Happy 2014 friends!
Yeah, yeah, I’m a day late, I know, but better late than never!
Kevin and I had a crazy holiday season, embarking on a ten-day California road trip, which allowed us to visit friends in Carmel, Santa Barbara, Palm Springs, Ventura, San Diego and Orange County. It was so great to see so many of our favorite people, but it was also kind of exhausting. Socializing can be hard work!
So, we are happy to be back in SF and looking forward to getting back into a healthier lifestyle. You know, eat better, drink less, and move more… basically what my resolution has been every single year for the past 10 years. Maybe this year is the charm?
Anyway, it’s a new year, one that will soon be filled up with new stories and adventures and all sorts of things I can’t even imagine. 2013 was a pretty amazing year for me, so I’m not sure if it’s going to be possible to beat, but I’m certainly up for the challenge!
How are you feeling about 2014? Any big goals? How were your holidays?
Today is my birthday.
And you guys, I am kind of old.
31 years old, to be exact.
I am officially a “woman” in her thirties.
(How the f*#k did that happen?!?!)
However, considering how freaked out I was by this concept last year, I am surprisingly okay with it this year.
I think the camino has a lot to do with that. The camino was the first time in my life where I have actually felt my age, but in a good way. There were not that many people in the same age bracket as Kevin and me, so the age differences were a bit more clear, a bit more defined. I wasn’t an early 20-something recent college grad backpacking around with a penny budget, nor was I a mid-lifer looking to change their life. And while I hope to be one of these people later, I certainly wasn’t an empty-nester retiree enjoying the good life.
I was a thirty-something, right in the prime of my life, getting ready for the next stage of it. And I actually felt like that… I felt like someone in my thirties (well, early-thirties at least).
And it felt good.
This past year has just flown by. It honestly feels like yesterday that I wrote these posts on turning 30, and yet here it is already a full year later. It’s crazy to me.
At the end of my turning 30 post I wrote “to my 30s, I say: Bring it on. Let’s rock the shit out of this decade.” And while I don’t know what the next nine years have in store, I can say with all confidence that I did, without doubt, rock the shit out of this past year.
In fact, it has proven to be one of the best of my life.
It’s been a huge year, filled with change and travel and personal growth, and just a lot of really great things. Thanks to weddings and 30th birthday celebrations, I was able to travel an insane amount, from Hawaii to Austin to Las Vegas to Oregon and all over California.
Oh, and I walked across Spain! With my husband! For over a month!
What a year.
From the outside it doesn’t look like all that much has changed. I’m still searching for that thing that makes my heart sing, professionally speaking. I still live in my teeny tiny SF apartment. I still drink copiously and get accidentally hammered more often than I should. I still struggle with the same issues I’ve been struggling with for years.
But on the inside, I feel different from where I was a year ago. More confident and content with where I am right now, which is saying a lot, considering “where I am now” is that of an unemployed 31-year old still trying to figure out what it is I want to do with my life (a thought that would have absolutely horrified me in my 20s). I feel better equipped to handle the waves of anxiety and depression that inevitably try to creep their way in (on most days, at least). And while I still worry about the “what ifs” of life, they don’t paralyze me as much as they used to.
So is that what being in your 30s is? Being more content and confident? I certainly hope so.
I might only have one year to base it off, but so far the 30s are not so bad.
They are pretty spectacular, actually.
31. Let’s do this.
Butterflies and wine bottles.
30, you rocked.
Well hello there! It’s been awhile, no?
You’d probably think that now that I’m no longer walking for 8+ hours a day with limited internet access, and instead now finding myself at home, unemployed, with a high-speed wifi connection, I’d be blogging all the time! But instead it seems the opposite has happened.
The thing is, despite not having an actual job, I’ve actually been pretty busy since I’ve come home! Between friends and family and visitors galore and Thanksgiving and unpacking and trying to put our life back together, my days have actually been quite full these past couple of weeks. I haven’t been wasting my days screwing around online, or binge watching TV, or doing any of those other time suck things, but what I have been doing hasn’t really been all that interesting. And I guess going from having the time of your life and walking up in a new city every single day, to spending your days running errands and doing laundry hasn’t exactly provided me with a whole lot of inspiration.
And I think that has put me into a little bit of a blog funk. Because not only do I miss being on the camino, I miss writing about the camino. I miss stopping mid-day to take notes because something so utterly amazing just happened that I had to stop to write it down so I wouldn’t forget it. And now that my days have consisted of laundry and Thanksgiving shopping and internet researching, I haven’t had a whole lot of those moments. And really, who wants to hear about those things anyway?
