life

Planting Carrots

Going back to work after a looooooooong summer weekend is never easy, so I was tickled when I came across Kitt Santos‘s amazing blog, Little Bunny. Big World.

The name is pretty accurate. Santos depicts a little rabbit going through the stuff we humans feel every day.

This particular illustration, entitled “You’ll get there,” resonated with me.

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I’m not exactly a patient person. I like to feel like I’m always in motion, working towards my next goal or latest project. It’s not always easy for me to accept that some things are out of my control, and that sometimes I have to wait—and find peace in those moments.

ButВ I’ve found a way to help myself through those times. I’ve long used the expression “planting carrots” to describe planning fun things to look forward to—especially trips and vacations. Knowing that I have an upcoming getaway helps me throughВ life’s ups and downs, likeВ the annual long slogВ orВ a super-busy period at work. Anticipating those carrots makes me feel as zen as that bunny.

And speaking of carrots, I’ve actually planted a few more in the past week: In addition to my upcoming Chile trip, I also booked a weekend to visit my dear friend in Indiana, and an end-of-summer trip to London and another TBD destination with my best friend. Hooray for carrots!

(Illustration by Kitt Santos)

Crazy Days

paper airplanes

Whew! Apologies for being a bit MIA, lately—life has been so nutty! My schedule has been packed, though with all good things: family events, dinners with friends, bridesmaid dress shopping, ballet rehearsals, a reprise of Rock Band Night (!). Each one has helped me get through the Long Slog, day by day. (And hello?! Finally, some warm weather today!)

A few posts on escapes I’ve made during this never-ending winter to come. And I’m happy to report I have a few trips in mind for the coming months, as well. 😉

(Image via Venturous Endeavors)

Fall Travel Fantasies

For the past few weeks, I’ve been feeling “meh”—struggling to feel excited about anything, bored with my everyday routine. (Well, except for ballet—the sole bright spots.) Looking at my calendar, and counting down to some upcoming, fun summer events, helped a bit. But the looming shadow of fall and the endless weeks filled with the same old routine just seemed overwhelmingly depressing.

It took me a while to realize I’ve gotten stuck in a rut.

A non-traveling rut.

Last year, at my old job, I had five weeks of vacation—plus five summer Fridays—and I used every single one of those days. At this time, one year ago, I’d already spent a week inВ Panama, had a girls’ weekend inВ Chicago, another one inВ Boston, tookВ a three-day running trip, and was taking lots of three-day weekends to visit Mal and Peter inВ Maryland. Plus, I had two weeks inВ GuatemalaВ on the horizon.

I’ve just realized that this year is half-over and I’ve only taken three days to go toВ Eleuthera. And I have no big trip planned for the fall. Part of this is due to having a new job and far fewer vacation days, and feeling hesitant to take any. But I’ve realized that because of this, I’ve been reading less travel articles, daydreaming less about where to go next—and dragging myself down, as a result.

My blog tagline pretty much sums me up: I love travel, ballet and my hometown of NYC. I need them all in a way that’s hard to articulate and, I assume, difficult for other people to understand,В unless they feel the same way about something. I can’t be without any of the three for an extended amount of time without feeling off. (When it comes to travel, I don’t need to go far or spend tons of money—if that were the case, I wouldn’t have gone anywhere during the last 10 years. I just need to goВ somewhere…every few weeks, if possible!)

So yesterday, I decided to pull myself out of my travel rut. I decided I would definitely plan a fall trip—even if it ends up being another solo journey. And IВ started to think about all the places I could explore. I took a Chile travel guide off my bookshelf and read it on the subway. (I’ve still yet to go there.) Just envisioning Torres del Paine and Parque NacionalВ Los Glaciares lifted my spirits. And since then, I’ve felt more energized and optimistic than I have in ages.

Pretty amazing what a little determination and positive thinking can do.

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…if you have any ideas about where I should go, please let me know! I’m still figuring it out and would love some suggestions.

(Torres del Paine photo byВ Steffen Sauder via Wikitravel)

Another Reason to Do What You Love

…because that’s how you’ll learn the most, according to none other than Albert Einstein, himself.

I recently stumbled upon a beautiful letter he wrote to his son, Hans Albert, age 11, back in 1915. In it, he alludes to the separation between them (Hans Albert was living in another city with Einstein’s estranged wife), as well as the theory of relativity, which he’d just completed. But he wraps up the note with this sage advice:

I am very pleased that you find joy with the piano. This and carpentry are in my opinion for your age the best pursuits, better even than school. Because those are things which fit a young person such as you very well. Mainly play the things on the piano which please you, even if the teacher does not assign those. That is the way to learn the most, that when you are doing something with such enjoyment that you don’t notice that the time passes. I am sometimes so wrapped up in my work that I forget about the noon meal. . .

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So true. Doing something you love and seeing what you’ve learned or how you’ve grown in the process is really one of the most gratifying things.

(Photo via Pinterest; quote found via Brain Pickings)

A New Beginning in November

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You probably wouldn’t have guessed from my entries over the past few weeks, but October was a bit of a tough month for me. Nothing spectacularly bad or life-changing happened. I was just under the weather for almost four weeks, which felt like an eternity—and not feeling well for that long had me feeling down and out of sorts. (First I had a horrible cold, then caught whatever Mal had at the Grand Canyon, then had my wisdom teeth removed and experienced a complication with one, then the hurricane hit…)

I’ve found that when I’m feeling down about something, it helps me to look ahead—literally, to flip through the months in my iPhone calendar—and choose a date when I know I will be out of the situation and feeling much better. And while I’m moving forward, I’ll look to that date as often as I need to and remember that things are improving. Earlier this year, I was going through a particularly trying time. I gave myself three months to feel mostly better and six months to be 100% healed. This time, I didn’t need nearly as long. I chose November 1 as my all-better day.

Sure, illnesses and natural disasters are out of my control. But just reminding myself that happier days are ahead did boost my mood a great deal. And now that we’re a few days into November, I can happily report that my colds are gone, all my wisdom teeth have healed and I was super-lucky to have made it through the hurricane without any major troubles.

This quote, which I stumbled upon via Shoko’s blog a few weeks ago, puts it perfectly:

no feeling it final

Definitely wise words to keep in mind!

How do you deal with trying times? I’d love to hear your thoughts. And thanks to everyone who reached out to me during the hurricane—I was touched by your concerns and good wishes!

(Top photo via Travel, Culture, Books and Tea—though if you know the photographer or the setting of this shot, please share! Bottom image via Shoko.)

So Thrilled

salar de uyuni

I am beyond happy. I just found out that my two favorite people are officially moving back to New York in a few weeks!

I definitely enjoyed/reaped the benefits of Mal and Peter’s time in Maryland: having beach weekends at my “summer share,” grilling, eating lots of blue crabs. And as much as I’ll miss that, I’m elated that they’ll only be a short Metro-North ride away, as opposed to a torturous six-hour Greyhound trip.

Now that summer officially starts this weekend (summer Fridays = the beginning of the season, in my book), I’m planning to make as many weekend trips to their place as I can, before it’s time to help them pack and haul everything up north. And as for next year? I suppose we’ll have to find an actual summer share closer to NYC.

Yesterday I also found out that one of my best friends is moving to London in September. And while I’m sad about that, I’m also looking forward to meeting up with her in different European cities for weekend jaunts and vacations. New opportunities to travel are always the biggest silver linings to loved ones leaving town!

(Photo: Mal and me at the Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia)