I Feel Guilty…For Being Busy Having Fun

I feel guilty that you guys have only read my pissy rant and haven’t heard any of the good stuff we’ve been experiencing. There’s been so much that it’s hard to keep up with, and I’m not gonna lie, some experiences are sweeter when you save them for yourself…like gelato. 😋

Let me reach back in my memory and start at the beginning of our time in Rome.

Pre-mature P.S.: We got a new Airbnb and it’s awesome.

Colosseum

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The almighty Colosseum! This was the first thing we chose to see for many reasons – the first being it’s an actual stop on the tram route. This was especially cool because it marks the third New7Wonders of the World that I’ve seen (others are Christ the Redeemer, also seen with Shan O, and Petra. Who knows, maybe I’ll hit all seven before I’m 30 😊). In short, it’s just as big as you’d imagine, and being in its presence is a breathtaking experience. I think Shan and I will spend one of our last days taking a tour of this kick-ass historic community gathering place.

New Artwork Among the Old: Lapidarium

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We found this horse and scratched our heads – we hadn’t heard of this one before. After some quick Googling, we found it’s part of a traveling exhibit that’s making a very relevant statement – “we all come from the same place”.

This horse is one of 43 as created by Guastavo Aceves, and together the collection speaks to the omnipresent issue of human migration and Europe’s ongoing refugee crisis. Funny thing is, Aceves began this show eight years ago, before the crisis we are familiar today became as complicated as it is. To read more about it, I encourage you to check out this article from The Guardian.

The Arch of Constantine

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Not too far from Lapidarium stands the Arch of Constantine. It was erected by the Roman Senate to commemorate Constantine I‘s victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312. Dedicated in 315, it is the largest Roman triumphal arch. Though dedicated to Constantine, much of the decorative material incorporated earlier work from the time of the emperors Trajan (98–117), Hadrian (117–138) and Marcus Aurelius (161–180), and is thus a collage. Thx Wikipedia.

Forums of Rome: Augustus, Caesar, Trajan, Nerva, and the Roman One

While walking down Via dei Fori Imperiali, one is surrounded by gorgeous ruins that once stood as forums. It’s hard to imagine how these structures stood before they crumbled, but the remains are still a fascinating sight to see.

Here’s a little something I found by the forums that made me laugh:

Capitoline Hill

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Rome’s “Capitol Hill” is another beauty I’ve dreamt about visiting since seeing it in the movies. When you walk through the gate and onto the steps, you’re told not to sit anywhere on or inside it – that’s a real bummer when the entire structure is comprised of what seems like a thousand steps. My calves were a-burnin’ 🔥 but the nuggets of information scattered throughout and incredible views from the top make it 100% worth the breathlessness.

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View from atop the cordonata
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Panorama numero uno
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Dos
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Tres

Trevi Fountain

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Ahh, the cornerstone to every RomCom taking place in Rome. As you may already know, there are a few myths surrounding the famous Baroque art piece when it comes to tossing coins into the water. The first one is an older legend, whereas the second two are attributed to the 1954 movie Three Coins in the Fountain.

Throw one coin over your right shoulder, and you will return to Rome one day.

Throw two coins, and a new romance will come your way.

To throw three coins will lead to marriage.

Needless to say I dumped my whole purse in there.

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I’m not ashamed! All of the money in the fountain is donated to Caritas, an Italian charity. And according to BBC News in 2006, an estimated 3,000 euros was collected each night.

All of these sights were seen on our first active day here (after we caught up on sleep from our night without it). Of course we ended that day with pizza – pizza is the best way to end any day! And I’ve eaten it a bunch of times since then…I’ve got some pictures to prove it. But I’ll save that for a blog post entirely dedicated to the delicious food we’ve consumed since stepping on Italian soil.

Until then, wish us luck on covering everything we’ve missed in the two days we have left!

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✌🏼

The 411

I woke up this morning and practiced meditation for the first time in a long time. Rather than chasing sporadic ideas of what I should do next, I want to let the true answer materialize once I’m ready to listen.

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I got some mail from my cousin Jill (whaddup Jilly Cat!) who was inquiring about some of the things mentioned in a post last week that are due for some updates, like:

  • The apartment search
  • Job search
  • Other travel plans

I will try my best to answer those questions!

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Gulp

Truth is, Shannon and I haven’t figured out what we’re doing yet. We’re in an AirBnB that is up on January 29th and haven’t secured anything beyond that point. Stupid? Maybe…

The thing is – I like not having a plan. Last week I almost had a heart attack thinking about the job I left and the security it brought me. I wanted to get on the next flight home and beg for my cubicle back because I didn’t know what the hell I was doing out here. Though I may not know exactly what the plan is for tomorrow or next week, I’ve begun to surrender into my big, comfortable chair of not knowing.