While my funk seems to have mostly affected my blog, Kevin’s been having a real-life funk. He’s been having some major post-camino blues. I’ve been trying to remind him that just because the camino was an incredible and amazing experience, it doesn’t make our life in San Francisco any less amazing or significant. But it’s hard to go from such a high back into the monotony of real life, and I’m sure if I had to jump right back into work I’d be feeling the same way. He’ll figure it out.
Anyway, all of this is to say that I’ve missed this little blog of mine, so I’m going to try my best to snap out of this funk and dedicate some more time to my corner of the world wide web. One of the many things I’ve been wanting to do with my downtime is focus on this blog, give it a blog makeover and what not, so hopefully you’ll be seeing some exciting things soon.
I’m also going to write some more camino and travel related posts, while the information is still fresh in my mind. As I’ve mentioned before, if you have any camino or travel related questions, please let me know (either through email or in a comment below) because I’m working on a FAQ, as well as some posts on Portugal and Morocco. And if there’s anything you’d like to see more of on my blog, let me know that too!
In the meantime, here’s a bit of what I’ve been up to lately:
If you’ve been reading for awhile you might remember that I am a major Huger Games fan. So you can only imagine my excitement to watch Catching Fire…
Yes I own a Hunger Games t-shirt.
And yes I wore it to the movie.
And yes my friends all laughed at me.
And I did not care at all.
Team Peeta all the way, yo!
We also hosted Thanksgiving! Kevin’s parents, his sister, my mom and step-dad, and two of our best friends all crammed into our teeny tiny apartment and had a feast. Nine people. And I have to say, for such a small place, I think we did a great job!
Top: Our apartment normally…
Bottom: our apartment after converting our desk to an extra table and using our buffet… as an actual buffet!
Who says you can’t entertain in small places?!?
As a side note – remind me later to tell you how somehow I was tricked into drinking non-alcoholic wine. Who does that to someone?!?! Cruel, I tell you! Cruel!
I’ve also been up to a bit of karaoke. Me and Michelle absolutely rocked Don’t Stop Believing, if I do say so myself.
I’m clearly a natural on stage!
If only I could sing.
And there you have it. Hunger Games and Thanksgiving and Karaoke. Just a few highlights of the past couple of weeks.
What’s up with all of you? I hope good things!
We are back. And it is weird. So weird.
We got home on Saturday night and we’re still trying to get our bearings and get back into the groove of our life again. Kevin went right back to work on Monday so I imagine that this transition is immensely harder for him than it is for me, but even without a job to return to, I find myself struggling to get back into normal life.
When Kevin left for work it was the first time in over 45 days that we had spent more than 10 minutes apart, which was a strange strange thing in and of itself. And while it was nice having my own time, as gag-inducing as this may sound, I missed him. I did. And I think that’s a good sign! Of course we had our difficulties and our share of bickering along the way, but if we can spend almost seven weeks together inseparable and still miss each other at the end, I think we’re on a good path for the rest of our life!
I have already seen a handful of friends which has been so wonderful, but a lot of people have already started asking me what my plan is. And like I wrote last week, I just don’t know. I’ve only been home three days. I’m still trying to adjust back into a life that doesn’t revolve solely around how far I’m walking and what I’m eating. Right now I still find it strange that I can speak English and people understand me! Or that I don’t have to wear the same clothes every single day. I’m fascinated by the fact that I have a refrigerator! And a bed! And a curling iron! It’s a bit overwhelming, to be honest… being surrounded by so many things.
I’m having massive sticker shock as well – spending $8+ on a glass of wine is just mind boggling to me (but since I’m clearly not going to give up going to my beloved wine bars, I’m sure I’ll get used to that one soon enough!). I’m also having a hard time accepting that it is no longer acceptable to consume 3500 calories along with a bottle of wine every single day.
But more than anything I’m just trying to hold onto some of the camino magic and not fall back into my old routine, which consisted of a lot of laziness and TV. I am trying to be more active and less stationary. Prior to the camino I lived such a sedentary lifestyle, and I don’t want to fall back into that again. Since I’m unemployed right now I have no excuse not be active, but I want to develop a good routine so that when I do get back into the workforce I won’t immediately fall prey to my old ways. I’ve learned a lot about myself on our trip, one of which is that I feel so much better when I’m more active. I know everyone always says that, but this was the the first time in my life where I actually felt it.
