Recharged and Running Out of Time

Christmas Eve:

I spent a few minutes talking with my cousin, Justin, who had been to Amsterdam a few years back to visit his lifelong friend who has lived there for years. He suggested that the two of us get in touch once I arrive. This way I could hear her story, bounce any questions off of her that I might have, and anything else that can happen when you meet someone new whose willing to lend some advice.

A few more minutes of Justin and I chatting revealed that his friend works at a radio station. My jaw dropped when I heard this – broadcasting is what I am pursuing! She has successfully transitioned into the life that I desire for myself, and I have a mutual connection with this person! Leads like this are gifts from the universe…there’s no other way I could describe the chances of this being real. I want the universe to know that I am extremely grateful and I will not waste this opportunity. I will cherish it completely.

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Me reppin’ my 16 Thoughts Down Cigna podcast swag.

Christmas Day:

In between the food, laughs, and home videos of this past weekend, I snuck in some episodes of Anthony Bourdain in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Sicily. My appetite for adventure is fully recharged and I’m once again reminded of my motivations for leaving my beautiful, predictable life behind.

Watch Bourdain’s episode of The Layover in “Amsterdam”

A few things I really liked about this episode, aside from Anthony’s questionably sarcastic remarks about indulging in weed, include the following:

The authenticity of an easy day in Amsterdam

It starts with some social sips of coffee, which bleeds into hopping around to other types of coffee shops 😉, then walking or sitting around the streets and canals, and ends with the bar scene where everyone’s got a beer in hand. Now I can see why this city is expensive…but damn do these people know how to live life to the fullest.

The food, obviously

The closer I get, the more intrigued I am over what I’m going to be eating in less than two weeks. Since beginning to poke around on the Internet, and shown in this show, I’m very eager to try:

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  • Stroopwafels
  • Raw herring, weirdly enough
  • Indonesian cuisine (never had it)
  • Dutch coffee

Here are some other popular foods in Amsterdam.

How easily I can picture myself there

Riding a bike, diving into a sensory deprivation tank (which I totally want to try), strolling the streets, admiring the architecture, and meeting all walks of life in a place I’ll soon be comfortable maneuvering…I can see myself doing all of this. It excited me to see the shops I’ll be visiting, the park I’ll find myself lying in…I can’t explain how I feel right now without getting lost in daydreaming.

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I’ll share with you my theme song for the moment. I always feel something new every time I listen to it, for every time it means something more.

I can’t wait to craft my own content about exploring Amsterdam the right way.

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An Emotional End to the Holiday Season

Christmas is over, meaning I said my goodbyes to my cousins, aunts, and uncles, and I used the phrase “see you in six months.”

I had such a great weekend with the company that matters most to me: my family.

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It looks like I have a little hat on.

The long weekend was rounded off by our traditional family trip to J. Timothy’s.

If you’ve never heard me go on about J. Tim’s, you’ve missed about 20% of the things that come out of my mouth. They have THE BEST CHICKEN WINGS that I have EVER had – which is totally worth blabbing about. They’re all over my Instagram…I’m not ashamed of my love for chicken that has been sauced and fried twice.

Look, here’s how much of a fan I am:

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So aside from J. Tim’s being full of delicious goodness, I love it because it’s always brought my family together. Little by little our family grows bigger with our new additions tangling their roots into our family tree. One of my sisters is engaged, another lives with her boyfriend in Massachusetts, and the youngest is one of my best friends in this world. My parents are supportive and want us all to be healthy and happy. There’s no reason to frown when we’re all sitting down at the same table.

Notice the hair down in the “before” and the hair up in the “after” ?

As I drove home after hugging Becca goodbye for the last time until June, I cried. I leave in less than two weeks. This, right now, is the end to so many familiarities…so many things that come to easy for me.

Though I am sad, I can’t help but feel a bit of raging excitement for the world I’ve only seen through the TV screen that’s about to become my reality.

I feel pretty empowered rn. Love you, fam 💋

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We Found A Place To Live!

Best parts about our new apartment:

  • It’s in the heart of Amsterdam
  • It’s 2 bedrooms
  • Modern AF
  • And for the grand finale…IT HAS A WASHER/DRYER!

I am not one to commit to a place without having seen it first, even for a weekend getaway on AirBnB, but that’s just something I have to get over.

We live in an era where we have to learn to trust the power of transparency even though photoshop pokes its ugly head in almost every picture posted on the Internet.

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Me reading the comments on AirBnb.

I would’ve never taken a leap of faith on renting a place if it weren’t for the fact that Shannon and I leave in 18 days and we need some sort of security for when we get there. I just wish it didn’t have to be so expensive to buy personal space in other parts of the world. But so it goes…

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Do any of you readers have experience with trusting your gut & the Internet to commit to something you haven’t seen in real life? If so, please share to make me feel better 🙂

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Decisions, Decisions

I’ve received yet another offer from work attempting to make me stay, and I’ve got to be honest, it’s a friggin’ tempting one. They want me to do the same things I’ve been doing, somewhere else, and I don’t want what they have to give me anymore. (Someone told me it’s like dating a man – you want him when you can’t have him. Then when he wants you, you’re over it.)

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I’ve already made my decision about what I’m going to do in 2017 and I made it a long time ago. I’m just scared to make it real…to make it known. Well, part of me’s afraid, the other thinks it’s no big deal after the mental and emotional shit I’ve already been through. This is the easy part – I haven’t even left yet!

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Yes, the self-journey has begun, and people say starting something is usually the hardest part, but I’m holding my tongue until I’m actually en route to my destination. I’ll have left my life behind on the ground that I’m staring at out the plane window. But how about we start with quitting my job first.

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I try not to let worry bother me because there’s no point. A little paranoia is healthy, but questioning things that have already been answered so many times in your head is like a sickness. If there were ever a time to get rid of any doubt, now is it.

Like the things I respond to and move on from in life, I must learn to accept my own decisions.

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This here’s the first biggie, and there are thousands – millions, even – to follow. I have to begin depending on my own skill and intuition in this new era. Those things have always been with me, they’ve just never been acted on…never been in control…never dictated any outcomes.

Why do I want to believe that trusting myself will be a mess when every other super successful person in the world became great by doing the same?

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7 Characteristics of A Great Personal Advocate

Journeys are rarely faced alone.

No matter how physically isolated you are, other people are with you in spirit (unless you’ve really cut off all ties and no one knows where you are).

The ones who are with you are the ones who sent you off with a smile, curious about your next move and how you’re going to handle it. They have faith in you and can actually face the reality of your whereabouts – they ask for details about where you are in life and what it’s like rather than refusing to acknowledge that the person they know is gone.

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These are our advocates, and they are the absolute game changer to any dream.

An advocate is someone…

  1. You respect whose eyes widened with joy when you told them you were embarking on an adventure.
  2. Who encourages and assures you regularly because they know you need that little boost from someone.
  3. Who believes you are making the right decision for yourself, regardless of what others say.
  4. Who puts your personal well-being before anything else, in every scenario.
  5. Who has attained a level of success in the same context that you wish to achieve.
  6. Who suggests solutions to potential problems and helps diminish reasons to be afraid.
  7. Who either wishes you well or begins the first leg with you.

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Got any characteristics or names of advocates that you’d like to share? Comment below and shout out a few! Or share this article with an advocate you want to recognize!

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Letting Out That Something

Ever feel like there’s a burst of energy within you waiting to be recognized?

Sometimes it’s stagnant – surreptitiously savored by the subconscious while shallow encounters steal your focus. Other times it’s ignited – bouncing around your insides waiting to burst off the tip of your tongue or fingers.

The bouncing one – that’s what I’ve been feeling lately. When I really sit down to let myself in, I feel this intense need to release this soft, glowing burn that craves attention by the rest of the world.

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Sometimes it can be relinquished by a song, or any type of art for that matter. It does the trick for me when the buzz I’m feeling feels simple enough to be extinguished through audio. Lately, that isn’t the case. Songs and pictures from someone else’s page don’t describe what I’m trying to say.

The energy within me is taking on a course of it’s own, growing more complicated and harder to tame…harder to explain…

I’m no longer identifying with what used to help me express myself. There is a true need for my own voice to be broadcasted and heard by the others who can’t quite hit the spot with superficial shit. To misrepresent what one is feeling inside is a sacrifice nobody should make. We live in an era of multimedia and increasing transparency…might as well be honest. Identifying with any piece of expression other than what you feel is bullshit that is dictating your life by causing you to settle for something other than truth.

Time to start taking my own advice. I’m not settling for shit.

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At Least One Thing’s Figured Out

Our new Instagram name, @ageof_exploration.

Do you know how hard it is to settle on something that is supposed to draw people into you in one glance? Well it’s not easy. After months of going back and forth with terrible ideas with Shan, we are officially declaring ourselves as the @ageof_exploration.

Why?

  1. Shannon’s a history teacher
  2. We are explorers
  3. We both loved learning about the Age of Exploration
  4. We’re at the friggin’ age of exploration!

This doesn’t stop at Insta – we’ll figure out new ways to incorporate it into everything we make so you guys know how to track us on our adventure across the world.

What do you guys think? Comment and tell us if you like the name or if you have any other suggestions worth sharing!

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Flip-Flops, Not the Sandal Kind

I guess this is what learning to deal with ambiguity feels like. This is the worst case of flip-flopping that I’ve ever experienced, and I’ll tell you why.

When you commit to a decision you’ve made, it’s a marvelous freedom.

Yes, it is. I’ve decided to live abroad next year, and that’s a no-brainer. Decision = done. No matter what, doubt will not conquer that idea because the roots are already well down into the ground.

But, I have no idea where I’m even going. A lost work opportunity in August, perilous research September thru October…November was for learning how to accept my decision and confiding in those who will actually hold me to leaving the country next year. By December you think I’d have a freakin’ clue as to where all of this work is taking me…

I’m back to offering a little faith in the company I work for. Another meeting with someone in a more powerful position brings the possibility of my career expanding overseas – right after I accepted that loss. Funny how corporations work. That brings me to Glasgow or Antwerp. Otherwise it’s onward to Amsterdam.

Yes, I’m tired of conflicting visions of the future, but I am in no way defeated. I’m taking this as my first life lesson of this entire experience, which is to ride it out. Keep the energy flowing into the universe no matter how much of a beating it’s taken so far. There is always more where that came from. I’m not taking no for an answer, so it’s time for myself to buckle up if my savings is all I’ve got to start with.

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Close, But Yet So Far

39 days. A month can be the shortest or the longest period of time depending on how you look at it. I don’t know if I want more time or for this year to be over already.

What should I be doing aside from trying to keep my job for next year? I just mailed my 30-day-in-advance notice to my landlord about my exit from this apartment and the lease…I guess starting to move out is the next move.

I’m going to do it with my head down while I try not to linger on the situation for too long. I have to do as I’m told by the me who is in the zone with a pen and a notebook. I have to follow that teeny tiny inkling despite how it’s going to affect my current environment. I must become impenetrable from the outside world. I can’t let it get to me.

So I’ll transfer my belongings like I have a million times before to and from my dorms, except this time I don’t have a break to slowly put them into their proper places. I have to do everything right the first time from here on out, every time.

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