Tag Archives: Travel

Traveling Solo

So I did end up going up to Portland this weekend.  One thing I hadn’t considered was that this weekend started Spring Break.  Everywhere I went, there were college age young people, and lines to get into some of the more popular spot.

One thing I hadn’t counted on that was very new to me is that my social anxiety has gotten much worst.  I knew I was socially awkward but being surround by people in that sort of environment made me happy to get back to where I’m on detail too.

From that statement along, there are a couple things I want to say:

  1. Social anxiety: Freaking sucks.  So here I am in a city I love and have wanted to move to for a very long time and I feel like I’m drowning, floundering even, because of the sheer volume of people.  I’m already socially awkward as it is, especially lately (several months of people looking at you like what you say and do isn’t valuable doesn’t help).  I’m in a bookstore where I’m saying excuse me every few seconds because I’m looking for a book they don’t have and I’m terrified someone is going to not hear me, then get pissed off when I walk in front of them.  I didn’t used to be this way, or maybe at least I didn’t notice it as much.
  2. Touristy things: Are not for the faint of heart.  Sure, there are great things that everyone has discovered and is doing.  Don’t do them unless you don’t have any other options.  There is almost always another location that is just as cool as the one where people are standing in line.  Or has better food, like Georgetown Cupcakes vs Curbside (R.I.P).
  3. Weightloss surgery: This is where I’m drawing in a big breathe and remembering to breathe out slowly.  I’m not the same person I was when I went to Portland years ago.  I can’t eat how I used to, I certainly can’t drink like I used to, and the walking around was a lot easier now vs then.  So what’s the problem with this picture?  The problem is my mentality.  I still see myself as this big person who is taking up more space than she should, but when I was that big, I never thought I was that big.  I knew I could lose some weight, and I still could, but it wasn’t that big of a deal to me back then.  Now, and this a complaint, I have to think about food differently.  I have to think about my alcoholic nature differently.  I even have to sit at the bar differently than I used people.  I could start a conversation with people and not feel like I was being judged.  I don’t now because I’ve had several months of people’s eyes glazing over that’s trained me to not bother.  And that makes me feel like I’m not good enough anymore except to the people who I know love me, even though sometimes even then I wonder.  This is where the social anxiety aspect kicks in too, although there are a few other underlying things that I’m not going to voice until I have a long, hard conversation with a therapist when I get back.
  4. Travel with a partner!: I would probably have had more fun walking around, doing the scavenger hunt, enough the warm day, had I been with someone.  Not just any someone, but someone I wanted to share the city with, who knows that I’m crazy, and would have shared the food with me along with the experience.  Traveling by myself is great, but there is nothing like seeing the city with someone who actually wants to be there with you.

So my trip to Downtown Portland…

Lackluster?  Yes.  I still love the city.

Worth it?  Meh.  Eugene was slightly better and I only stopped there for food.

Short?  Most definitively!  I spent more time driving to and from than I actually did in the city itself, mostly because I couldn’t enjoy it the way I had before, which really freaking sucked.

Got sixteen new books out of that trip though.

Happy Monday.

Listening to:  White noise.

Reading:  The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor

Quote of the Day:  “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” ― Napoleon Hill

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Filed under Books/Classes, Driving, Vacations/Travel, Weightloss

Wanderlust

I started planning my weekend on Monday morning.  By planning weekend trips, I’m trying to feed my wandering thoughts and find a place to run away to from a place I’ve run away to.  I like where I’m staying honestly but small town life, without the anonymity of the big town bustle, can be claustrophobic after years of big city living.

So my adventure this weekend hopefully takes me to Portland, OR.  There are a few factors weighing on that but otherwise, I’m off to Portland.

Why Portland?  Why not somewhere closer to where I’m staying?  Couple of reasons:

  1. The books.–If you know you me or have been on my blog longer enough, you know I’m a book connoisseur. I love books.  I love reading.  I have books that I’d like to getting and some that I need for my collection to complete series that I have finished and plan to read again or series that I need to finish.
  2. The food.–The last time I was in Portland, there was a great food culture there.  Pinterest was littered with what to eat in Portland, from the usual touristy things to the little known places that people have stumbled upon.  There are food cart clusters, each specializing in a few key things like pizza or burgers.  There’s restaurants with international fare and fantastic beer.  Speaking of beer…
  3. The beer.–This outside of the books and the food, is probably the number #1 reason to check out Portland.  There are over 100 different brew works so Portland is a micro-brew, small batch beer lover’s paradise.  There’s Rogue, there’s Deschuetes, there’s Hopsworks, there’s McMenagmn’s (first time I ever knew there was anything like a growler), and the list just keeps on going!
  4. The transportation.–Very rarely will I ever say I go to a city because they have a good transportation system.  I dog D.C. and Baltimore out like crazy, but Portland… Only place I am trying to find a park and ride so I can take public transit.  It’s well done, well scheduled and pretty well maintained.  And goes to the airport now.

