Wednesday, August 22, 2012

my only regret, and the thing that anyone who has ever spoken to me in real life probably already knows.

I think it's been pretty obvious for a while now that all I can think about anymore is traveling. My biggest regret from high school/college is not taking a year off to backpack, or not studying abroad more than once. I think I spend 50% of my time thinking about traveling these days, and the other 50% hoping someone will bring up traveling so I can talk about it. I'm a woman possessed.

Normally, here is where I'd say I need to make my mind up about whether or not I'm actually going to get on a plane and go, but I've started using the word "when" to refer to going abroad, not "if," so I guess I already did. 

A lot of my time has been spent researching where I'd like to go and do and see. There are so many options I can't nail down anything close to resembling an itinerary, but I do know that I want to start in Paris. 

So, naturally, I feel like the Universe is screaming FRANCE at me right now. I don't know if it's just that I'm listening for it, and so I'm noticing it more, or if this really is a sign from the Universe, but I swear someone talks about France or the Eiffel Tower or speaks French within earshot of me every day. I wish I could say that I don't check prices for flights to Paris almost daily, but that would be a damn lie.

My only real plan these days, only real goal, is to make this happen. I can't see past it, I can't plan anything else in my life. I have vague ideas and thoughts of what I might do after I get back, but for the first time in a long time, I want something so badly that I will do almost anything to make it happen, and I can't ignore that.

When you want something so badly it physically hurts, you're a coward not to chase it.

Image creds: Signs from the Universe in the forms of secrets mailed into PostSecret.

Monday, August 6, 2012

i mean, let's just be nicer to ourselves, okay? we cool, self?

In case you couldn't guess it, there is a downside to being a FURIOUSLY OBSESSIVE LIFE PLANNER. When you want to live your life in SHOUTY EXCITED CAPITALS as much as possible, you start to think every day needs to be SHOUTY EXCITED CAPITALS and so sometimes go a little overboard with the pressure on yourself.

I experienced this most with my desire to write every day. Being published is something that has been my dream since I was that weird misunderstood girl in sixth grade who would rather write in the cafeteria than discuss whether or not boys still had cooties or if we were allowed to like them yet. (Yes, really.) I've had so many stories bottled up inside me, waiting to be told, that I decided that 2012 would be the year I started trying to make that happen. Screw the fear of rejection.

And so every month of 2012 that passed without me waking up every morning and writing first thing was a month of COMPLETE AND UTTER FAILURE. It didn't matter what else I accomplished, if I had fun, or what was on my plate that day or week or month, I was totally unforgiving about the fact that I didn't write. And being hard on myself made it harder to want to try again the next day.

What I didn't realize was that just because I wasn't working on the same project every day didn't mean I wasn't writing. In fact, if I think about it, I've probably done some sort of creative writing every single day this year, I just didn't always notice it. Then, in the middle of berating myself for sleeping in because I was mothereffing exhausted instead of getting up and writing like I "should," I realized it. I realized that I had written every single day I could consciously remember, it just wasn't always on the same project.

Blogging can be creative writing too, dumbass Valorie.

So what happened right after I realized that? I relaxed. I sat down, I shut up, I stopped harassing myself, and then I wrote every day for another month. Creatively. On the same two projects. I wrote furiously and obsessively and actually got somewhere.


So, you know. Relax. Let's all just be a little nicer to ourselves, and maybe we'll actually get somewhere for once. We cool, self? 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

this. always, forever, this.

"There is nothing like riding a bicycle across the Golden Gate Bridge or seeing the Coliseum at sunset. I wish I could paint a picture for you of how incredible the Guatemalan mountains are or what a rush it is to appear on Italian TV. Even the amazing photographs I have of Niagara Falls and the American Midwest countryside do not do these experiences justice. I can’t tell you how beautiful southern Spain is from the vantage point of a train; you have to experience it yourself. The only way you can relate is by seeing them.

"While you’re young, you should travel. You should take the time to see the world and taste the fullness of life. Spend an afternoon sitting in front of the Michelangelo. Walk the streets of Paris. Climb Kilimanjaro. Hike the Appalachian trail. See the Great Wall of China. Get your heart broken by the “killing fields” of Cambodia. Swim through the Great Barrier Reef. These are the moments that define the rest of your life; they’re the experiences that stick with you forever.

"Traveling will change you like little else can. It will put you in places that will force you to care for issues that are bigger than you. You will begin to understand that the world is both very large and very small. You will have a newfound respect for pain and suffering, having seen that two-thirds of humanity struggle to simply get a meal each day.

"While you’re still young, get cultured. Get to know the world and the magnificent people that fill it. The world is a stunning place, full of outstanding works of art. See it.

"You won’t always be young. And life won’t always be just about you. So travel, young person. Experience the world for all it’s worth. Become a person of culture, adventure, and compassion. While you still can."

I couldn't say it better, so all was quoted directly from Why You Should Travel Young by Jeff Goins for Converge Magazine. The full article is here. 

  Soon. Soon.