With my upcoming trip to South America, I am preparing everything I need for the journey of a lifetime. One thing on my list to get is a journal. This is something that I have always done, ever since I went on my first big trip to Europe when I was 15. My high school had a Europe trip every other year, and my parents asked me if I wanted to go for my senior trip (even though I was a sophomore at the time). I have always been an easygoing person, so I nonchalantly said yes. We did 5 countries in 30 days, and I remember my mom buying me a journal in case I wanted to jot down a few things. I ended up filling that journal, but later in the trip misplaced it (I believe in Paris), and all my written memories of the trip was lost. That trip changed my entire life, and to my mother's dismay, the travel bug had bitten me.
About 5 years ago my parents gave me the best gift I have ever gotten: a map of the world...complete with pins, anxiously awaiting to be put on destinations that I had been to.
My obsession with this map is indescribable. While I know I will be putting 4 new pins on it this year, I also know that I will be on the hunt for a new travel journal to bring with me. Here are some of my old journals:
These journals may not look like much, but they are packed with details that my mind could never remember. They have the chocolate bar and fork for my McDonalds French fries (yes, I like to see how Mickey D's changes their menu for each country) that I had in Greece:
They hold the ferry tickets and map that I had in Santorini:
They hold foreign currencies (other than the Euro and the Pound), like the coins and bills I had in Sweden:
They hold the memories of the sweaty, tequila infused Tuesday nights when I lived in Italy and saw the Beatles cover band live:
But most of all, they are a snapshot of my feelings and emotions for some of the most life changing memories. I didn't write in them to be read. I wrote them to relive the details of the memories that I cannot remember. These journals help me look back at what I've been through and how I've come out stronger. They've witnessed the tears of one of the hardest breakups that tore my heart to pieces. They give me a sense of appreciation for all the blessings that I've been given, and give me appreciation for the path and life I've been given. Gratitude fills my heart, and one day I'll have great great great grand kids that can read these and be inspired to live life fearlessly. ❤
Today was a glorious day. I received my World Cup tickets, and my secret validation that I was going to be in Brazil in 6 short weeks! As most people know, I've been planning this trip for two long years. Am I obsessed with soccer? Not really. Many ask why I'm going. I would say that I like to visit places and cross things off my bucketlist at the same time. Two years ago I crossed Tomatina (see Wikipedia's definition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Tomatina) off my list. That epic event was on my list and really gave me another chance to change my mind about Spain (my first impression wasn't the greatest, but I'll save that for another time). Anyways, getting to experience Brazil in all of it's soccer glory is something that could not make my heart happier. When I found out Brazil was hosting the World Cup, it was kismet...and I knew I would be going.
Anyways, the whole "World Cup Lottery" was insane, and I was extremely nervous about even getting a ticket. I definitely prayed a few times in hope God would send me to his holy land in Brazil. In my heart I knew I would not go to Brazil if I didn't have a ticket. It wasn't an option because I would essentially be an outsider, knowing that others would be going to matches and I would not be able to get in.
I remember sitting on my air mattress in Milwaukee, WI, and going online the day tickets were released for bid. It was late August 2013 and I would be moving to Seattle, WA to start a new chapter of my life. I was so confused by this "lottery" system because there were so many explanations, pie charts, and tiers. I knew you could select either the exact stadium (I chose Rio) and/or match (based on what teams you would want to see), or you could let the lottery decide where you would go. The pickier and more detailed you were gave you a smaller change to get tickets, versus if you didn't have any restrictions. I didn't care what team or match I wanted to go to, but I did know that I wanted to be in the Rio Maracana stadium. I also knew the time frame I wanted to go, because I wanted to take advantage of paid holidays in the USA (July 4th). So I applied in August, submitted the exact names of who was going, and also submitted the credit card that would be used - this made me nervous because if my bank denied the transaction (from an out of the country company), they would not give me the chance to try another credit card and I would not get a ticket. I submitted my information and waited.
It was the first week of November, and I realized a large sum of money had been taken out of my bank account. I was upset, and went to look at my online statement. I froze when I logged in. I had gotten tickets!!!!! It was an early birthday present, and an amazing surprise. After that it was all downhill, and I was in full trip mode.
So back to the title of this post. After I declared to the world that I would be on my way to South America in Summer 2014, many people started to become "afraid and worried" for me. Many things that I have heard were: "You shouldn't go there because it isn't safe for two women to go alone", "The murder and crime rate is extremely high", and "Maybe you should invite a guy to go along on the trip".
I would say that sometimes I am a little too trusting of people, and yes I do see the good in every person. BUT I know that I am street smart, and yes I have been robbed before (in other countries). I've done my research on the countries/places I am visiting and I am making an itinerary (to pass out to family and friends) in case of an emergency (because there was that one time that everyone thought I was kidnapped in Spain - but I'll save that for later).
I would describe myself as fearless because I want to experiences things: travel, culture, and everything that life hands me. I am not an irresponsible traveler. I know that I will not be bringing any jewelry (le sigh), and nothing that makes me technologically savvy. Except for my camera. I also have contacts in Brazil in case of an emergency. Some people say, "What if something happens to you"?. You know what? I believe in kismet, and that we are exactly where we are meant to be. I'm not hung up on fear, and not to sound too cliche...but whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. So do not let anyone discourage you, or your dreams. Follow your heart and passion will come.
Anyone who knows me knows about my infatuation with jewelry. And not the fancy fine jewelry (maybe that will come one day). I'm enamored by gaudy costume jewelry. While I love fashion, I believe your accessories can make or break your outfit. It can help you portray what you're feeling...quirky, colorful, refined...any piece of jewelry can help you express yourself.
To me, jewelry has to speak to me. A few of my favorite things: chunky necklaces, sparkles, plastic and beads....wait who am I kidding, I do not discriminate. :) While in London last week, I really did not have any time to shop. But when I did, I made sure to visit the accessory section of the shops I was in. I found a few necklaces from River Island and Primark. Here were my purchases:
I also brought a bag of jewelry with me from the states (I always have an abundance of versatile pieces, and my friends never have to worry about not being accessorized). Here is a (not so great) picture of the necklace I wore at the rehearsal dinner in London. I had gotten it at the Baublebar in Nordstrom.
Here is the website in case you were interested. It's at a great price and so fun!
And in case you are wondering where we dined for the rehearsal dinner, I have an amazing recommendation if you are ever in London. We went to a place called "Ceviche", which is a Peruvian restaurant (the brides family is from Peru). It is located in Soho.
We arrived and immediately ordered a round of Pisco Sours (which is Pisco Quebranta, lime, egg whites, sugar syrup, and Peruvian Chuncho Bitters). I've never had anything like it but it was AMAZING.
Our food was amazing as well. The portions were tapa-like, but we were never out of food. It actually kept coming and coming, and it was all so amazing that many of us left with stomach aches and in need of tums.
We dined on Cancha, Sakura Manu, Ceviche, and Lengua. That was probably about 1/4 of what we actually got, but those were my favorites. When I am back in London I will definitely be going here. Actually, I anticipate going to Peru before I go back to London, so I am sure the motherland of ceviche will not disappoint me. Cheers to being a fearless eater ❤
As I have just come back from a quick trip across the pond to celebrate one of my best friends weddings, I reflect on what makes me happy. Today I was inspired by a quote I came across:
"Travel. As much as you can. As far as you can. As long as you can. Life is not meant to be lived in one place."
Travel is something that fills my heart with happiness, and I hope that one day I have a career that embodies as much travel as my heart can handle. So many people think im silly (especially my mom) for my hope of this "dream job". I've never given up hope in anything I've done (I've gotten really good at proving people wrong), and one day all my hard work will pay off.
I've gone back through childhood/teen journals that I've kept and I came across this, "I wish that there were enough years in my life to at least live in every country once". I know that I am very fortunate for every experience and opportunity that has enriched my life, but I will never stop dreaming.
Below is a picture I captured while I was in London over the weekend. More to come soon ❤
Bellisima = "Extremely Beautiful" in Italian, and how i would describe the world, and how I view it through travel.