I’m baaaaaack!

Greetings friends in blog land! As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I’ve been pretty absent from these parts as of late. While there are many reasons why, ultimately I just wasn’t feeling it anymore. Blogging had started to feel more like an obligation than a fun hobby, and more like a hassle than a creative outlet. So I decided to take a break from the blogosphere for awhile.

But I think it is time for the break to be over.

So, I’m back!

2014 has already been off to a busy start. We spent two weeks in Florida, in which Kevin worked and attended meetings while I hobnobbed with the retired crew, eating early bird dinners, lounging by the pool, reading books, and getting in a lot of quality family time with the in-laws.

The majority of our time was spent in Pompano, where Kevin’s parents spend their winters, but we also spent a few days in Miami. This is now the 3rd time I’ve been to Miami and I think at this stage I can confidently say it’s just not for me. It’s not a bad place at all, but it’s just not “me.” You know those places you visit and you connect with instantly? Places where you feel comfortable and happy and just content? Places you could see yourself living?

Miami is not one of those places for me.

I’m back in the city now, which is wonderful. I’m still in the process of looking for a full-time job, and when I’m not not job-hunting I’m trying to make money via various part-time gigs, and otherwise just doing things that make me happy. Plain and simple. I signed up for a writing class, which is something I’ve always wanted to do but never actually have.

Last night was the first class, and I was so nervous. I love writing but it’s a hobby, a secret passion really. I’ve never considered myself a writer, and I envisioned a class full of “real” writers. Writers with loads of published work and credentials and portfolios. But I signed up anyway and I went. And though I was nervous pretty much the entire time, it was really great. It felt right.

I still find myself day-dreaming about the Camino almost every day. I’ve now been home longer than I was gone, which seems so so strange. I miss it.

So, that’s what’s up with me! How is your 2014 going?

Michelle LimJanuary 30, 2014 - 9:20 pm

gasp! you found a writing class without me?! Which one is it? I really want to find one too!

Lisa @ Two MartinisJanuary 30, 2014 - 10:59 pm

I’m glad you’re back!! Good luck with the job search ๐Ÿ™‚

NicoleJanuary 31, 2014 - 12:16 am

I’m a Florida native…grew up in a itty bitty town called Hobe Sound about 2 hours from Miami and whenever I meet someone not from Florida and tell them where I’m from they automatically bring up Miami and how cool it is…blah, blah…well I’ve only been to Miami 3 times too! SO glad someone said it…Miami isn’t for everyone!

Also, good for you for signing up for a writing class! You will love it!

WhitneyJanuary 31, 2014 - 8:13 am

Oh I’m glad to see you back! I was just thinking the other day, ‘I wonder what Serena has been up to?’ (How weird is blogging that we start ‘missing’ people we don’t even know?) Hope the writing class was fun! I miss writing, I should look into some around here ๐Ÿ™‚

Megan C. StroupFebruary 2, 2014 - 10:26 pm

Welcome back! I am also trying to get back in the swing of blogging things in 2014. Sometimes we all just need a little break. ๐Ÿ™‚

[…] I am taking a writing class. Remember me mentioning that before? It’s something I’ve always wanted to do but never did. I think part of why it […]

Happy 2014!

Happy 2014 friends!

photo 3 (1)

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?



nancy @ adore to adornJanuary 2, 2014 - 1:40 pm

2013 seemed pretty amazing for you!! Wishing you the best for 2014! =)

MargaretJanuary 3, 2014 - 6:29 am

A California road trip sounds a heck of a lot better than the ridiculous snow we’ve been getting in Ohio! You definitely had a pretty awesome 2013- here’s hoping that 2014 is just as amazing!

WhitneyJanuary 3, 2014 - 8:29 am

Aww you look so pretty! Hope your 2014 is everything you hope ๐Ÿ™‚

AmyJanuary 3, 2014 - 11:01 am

Happy New Year!

And I LOVE your hair.

bpJanuary 14, 2014 - 12:50 pm

Self care! Number one thing for me this year is to really pay attention on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level to what is best for me so I can be my best for others. Feeling good is contagious and makes us so much stronger than we imagined.

Good luck in 2014!!!! This year IS the charm for you! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Happy Birthday To Me!

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.ย 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. Andย 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 theseย postsย on turningย 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 wroteย “to my 30s, I say: Bring it on. Letโ€™s rock the shit out of this decade.”ย 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 toย 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.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESButterflies and wine bottles.

30, you rocked.ย 

nancy @ adore to adornDecember 12, 2013 - 9:54 am

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Wow…another year has passed!? When did time just fly by like that? I remember reading your post on your birthday last year…

Your full year of being of 30 sounded so full of adventure and accomplishment. Not many people can look at their year like that and it’s inspirational to hear about your year.

Every year, I seek to “do something.” Perhaps, to another, I did do something. But, to me, that definition changes and it can even change daily! I have no clue about life yet and I feel like I’m slacking on being an adult! haha…so thank you for sharing posts about your life (filled with challenges, happiness, sadness, etc.).


Julie / BoundDecember 12, 2013 - 10:17 am

Happy Birthday!!! Hope you have an absolutely fabulous day (and year, obv).

LauraDecember 12, 2013 - 10:17 am

Happy Birthday. Based on my study of one (myself), I can tell you that as a 44 year old, every year seems to get better. Confidence and experience make a big difference and life is way more fun. Enjoy your year!

TheresaDecember 12, 2013 - 10:28 am

Happy Birthday!! It sounds like 30 was quite the year for you, and I’m sure 31 will be full of adventure and plenty of wine! I hope you have a wonderful day and celebrate into the weekend!

AngieDecember 12, 2013 - 10:31 am

Age is just a number – if you ever need proof look no further than my husband!

MargaretDecember 12, 2013 - 11:05 am

Woo! Happy Birthday girl ๐Ÿ™‚ 30 sounds like kind of an amazing year for you! And hopefully 31 is just as wonderful!

KatieDecember 12, 2013 - 11:19 am

Happy birthday to you! What a wonderful perspective ๐Ÿ™‚

WhitneyDecember 12, 2013 - 11:35 am

Happy Birthday!!! I’ve been feeling the same way about my birthdays lately! I’m feeling better about me as a person, even if I haven’t quite gotten it all figured out quite yet. I will say you’ve have quite the exciting and adventurous entrance into the 30s ๐Ÿ™‚

Kate AnnDecember 12, 2013 - 12:44 pm

Happy Birthday! Hope you go someplace fun in the City tonight!!!

RachelDecember 12, 2013 - 1:02 pm

This is the first time I’ve heard you group yourself and Kevin in the same age bracket! Hahah. You are indeed rocking your 30s! What an amazing year it has been for you. Cheers and happy birthday!!! xoxo

KariDecember 12, 2013 - 2:20 pm

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! I just turned 31 yesterday! It is SO weird to say I’m in my 30s now. Good to know I’m not alone:) I still feel a sense of panic when I think about the coming years. What am I going to do? Where do I see my life going? Kids? Here’s to another great year, though, of figuring stuff out! Have a great day!!

BrittanyDecember 12, 2013 - 4:56 pm

Happy birthday!! I hope that this next year brings you even more joy and growth in life ๐Ÿ™‚

AmyDecember 13, 2013 - 7:40 am

Happy belated birthday!! I hope you had a wonderful day and you’re totally gonna rock 31 too!


ritaDecember 16, 2013 - 12:33 pm

happy happy birthday friend! i know this is a little late – hope you had an amazing weekend celebrating!

AngieDecember 17, 2013 - 10:46 am

Happy (late) birthday! Hope it was a good one!

BriDecember 18, 2013 - 7:03 pm

Happy Birthday, and thank you for this post, it was exactly what I needed to hear today! I’m turning 25 in March and although it’s different, it’s still very much the same, and I love your attitude and outlook!

Nicole MarieDecember 30, 2013 - 1:56 pm

happy late birthday!! ps. i’m moving back in february.. let the wine nights/mimosa brunches begin ๐Ÿ™‚

Life Lately

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…photo(28)

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.PicFrame(3)

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!

nancy @ adore to adornDecember 4, 2013 - 9:55 am

I think it’s great that you are filling up your days, despite the assumption I have that if you don’t have a job, then what are you doing syndrome. Is that only me? I don’t think I would make a good stay at home mom. haha.
I love that you fit nine people into your apt! I know we couldn’t do that, even if we used every surface space in our apt. I would love to host…but the likelihood is very slim…unless we only let in one person at a time. =D
Your trip is still a great source of inspiration. It’s fortunate that you can look back fondly on those days, despite the “funk” you may be having now. I would love to feel a funk because of such a good experience! =)

LauraDecember 4, 2013 - 10:04 am

I understand missing the Camino. It’s been five months since I finished and I still think about it everyday.

LauraDecember 4, 2013 - 1:34 pm

I would imagine it would be very difficult to do the camino and return to work! Your poor hubby – but at the same time, how fortunate he was able to do the camino and return to work! ๐Ÿ™‚ Catching Fire was SO good!!

Sue DonohueDecember 4, 2013 - 3:04 pm

I didn’t get to read all of your stories about your travels. Is there any way to catch up?

AmyDecember 5, 2013 - 6:48 am

It is completely understandable that you would miss Camino life. I mean, what an experience. You can’t just dive back into life without some strong feelings, one way or the other.

I loved Catching Fire, and as you know, I am 100% in the Team Peeta camp with ya!


WhitneyDecember 5, 2013 - 8:12 am

I really can’t imagine what its like to come back from an experience like that to ‘real life’…I think you’re lucky to have Michelle close by because I’m sure she and her man can relate. I’m sorry you’re both in a bit of a funk since coming home. I hope you can find ways to incorporate those experiences here at home too. I love your city, and have very fond memories of the times I’ve spent there. I hope you guys can find a way to be tourists in your own city, or even take weekend day trips. California is so beautiful! (And so much more than Socal :)) I too love the Hunger Games, but I heard this movie is a little more violent than the first so I can’t take Boomer as my movie buddy. I’ll have to wait for a kid free evening to catch it. Also…if I make it back to SanFran anytime soon, I’m going to need to go karaoke with you gals. I take it VERY seriously ๐Ÿ™‚


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 onesย  ๐Ÿ™‚

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KariNovember 20, 2013 - 1:08 pm

Welcome back! I can’t imagine how hard it is to readjust. It sounds like you had such a profound experience during your time on the Camino, and it is really an inspiration to hear about what you guys did. That is the sweetest thing that you miss each other:) Hang in there and hold on to that camino magic!

nancy @ adore to adornNovember 20, 2013 - 1:24 pm

I think that this is so amazing. You literally had a life changing experience. While the adjustment back to the “real world” sounds like a challenge in itself, at least you know what you and your husband are truly capable of. I agree too that if you can be with each other for that amount of time in a different environment, relying on each other for good/bad, it is a good sign of your future together. =) So thrilled you made it back home and have stories to share! =D


LauraNovember 20, 2013 - 2:35 pm

Welcome home!! You planned your trip perfectly with the timing of Thanksgiving. I am sure you have so much to be grateful for this holiday season! Enjoy your time off and the approaching holidays!

StephanieNovember 20, 2013 - 5:07 pm

Welcome home!! You had an awesome, life-changing experience and it’ll probably take a little while for your brain to process all of that. Sounds like you’re doing exactly what you should be doing right now – readjusting to day-to-day life and getting caught up with the non-camino world. I say, take your time. ๐Ÿ™‚

Katie FosterNovember 20, 2013 - 7:18 pm

Welcome back! I have loved following your journey and am excited to continue following along ๐Ÿ™‚

WhitneyNovember 21, 2013 - 12:45 pm

Welcome back to the States ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t imagine how weird it must be. I love your comment about stuff though. As Americans (North Americans…) we accumulate a lot of ‘stuff’ though we are capable of living on and with far less. I think its great that you have plans to conquer certain projects. I think you live in a great city to explore as well, while you’re figuring out your next step. Be a tourist at home! I’ve really enjoyed reading about your journey and I look forward to what comes next for you guys!

AmyNovember 22, 2013 - 6:27 am

Welcome home! There is plenty of time to settle back into your routine – I think you’re on the right track to hold on to the Camino magic for as long as you can.

And I was nodding along in agreement on the part about walking to and from Trader Joe’s with groceries. When I lived in China, the grocery store was probably half a mile from my apartment and my only option really was to walk. Now, the grocery store is around the same distance from my house, but I have never once walked there. Car it is! Crazy how easy it was to settle back into that routine. Hold on to your newfound activeness for as long as you can!

ElizabethNovember 25, 2013 - 3:04 pm

what fun! welcome back!