Oh, did you think you’d only receive one post from me today? Not so, dear reader. I’m officially announcing that today begins Blogvember: I’ll be blogging every single day this month. Woo hooooo…
If you remember, I participated in Blogtober both in 2014 and in 2015. But since October kinda got away from me as far daily blogging, we’ll try for this month.
Blogging daily during my favorite month would have been a treat. But life happens. And honestly, the absence of a traditional autumn happened. By now, you know that I left the East Coast for Texas. And though several locals here have assured me that it gets chilly around this time of year (as 84 balmy degrees currently makes itself home in the atmosphere), there still won’t be the crispness and beauty and orange that encompasses the electricity I feel when autumn comes. Without that personal, seasonal, visual excitement to accompany this year’s Blogtober, it fell by the wayside for me.
But we always say onwards and upwards, around here, don’t we? Burnished leaves and orange moons or no, here comes Project Blogvember: 30 days of posts from yours truly. Will you join me?
Never mind that it’s November 1. I meant to post my final entry for Blogtober yesterday, but life. Let’s pretend it’s yesterday.
Thank you for supporting this year’s bloggery effort despite the 16-day wifi-related snafu that occurred in the middle. Thank you for everyone that liked a post, followed my little blog this month, left comments. Thank you for reading my travel-themed posts about a journey that I’m still thinking about and ruminating over.
Because he’s right, you know. Bourdain captured exactly what I felt during my two weeks away. (And really, for every time I’ve boarded a plane toward a new experience, a new adventure.) I experienced moments this past trip that no camera captured. Moments when I was so stressed out that I wanted to shed tears. Moments that had me scratching my head and poised to scratch out a few pair of eyes. There were times when I wanted to find a ticket and just go back home. Times when my mind and soul ached for the warmth of my comfort zone.
But you know what I’ll next say: all of it, the good, the bad, the weird, left those marks on my memory, my consciousness, and my body. And I’ll take them all. I’ll accept learning more about my myself. I’ll accept understanding that I have personal boundaries that not even I will cross. I’ll accept that when I travel again, some things will be done differently and some things will stay absolutely the same. Yeah, my heart was broken during this trip. But my heart also sang. So I regret nothing. Not a thing.
Here’s to the next adventure, the next Blogtober, and everything in between.
I heard it so many times while riding the Tube that I began to long for it: the soothing, Brit-accented automaton telling me to please mind the gap between the train and the platform. What a kind reminder, huh? To keep me from falling to my death? I’d like to challenge my local public transportation here to do the same. Or perhaps I should challenge them to go a day without a breaking down? Ugh.
Admittedly, I don’t have much panache (or patience) when it comes to packing for trips. Maybe the process reminds me too much of moving, which I once did three times in a year and nearly had to report to a your neighborhood mental health hospital to recuperate from the stress of it all. Maybe it’s because I can’t stand trying to figure just what to pack, where to put it, how to organize my life…All right, let’s not go there.
Anyway, as you can imagine, I dreaded packing for my 16-day trip overseas, so much so that I waited until the night before I was scheduled to fly out of town. But I should have feared nothing.
Because my sister was going to handle it.
Let me introduce you to my little sissy: organized, organized, neat, and organized. She’s always been that way. Years and years ago when we shared a bedroom, her side of the room was like Switzerland. Neat, lovely, like a postcard. My side of the room was Chernobyl. So when she heard me bemoaning the packing I was about to do, she calmly told me that she would take care of everything. As I stood by my closet, she divided her tasks into types: I was to hand her shoes, skirts, pants, tops, any sweaters, etc. I then watched as she expertly positioned these things into my suitcase, calmly dismissing my doubts that everything would fit, waving away my claims that one suitcase wouldn’t hold everything. (I was determined to take one bag that would hold most of my things.) She was right. Everything fit, you guys. Everything. I was mesmerized. And ultimately terrified of unpacking it all and ruining her art. (I should mention here that she’s an actual artist, so it’s no surprise that the inside of my luggage looked like a painting.) Needless to say, her fast and precise packing abilities had us finished much earlier than expected, which allowed everyone in my household to go to sleep peacefully without hearing me loudly sobbing in the next room because of everything I had to roll and smash into a bag.
