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This is the post excerpt.

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“(adj.) desiring or seeking powerful change in one’s life, behavior, or situation”

This is my very first post and in all honesty I have never had a blog before. I have heard others discuss their blogs but I have never been one to give it much thought. Within the previous months I have begun journaling and it has become an outlet for me to express my thoughts. The more that I write the more I feel as if I need another form of an outlet. I am not much of an artist in the sense that I cannot draw and my painting skills are lacking as well, but I love photography. So here it goes, I have made a blog. The blog itself is for my own sake, to discuss, rant or vent about the struggles of being a female in her 20’s. Or to share my excitement with my most recent endeavor. Whatever it may end up being I plan to share it here. This is my next chapter in my life, time to make a change.

 

Prost!

Halo,

IMG_3570Its been a little while since my last post, work and school tend to get a little crazy and sometimes, correction; I ALWAYS struggle to take time away from everything for myself. I have managed to mentally prepare a little more for the big move to AUS which is exciting, but again, it’s still a ways off that I can’t get too excited and forget everything that is going on right now. I finally have a moment to myself, mainly because I just started my week of PTO so I am currently sitting at an adorable little cafe in Port Orchard, WA drinking an Irish Coffee. Clearly I have no reason to complain.

Anyway this post is to talk about my travels to Berlin, Germany. The new love of my life. If the process to move to Germany was as simple as it was to Australia my decision might have been swayed. Berlin was fabulous and it has made me want to plan a trip to solely travel around Germany. Lucky for me, I have a friend who is going to be moving to Germany by the end of this year to be a ski instructor. Gives me an easy excuse to go visit.

I left Barcelona at 330am to catch my 6am flight. Now I am a morning person, but having to be at the airport early enough to be able to catch your 6am flight was even absurd for my standards. We had a nice adventure attempting to find the correct bus to the airport as well. We were directed to our bus stop and as we walked there quickly realized that it was the central station. So there were about 15-20 different bus stops which of course were not labeled. After frantically running from each stop and asking multiple bus drivers, our very last attempt was the correct one. Within 10 mins of being on our cramped little bus I managed to meet someone who was from Berlin and was on the same flight as us! Small world. I was able to pick his brain and get some out of the box ideas of things to do. Finally maneuvered our way through the airport and onto our flight. I promptly feel asleep the moment that I sat down.

We arrived in Berlin fairly early as you can imagine and took the metro to our hostel. We stayed at the Wombat Youth Hostel. Luckily there was a cute little cafe (apparently I have a thing for cute little cafes) right across the street. We stopped to grab coffee and plan our next couple of days. I was beyond exhausted but the adrenaline of being in Berlin kept me going, from the moment I stepped off the plane I felt at home. The crisp cool air felt refreshing and the graffiti filled streets were amazing to me. We pushed through our exhaustion to conquer as many of the sites that we could. We stashed our bags and set off walking through the streets of Berlin. I am not a history buff by any means but my friend Jules studied history as her major, so it is safe to say that she was drooling over everything. I was drooling but for the beauty in each location and how intricate and amazing the details were in each building. Both of us felt no shame in our level of American tourism that we were displaying. Around every corner one of us would stop and snap a pic, or ten…..

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Exhausted and starving we headed back to our hostel late afternoon to check in and grab a drink. Luckily our hostel’s top level was actually a bar so it was no struggle to go and grab a German beer. I’m from Portland so of course it’s in my blood to have a deep love of beer and Germany was no exception.
The next morning is the day that we decided to take our friend from the bus advice about how to see Berlin, rent bikes. I use to ride bikes as a kid all the time but I haven’t done it since I was probably about 14, its safe to say that I am no pro and I should have practiced. It was not as easy as I remember. But it was still a blast and anyone traveling to Berlin I highly suggest you grab a bike and go. The metro is practical and quick but biking you are able to see the areas of the city that many tourists do not venture to. We rode by a huge beautiful park, over water channels and through a part of town that was not the safest but gave us a glimpse into true Berlin, and this is something that I crave. I have mentioned it in my previous post about my desire to do less touristy activities and more that allow me to see the culture and this was a great way to experience the city. Don’t mind my outfit for our day of biking, clearly I was not trying to impress those German men haha.