Yesterday I walked to Trader Joe’s. This walk used to seem a little too far for me to walk for groceries, but this time it felt like nothing… like a leisure stroll! And when I looked up the distance I realized that it really was nothing…. a mere 0.6 miles away! And yet I used to think that was too far to walk! It’s so strange. My perspective on distance has changed completely.
However, despite the short distance I seemed to have forgotten that I had to also carry back everything I bought, so at the end of the trip I had considerably more than was comfortable to hold. It was raining, so I contemplated taking a taxi, but then I reminded myself that I’ve walked much farther in far worse conditions, so I took out my umbrella, moved some things around, and then trudged up the .6 mile hill back to my house. And I was proud of myself, because that is something I never would have done prior to this trip. Carry 25 pounds of groceries up a half-mile hill in the pouring rain? I would have laughed at even the suggestion!
I’m also trying to make sure I start to do all the things I’ve always wanted to do but hadn’t made the time for. Things like finally make our wedding album, clean out our closets, de-clutter our guest room, frame the artwork we’ve been meaning to frame for over a year, take a Spanish class… you know, all of those things that you always want to do, but that tend to fall to the very bottom of your priority list when you work full-time. Because now, for the first time in a long time, I actually will have the time.
So yeah, I’m trying my best! Every time a wave of “what am I going to do with myself” anxiety starts to creep in I tell myself that it will all work out, and though I don’t know how or when, I truly believe that it will. I don’t want to not enjoy the present by worrying too much about the future, because as we all know, I am an excellent worrier! And worrying is nothing but a waste of time.
Over the next week I’m going to try my best to respond to all of the wonderful comments and emails I’ve received over the past couple months. If you haven’t heard from me please don’t think I’ve forgotten you! I have not. I have appreciated all of your comments and notes so so much, and I’m in the process of responding. Thank you so much for following along.
Back to drinking wine and hanging out with some of my favorite people.
Not all my old routines were bad ones
After a week in Morocco, we are heading back to Spain for the final leg of our adventure. Morocco was truly a different world, and after spending so much time in Spain, this feels almost like coming home. I like that we are ending this journey in the same country we started it in. It feels right.
I don’t even know how to describe our time in Morocco. It was crazy and hectic and beautiful, but it was also a bit harder than we expected. More exhausting. In hindsight, coming from the tranquility and peacefulness of the camino right into the craziness of Marrakech probably wasn’t our best idea, but we had a great time regardless. It was an experience we will remember forever, though I can confidently say we much prefer the European lifestyle. I no longer have dreams of owning a Riad, that’s for sure!
We now have two nights in Barcelona, and then we will board yet another flight to take us back to our actual home, San Francisco. We’ve been gone almost seven weeks, and while I’m going to miss this (so much!), I’m looking forward to all the goodness that awaits me at home. Friends and family and holidays and all the other wonderful things that make up our life. Just thinking about it makes me happy.
I’ll be joining the ranks of the unemployed when I return, so I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it is I plan to do with my life when I get back, but I still don’t know. I was hoping this trip would provide some sort of eureka moment of clarity, but that hasn’t happened. However, it has provided me with a lot of time to reflect and think about how I want to live my life and be the person I’d like to be, and to focus on what is really important to me and the life I’m building with Kevin. And that has been invaluable.
I think the greatest gift I can give myself is time. Time to let myself figure out what it is that makes me happy and how to incorporate that into what it is I end up doing. I’ve been so unhappy in so many jobs, and that is truly no way to live. Life is too short to be miserable five out of seven days of the week.
More than anything I’m thankful that I have a husband that is allowing me to take this time, that supports me and encourages it and doesn’t mind if we live off of pasta and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a bit. I know I can’t be unemployed forever, but I’m so grateful to have the luxury of being able to be jobless for a few months. And I’m well aware that it is just that – a luxury.
I have no idea what my future has in store, but for now, I’m not going to think about any of that. I can easily waste hours (days!) focusing on the “what ifs” of my life, but I’ll have plenty of time for that later. Instead I’m going to try to be as present as possible these next two days, and enjoy every second of the time we have left. Because if this trip has taught me anything it’s that – enjoy the here and now. So I intend to.
And now, a picture of me and my camel, who I lovingly named camel-toe: