Worry dolls

I don’t believe anyone will be reading this. Maybe that’s why I feel it will be easier to let my worries and anxieties flow freely. 

Worry dolls are a Guatemalan legend. They’re small dolls who you whisper your worries to at night. You place them under your pillow while you sleep and they take away your worries. 

It seems like a contradiction that my mom snuck them into my bag before I left. I’ve just found them while unpacking in my new apartment in Melbourne, Australia. I’ve been in Australia for over a month. I’ve been traveling longer. It seems surreal still. It still feels like vacation. I don’t want it to feel that way though. But it’s a contradiction none the less that my mom would give them to me when she is causing so much anxiety for me. I can’t blame her that she is my sole anxiety. She isn’t. But it hurts me so much that she is supposed to be my rock and she isn’t. She’s being the opposite. I am so close to breaking and I just want to talk to her, to vent my frustration and anger. Instead she makes me feel worse and we just constantly fight. 

I wish writing this would have given me some kind of satisfaction. I’ve vented but I don’t feel any cathartic relief. Maybe the worry dolls will bring relief in the morning.

Update – graduated and in a new state

Hello all, sorry to take such a long time between writing posts. Quick update from me: I GRADUATED! Yep, I graduated from my university. I now have a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Psychology and a minor in Art. Sigh, finally. I also had a job lined up for me out in a hostel in San Diego, California. However, my mom was offered a job down in Florida (Orlando area) and asked me to help with moving down there. So that’s where I am right now. I have a decent job at an art gallery that is kind of boring, but at least I love everyone I work with. My next adventure starts in February. I plan on going to Australia for a year! I’ll be posting more often and hopefully will keep up this time instead of months on end. :]

My Traveling Paradox

So a few weeks ago, I was having this problem with my shyness. There’s a cute boy in my one psychology class. I’ve stared at him, probably obviously, since day one. So yes, I’m a creep. At the beginning of the semester, I was in this complicated thing with my ex. I guess we’re still pretty complicated. Anyway, it took some time for me to decide to talk to new guys. For about half a dozen different classes, I would try to get up my nerve to say hi to him.. and fail. I just couldn’t imagine what to talk to him about or what goes after the ‘hey, what’s up?’ ‘nothing, you’ ‘nothing’ conversation. Now listen, I have anxiety – Generalized Anxiety Disorder to be precise. I’ve had countless panic attacks and need medication to calm me down some times. After the one class, I was shaking, heart pounding, and feeling like I needed one of my pills. I realized I was crazy. I was on the way to having a panic attack over worrying about how to say “hi” to a boy. A BOY.

I had told some friends about this and every one of them (at different times and places) all related it back to travel and my courage to travel solo. They can’t understand how I’m so nonchalant about traveling the world by myself. How I could backpack Europe by myself or with (what started out as) a stranger (and turned into a wonderful lifetime friend.) How I can plan to spend a year in Australia by myself with no worries. How I don’t feel strange to go have lunch by myself. How I’ve lived alone in my apartment for 2 years. How I’m planning to move to San Diego for the summer – by myself. And then in a hostel in France, I can laugh and have fun with people I met minutes ago.

Nice, France

So here is my conundrum, why is it that I can easily go up to a stranger in a foreign country to make friends.. but I can’t say ‘hi’ to a boy here in the states? I don’t have any worries or doubts or fears of traveling alone somewhere where I don’t speak the language. I don’t mind, no, I LOVE being free on a topless or nude beach. I even like flirting with guys there. So this is my traveling paradox: when I am in another country or new place, I am free and confident to be myself. I absolutely love saying exactly what’s on my mind and talking to whoever I want to. I used to think it was similar to that whole YOLO phrase going around but it’s more than that. It’s more than just ‘hey, I’m leaving to go to another country tomorrow and I’ll never see you again so I don’t care if you don’t like what I say.’ I wish I could describe it better. It also has to do with seeing all these amazing new things every day and since you’re alone, you have to be blab to someone about it! And then there’s also because I’m in hostels where it’s such an amazing welcoming feeling. Everyone is there with similar purpose: to see something new or visit a lovely place or just live life. It’s a whole way of life – hosteling. With all of us having a similar outlook on life, we’re freer to open up and talk and make friends.