Do you really need any other reasons to visit a great city that’s not so much a tourist trap as just an awesome place to be who you are?

I don’t.

Listening to:  Dinner cooking.

Reading:  The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth Laban and Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop

Quote of the Day:  “Times of transition are strenuous, but I love them. They are an opportunity to purge, rethink priorities, and be intentional about new habits. We can make our new normal any way we want.” ― Kristin Armstrong

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Filed under 1001 Days, Beer, Bucket List, Vacations/Travel

March’s Goals

So March…

February was another “stellar” month.  Shorter but no less exciting.  Completed:

  • Read 10 books.
  • Travel cross county (Day Zero Goal).
  • Visit California (Day Zero Goal).
  • Read 200 books (Day Zero Goal).

Awesome things happened last month though, and then some not so awesome things happened that are the reason my day is shaky.  However, moving past it and knocking things off my bucket list that I need to get done since it’s the first of the month.  Already posted my vlogs (March TBR and February Wrap-up) this morning before work.

Goals check-in:

  • Miles reached for Walk to Mordor: 1,293.7.  15.3 miles to Rauros!
  • Weight: 247.4 (down 5.2 lbs)
  • Books read: 14 books.
  • Blog Posts: 3
  • Vlog Posts: 4

March goals:

  • Reach 250+ miles.
  • Get under 245.
  • 10 blog posts.
  • 10 books.
  • 10 vlogs.
  • Start 1000 piece puzzle.
  • Edit my NaNoWriMo book.
  • Buy a lottery ticket.
  • Visit California’s North Coast (Eureka, CA).
  • Complete HRC’s Nargle 9k.
  • Complete a 24 in 48 hour readathon.
  • No fast food for the month.
  • Complete HRC’s DA 5k.

There are a few other things I’ll be adding to the list as completed this month that I don’t want to add here because I don’t know if I’ll actually do them.  *fingers crossed on them*

Happy Thursday!

Listening to:  Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Reading: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Quote of the Day:  “Some people may have greatness thrust upon them. Very few have excellence thrust upon them. They achieve it. They do not achieve it unwittingly, by ‘doing what comes naturally’; and they don’t stumble into it in the course of amusing themselves. All excellence involves discipline and tenacity of purpose.” ― John William Gardner

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Filed under 1001 Days, Bucket List, Goals, HRC

Change in Location

There have been few opportunities where I can change my life for the better.  One was going to DC, then having some amazing people who were great and supportive of my life and my career.  Another was meeting Ray.  I know I talk about Ray a lot but she’s pretty freaking special to me.

Then, just when life feels like it is going to break you, the Universe (or whatever external divinity you believe in) reminds you that good (and even great) things are out there.  You just have to be brave enough to take them.

Currently, I’m typing this on my laptop at a table 3,000 miles from home.  I’m still coming down off the high of even being given this opportunity.  I thought it wasn’t real up until I got told there was an action in the system for it.  Still didn’t believe it was real as I was driving out this way.  It probably won’t hit me that this is really happening to me until I get to work tomorrow and get settled.

Every missed opportunity from before…  I want to say has led to this moment.  It hasn’t though.  I screwed up on an interview years ago for almost the exact position in a different location.  Then there was Portland.  I had my hopes up and everything, only to have it land in my face 24 hours later with two words:  Not selected.  I kicked myself a lot for those, but I wouldn’t change the way all that happened.

Life is good and things are awesome.  And someone was willing to take the chance on me to allow me to the chance to work in the field.

All because I put my name in the hat to do something different.

Listening to:  Down with the Sickness by Disturbd

Reading:  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling and Lirael by Garth Nix (Tim Curry is an awesome narrator!)

Quote of the Day:  “The most important thing is this: to be able at any moment – to sacrifice what you are, for what you will become!” ― Eric Thomas

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Filed under Advice Column, Bucket List, Vacations/Travel

February’s Monthly Goals

Well…um…damn.

I think the only things I finished was “Read 10 books,” “Start RTY 2018 mile challenge,” and “Record 10 vlogs.”

It’s been a really slow start to 2018, but we’re already a month in.  How does that happen?  Oh right:  Because I procrastinate!

Sigh.

Work has been great so far this year and after focusing on the books, sending one more kid off to boot camp, traveling to another’s graduation, dealing with the uncertainty of work (furloughed government employee), and just the general moodiness of S.A.D., I didn’t do much of anything this month.

But check-in anyways:

  • Miles reached: 1,231.74.  77.26 miles to Rauros!
  • Weight: 252.6 (I’ve been fluctuating)
  • Books read: 27 books.
  • Blog Posts: 4
  • Vlog Posts:  11

For February, I have a detail coming up so I will complete a few things I didn’t think I’d get to do, and work is paying for it.

