travel feels

“I hate the headlines and the weather
I’m 19 and I’m on fire
But when we’re dancing I’m alright
It’s just another graceless night”

“If they keep tellin’ me where to go
I’ll blow my brains out to the radio”

“Trying to find these perfect places
What the fuck are perfect places anyway?”
— Lorde, “Perfect Places”

“And now I can’t stop thinking that I can’t stop thinking
That I almost gave you everything
And now the whole thing’s finished and I can’t stop wishing
That I never gave you anything”
— Halsey, “100 Letters”

“You are seeing some of the ugliness in the world. If you want to see the world, there will be some of that. All who wander are likely to see some of this ugliness.”
— Mom

I think I’m in love with a boy who either has no idea or who doesn’t know what to do about it. I think I’m ready to go home, if only to drop off the enormous amount of stuff I’ve bought in the last five weeks. I think I love the people I meet whilst traveling more than the places I see. I think I’ve made at least two long-term friends and I hope we continue to keep in touch through silly group chats and actually visit each other like we’ve promised to. I think traveling is less glamorous than the people back home might guess, but the lessons I’ve learned are invaluable. I think my bank account balance is going to be much lower than I anticipated by the end of summer, and I think it will be worth every penny. I think I’m glad I didn’t hook up with that boy, even though I wanted to. I think I’m incredibly fortunate to have had my phone, cards, and cash returned to me, and I think the Norwegian girl who brought them back is an angel. I think the American girl from St. Louis who paid for my cab that night is the kind of woman I aspire to be, who we should all aspire to be. I think females need to look out for each other, because there are sinister people in this world and us girls, especially solo girls, are all we have. I think traveling alone is the most liberating thing I’ve ever done, and I’m glad my fear of loneliness hasn’t materialized. I think about how lucky I am to be traveling so much, so young, and that I will never see enough of this world. I think I’m living the dream, and I know other people believe I am too. I think traveling is extraordinary, but it feels strangely ordinary at the same time. I think maybe I was made to do this.

To “Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

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Buffalo, NY

“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.”
– Robert Louis Stevenson

In June, I tagged along with my dad and brother on a hockey trip. I’d been to Buffalo once before, but only in the airport and on the drive to and from Ontario. So I figured, why not go? I try to take advantage of every opportunity I have to travel, even to places that don’t sound grand on paper. I ended up falling in love with Buffalo’s military museum and naval yard. Walking through ships that were used during World War II and the Cold War—ships that real people lived and fought and died on—was incredibly cool. The yard contains pieces of living history. It just goes to show that travel can surprise you in the best of ways, even in places you might not expect it.

Thanks for reading.

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The Simple Things

Well, after nearly a month of being out of town, I’m back home and loving it. I spent a week in Portland, Maine before adventuring on to Paris, London, Belfast, and Dublin for two and a half weeks. I learned so much and gained valuable traveling experience, yet it’s good to be home. The Common App released on Saturday and I’ve begun filling out bits and pieces of it, all while studiously ignoring the essay portion. I finished a book over the weekend – The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson – and it was actually the first book I’d completed since June. This year has been very slow reading-wise but so fast-paced in almost every other way. I spent a good portion of Saturday and part of Sunday totally reorganizing my bookshelves and, for better or for worse, I’m satisfied with the way they turned out. (There’s only so much a girl can do with more books than she has shelves to put them on.) I’m back to using my beloved planner after a month-long hiatus. It’s nice to feel productive again, though my suitcase still lies unpacked in my entryway. I guess it’s a work in progress.

I’ve caught up on my ridiculous reality TV shows and done even more college research, slowly whittling down my top choices and safety schools into a selection that will hopefully comprise my final list. I’m touring three more schools in mid-September, and possibly one or two more after that, though nothing of the sort is firmly planned. I started posting on my “bookstagram” account again yesterday after a very long and unintended absence. (For those who are unfamiliar with the term, the word bookstagram is used to describe an Instagram account dedicated to bookish posts.) My family has been eating home-cooked meals for dinner since I returned from Europe and it’s a surprisingly welcome change. The baked ziti and delicious salads have been my favorite parts so far.

Yesterday was a particularly good day: I had a balanced day of relaxation and productivity. I managed to watch TV, work on college stuff, nap, and exercise and truthfully I was very proud of myself. *Pats self on back.* Then one of my closest friends and I went out for dinner at a newish sushi joint called Kelp. While the service was mediocre, the menu was awesome and the food we tried – crab rangoon, the Mexican roll, and a tempura fried tofu and sweet potato roll – was fantastic. It’s not a pricy place either, so if you’re in the area and looking for reasonable and delicious sushi, then check it out. Afterwards, we tried to rent The Hobbit from RedBox, but it was unavailable so we went back to my house and watched the first Lord of the Rings movie. I hadn’t watched it in a few years, and had forgotten there was so little action in the first installment (compared to the next two, of course). However, I enjoyed seeing Tolkien’s Middle-earth brought to life again and we have plans to watch the second movie later this week when the weather’s supposed to be awful.

One of my other good friends is turning 18 on Monday, which is crazy. I haven’t seen her in forever due to us both having hectic schedules and being out of town, but I’m looking forward to celebrating with her and her family this weekend. She requested a Thanksgiving-style dinner because she adores Thanksgiving and I absolutely love the idea. More home-cooked food… Yay!

It’s my half-birthday today. I finally get to see my trainer again and I’m thrilled because he’s sardonic and witty and lovely because of it. We get along grandly and I have a few fridge magnets to give him from my travels that he can add to his ever-growing collection. What I’m learning from my few days of being back is that home, family, and the simple things are those that I sometimes forget to appreciate at their full value and that they deserve to be recognized more often. Getting away from it all and seeing the world is amazing. I cherished my trips while I was on them, and before, and after. But learning to appreciate the quirks of your family, the flaws of your friends, and the familiarity of your hometown is harder when you’re here living through it all. It’s easy to love what you don’t have, so it’s easy to miss these things when you’re away from them. The trick is learning to appreciate what you have while you still have it. It’s an invaluable lesson. And I’m still learning.