So I had my medium-sized/kind of large suitcase ready, as well as my carry-on bag that I was planned to use for any souvenirs that I purchased. But let me tell you why I will never take a medium-sized/kind of large suitcase overseas, or really anywhere, ever again:
I have no upper body strength. I was reminded of this especially in London when I had to hoist that bag up and down flights of stairs all over the London Underground (short of the escalators that take you out of the stations, there are stairs, stairs, and more stairs) the day I arrived. (Again, my friend who hosted me didn’t have a car.) It nearly brought me to tears. So although thankful for all the gentlemen who helped me, I am resolved to travel from now on with a small, carry-on type suitcase that can be easily lifted by yours truly. I mean, unless the gents really want to help me out, which will, uh, pose no problems for me.
Speaking of a small, carry-on type suitcase: I packed way too much for this trip. My sissy’s expert packing is more than appreciated, but in hindsight, I didn’t need all those clothes. Sure, I like variety and having the ability to choose what I want to wear, but quite a few of those outfits remained right in the bag during my trip, unworn. So yeah, for the foreseeable future: some pants, a few tops, and that’s it. Stop trying to be super cute, Square Peg. (Mildly cute will do.)
So major lesson learned: pack light.
Oh, and you travel lovers out there: got any packing tips to share?
That moment in Germany when we went to see about a castle on a hill.
On this day, we visited the picturesque, quaint town of Bernkastel-Kues, of which the ruins of Landshut Castle overlooked. It was all breathtaking: the castle’s ruins, the expansive view of the River Moselle from said hill, the fact I didn’t pass out from being that high up (didn’t mean my knees weren’t a-quiver as we ascended, though). Just grand. Several photos await you below.
Two posts, since Sunday was packed and found me super busy.
I was tired the day I snapped this photo, taken while walking in London on Oxford Street. I was exhausted from walking all over the city, I was irritated from walking all over the city, and I was incensed from walking all over the city. And here it is, folks: traveling and touristing isn’t always fun and amazing. It can be exhausting and irritating. But you know that.
So while in my foul, bratty-because-I-ached-all-over mood, I happened to look up and I saw those lanterns hanging in their criss-cross formation against the dimming sky. I saw that golden horizon off in the distance. And I was promptly humbled. I’m of the mind that nothing really matters when you get the chance to look up and see something bigger than you. Sunset, sunrise, whatever–there’s more to life than aching backs and a swell of people around me. I snapped that photo because I snapped back to what was far more important than me.
Abbey Road. Not the infamous shot across the street, but Abbey Road nonetheless. As a Beatles fan by birth, being here was pretty momentous.
The last time I was in Europe, a whopping 11 years ago, my jet lag lasted about two days and then I was fine. My, how things change. It took about five days to acclimate to the time change this time around. And not only was I experiencing days filled with exhaustion and plenty of sleepless, wide-eyed nights, but my digestion changed, too. As in I could barely keep anything down for several days after I arrived in Germany. Utterly bizarre is the best way to describe all of the above. And then I researched jet lag and learned that a lot of what I went through was normal. Just a wonky circadian rhythm.
But I still can’t sleep, you guys. Nearly a week later and back stateside, I fall asleep promptly at 10pm (missing Murder, She Wrote at 11, might I add) and then wake up at 3 or 4 in the morning, waaaay before my 6am rise and “shine” time. Now this isn’t that abnormal (I believe I posted about my strange new sleep schedule a few months ago), but the exhaustion seems stronger and more acute. Le sigh.
Anywho, here’s to not sleeping all the way through because, hey, I still went on my trip, right? (But if you have any remedies for my little problem, especially you travel pros out there, kindly let me know in the comments, won’t you?)
One late afternoon, a few steps away from the London Eye, I gazed at up at the structure.
Me: Is it a Ferris wheel?
My English Hostess: Of course not.
Me: Well, it’s round, right? And moves around in a circle?
MEH: Well, yes.
Me: Doesn’t that make it a Ferris wheel?
MEH: That, my dear, is an architectural marvel. Hardly a Ferris wheel.
Me: Looks like a Ferris wheel to me.