What I need to learn is how to get that back: my confidence. Not for this specific boy or anything. I want to be the person I loved while traveling. I was happier and carefree. I smiled and smelled the roses a lot more often. Maybe that’s why I love traveling – because of who I am when I travel. Either way, I’m hoping to turn back into the girl who could start a conversation with anyone at the bar – even the cutest guy. I don’t like this girl who hyperventilates over thinking about say ‘hi’ to some guy.

Decisions, Decisions… Help!

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before or not, but I graduate May 18th! Only 7 weeks away and I will be officially done and finally have my BA in Psychology. About only 5 weeks and I’ll actually be done with finals and all my classes. As exciting as this is, IT’S VERY SCARY. May 31st is the move out date for my current apartment. Although I have decided to definitely go to Bonnaroo and volunteer – even paid my deposit for my spot on c’roo. I have not decided what lays ahead of me the two weeks after I’m kicked out of my apartment and before I go to Bonnaroo. I also haven’t decided where I’m headed after Bonnaroo is all over. I was planning to go straight to CA, but I was just invited to my cousin’s wedding at the end of June in NY. Now I have the dilemma of wasting time back home in order to go to the wedding or not attend the wedding and leave from Bonnaroo straight to CA.

So what am I go doing in California? Well, work for accommodation! Through workaway.info, I’ve secured my spot to work and live in San Diego, CA at a hostel for the summer. Workaway.info is a website that connects travellers/volunteers with hosts. Essentially, you look through all the different hosts in the country or region that you are visiting and email them to ask if you can come stay with them. In exchange for you living with this family or business, you work or “volunteer” for a predetermined amount of time. For instance, at the hostel in San Diego, I will work about 24 hours a week. In exchange, I will stay there and get breakfast and dinner every day. There are other work for accommodation programs, but I’ve gravitated towards this one. I’ve emailed other hosts through workaway, and now am waiting to find out some other options I may have.

My dilemma, you see, is my mom and her undecided future. I currently live about 15-20 minutes away from her and my sisters. We’re very close. Her department was recently outsourced and she unluckily is out of a job. She has been applying like crazy to move down to Florida. There is one job in particular that has contacted her and she seems to be a pretty good candidate for – but in South Carolina. As excited as I am for her, it puts a damper on figuring out my plans! I was hoping to move back in with my mom when I left my apartment in order to wait until Bonnaroo, then go to CA. Or if I did decide to go to the wedding, I’d go back to my mom’s after Bonnaroo as well so I could go to the wedding and then go to CA. If she’s not even going to be here, then my plans have to change. Then she also asked if I would consider moving to South Carolina with her for the summer to help get adjusted there with my sisters. That brings a whole other level of possibilities. I think I’m just overwhelmed with all the possibilities of where to live and with whom and how to save money or work to save money and this and that. It’s a big spoon to swallow. So I ask this: WHAT DO I DO?! If there are any good suggestions out there to help me figure out what to do once I graduate, I’d appreciate it.

Quick Refresher

My last entry is from almost a year ago, while I was traveling in Barcelona. I spent the next few weeks in bliss. I found my true calling – traveling. The hostels I stayed in, the adventures I had, the people I met, all were amazing. I went to Nice, France after Barcelona. Took a train to Cinque Terra, Italy, then to Florence and Rome. Took an overnight ferry from Bari, Italy to Greece. Had a wonderful time with the study abroad group in Athens. Took a weekend trip to Santorini, Greece where I hiked a volcano, swam in a natural hot springs, rode a donkey up a cliff, and some crazy other things that I’ll have to post about later. After my time in Greece with some of the best teachers and students I’ll ever have encountered, I went to Paris by myself for a week. These were all so amazing and deserve their own posts, so hopefully one day, I’ll get a chance to document them! 

After that whirlwind, including the time in California with my family, I was heartbroken to come home. I didn’t even want to finish my last year at university. But enough money and time was already spent that it’d be a true waste to not graduate. So that’s what I’ve been doing: focusing on graduating and saving up money to go back out into the world of wanderlust. I also fell in love with a boy. Unfortunately, that is over. As much as I still love him and wish we had a future together, I know better. So, here I am, just about 2 months until I graduate college. I’d like to start this blog up again and really try to stick with it. I can’t promise much besides a good story here or there and some tips I’ve picked up on the way. My next adventure? It starts June 9th with volunteering at Bonnaroo, then a roadtrip to California to work and live in a hostel in San Diego for the summer. I plan on going to Europe or the UK for autumn. I’ll come back home for Christmas. Then at the start of the new year, I make my way to Australia for an entire year! I can’t wait for my new life to begin – as a nomad.

