Nuggets of Truth

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  • The mid-week press trips I go on can be really, really awesome. They also mean I consequently work most of the weekend (while others play) and find myself still attempting to pull together my life at midnight on a Sunday…
  • Sometimes I can’t believe I am really, truly making it as a travel writer. It is certainly not always easy. But it is so worth it. It is me.
  • Music makes everything better. (Current guilty pleasures: Niall Horan’s Slow Hands and any of these random, chill-electro Kygo mixes.)
  • Our world currently terrifies me.
  • I want everyone I love to live in one safe, protected, happy bubble.
  • I can’t listen to or read the news.
  • I nearly expired today in hot yoga. I have possibly never sweat more. In. My. Life. It both hurt and felt incredible.
  • I dreamt about my French host family last night, and it was a wonderful, laugh-filled reunion (curiously conducted mostly in English). I think it’s time I send them a hello.
  • Talking to each member of my (real) family today was a lovely day highlight:)
  • I feel Seattle summer in my fingers and toes, and oh, is she lookin’ gooooood.
  • Recently, I’ve been consistently glimpsing at the clock  at 11:11. (When I see it, I unconsciously exhale. Grateful. Reassured.)
  • This list could go on forever; it’s time to unwind before bed.

Wishing you all a most wonderful week.

Week Goal

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“Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.”~George Bernard Shaw

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Things Currently Speaking to Me

This post.

This podcast (still).

This song.

This song, too (thanks, Big Little Lies + your absolutely awesome soundtrack).

This book.

This moody, broody, beautiful sky last night (wow!).

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What’s filling your waking hours these days? Always on the hunt for new recs, especially in the music/podcast/movie/show/inspiration department:) Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

38 y/o Me, Listen Close

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p.s. Sun, please grace us with your presence again.

The 37-year-old me has done a few things this past week that she’s pretty darn proud of. And she really hopes that 38-year-old me (Friday, in fact) has been taking note & plans to follow suit. I:

~Went to the DMV to fix an expiring license situation a full week (week!) before D-day

~Picked up an Rx way before it actually ran out

~Attended to a few belated gifts and notes that have been forevvvver hanging over my head on that perpetual, rarely-touched-but-always-there “Life To-Do List”

These may sound minor, petty, silly, fundamental. Yet, to me, they’re kind of a big deal.

(Both #1 & 2 avoided last-minute panic events that have happened throughout my life umpteen times, and #3 quickly lifted weight off my shoulders that had been unnecessarily lingering for months, even years.)

New Year (to Me) goals: Don’t procrastinate, stall, hesitate, deliberate.

JUST DO IT.

Happy March, y’all.

Detox, Digital

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This weekend, my first full weekend home of 2017 (!), I forced myself to stay in most of the time and lay really, really low. I also challenged myself to stay off social media and email from Friday night till Monday. It’s not a novel idea—and one so many I know do on a regular basis (such wise people!).

Here are some things I got from my 48 hours away from social media + email:

~Much more brain space. My mind is able to focus so much more on my own life (and those of my loved ones) rather than the lives of strangers, acquaintances, celebrities (embarrassing!), people I feel I know but really barely do

~Slightly less anxiety about the state of our country/world/mentally unhinged POTUS (although I admit I did sneak onto news stories a few times, that wasn’t forbidden within my self-appointed “rules)”

~The allowance to let myself watch a million shows/movies, read a ton of books/magazines, even take wee siestas on my couch BOTH days (something I almost never do!)

~The opportunity to take care of tasks/think about things I often put off, finding easy distractions that encourage me to “just wait” till tomorrow. I wrote that pesky belated Thank You note, cleaned out under my bano sink, dreamt up travel destinations I’d love to visit this year, wrote a clear to-do list for the week, etc. etc.

~The ability (to most times) sit through an entire film or show without mindlessly scrolling and only being half-present in both worlds

~The realization of just how much we use our phones anyway, even when NOT on social! I used it this weekend to look up weather, directions, exercise class signup, a Viber call with my brother, texting with family and friends near and far

I thought I’d wake up today so excited to dive back in, but I admit I feel a little apprehensive. Almost like I don’t even want to slide back into that world. (I also see that there’s something kind of nice about keeping your eye on the email inbox from time to time, so you don’t fear being drowned in a deluge all at once Monday morn…Thankfully, though, today is a holiday for many.)

That said, I am going to think of ways to do these detoxes on a regular basis and/or to be more mindful about my phone/screen usage each and every day. I’ve been saying this for forever, and I think it’s truly time to regain control.

This little weekend experiment wasn’t huge, but it’s a start. (And I’m proud of myself for sticking to it. Thanks to my supporters who kept me in check…y’all know who you are:))

I’m ready to break this addiction. This mind-numbing habit, to which so many of us have fallen victim. This incessant need to swipe. To scroll. To like. To comment. An urge that may feel fulfilling in the moment, but—in reality—often leaves me/us feeling emptier than when we began.

*Thanks to my dear amiga, Irish Kate, who alerted me to her friends’ insightful podcast exploring mindfulness, which served as great inspiration. (Added perk to their musings: Irish accents!!)

Have a great week, everyone.

