that the outer boroughs were as easy to navigate as Manhattan… oops….

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And speaking of Manhattan, that’s were I started. With a coffee and breakfast on the city side of the Brooklyn Bridge. Then the walking began, as I ventured over the East River to Brooklyn (Fun fact: Brooklyn, originally “Breuckelen,” was named after the Dutch city of the same name), with my single grande nonfat extra hot salted caramel mocha with only three pumps of flavoring with whip… and my phone (no fancy camera today, but I think I did alright!).

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Once actually in Brooklyn, I wandered around like a lost puppy (there’s so much room in other boroughs!) before finally stumbling into the BLDG 92. Now, I’d heard many positive things about BLDG 92, and also that is was free, but I didn’t really know what it was. Turns out it’s a museum outlining the Brooklyn naval yard’s rich history—from contributing to all major American wars up to the 70s to being decommissioned to becoming a now-haven for startups and artists. The museum was incredibly well produced—I would definitely recommend. Oh, and no surprise, I bought a postcard.

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From BLDG 92, more walking (2.5 miles?) to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. For an impossibly low student rate of $5, I got to stroll through the gardens. The blue bells (which are gorgeous and don’t bloom in California) were stunning, and I took some time to kick my feet up at the Asian serenity pond and write up aforementioned postcard.

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Fun little side note? I’ve been dying to get a plant for my desk. I didn’t at my internship, because I figured I would if / when I got a real job… So… I got a teensy tiny plant while at the Garden. It’s not even four inches tall, but I love it—the perfect addition to my new desk at my new job (weeee)! Friends, meet Arnold (yes, I name my plants). Turns out I did accomplish a bucket list item (#62, buy a living plant and keep it alive)!

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After the Botanical Garden, I walked what I thought was the most direct path to the Green-Wood Cemetery. Sure, it was three miles out of the way, but I did get to traipse through Prospect Park, which hadn’t been among the originally planned attractions. While there, I found this incredible old boat house. If I can be a total girl for five minutes, it was the exact kind of place that girls (I mean, I’m not saying me) dream of getting married. It had this green tiled ceiling and a gorgeous view of the water and and and. So freaking cool.

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Anyway, then I walked some more. And some more. And I strolled (which is really just walking’s evil cousin). And I finally made my way to Green-Wood Cemetery. So remember how I cry in museums and churches? Well, I love cemeteries. I’m just a weirdo like that. and Green-Wood is basically the Empire State Building of cemeteries. In the early 1860s, Green-Wood had a reputation for its 478 acres (told you there was a ton of walking) of beauty, attracting 500,000 visitors a year, second only to Niagara Falls as the nation’s greatest tourist attraction. Apparently, I’m not the only one who likes cemeteries.

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While at Green-Wood, I tiptoed into this tiny little chapel (I was all alone), and paused to breathe. I didn’t cry, but it was stunningly beautiful, filled with the tie-dyed light from the stained glass. In all, an absolutely EXHAUSTING day, but amazing nonetheless. Now, to nap…

IMG_5030P.S. I looked it up, and I walked roughly nine miles. Ha!

 

My Week Off in New York: Part 1 (Mon – Wed)

I know it’s against the rules of blogging to include so much information in one post, but there’s just so much to share! Starting with… Remember that internship at which I’ve been busting my butt since December? It’s over. Sad face. So what’s next? I start Tuesday as an associate (I just can’t get over that title. I feel so darn cool) at an amazing new firm. With an equally amazing list of diverse clients. To say I’m jazzed is to completely undermine how stoked (there are those California roots) I am. Bucket List #6, cheecckkkk.

So how to celebrate my last week of freedom? Tackling the crap out of my bucket list. Only, Monday, I was gettin’ real friendly with the toilet, doubled over with a stomach flu. So every other day this week is jam-packed to make up for all the awesome things I’ve missed.

Monday: Toilet bonding.

Tuesday: Running errands (like buying a new bikini!), accepting jobs, and sunbathing in Central Park with aforementioned new bikini. And cleaning AB’s apartment, which is exhilarating to type-As like me!

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Wednesday: Treating myself to crepes and a latte, a walk through Central Park, visit to the Met (#18, visit a museum), then ice cream on the High Line (#5, walk and relax on the high line) and a trip to see the World Trade Center Memorial (which I still hadn’t seen! #2).

The crepe, latte, and morning walk (with Kindle) was obviously great. And the Met? Wowza. So much to see… so I stuck to my standard go-tos—Egyptian (I used to want to be an Egyptologist), and European Impressionist. I also stumbled into a Conde Nast-sponsored fashion exhibition and, at Captain America’s insistence, traipsed through the American Wing. In general, I feel about museums like I do about churches. Just being in them makes me so overwhelmingly conscious of my own insignificance. Sometimes, I find myself drawn to a particular piece and can’t explain why but it gives me goosebumps the same way great dissonant chord or a climactic romantic scene does. It seems cliche to call them goosebumps, but the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, called by the beauty of some things in a way that I can only describe as feeling. Sometimes art, like music or love, makes me feel. Well, duh.

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Anyway, on the way out, I bought a Van Gogh post card. I just love Van Gogh; his insanity makes him so… relatable? And I love Impressionism because the beauty of the art is in the eye of the beholder. The art isn’t a photograph, it’s not real. It’s lines and dots and smudges that the brain interprets as something beautiful. Every time I see Van Gogh or Monet or Manet’s work, it’s a deeply personal experience, all my own.

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Van Gogh’s work… not mine.

Anyway, so I left with sore feet and goosebumps and a postcard, which I wrote up while sitting on the Met steps a la Gossip Girl, listening to an a Capella group.

Then I made my way downtown to walk a 12-block stretch of the High Line, but not without stopping for an ice cream first.

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I finished the day at the World Trade Center Memorial. It was a little to early (just opened a few days ago and still very much the tourist thing to do in the city) and a little too expensive to go to the museum, so I stuck with the memorial, people watching. I also took a stroll through the cemetery of St. Paul’s Chapel. 
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Ridin’ Solo: 5 Pros and Cons of Solo Travel

solotravelWhen I lived in Paris, one of the most important life lessons I came away with was a love and respect for solo travel. I learned that whom you’re with has just as strong an impact on your experience as where you go and what you see. To illustrate, let me tell two short stories.

oktoberfestFor Halloween weekend, I went to Prague with a classmate (whom I knew from Boston, as well). She’s a wonderfully nice girl, and had figured out a hostel and how to get to and from said hostel—for which I was immensely grateful. But once we were settled, she had no opinion about how we spend our first night, priorities about what to see, etc. And she had a limiting budget. In essence, I ended up being a tour guide. And when I once suggested that we spend an afternoon on our own, she looked at me in a way that said “please, no.” That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy Prague—I did—but I would have gotten much more out of the experience with a more involved travel buddy. Or alone.

Now onto Dijon… I bought an impromptu ticket to Dijon one weekend in France. Then I missed my train. I had no one to blame but myself, and yet, I just read until the next train, got to Dijon an hour late, and explored nonetheless. Walking through the town’s streets, I heard a band playing in the courtyard of a gorgeous building, so I stopped and listened. I sat in the most beautiful church, I stopped to stroll through a market selling antiques and old French books. I stopped to sit in a park and watch a man talk to his dog in French. And I still went to museums and explored the city. I bought mustard. But I was free to change my plans on a whim. And I love Dijon—I’ll definitely be back.

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Given those stories, one might think that I inherently like solo travel better. And that’s not necessarily true. But I think it’s a safe bet. When I travel solo, I know the trip—for better or for worse—is all mine. But when I travel with someone else, there’s a lot up in the air. Traveling with someone can be immensely rewarding. You just have to pick the right person(s).

And now to delve a little deeper, I thought I’d share what I consider the five main pros and cons of solo travel. Let me know what you think! Continue reading

Happy Sant Jordi: Books on my Lit List

rose and bookThree years ago, I learned about the glories of La Diada de Sant Jordi—This Catalonian (and spreading!) holiday takes its name from St. George, the patron saint of Catalonia, and it falls on the anniversary of his death (also his Catholic Feast Day). Think of Sant Jordi as a nerdy Spanish Valentine’s Day. Every year on April 23rd, lovers in Catalonia, Spain, exchange gifts—boys give girls roses and girls give boys books.

Roses have been associated with the holiday since Medieval times, but the incorporation of books is more recent. In 1923, a bookseller began to advertise the holiday as a way to commemorate the deaths of two renowned authors: Spain’s Miguel de Cervantes and a little-known author who goes by the name William Shakespeare. Both men died April 23, 1616 (cue creepy sci-fi music).

Catalonians took to the trend and some celebrate by doing 24-hour marathon readings of Cervantes’ Don Quixote (Woof). Others flock to Las Ramblas, Barcelona’s main thoroughfare, to take advantage of the numerous makeshift stands selling flowers and books. Throughout the day, some four million roses and 400,000 books are purchased in celebration of love.

Well I love love. And books. And can’t think of a better reason to compile a spring book wish list—with the weather finally warming up, I’m dreaming of beaches, so forgive me for the chick lit.

BernadetteWhere’d You Go, Bernadette
I’ve been meaning to purchase this book for a while now—after all, it was on my graduation-gift-to-self post!—but still haven’t managed. To Bernadette’s Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom. Then Bernadette disappears. This book is the literary equivalent of multi-media art: email messages, official documents, and secret correspondence come together to create what’s a reportedly “compulsively readable and touching novel” about a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.
$9.99 on Kindle.

WanderlustThe World of Wanderlust Story
I recently started following Brooke Saward’s World of Wanderlust blog (for obvious reasons). This book is an insight into her endeavors since the first time she traveled through to the creation of World of Wanderlust, as well as an insight into what the future holds. Most importantly, this book is an insight into her travels to date and provides the backstory of her life. It sounds to me like memoir meets inspirational mommy blogger? But the reviews seem relatively positive, so I’m intrigued. Plus, $2 from every book download (given her global audience, Saward only sells digital copies) is donated directly to the Destiny Rescue project, fighting child prostitution.
$17.99, available for download here.

TransatlanticTransAtlantic
I’m a huge Colum McCann fan, and loved—lovedHow the Great World Spins. His more recent TransAtlantic came independently recommended by my mentor, and I’m very much looking forward to reading it. McCann brings to live different story- and time-lines, eventually weaving them together in a 6-degrees-of-separation spin. In TransAtlantic, he does the same with his female characters from the mid-1800s through to the 1990s. From Ireland to Missouri and Newfoundland, their journeys mirror the progress and shape of history.
$10.99 on Kindle.

Sneak Peek: Long Island (photos)

IMG_0144So, my day was interesting. If feeling like you’re in a living horror film is “interesting.” Which it is… it’s also creepy/ terrifying/ exhilarating/ awesome/ amazeballs. Today, I went on a field trip to Long Island, Massachusetts. Never heard of it? Yeah, neither had I until I randomly searched “homeless people” on reddit because I’m weird like that.

Turns out Long Island is something of a quarantine/safe haven for the city’s homeless population, as well as a headquarters of sorts for Boston’s Public Works. But it’s also the supposed inspiration for the thriller “Shutter Island,” and there’s a guard at the entrance to the island, and there are a ton (I mean A TON) of abandoned buildings. Oh, and it’s haunted by some “lady in crimson.”

Well I heard about it and thought… hmm THIS IS FREAKING AWESOME. So I tried and tried and tried to get permission to visit and today, I finally did. Then they opted to give me free range of the island and I basically went hiking with my friend (whom I guess I’ll call Batman), where we found the abandoned, creepy Fort Strong, originally built in 1815 and moved to the island later. Naturally, we decided to go in it.

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You can’t tell from this photo, but it was the scariest “room.” Pitch black without flash or cell phone flashlights.

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Harbor lookout.

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Terrifying? Told you.

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Once we were done with the fort, we stumbled back down the island and came across an abandoned house. Naturally, we decided to go in it.

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This photo’s actually better in color, but the lighting was perfect. There was still a milk carton there, like someone had just up and decided to abandon their house. Apocalyptic.

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So far as I can tell, the papers here are doctors’ papers. Still legible.

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And thennnnnn we came across the hospital, with a gate with a lock. That wasn’t locked. So… naturally we decided to go in it…

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…where we found hospital beds. Terrifying? This. Is. My. Life.

And here are some other cool, slightly less terrifying photos from my little field trip. Amazing, overall. Video to come!

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If the above photos aren’t creepy enough, THERE IS A KID’S SUMMER CAMP HELD HERE.

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No clue what building this was but there was a pillar in it?

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Lastly, because my friend and co-explorer asked… I have to add: “#nosecurity #YOLO #wereprobablygunnadie.” You’re welcome, Batman.

Slideshow: Reflections on Paris, one year later

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Inspiration from mom…

This one’s another mom-inspired post (What can I say—she knows me so well?). But it also seemed like a good prompt/opportunity to reflect. One year ago, I was living in Paris, traveling every opportunity I could. Ever since I read Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and learned about Santorini, I was a travel junkie. Later fueled by Under the Tuscan Sun and Eat, Pray, Love, I made a commitment to myself that traveling would forever be a priority. And it has: I went to college 3,000 miles from home, went on a (mostly) self-funded tryst throughout western Europe, moved alone to a new city for my first co-op, and studied abroad. I can pack a mean suitcase, navigate the French consulate, and eat anything. But I thought I’d reflect on some of the things I learned in Paris, specifically, that still ring true one year later.

I prefer to travel alone. This is the most valuable thing I think I learned. Just like I’m not the biggest fan of group projects, I don’t like traveling with others. Think about it—traveling is like one massive 24-hours-a-day, group project, complete with language issues. But mostly it’s about clashing travel styles. I can travel with my mom easily: we both want to wake up early, mozey through museums, picnic in pretty parks, and splurge on great food. But other people muggy up my travel zen. With all due love and respect, I don’t want to hear about how tired/hungry/poor/bored you are. Nor do I want to plan my day around your eating/bathroom schedule. And I especially, especially do not want to be your tour guide. Pick up a guide book and figure it out. ‘Tis not my job, homeboy.

Traveling costs. The above traveling alone stuff being said, I do know that travel costs. It costs time, money, energy, patience. I get it. I just try to ignore it when I’m traveling. Because museums and picnics and the druggie-like dreams when I pass out after a day of walking around are totally worth the exhaustion. And the food?—TOTALLY worth it. But when I’m literally living in a travel-ish, foreign environment, it’s overwhelming. There were days (dare I say weekends?!)  I never left my apartment, because I was sleeping 16+ hours a day. AND I WAS IN PARIS, arguably the most beloved and beautiful city in Europe. I never picnic-ed on the Pont Neuf, never left a lock on the Pont des Arts (I love Paris’ ponts, or bridges), never saw the catacombs. Again. Traveling is costly, and sometimes I just can’t afford it.

I can always go back. This is the most incredible thing about traveling. Too often, I witness people glued to their cameras, stocking up on cheap China-made souvenirs, trying to commemorate their trip without actually enjoying it while they’re there. That isn’t to say I don’t like trinkets here and there, but they’re small; I like postcards, which I stick in my journal and which boast better pictures than I’d ever be able to capture. Knowing there are postcards for cheapcheapcheap in the store frees me up to see the beauty of some new place without peering though a camera lens. But in some cases, appreciating the beauty isn’t enough, so I confort myself with a tiny little promise: I will come back. I don’t make make this promise lightly, because I have neither the time nor means to travel much in the near future but some places are worth it.

Paris, itself, was the perfect example of one of those little promises. When I first visited Paris in May 2010, I promised myself I’d come back. And in my hotel in the 14th arr. one night, I switched my fall courses and changed my study abroad plans from South America to France. On that note, I decided to compile a mini slideshow (I’m working on the whole multi-media thing) of places I visited last fall that I promise I will return to.

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There’s no place like…

So I did it. I’m done, finished, finito. I’m actually sitting in a Starbucks in London waiting for the sun to come up. And late last night, as I cabbed across Paris to catch a bus to the UK, I felt… not sad, per se. But just kind of calm. Which, naturally, freaked me out even more. Yay, me.

It’s not leaving Paris that’s so difficult for me. By the end, Paris and I had kind of lost our connection. She’s beautiful, but she’s no Boston. I think I’m just tired of moving. The last time I was on my way to London, AB and I were texting and he asked if in the next year or so, I could try to be in the States as much as possible.

I think I laughed—he didn’t understand the travel bug, the glorious gypsy life of wanderlust, I told myself.

But I think traveling has lost its sparkle.

I tell myself this every time I move, every time I pack up my worldly possessions and transplant my life. I can fit my most important belongings into a carry-on and my Longchamp. That is my life.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a pro packer, and it’s a very FULL carry-on. But I guess what I’m saying is I feel like an old lady. I’m sure the travel bug will bite again after a year or so—she always does. But right now, sitting in a country that speaks ENGLISH (God, I love this language), I want to go home. I want to go home and have a home, make a home. I could even be happy with the whole 2 ½-kids-and-a-white-picket-fence kind of life. Okay, obviously not. But being settled is a nice concept.

Instead—for now—I’ll wait for my family’s cab to pick me up. I drink my eggnog latte and listen to people speak English. I’ll traipse around Europe with my family. And soon, gloriously wonderfully soon, I will be home. There’s no place like home.