Here are a few pictures: me in front of the Colosseum in Rome, the remnants of Socrates’ jail cell, and the Eiffel Tower at midnight.
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¡Hola Barcelona!

I arrived in Barcelona yesterday in the afternoon after a long trip. I went with my family on Disney´s Magic cruise to Canada. We stopped in Halifax and St. John. Both were amazing, which I would love to talk more about in another post! Yesterday morning I got off the ship at 9 am. I spent the day with my dad and then got dropped off at JFK around 7 pm. The flight was horribly long. I believe something like 8 hours to Madrid. But with the time difference, I left at 10 pm and got to Madrid at almost noon the next day. I slept awful. The plane itself was absolutely fine, maybe some extra room would be nice. Then we had hop on the next flight to Barcelona. Once we were in Madrid, we were just completely engulfed in Spanish. I took three years in high school which barely helps. They talk fast. Not to mention, Barcelona is a bilingual city: Spanish and Catalan. It´s a big maze of one way streets and then streets that are just for walking and then big streets that the cars will legit run you over. It´s a little nerve racking, to be honest. The girl I´m traveling with, Kris, has a sister and brother-in-law who are living in an apartment in Barcelona for a month. ´They showed us around yesterday. We walked all over, mostly in the Barri Gótic and Las Ramblas areas. So many beautiful things to see just wandering around aimlessly. We went to a big market with all kinds of fresh foods. All the seafood was alive. A bunch of crabs, shrimp, lobsters… just hanging out on ice ready to be sold. No cages either, the ice makes them lethargic. So they just kinda move a little here and there. A lot of speciality foods were there as well, of course. But no, I am not a fan of seeing brains, stomachs, or fish heads being chopped off right there in front of me. Sorry, I am not that adventurous. Later that night, Kris and I headed out to a little bar which was so cute. The owner actually gave us roses! It was so sweet and I felt like I was in middle school and ready to write a note back of ´do you like me? yes? or no? circle one.´ Yes, I know, quite silly. Made it back to the hostel about 3 am. Overslept today through 2 alarms. Woops. I headed out to the Park Guëll and wandered around there for a few hours before getting off at the wrong bus stop back to hostel and wandering around because I was so lost. I´m back at the hostel now resting and making a plan for the next few days.

A deep sigh of relief that I really do like Barcelona. But, in a few days after seeing some more things, I´m very excited to head to France! Anyone have any suggestions of whether we should go to Marseille or Nice? Anything I absolutely can´t miss while I´m still in Barcelona?

Euro-Trip Update with Tips!

Wow, so much to do still for my Euro-trip. I still need to pay for everything! I will be buying the plane ticket tonight from NYC to Barcelona on June 15th. I get off the cruise around 9 AM and my plane departs at 10 PM that night! I found awesome deals with STA… a student travel site. But I still recommend Kayak to everyone else! Actually, Kayak has the same plane ticket as STA but for about $10 less! A total price from Kayak for NYC to Barcelona with one stop is $469! Wow! Best I’ve seen since I’ve started looking on SO many different websites. Kayak FTW!

I also found out about a little community called CouchSurfing! It is awesome, and a little creepy. Basically you make a profile for yourself. Make friends. If you are traveling somewhere and want to either meet up with locals there, you can do it on there. OR the crazy part – you can stay with them in their house/apt/whatever for free. You can also be a host and put yourself out there for people from around the world to contact you to sleep on your couch/floor/extra bed/whatever. It looks awesome if you’re adventurous enough to try it out! The girl who I am back packing with and I are considering it, but nothing definite yet.

Also, the two of us have decided to buy Eurail passes. We’re gonna get the Select Pass for Youth for 4 countries for 7 days (within a 2 month period). I hope it’s worth it. It costs $385. That’s pretty steep, but then again, we are traveling through 4 countries in less than 2 weeks. It’s gonna be quite the crazy trip. Hence, why I’m SO excited for it!

Do you agree with my recommendations or do you have any recommendations of your own?

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