  • Reach 200+ miles.
  • Get under 245.
  • 10 blog posts.
  • 10 books.
  • 10 vlogs.
  • Travel cross county.
  • Start saving for honeymoon cruise.
  • Edit my NaNoWriMo book.
  • Submit “Finding Home” to Kindle Scout.
  • Buy a lottery ticket.
  • Visit California’s North Coast (Eureka, CA)
  • Complete HRC’s Nargle 9k

That’s it for now.  I’m looking at other things to add to my list while I’m away but we will see.

Happy Thursday!

Listening to:  The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Reading: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot and More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Quote of the Day:  “The greatest fear in the world is of the opinions of others. And the moment you are unafraid of the crowd you are no longer a sheep, you become a lion. A great roar arises in your heart, the roar of freedom.” ― Osho

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Filed under 1001 Days, Bucket List, Goals, Uncategorized

Research

Most times, I would use that word for writing papers, not necessarily for writing stories.  Right now, though, I’m working on a few stories that I can’t really use personal experience with.  I can’t take a year off from my life and travel around the country, and I haven’t had any luck winning the lottery.  So research becomes a writer’s best trick to writing a believable story.

The Plot Thickens…

The book I’m working on now is about a woman who quits her job, gives away her things, visits her parents and stays there for a week before realizing the lottery ticket she’d picked up on her way out of town was a winning ticket.  Beyond that, she had quit to write and travel.  She just didn’t know what part of traveling she wanted to.  Along the way, she realizes a few truths she had ignored before.  The man she really liked was getting married, the man she hadn’t seen waiting for her in the background was falling in love with her story, and the people she had met along the way in various forms and capacities made her realize how much she had missed that was right in front of her.

Then Research Ensues…

This is where the research comes in because this is where I’m stuck.  There are so many cities to pick from that would be awesome to write about, so many things to do in those cities, and so many ways to write about her journey.  I had thought about doing a foodie trip before, using the mock road-trip schedule I had made a few years ago as places to start with for things like “Diners, Drives, and Dives” and “Man vs. Food”.  While I was trying to come up with that list, I remembered looking through “1000 Places to See before You Die in the U.S.”  Fast-forward and these are the things I’m starting with to help move the story along.

And Things Move Along.

Along with the travel, the main character has goals she wants to do along the way.  One of the guys will find a way to join her in some of her adventures, and the other is only briefly at the parameter of the story.  Research also helps me figure out which goals she can accomplish where.

Whether you are working on a story that you’re stuck on or are trying to figure out that goal you’ve wanted to do for a while, research can be your best friend or your worst enemy, as there is such a thing as too much research.

Sometimes, getting out from behind the computer screen and just doing something is the only research you need.

Good luck out there!

Listening to:  The Laughing Corpse by Laurell K. Hamilton

Reading:  Wolfsbane by Patricia Briggs

Quote of the Day:

“If you’re reading this…
Congratulations, you’re alive.
If that’s not something to smile about,
then I don’t know what is.”
― Chad SuggMonsters Under Your Head

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Filed under 1001 Days, Advice Column, Books/Classes, Writing

Vacation

This past weekend, Ray and I went to Charleston, SC, and Savannah, GA.  We visited family and friends; got postcards, shot glasses, and magnets; ate good food (and not so great food); spent a lot of time in my car; did a facilitated scavenger hunt; stayed at a really nice resort; visited Charleston’s City Market and South of the Border; put in some solid miles on Charity Miles; and then came home.

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Thankfully Ray took a lot of photos of the places we visited.

I had been to Savannah a few other times with other people.  This time was different though.  Not only was it a beautiful day, I was there was Ray.  Postcards, a magnet, and a shot glass was all I wanted to pick up.  Normally, after I had those, I would have left and gone on about my drive to Jesup.  We did make it to Jesup but before we left Savannah, I think we visited just about every shop on River Street.  We also didn’t get a lot of junk food either while we were there, which was a new one too.  If you haven’t been on River Street, they have some of the best sweets around.

Saturday, we did a Charleston-based Scavenger Hunt I had found on Groupon.  The scavenger hunt was 26 questions with directions, fun facts, and some awesome parts of Charleston, all done through Puzzling Adventures.

Yesterday, I sent out a lot of the postcards we picked up this weekend and already have one of the magnets on the fridge.  We still have some unpacking to do before I run off on my solo adventure this weekend…visiting more family.

Listening to:  My Own Worst Enemy by Lit

Reading:  Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes

Quote of the Day:   “Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen… yourself, right now, right down here on Earth.”― Bradley Whitford

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Filed under 1001 Days, Bucket List, Vacations/Travel