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That night we decided to go out and experience the club scene. Now if you do not know, Berlin is known for their techno clubs. And boy oh boy, they do not disappoint. To give you a quick glimpse into how my night ended, I met a tattooed German man who spoke no english and danced the night away. I managed to go to bed around 7am and slept most of the next day. I was prepared for this to happened so I had already accepted the loss of a day. What I do not understand is how many people spend their entire Europe trip in this way.

I met many different people throughout my trip and I found it interesting that many, if not all of the American’s I had met were primarily drinking their way through Europe. I do not want to make a rash generalization I am just simple stating my observation. I am all for having a good night out on the time but I also enjoy getting a solid seven hours of sleep and waking up refreshed, especially when I am out traveling another part of the world. But to each their own I suppose.

Berlin was amazing and I cannot wait to take a trip through the rest of Germany because I already know that I will fall even deeper in love once I get further away from the tourist parts. If anyone else has been to different parts of Germany that has any suggestions please let me know!

Aplaudiments!

The second stop on my trip through Europe was to Barcelona, Spain. I had been in Europe for about 2-3 days by this point but had been staying in a cute little town Amiens, in Northern France. This is where my friend has been living for the past year. I did not take much time to explore this city as I was ready to get out and meet new people. This is what my focus of the trip, back home I spend a lot of time with the same five friends. Which there is nothing wrong with this, I am extremely fortunate to be lucky enough to have such a tight-knit group of friends. The only thing with having such a tight-knit group of friends is the fact that not many new people are introduced to our group, when we do go out, none of them are too keen on taking the time to talk to new people. I am the opposite, I strive on meeting people and love to be social. After transferring to an entirely online college program and focusing more on graduation and work I have found myself losing this side of myself. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a nice bubble bath, glass of wine and Netflix as much as the next person, but I missed the joy I got out of having a conversation with someone new.

My trip to Europe was meant to push myself out of the bubble that I had created back home. So naturally, the first task to do when arriving in Amiens was to hit the bars! Or in our case, the local Irish pub. Ironic that I was in France going to and Irish pub, I have discovered how much I enjoy the Irish culture. Anyway, the first couple of days were spend fighting the vicious jet lag that was hitting me, mixed with the constant hangover I was nursing. I tried my best to adjust to the time difference in Europe, but being a walking zombie does not exactly ignite the desire to go sight-seeing. This pattern continued into our first day in Barcelona. Our flight left at 6am, and was about 45 mins away from where we were staying. This means we managed to get a whopping three hours of sleep. I managed to sleep on the plane but between my neck cramping and the intense trout mouth that kept occurring it is safe to assume it was not the most restful sleep.

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Barcelona was different that I was expecting, I guess when I think back to describe what it was that I was expecting of Barcelona I can’t put it into words. I want to describe my expectations as more of the traditional idea of Spain. The ones you see in the movies, something more similar to what I imagine Seville, Spain to look like. It is clear that Barcelona, as many of the places I visited, we directed towards tourists. I was also unaware, until I participated in a walking tour, that Barcelona is trying to become an independent country from Spain so they have their own flag and many speak Catalan instead of Spanish.

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As I struggled to fight off the last bit if jet lag, I also struggled with eating. I would be starving at random times and other times I found myself not hungry at all. I have an extremely sensitive stomach so the fear of getting sick and missing out on a day took over. Leaving me to live off of McDonald’s the entirety of my trip to España. Correction, leaving me to live off of a delicious White Sangria and McDonalds. An extremely sophisticated pallet if I do say so myself. Ha oops!

Barcelona is where I met the awesome Irishman, Timmy, who seemly gave me insight into my life after a mer 24 hours together. Timmy introduced himself to me within five minutes of me walking into the hostel, Mediterranean Youth Hostel. My friend, the one who has been living in France, immediately shut him down. She judged him solely on his appearance and had no motivation to even have a conversation with him, sound familiar? I on the other hand was stoked to be in Barcelona, and his Irish accent intrigued me. We chatted for a bit and then checked into our room. We were staying in an 8 person, co-ed dorm room. Not even five mins after we were settled into our bunks, Timmy came into our room. What are the chances that he is one of our roommates?! I spent the rest of my day chatting with Timmy out of the terrace about Irish culture and about his life. While sitting out there, we met some Chileans and a group of guys from Brazil. To be honest, I was still struggling to escape my awkward, self-conscious identity that I had developed the previous year.

That night we sat at the hostel drinking this disgusting licorice vodka that we had bought from the market on the corner. Eventually we decided to go out, it was a Sunday so naturally, everything was closed. This was a concept I was not used to, Siesta time during the day and Sundays, everything closes down. You already know we managed to take full advantage of the hours of siesta 😉

The bar we figured we would be open, because they are always open, was an Irish pub. Do you see a pattern forming? The three of us sat and drank, discussing the different dating cultures between our countries. After a couple of drinks, the conversation shifted to Timmy not only teaching me the cuss words of Ireland, but also how to properly say them. Even in an Irish pub we managed to get some strange side glances.

The pub was a couple blocks away from our hostel and it was a beautiful night so we decided to walk back. At one point we walked by the Sagrada Família and a wave of joy passed over me. I have no shame when I tell you that in that very moment I stood in the middle of the street with my arms outstretched and squealed with excitement. That is when it hit me, I was walking by a huge monument in our world at 2am after coming home from the bar. Not many people can say they’ve done that.

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Here is a picture of the inside, because if you have ever been to the Sagrada Família, you are aware that to get a picture of its entirety is near to impossible without a helicopter and some very expensive equipment.

Timmy left the next day to continue his adventure throughout Europe. J and I continued the next couple of days exploring Barcelona the two of us, we hit the Sagrada Família, Gothic Quarter, Cathedral of Barcelona, and Parc Güell.

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Looking at back at my time in Barcelona it makes sense that in a way I was slightly disappointed, I had never been abroad before so I had no real experiences to compare it to. The excitement of traveling abroad consumed my ability to fully take in the culture around me.

When I travel to Spain in the future, I plan to travel to remote towns that cater less towards tourists so that I am able to fully experience the España culture.

The next stop on our journey, Berlin! The future love of my life.

Note to Self: You the Shit Mama

Raise your hand if when you were growing up you led to believe that by twenty-four, you would be married, graduated, have started your career and were on your way to having kids by the time you were twenty-six. Well I have no shame in admitting that I was one of those people. I believed that by twenty-six I would have it all figured out. Now if you are one of those few people who have it all figured out, I bow down to you. I sit here on a Saturday night, with saltines and a glass of merlot as my dinner writing this post. I have just gotten off work from a job that I hate and come home to the townhouse I share with my father. I am by no means trying to say that I am fucking up in life. I make good money, I have development opportunities and I am almost done with earning my BS in Communications. Woohoo! I know that I am doing fine, but yet somehow I am made to feel as if I am falling behind. People warned me that when you hit twenty-four that all of a sudden your social media timelines turn into engagement announcements, wedding photos and gender reveals. I was unaware of the complete 180 that happens. It was like a giant slap to the face, and I find myself avoiding social media at all costs so that I do not feel bad about my own life. I have talked to others my age as well, both males and females. And the ones who are not engaged or heading down that path in the next six months find themselves doubting their progress or their accomplishments in their own lives. Thats a load of bulls***!  I could rant on about this topic, but I do not think it would be very proactive. Instead I want to focus on why females who are still single at twenty-four our treated as if they are some sort of anomaly. Maybe I am the only one who has experienced this and everyone reading this is shaking their heads thinking that I am insane.

I have never had so many lesbian jokes been made about my love life. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a lesbian, I am many family members dear to me that are a part of the LGBT community. I am not a lesbian though and I do not understand why just because I am still single that it must be assumed that I am a lesbian. This commentary has come from both friends and family members. Thanksgiving 2016 was a great time….not. My entire family, and I literally mean entire, both sides even, were married by the time they were about twenty-three, many of them had their first kid by then. My cousin has followed in this path and was married two years ago at twenty-one. I have never brought anyone home that I have been in a relationship with because I do not introduce just anyone to my family. And clearly as I am writing about the struggles of being a single female in 2017, none of my relationships have worked out thus far. Sitting around the dinner table and someone brings up grandkids and the conversation goes south from there. I would like to add a quick note to this, all of my family members (except my grandparents) are now divorced, specifically on their second divorce. Yet I am the odd man out sitting at the table, how does that seem logically at all. My friends, who have all been just as single as I was up until this last year or so now act like there is something wrong with me for not jumping into a relationship as they all have. They have all set me up, time and time again on blind dates. Some have worked out longer than others, and they were all nice guys but again, still single. And again, I am happy with this decision.