The Air Up There: Boston->Seattle edition

The thing about travel, is that it reminds me that people are good. The tattooed Bostonian seatmate with the accent as thick as chowda who offers to take down my bulky baggage from the overhead bin. The Cape Cod grandma who excitedly chats my ear off, en route to Madrona to see her son, his partner and their two brand-new twins. My kind Uber driver from Morocco who openly admits his family has been so worried about his safety after learning of the mosque shooting from far across the miles.

It gets me away from the headlines and the dizzying social media swirl that is desperately trying (and failing) to keep up accurately with these scary and infuriating times in which we find ourselves flailing.

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This movement across various landscapes—so different and yet so much the same—reminds me that America is suited business people from around the globe gathering for a mid-workday meal of creamy curry. It’s still-bright-eyed 20-somethings, bellied up alongside run-down 40-somethings, grabbing post-office cocktails to unload the weight of the day (or week or month or year…). It’s a sleepy seaside village in the country’s Northeast corner, lit up with the warm glow of a setting winter sun.

The world, you see—it keeps on spinning.

It’s people like me, like you, living real, everyday lives in the midst of this madness. A comforting glimpse of the minutiae, the mundane routine that I must remember, in spite of the big picture that currently carries a darkness so heavy it’s often hard to know where to look.

(*and as I type this, I whole-heartedly acknowledge the incredible, fortunate luxury I have of simply choosing to look away when I need a break from it all.)

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I’m on a flight from Boston to Seattle, ironically reading Pico Iyer—a personal hero’s—short book “The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere.” My five (yes, five) trips of January were distinctively different, social, active, productive, invigorating, tedious, tiring, delicious and fun. It’s been a multitasking whirlwind, and I’ve seen so many people I hold dear. And for that I’m always, always so grateful.

And now, I’m craving a little quiet.

A little stillness.

A little PNW Zen.

Happy February, friends.

A New Season ( & Hi! How’ve you been?)

 

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I haven’t blogged in so long, it’s insane. Where to begin? Summer came, and summer went.

It was good, it was full; it felt exhausting at times, exhilarating at others. Highlights ranged from a whirlwind NoVa July jaunt and a favorite friend’s fun-fun-FUN Denver wedding to a love-soaked reunion under Chicago’s sticky summer skies. August was chock-full of music and weekends spent in tents at campsites near and far (far, as in, at the tippy-top of a mountain goat-dotted glacier). The end of September felt tinged with a bit of magic—the pinnacle being an amazing visit with my parents in the PNW during its finest show-off days and then a near week of togetherness in easy-breezy Oceanside.

For a long stretch there, work felt really steady (and almost too flowing at times), and the Seattle sun consistently blazed down on us as she’s known to do—filling our souls and Vitamin D reserves to the brim. (We have to store up, ya know; that’s just how life here works.) At one point, I felt highly over-traveled, and then grateful to regain my footing during several stationary weeks at home. I’ve gotten so much better at saying “no,” which is a relief, and I’ve seen the empowerment that comes from turning down gigs, trips and invites, simply because that’s the direction my gut tends to lean.

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Recently, a slowing of assignments has me feeling a little nervous, though admittedly not nearly as panicked as I would’ve felt once upon a time. This ain’t my first freelance-work-lull rodeo, after all. And I know for certain that waiting, patience and faith are the biggest challenges of this alternative lifestyle I’ve chosen—and perhaps the most important necessities, too.

This is the reality of my work situation at present: I am sending out a ton of pitches, a lot of emails, a bunch of check-ins—many of which I know will never get a response. I am used to this by now, and I *usually* don’t take it personally, but still—it can grow super old, really fast. The past couple weeks, I have done more “pro bono”-esque work than I’ve done since early CV-building days, but my reasoning is that this keeps things moving, the juices flowing, the pendulum swinging…toward tangible things that will soon “catch”—if I allow the unfolding to happen at a pace beyond my control.

Yes, I am so grateful to receive invites to dinners, receptions and press events galore, and to find super-cool surprise deliveries on my doorstep (apples! Olive leaf-tea! Gourmet pizza pies!). This is all amazing, lucky, spoiled—undoubtedly a very privileged perk to my wacky line of work. But sadly, this isn’t the type of compensation accepted by the collectors of my bills or the cashiers of my stores. (Surely these are the less glamorous glimpses into freelance life that don’t often make the social media rounds.)

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Yet despite the slowing of the season, I am well-aware that life continually presents us with periods filled with “planting” versus “blooming”… and with years (or seasons) that “ask” versus those that “answer.” I take great comfort in complementary thoughts shared by peers like the lovely Meg Fee, in her post rooting for the bamboo farmer in us all.

I am trying to follow the advice of wise gurus I respect who suggest that, at times like these, we keep on keeping on, living, giving, gifting—putting messages out into the Universe that I have enough, I am enough, there is enough.

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I can’t know for sure whether or not it’s working, but today I got a couple small assignments in, heard from an old, old travel friend and found a $5 bill on the ground just minutes after my favorite Turkish restaurateur-chef randomly presented me with a beautiful ring, just because she doesn’t “feel like selling them anymore, and not everyone appreciates their beauty.”

So I’m inclined to trust there is some truth to this approach. We must believe in abundance—of wealth, of health, of love, of whatever we seek—even when, especially when, it is something we currently cannot see.

I’m thinking it’s worth convincing ourselves: There is somehow always enough.

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