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The more I discover about this city, the more I love it. Amsterdam emits eccentricity, acceptance, and love; which vibrates off its towering buildings and into the hearts of its inhabitants…not to mention everyone we meet encourages us to stay here to find happiness like they did. We’re making friends and content…what could be better? Oh right…making money would be nice!

Knowing very well this will hinder our bank accounts, we’re going to turn our adventure into a Eurotrip. Not the kind where you stay two days to go snap pictures of famous buildings and hop on the next train, but something similar to what we’re already doing. We’ll plop ourselves in a city of our choice for an extended period of time and really get to know our surroundings. Why? We’re growing fond of this place we’re temporarily calling home. I want to ride this feeling as long as I can, wherever I can.

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A Lingering Possibility

Another interesting tidbit we learned from our favorite bartender, Lucas (owner of our favorite bar – Café het Dwarsliggertje, aka Always Opposite), is that we are eligible for a Working Holiday visa in Australia which lasts up to a year. I could go there, potentially get a job in social media/marketing, and keep this adventure moving full speed ahead while developing the skills I wish to perfect.

For now, I’m enjoying today – we’re going to the zoo! I promise to check in with more info on our decision-making process once we have updates on progress or factors influencing our choices.

Letting go and living in the moment feels good.

Thank you for reading our blog and traveling this journey with us. Your support means everything, and it is a solid staple in our success.

So I put my hands up
They’re playing my song, the butterflies fly away
I’m noddin’ my head like, ‘yeah’
I’m movin’ my hips like, ‘yeah’
I got my hands up, they’re playing my song
I know I’m gonna be okay
Yeah, it’s a party in the A’DA(M)

-Miley Cyrus, kind of

✌🏼


Have you done a Eurotrip and have any suggestions of places we should visit? Stories you want to share? Maybe we’re waiting from a sign from you! Comment below and share your experiences with us 🙂

$100,000 Goes to Whoever Wants to Take Half of My Luggage Off My Hands

I’m sitting on our grey L-shaped couch of the AirBnB slobbering up one of the 100 Grand candy bars that managed to make it all the way to Amsterdam with us…the rest of the snacks didn’t have a chance. THANK GOD this chocolate is with me right now because if I didn’t have these…so help me God.

I need a minute to indulge as I recuperate from the past eyebrow-twitch-worthy 24 hours we endured from the moment we left the United States. I have not slept, I’ve eaten garbage that’s tasted like garbage, and I need a shower and a nap.

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It all started when we checked our bags in at Newark, NJ around 2:30 pm. I was the lucky gal to discover the hidden fees of this stupid little airline called WOW (I’m sure it’s because of all the fun surprise charges!) and paid $120 for how freakin’ heavy my bag was. I’ll admit I overpacked…but should I pay $20/kg for this horrible mistake I’m still dealing with? I don’t think so…because wait until you hear what else these kilograms made me deal with.

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The first flight was cool – we boarded at 6 pm and sat next to a cop from Brooklyn and another cop and a pilot. We had great conversations, exchanged weird stories you’d only tell someone you’d never see again, and landed in Iceland in time to transfer to our flight to Amsterdam. I watched a Bob Marley documentary and I didn’t sleep a wink.

The flight to Amsterdam consisted of a crying baby and someone listening to Beyoncé too loudly. I didn’t sleep on that flight either, and we flew into the sunrise of 5-degree weather of the Netherlands sleepy and unprepared for what was next.

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When we landed, we talked with the woman next to us who was in the middle of an extravagant holiday. The guy across the aisle made conversation with her, and so we met Aidan.

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I’m pretty sure Aidan is synonym for Angel because this guy was sent from above. He’s from Washington, D.C., and he got us from the airport to the Central Station to the metro to Rembrandtplein, which is right near our temporary home. I know I summarized all of those things into one sentence, but that would’ve taken us ALL fucking DAY if it weren’t for this guy. Aidan, if you ever read this…good karma is going to bring you some reallllly good shit.

“You guys don’t travel often, do you?” – Aidan

He chose to spend his day helping the two clueless tourists who brought one 50 lb luggage too many – each – and patiently waited for our huffing-puffing selves to make it across the platforms and the escalators and everywhere else we traveled this morning. AND he offered to help us find bartending jobs at one of his regular spots! We friended him on Facebook and plan to meet up with him later on tonight when we look and feel like normal human beings.

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Is this real life?

When we found our apartment, a nice young man helped us carry our 50 lb bags up two steep-ass flights of stairs. Generous me only had like €2 in my pocket after spending the €20 from Steph’s cute card on transportation, so I gave the poor guy a $10 bill that is absolutely useless to him. If you thought Shan and I would be smart enough to have gone to the ATM or converted some currency before this point, guess again!!!

I think the way today unfolded is one of those circumstances people allude to when they say “you’ll figure it out” without actually knowing how. Shannon and I didn’t know how we were going to figure it out, and we were fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time with a generous stranger and an easygoing kid. I wonder how many times that’s going to work until our luck runs out, but add that to the list of things we’ll “figure out“.

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To the friends and family reading this rant – I hope the worst of it is over. Typing this now already makes it into a funny story, so at least something good came out of it.

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Next Steps?

Our objectives are to:

  1. Find a place for February.
  2. Get a job. (Maybe that will be solved tonight when we meet back up with Angel? I mean Aidan 😉)
  3. Ship some of these kilos home or straight up get rid of them – because I am NOT going through the same sweaty struggle it took to get where I am right now. My arms are currently jello.

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Until then, ✌🏼

Overwhelmed Doesn’t Even Begin to Describe It

In less than 48 hours I’ll be on the plane.

My room is still a disaster, but I’ve had no choice but to begin organizing it. My mom is helping and Brittany’s been hanging around making weird noises, so I guess it’s not so bad.

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Britt in her natural Snapchabitat.

I can’t stop thinking about last night.

I have never felt the strange combination and force of feelings like I did while I was with the people that mean the most to me (who were in Connecticut). Oblivious me thought I was going on a dinner date with my best friend Julie, and to my surprise I walked into a room with my some of favorite people on this earth…and they were there for me.


Sneaky, sneaky Julie plotted the entire evening consisting of dinner at the Vic House, a popular Cheshire spot, and cake back at my place…meaning my parents and sisters were in on it the whole time! I don’t know why, but I thought they’d be worse at keeping surprises a secret.

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Me and Julie ❤

Every single moment of it was perfect, and I even have a souvenir to show for it. Courtney, my soul sister since birth, made a journal with some old pictures of us and had everyone sign it. I haven’t read it yet because I already cried enough yesterday for the entire weekend.


These are my people right here in this picture. They are the ones who squeezed me goodbye with their support osmosising into my tear ducts. These are the ones I’m going to miss so incredibly much.

Thankful doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel towards them. I don’t know what I did to deserve such a loving bunch of weirdos, but I’ll try to keep it up in my journeys ahead.

I love you all with all my heart. Thank you for making this difficult. 😉

✌🏼

“Hold On” – Alabama Shakes

I’m sitting in my cluttered room listening to the likable blues rock band called Alabama Shakes. The featured song is one that my sister Brittany and I enjoy belting in the car, which we just did on our way back from the pet store in Wallingford. We cherished a beautiful half hour with a Weimaraner named Jade.

Jade was a wittle sweepy 😴

So yeah, I put off cleaning up the tornado of a bedroom I’m living out of for another week…and the car that has my summer clothes thrown all over the backseat because they were in a garbage bag that ripped back in October – that’s how lazy I am. I moved out of my house into my parents’, and I’m being resistant.

Song change:

As terrible as it sounds, I don’t want to tie up my loose ends here. I don’t want to say goodbye to people over dinner or a drink or a tight-squeeze of a hug. I’ve learned that I’m really bad at goodbyes, so I’d rather just not do them in the first place. Nobody should take that personally, I just don’t like being sad.

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I still don’t know what perfectly prepared looks like on paper, all I know is that I’m not it. Is anyone ever ready to take on a new adventure? All I feel is the knot in my stomach that’s reacting to the doubt whispering in my ear that’s telling me this could be a huge mistake.

In a sense, I went and fucked up my whole life…not necessarily in a bad way, but I pointed out the biggest pieces of foundation and I ripped them out of the ground. There’s rubble everywhere, and I’m being forced to clean up the literal mess that I’ve created for myself.

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What if somedays I don’t feel like dealing with this massive thing I’ve plopped on my to-do list for an indefinite amount of time? I’ve signed myself up for a struggle I can only tackle when I feel like I have the ability to, which will force me to find strength in unfamiliar places. I can no longer hide from my responsibilities. I can no longer choose to feel small when I have an endless amount of tasks to complete. There’s no more room for feeling sorry for myself.

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I’m someone who draws power from the people I love that love me back. I want to focus on ways to keep connected with those who are fueling me even before I leave, like a Flat Stanley-type idea, for example, where myself and my support network will stay close in our hearts no matter the physical distance between us…and then we can Instagram it, of course.


While wrapping up that last paragraph, somebody rang our doorbell. My dad answered and I heard a familiar voice saying my name…it was my friend Steph‘s dad and he had an envelope in his hands. He handed it to me as he said “Steph is in Hawaii so she isn’t able to say goodbye to you and she wanted me to give you this.” Inside were exactly the words I needed to hear from such a dear friend.

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Steph, if you’re reading this, I want you to know how lucky I am to have you in my life. You and I have been friends since God-knows-when and I know we will continue to be rooting each other on for the rest of our lives. Thank you for considering me even while you’re exploring freakin’ Hawaii…I hope you can come visit and show me around the places you went to while you were in A’dam. I love you ❤️ & hope you have an awesome trip!

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Man, I am feeling thankful.

✌🏼

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.

✌🏼

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.

✌🏼

Mid-Week Motivation: Remembering You’re in Control

Individuals, society, corporations…they all want to take advantage of how gullible we can be. They tell us that they are in control of our decisions and our fate, and we almost always agree because we don’t know what else to do. This is what we’ve been taught and so shall it be.

Acknowledging that we are in control is powerful and it is fueled by imagination. Imagine where you want to be and accept only that. From there, imagine your immediate next step, which is all anyone needs to move forward toward his or her dream.

Whispers of doubt and the temptation to relinquish control are constantly knocking on our doors. It’s up to us to guard that door, to protect ourselves, and to leave the fucking building altogether.

Abandon the fabricated delusions. Life’s too short to give up on what you believe you truly deserve.

✌🏼️

My Loop

Welp, I’ve officially ripped off the bandaid that I’ve been hesitant to rip. So with that.. cue Kel and his nostalgic punch line: “aaaaaaaw, here it goes!”

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First post and I have to say, I am rather nervous about taking off this outer shell to unleash my vulnerability onto the world. How do I open up my mind and soul and disclose my inner thoughts to perfect strangers? Subjecting myself to new interpretations of what I’m thinking, experiencing and feeling.

Fuck it, I have a month left here so here goes everything.

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A little over one month. One month until we’re ripped from the roots that have wound our feet so tightly into our small state for the past 24 years. One month left of simplicity, familiarity, casual comforts of family, lovers and friends. One month until our adventure begins where we’ll be engulfed in doubt, mistakes, anxiety, self-searching, the unknown and potentially failure *GULP*

As I write this, I’m watching Dolores in Westworld struggle to break the mold that binds her to her simplistic “loop” of a life.

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I can’t help but feel like Dolores is the perfect, cliche metaphor for myself. Theres been this subtle itch I’ve been attempting to scratch for a long time, yet I’ve been stuck in the same “loop”. Always finding an excuse to prevent myself from altering the straight and narrow path that I’ve been on.

“I don’t have the money”, “I have too much to lose”, and, my personal favorite,“it’s not the right time”. I’ve found that no time is ever the right time. If I keep using that excuse, I’ll never accomplish what it is that I want to accomplish and I’ll never scratch that itch.

This goes farther than just being stuck in the same place surrounded by the same faces and same routines everyday. I had a small glimpse of what I’ve been looking for when I had the ultimate freedom this past summer. Waking up in a new place every day. No responsibilities, no ties. Constantly surrounded by the raw beauty of nature and discovering first hand all the unique stories each state has to share. The road trip cross country was the ultimate release of stresses from “real life”. I yearn for that feeling…and in a little over a month, I’ll inhale deep and feel the soothing release of those stresses once again. Except this time, I’ll get to hop on this crazy roller coaster of life with my best friend by my side *cue Hawaiian roller coaster ride*

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Until then, I’ll remain discontented, while staying on my same loop: wake up, work, go home, fall asleep, dream of what is yet to come…repeat.

🤘🏼

Sunday Feelz 10.29

I’m thankful for the days I can crawl out of bed with my blanket wrapped around my head…the days I squirm over to the couch to plant my ass down for the day…the days I’m surrounded by roommates, who are the best people to sit around and do nothing with because it still feels like you’re doing something.

It’s tough knowing I’m giving up normalcy. At this moment, this is the only thing I can imagine myself doing. It’s a beautiful day, and I’m tempted to hang up the hammock somewhere, but it’s also a scary thought to think about leaving the house right now. So I think I’ll just stay here instead.

I could be hammocking. I could be reading. I could be running. I could be out there living.

Wasting precious time.

✌🏼

Note: This was written on Sunday and posted on Tuesday. Deal with it.