I am single by choice, and anyone who is in the same place as I am will understanding how difficult it is to remain single, when we live in a generation that is accustomed to settling with anything just so they have the ability to say they have something. I have had to recently prioritize my life, with being so close to graduation and working full time I do not have much free time, if any. And the little free time I do manage to scrounge up I have decided to dedicate to my friends. My priorities for the time being do fit with being able to have a significant other. I do not plan to die alone though, after I graduate I plan on allowing myself to get attached. But this is honestly none of anyone else’s business and it should not matter. Yet somehow it does. In every aspect of my life, somehow I am made to look like I am odd because I haven’t settled down. That maybe I am a player by heart and I will not settle down.

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What people who are in relationships tend to not understand is that even when you make the choice to remain single for the time being, it does not make it any easier. One begins to question their ability to find another to be with. Their self-worth is not diminished, but the question of whether or not this was truly your own decision or if it is a decision that was made due to the lack of ability to find someone. Feelings of being lonely tend to sink in, especially when you’ve had a hard day. The urge is to come home to someone you care about and be able to unwind with them, and have them there as a support system. But when you’re single and all of your friends are in relationships, that person that you rely on to be your support system quickly becomes yourself. You have to hug yourself at the end of the day and remind yourself that it was just a bad day, not a bad life. You are the one telling yourself throughout the day, “you the shit mama, you’ve got this”. You are your own cheerleader.

But I want to emphasize my statement, I am single BY CHOICE. I have recently come to a realization that has helped me to better understand my decision to be single for the time being. As I have mentioned some days are harder than others to be single, and some days the fear of never finding someone are more harsh than others. I would be lying if I never laid awake at night wondering if there was something wrong with me and thats why I couldn’t find a guy. The second part of that statement is what I want to focus on.

“Why I couldn’t find a guy”

I have come to realize that statement is borderline self-pity. I have come to realize that I have found the guy, I may have even found many of the guy. But I have not let them in. I did not realize this at the time that I was dating them, this is something that I have come to realize within the past 24 hours. As I said, I dated many guys and they were all very nice, well not all of them, but many of them were a great fit. But why didn’t it work out? Thinking back, it did not work out because the moment in a relationship where it shifts from the fun flirty dating to the serious, I want to spend the rest of my life with you is where I pull away. Its subtle, so subtle that I was unaware I was doing it. It was not due to a fear of commitment, it is due to a fear of settling.

I came to this realization because I am currently dating a guy, who all my friends love. I have known him for years and he is great guy and we have a great time together. He is supportive and clearly cares about me. They continue to ask me if I could see myself marrying him, time and time again I answer no. But why couldn’t I see myself staying with him? I took a step back to think about this, and the answer is I could see myself marrying him. And if I were to marry him I am sure we would be very happy together. We would stay in my hometown more than likely, move in together, get married and start having children in the next couple of years. For those of you have read my previous post, you are aware that my future plans include moving to Australia in the next 7-8 months, marriage and babies don’t exactly fit into that lifestyle right now. I need to rephrase my previous question to more accurately portray what is happening;

“Why am I not allowing myself to choose a guy”

I think I could phrase it a little more enlightening but I am not the smoothest with words. Obviously as I just said smoothest..

Anyway, this question forces me to challenge myself and ask, what is it that is causing me to not be with someone 110%. This then leads me to begin to establish what is it that I want out of this life right now, and how am I then going to achieve it. And for many of you singlets out there this may be something you want to ask yourself.

I have read many blogs written by other independent females, one in particular caught my attention. The hardest part about being single is having none to tell you it’s okay, Sheena Sharma(2016), Elite Daily. For all you single female out there I highly suggest you read it.

I have recently made an addition to my tattoo collection to remind me that I am the shit and that I am doing just fine. It is of a wolf, and I got this tattoo because of a quote I had found in the months before. Many people give me the strangest look when I explain my tattoo to them but it honestly doesn’t matter what they think.

“A wolf is just a woman who feel in love with the moon instead of a man”

This can all be related to single males as well, I am not trying to exclude anyone from this post. This is me speaking from my heart and obviously I am a female. I am sure many of you males struggle with the same emotions. Just continue to remind yourself, you’re the shit and you can do this. Challenge yourself to figure out what you want and make it happen. You are not an anomaly just because you have chosen to be single for the being.

Being single is a choice.

This has turned into more of a rant than the writing piece that I wanted it to be…. The topic itself has been whirl winding around in my head for such a long time that I created a lovely word vomit of thoughts on the topic.

Let me know if any of you feel the same!

I also have other blog posts if anyone is interested in them.

Ken

The Meditating Gorilla

Okay,

I just recently took a trip to Europe, three weeks and 5 countries. It was a whirlwind to say the least but it was one of the best experiences of my life. Now if you had asked me a year ago if I would travel to Europe and travel for three weeks I would have said yes, but it would have been more along the lines of something that I would want to do but would be completely out of reach. I was lucky enough to have a friend who was offered a job in Amiens, France. I had not other option than to go!

I was excited and terrified all at the same time with the weeks leading up to my trip. I had never traveled internationally other than Canada and Mexico, so let me rephrase. I had never traveled off of the continent, I mean technically I did when I went to Hawaii but that is still part of the US. Anyway, doesn’t matter. I had no idea what to expect with this type of trip but was looking forward to what was in store. We stayed in hostels and I lived out of a backpack, yes you heard me correctly, a backpack. Not a backpacking one that is the entire length of my body, something you would use to carry your books to class everyday. We flew by cheap airplane, Rynair which meant we could not check a back.Well we could check a bag but we did not want to pay, so we had to make our bags the size of carryons. We also did not want to have to drag around a rollie bag with us everywhere we went and be THAT person walking across the cobble stone streets in Rome with the echo of your wheels disturbing the silence.

Everyone who has traveled will tell you the same thing, make the time to travel. And no, it is not easier said than done. It is easy to do, you just have to make the decision to do it! I will admit I was 100% that person who made excuses, my most common excuse was the fact that I had to work. Yes, I need money to survive but what’s the point of working your ass off if you don’t use it to enjoy life? I am a firm believer in taking the time to travel by yourself or even with a friend, to another country. I think people learn a lot about themselves that they otherwise may never figure out. In a way it changes you, not to say that by traveling you are going to become this absurdly different person than you before but traveling challenges you. Situations and people come up that make you not only question everything you know but it causes you to reframe your thinking. The person you become after traveling is likely to be who you truly are deep within, without the constraints of what society has taught you as “proper”. I left for Europe a girl with low self-confidence, who felt to feel beautiful I had to wear loads of make up. I would make jokes about being a creature on days that I didn’t have time to have a full face of make up and would avoid eye contact with men because I didn’t think they would pay much attention to me. When I arrived in Europe I met an Italian girl, very down to earth and level headed. We discussed the idea of having to wear make up and I realized that it is primarily US culture that promotes these fake images of beauty. I decided then to not wear make up the rest of my European adventure. I will admit that I would slap some mascara on daily but that was the extend of it. My hair was worn natural and I have never felt more myself.

I met people that I would have never met in my life otherwise, and to be honest, they are some of my favorite people I have ever experienced. My favorite person was an Irishman named Timmy. He would pick a place to live, find a bartending job, work until he saved enough money again and would travel until the money ran out. Then find another gig and save the money again. He was only 21. I am 24 and was an extreme workaholic at his age. He arrived in Barcelona and immediately decided he was going to get a meditating gorilla tattoo in the middle of his back, his reasoning? Because he could. Now I am not saying that my dream is to go out and get a gorilla tattoo tramp stamp, but I admired his relaxed persona. I admire the lifestyle he is living.

I met many other people who I am sure I will be discussing in my later posts, but the focus of today is the meditating gorilla. Take a step back from what we are taught is proper and take a risk. We have the rest of our lives to work, and what kind of life is one where all you do is wake up, go to work, come home and do it all over again. Maybe add grabbing a drink on the weekend. I feel as if we start to become numb with that lifestyle, there are no highs and there are no lows. I am not trying to disregard the highs of getting married, or having a child, or even receiving a promotion. Those are all amazing feelings and are blessings. I am just challenging you to think outside the box for a minute. What would you meditating gorilla moment be?

I have decided my first meditating gorilla moment, which I am sure will lead to many more moments to follow. My first moment is moving to Australia. I am wrapping up some lose ends in my current life such as school and then I plan to take that leap. I am leaving everything behind to challenge myself and see what adventure I can make out of this life.

Don’t worry, I will be posting lots more about my European travels and how I have gotten to where I am now. I find it quite comical that I write this blog as if anyone is reading it. Maybe someday someone will, who knows!

Until then,

Ken