Category Archives: travel

No Turning Back


As it always seems to be with me, out of nowhere I decided to head back North to visit friends, check my PO Box, return my overdue library book, rent the smallest moving truck, and get all my stuff out of storage.

Since I had a ride back in the moving truck, I splurged on a Greyhound ticket! (Why is bus travel so freaking expensive in the US?? I mean, really.)  Oh well.  I enjoyed a nice 3 hour ride, chatted with some fun and random bus travelers, and even got to speak a little Spanish at the Denver bus station with a guy who was asking for directions.

What I was expecting to be more of a fun and relaxing time with friends, with a little packing thrown in, turned into a super stressful, overly emotional time for me.

I had a million thoughts, emotions, and to-do lists running non-stop through my head, the entire time I was there.  I certainly did a lot in a very short weekend.

  • It was great to see friends, but the time was too short.
  • Loved being able to get around without having to depend on other people – I could walk everywhere, or take the city bus, or ride my scooter (after I got it out of storage).
  • Felt the love at my Starbucks when the baristas remembered my name, my drink, and asked me where I’d been.
  • Warmed the barstool of my favorite hangout, caught up with my favorite bartenders, and got hit on by college students.
  • Had too many things planned, so only made it to one brewery.
  • Announced a visit to First Friday Art Gallery Walk as a vehicle to see a bunch of friends in one spot.  It was touch and go, but it worked out.
  • Stressed about doing so much in a short amount of time.
  • Realized the realness of the moment. No turning back.

Walked around town, loving all the sights and sounds of the place that became a real home to me.  Got consumed with all the wonderful memories I built there.

Which leads to the pain and heartbreak of second-guessing myself. Am I doing the right thing?  Why am I leaving a town I love?  Maybe I should just forget it all, stay and build my roots back up??

So then I think about what that really means.  Yikes!

  • I’d have to get whatever job I could find
  • Get a little apartment for all my stuff
  • Do the same old stuff, the same routine
  • Now all of a sudden, my future is looking horribly bleak

No no no, I can’t move backwards like that!

A really good friend of mine there has also been thinking about what comes next for her and we had some good chats about what it means to move on.  How do you measure the value of a place?  What are you really leaving behind?

I thought a lot about it.  And I’m not really “leaving” anything.  My real friends will still be my friends.  The town I call “home base” will still be there whenever I come back.  It’s not the end, it’s a new beginning.

I started to feel more motivated, got that fire burning again!

So I worked hard sorting through some of my belongings. Even had some friends come over to pick through and buy some things.  Of course, in doing so, I would actually see all my wonderful little things, relive the stories connected with each item, and lose myself in the melancholy of it all.  I would burst into tears at the oddest moments.  I would get annoyed and angry that I had to deal with all this junk at all.  I hate all this stuff!  Why can’t I just dump it all at the thrift store’s door?

Oh right…I need the money.

Sort, pack, sort, pack.  Have emotional beers with friends.  Go to bed late, attempt to sleep on a friend’s couch, have weird dreams, get up early again.

It was a rough four days.

My brother and sister drove up on Saturday to help me get the truck loaded up.  Three more friends showed up to help carry boxes.  We got the little truck and my sister’s car loaded up super quick!  A Craiglister came by to pick up my hand-me-down loveseat.  Took in one last meal with good friends.  And then headed South with all my worldly possessions.

Three of us unloaded everything into my sister’s garage in 15 minutes.

All of a sudden, in the large expanse of that garage, my few stacks of belongings looked very tiny.

But I am happy.

Now the real work begins.  Wish me luck!

A friend's portrait of my move


Who doesn’t love a good parade?


Gotta say…I love a good parade.  Especially for St. Patrick’s Day!  I’ve celebrated in five different cities so far.  I look forward to experiencing other celebrations in cities around the world….like Ireland!

The amazing parade floats, drinking in public, and avoiding the flying cabbage on the streets of New Orleans is fun times!  My favorite, so far, has been the giant parade in Denver, one of the biggest celebrations in the US.  I also love small town parades, like in Fort Collins, which are all about the community.  Last year was definitely the weirdest, being in another country.  Chile obviously doesn’t celebrate the holiday, or even understand what the big deal is.  Gotta love it!  🙂

This year’s parade time found me in Colorado Springs.  Definitely a different experience.  I got to enjoy the festivities with a sister and brother who live here, as well as with a new friend I’ve made.  The “holiday vibe” was very different here.  The police presence was pretty huge (this town has violent tendencies).  The parade was more of a big advertisement opportunity, rather than the community participation that I prefer to see.

Usually, I would hit up an Irish pub with friends, but today I ended up at a Jamaican restaurant for lunch, with a Red Stripe in my hand instead of a Guinness.  But that’s okay, it’s all good.  I’ll save the Irish Stout for the 17th!

Here’s a couple snapshots I took today with my phone:

Bagpipers marching in the Springs parade

Llamas! And baby llamas!!!

