Who? What? When?

There’s nothing like being asked- nearly from the time you can say your full name-this question:

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Not gonna lie, it’s an exciting question as a 5 year old. The lists’ are endless, and all the time in the world to decide.

As a 17, 18 or 19 year old…. not so much. Somehow you have absolutely zero time left- the Universities need an answer. Careers go around and around in my head of which one makes me the most money, and one I want to work the rest of my life. Really? Sounds like a lose-lose situation to me.

Sometimes we just try and make those around us happy and follow a path suggested. I started looking at this question I had been asked for so many years before differently. Asking myself this time, “Who do I want to be?” “How can I use what I am going through in this moment to better myself, for myself?”

If I focus on nurturing and transforming flawed characteristics and relationships I see in my life, I know I won’t regret that. Now a major, maybe. Maybe a few times, to be determined. Cross your fingers on that. At the end of my life, what my major was in college will not be something talked about. Who I am, and how I made those around me feel is going to be one of, if not the only thing talked about.

I’d always tried to be the opposite of “selfish”, completely avoid it. But honestly, the times I took to be selfish are the times I grew the most. Pretty soon, your battery will hit zero if you don’t take dedicated time to recharge and refocus. Time spent reflecting not only helps keep a level head in the midst of some situations that make you feel like you’re running around with you head cut off, but practices positivity.

You could be in one of the darkest seasons, but that tiny ity bity star seems to scream so beautifully loud. This doesn’t take away from what you’re going through, but makes it seem somehow safer in a way. You hold this little light you can use to mock the darkness trying to capture you. With this little light, all your worries seem to take a backseat. The most important things come in clear focus, as well as the imperfections.

This life is full of imperfections, darkness, and negativity. On the other hand, why would I ever allow those three words to have power? Each time, the darkness allowed me to see the light. The imperfections opened up a version deep within myself and who I really want to be.

The question of “What I literally want to be” changes and will probably change even when I do have a solid career. Things like that are inevitable but at the end of the day, who I am will be solid. Some days it seems I am taking two steps back, but only later do I truly see where those two steps actually were taking me.

It’s hard to say who I will be next week or next year, but I have an idea. No matter what, I will be who I am, for me. She deserves it.

Rock Bottom…. On a Train

To kick off my travel stories…. let’s get weird with this one.

Amsterdam- the day before.

Train departure: 02:43am- Hauptbahnhof Aachen, Germany. Current time: 18:40.

So much time to kill but it shouldn’t be that bad right? There should be somewhere we can wait comfortably.

Meredith and I buckle our 40L backpacks around our waists when we really should’ve buckled in for the next 20 hours and the feeling of rock hard bottom, literally and figuratively, would feel.

So, we begin with a mile, give or take, hike from Meredith’s host families house to the station for our journey from Germany to Budapest, Hungary. A couple hours on one train, a couple on another, and finally maybe a couple more for the last train. Thinking “we can sleep in our seats a little each ride and arrive in Budapest around 3 or 4pm and explore with some energy at least”.

Walking into the train station, to see a few homeless people laying on their mats or on chairs in the fairly small seating area. We try and find a place to possibly just sit down and prepare to wait about 6 hours until our train. We stumble upon a quiet locker room so we decide to just sit… on the floor? All the seats were taken so we figured, why not. Slowly the both of us slid our way down and next thing I see, Meredith has her sleeping mask and neck pillow on and is using a scarf as a blanket. I will take first watch.

Naturally, anyone would look at this picture and think, “What in the world? How gross that floor must be!” Honestly though, it didn’t matter. There’s something peaceful actually about it.

2am rolls around and after a long wait, we caught the first train of the day.

As you can see, I was defaulted 2nd watch.

Well, with our Eurail passes we figured we didn’t need to reserve any seats because the pass was essentially our “tickets”. Additionally, it is nearly 3 in the morning, we just sat where was open. Slowly, however, as we switched trains and seats, the morning travelers start finding their seats. The options of open seats become slimmer, as we are kicked out of seats over and over (we pull the “oops we must’ve thought these were ours” every time lol). At last, it is mid-day, there are no more seats anywhere. We need sleep or somewhere comfortable to sit though.

Fast forward, we are together on the bathroom floor. Meredith is literally pissing right above me as I nap. Again, it’s weirdly peaceful. Not the pissing, that was laughable, but the situation. We were on a train somewhere in between Aachen and Budapest. Lying on the bathroom floor of that train that we never booked seats for, only having booked our hostel we’d go stay just the day before. Also, not knowing, we were about to meet some of the best lads.

Sometimes you find yourself at actual rock bottom. But, you have no choice but to get comfortable, knowing things can and will go up from here. However long that may be.

Life can seem to just be spin in a downward spiral, a domino effect. It’s almost easier to focus on everything going wrong and the fact you have no power to do anything. We could’ve had that mentality that day, but it wouldn’t be right to. I was with my best friend, who I’d lay on the dirtiest floor for if it meant we’d be soon arriving in a city across the world neither of us had ever seen before.

After that, things only did go up from there, and then down, and then up. This is it. The pattern of all of our timelines. I’d be foolish to believe my future is going to be filled with nothing but happiness. There are going to be bad days, tears, anger, and maybe a couple dirty floors I am going to have to lay down on for a little to rest.

I will run to hop on that train (or a bathroom of a train) if it will get me where I’m going.

Budapest, Hungary

just in time for this

fernweh (n) an ache for distant places; missing places you’ve never been. “craving for travel”.

There is no moment I have felt more free than the times I find myself in wonder of how every little moment before, maybe not so significant, but significant enough to have led me to the next. I found this feeling addicting and want to chase it intentionally. Some of my greatest trials and adventures are yet to come so I might as well share a few I have in my pocket. That is what prompted me to start this blog, not only because I changed my major (another story for another time), but because I have some fears i’m now willing to admit.

Yes, I fear nasty spiders and tight spaces, but something bigger. As I grew older I felt these walls I built up myself start to squeeze closer. Walls built of self-doubt, trust issues, and old footprints of ones I allowed to walk over me. It was so easy for years to pretend like these walls are made of some indestructible material. Reality, paper. Thin paper I decided to rip through and recycle. That is not me, there is no way I was going to be trapped. That is the feeling I now despise and fight to not feel again.

That moment of realization like, wait, I AM in the drivers seat of this car so i’m gonna take it wherever the hell I decide (yes, most of the time with a level-head mom). I cling to the freedom and this season of life I am in where it all lies ahead. So many decisions to be made but so little time. Or? Is there? Time? No, unfortunately there is not pause or rewind button on life. Honestly, what an unsatisfying life that would be. Trying for perfection and who knows how many times you’d have to rewind before realizing you can never reach that.

I often feel like time is portrayed as the enemy. “There’s not enough time in a day”. “I ran out of time”. “Due dates”. Ugh. A constant battle against time. Hold on, let me ask, who is in the drivers seat again? Time? Hell no. Do not translate this to me saying: “don’t worry about it, go with the flow”. Of course, wouldnt life be all rainbows and lovely sunshine if we could prance around without things we have to do today or this week flooding our minds. More of what i’m saying is after I tore down what was crushing me, I saw through other things that attempted to take their place. I gained power over something that is so insignificant anyways.

We are all on different timelines, different views, different goals.

Maybe I wrote this for you. But also, I probably wrote this for me. Trying to tell myself this is not a race against time, but more of a walk beside it, at the pace I decide until the steering wheel falls off.