You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place. // Miriam Adeney
I’m currently on a train in Scotland, rolling through the lush green countryside. There are deep blue-grey lochs on my left and clean white light filtering through the many windows in my car.
This is my life, or at least it has been for the past 5 years. I somehow find myself in the most beautiful places, usually by myself, or all to myself, if you frame it that way.
It’s my 28th birthday this Saturday. The past years have been a whirlwind of travel memories, some of my strongest friendships, losses, and countless new beginnings.
April brought good weather, fond memories, and my last full month in the US before heading off to Europe. As I’ve been doing for most of the past six months, I spent half of my time in San Francisco and the other half in my hometown of Santa Cruz.
April also reminded me of how hard it’s going to be to leave California this time around. Except for the little taste I had of living in Greece this past summer, it was the first time in a long while where it felt like I had a small community that could build into something wonderful.
On one hand, March went by in a slow and methodical way. March always feels extra long coming after February and I packed so much into this month, it’s hard to believe that it has only been four weeks. On the other hand, IT’S APRIL!! The 4th month of the year already.
There were a few things that I thought I would’ve done already by this time in 2018 – namely, I thought I would’ve started writing my first book and already be living in Europe. However, I’ve learned how good it can be to let go of expectations sometimes, and just let life take you where it will.
It’s weird to think of the past sometimes and where I was in February at this time last year – in Thailand, then Vietnam, and at the very end of a bad relationship. I was at the cusp of so many things – both positive and negative.
I was in a place where I had shut myself off from the outside world (i.e. living on a tiny remote island). And what I didn’t realize at the time was that I was also preventing myself from appreciating quality connections – both nurturing the old and creating the new.
Fast forward a year later, I’m back in California, surrounded by some of the closest people in my life, and I feel more grounded than I have in years. Maybe it just took coming home for awhile, or realizing that California is still very much a ‘home’ for me even after all the times I’ve left it and come back.
All this is to say that my February this year kicks last year’s February’s butt.
My January was a month of many ups and one profound piece of sadness. I went to Tahoe and Montreal for the first time, and Chicago for the second time, to see some of my closest friends. It was everything I could’ve asked for to start off my 2018 on a good foot, but it was also the month that my papa passed away.
Not that it makes it any easier, but I was glad to be home this time to be with family. My last two grandparents who passed away did so while I was abroad, and it was heart wrenching to be so far from my friends and family during such a delicate time.
December is always an interesting month. The end of the year usually means I have plenty to think about in terms reflecting on the past year, what I loved about it and what I could do better in the next 12 months.
I was originally planning on being in Scotland for NYE this year, and even though I’m sure that would’ve been an epic time, I’m glad I chose to stay stateside instead. I ended up having one of my favorite NYEs in awhile, and I celebrated it with one of my closest friends and 60+ other wonderful people on an estate in the middle of nowhere.
My last month of 2017 was mostly spent taking little trips around northern California, preparing my business and mindset for the new year, and appreciating where I was at and who I was with.
I never expected 2017 to be a year to myself, but then again, I guess you never really know what life will bring you with each new year.
I should know better by now.
Even though I didn’t expect it to be a year to myself, I can say with full clarity now that I’m so very glad that it was. This was the year that I found my independence again, understood fully what I deserve in my life, and embraced my alone time.
I’m someone who is already pretty good at being alone. I’m an introvert, most of my pastimes are solo ones – reading, playing my guitar, listening to music, cooking. And my work is very much a solo pursuit, from writing to doing digital marketing for clients.
I’m used to being alone, but 2017 was a year where I really just had myself to pull me back up from my bootstraps, to lean on, to make sense of stressful, happy, and sad situations.
I can’t believe I’ve been back in California for over a month already. It has gone by super fast, probably because my schedule has been filled with plenty of work, family time, and catching up with my closest friends who live in the Bay.
I tested out doing a sober month in November for the first time ever (at least since I’ve been drinking alcohol, obviously), and it was actually really nice to take a break from drinking.
I only broke it for one weekend when I had a fun couple of nights out with some friends in San Francisco – but even still, that whole weekend I only had one beer and two glasses of champagne. So all in all, my first sober month went pretty well.
*EDIT* We have a winner!! CONGRATS to Toni! You’ll be receiving your book in the mail within a couple of weeks.
It has been so long since I’ve hosted a giveaway on this blog, but when I got an email in my inbox about an artsy new coffee table book about LA and Paris, I knew I wanted to learn more about it.
The book that landed in my inbox was called Why LA? Pourquoi Paris? by Diane Ratican, illustrated by Eric Giriat and Nick Lu. It’s a colorful book full of captivating artwork and words that paint an expansive overview of both cities.
I’ve heard Paris compared to New York a lot, but rarely have I heard Paris compared to LA. The comparison peaked my interest because, from a distance, it doesn’t seem like the two cities have much in common.
I know I say this every single month, but whoa, where did the time go? I’m not sure how we’re already into the second week of November, but here we are.
With that said, one of my goals before the end of this year is to get into a better habit of mindfulness. I want to be able to value the passing of time more, to take one day at a time, and to not always feel like I’m running one step behind.
October was bursting at the seams, which is probably why I felt so exhausted by the end of it – I barely had time to catch my breath. Note to self: slow down in November and December. Your body, mindset, and bank account will thank you.
The month started with a fun travel blogging conference, then turned into two weeks of road tripping and traveling around Ireland by myself, and finally ended with my return to California after over a year of being abroad.
So, let’s dive right in and get to the good stuff. This was my October!