Quite a big difference from last year.  No parades, of course, but I did find an Expat pub, in Santiago, Chile, that was celebrating the holiday.  Had a fabulous time and ended up meeting a ton of amazing people, both expat and local.  Since I don’t have many pics, I’ll throw in some pictures from last year’s celebration at California Cantina ….

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Lonely stuff


“Stuff” has turned into a dirty word for me.  It haunts me.

My stuff has been sitting in a friend’s basement for 19 months, being all lonely.  I miss my stuff.  Well…I miss the idea of my stuff.  I had some good stuff.

(Could I say “stuff” any more times?! 😉 )

Anyway… back in January, I needed to get away for the weekend.  So I abandoned my big suitcase, packed a little travel bag, and took 4 buses and 9 hours to travel from northern Colorado to southern Colorado to visit family (CO is not big on their public travel options).  One thing led to another and that weekend turned into 5 weeks and counting!


Obviously I packed light, for a weekend.  Here’s what I’ve been living with for the last month+:

  • 1 brown t-shirt
  • 1 white short-sleeved blouse
  • 1 pair jeans
  • 1 brown fleece sweater
  • 1 black hoody
  • 1 cream corduroy coat, w/ matching scarf, hat, gloves
  • jammies & slipper socks
  • some undies & 3 pairs socks
  • 1 pair black Dansko walking shoes
  • bathroom bag with travel-size necessities
  • hair brush & flat iron
  • netbook & external drive
  • little blue journal & pen
  • 1 library book (overdue now!)
  • camera (forgot the cord)
  • cell phone & charger
  • small travel duffle bag
  • and the ever-present messenger

My constant companion

I’ve been living out of my big red suitcase for a year & a half (which some may think of as extreme in itself), but now after living for over a month with 20-some items, minimalism is sounding so much easier!  Except I wouldn’t mind having more than 2 outfits, and another pair of shoes!  I really could have used my winter boots during the month of February, just sayin’. Oh, and a hairdryer would be nice.

The “right” dream


“What’s your dream, your passion, what do you want to ‘be’ when you grown up?”

Biggest question ever, and always beyond my reach.  It never occurred to me that “travel” was a valid response!

Travel is what you do for vacation, your reward for suffering through a shitty, soul-sucking job. You still have to live in the “real world” and follow some kind of career plan like everyone else.

That’s all I ever heard. But it never sat well with me.

Then again, I was never one to take a “relaxing” vacation.  Taking time off and staying home would NEVER occur to me.  What is that about?!  I always had to GO somewhere, anywhere, the farther the better.  I would booked myself so solid, every traveling minute filled, because I never knew when I’d be able to travel again.  I’d barely leave myself enough time to fly home, change clothes, and get back to work on time.  I didn’t have time for jetlag.

I didn’t “live to work”.  I “put up with work” and lived for the days when I could travel.  And continued, year after year, to figure out something brilliant to do with my life.  To find that acceptable dream/passion/job that could materialize into the perfect career for me.

It’s not that I couldn’t realize my dreams, I just never realized I was “allowed” to dream of travel.

The world = that’s my passion!

Looking forward


Sometimes I start to worry about my lifestyle decisions, listen to the nay-sayers, second-guess myself.

Good or bad, it forces me to imagine the “what-if’s”…

  • I could return to any of those crappy jobs that may or may not pay well, but guaranteed to suck my will to live.
  • I could get an apartment again.  Decorate it with the few things I own.  Enjoying the process for a bit, and then sitting there all alone, with no idea what I’m doing.
  • Followed shortly by freaking out, and walking to the nearest bar or cafe for some social interaction.  Probably have some random guy hit on me.
  • Texting friends and wondering why everyone is always too busy to call me or hang out (*generalization – I heart the few who actually check in on me.)

The idea of going back to my old life stresses me out WAY worse than the nervousness of an unknown future.

So I look forward.  I imagine the completion of my minimalism project.  Packing my bags.  Getting more stamps on my passport.  Continuing with my world-wide education.  It takes me to my happy place.

Everyone needs a scarf


OK….March 2nd for realz!

Random thought of the day — scarves.  Who doesn’t love a nice scarf?  🙂

I was watching Samantha Brown this morning (as part of my morning coffee ritual), admiring one of the many scarves she tends to wear on her travels.

I really enjoy her occasional interjections on how scarves are used in other countries.  Traditional use by women and men, decorative uses, practical uses, required uses, and of course the different ways to wrap them.

Scarves are something I like to pick up as souvenirs from countries I visit.   I purposefully don’t bring one with me, so I have the excuse to shop for one when I arrive!  I wear them all the time and love the constant reminder of where it was purchased.  For example:

  • loopy scarf from London (since lost, so sad)
  • silk scarf from Paris
  • sarong in Mexico
  • stripped summery scarf in Chile
  • And from USA,  the beautiful handmade scarves from friends & family!

I love scarves!!  🙂

A shot of me in front of Notre Dame