Celebrating life

I’m a big believer in honest introspection and learning from the string of moments that make up our lives. My friends call it real talk, so let’s get real. 

Here’s a look into what I’ve learned, and am still learning  in my own life:

1. You are incredibly powerful and capable, stay passionate.

2. Soak up experience. There’s no rules how to live.

3.  Travel is one of the most rewarding gifts you can give yourself.

4. Loving someone means accepting and celebrating everything about them.

5. Don’t be apologetic about your faith.

6. Nothing is worth sacrificing your own joy.

7.  Take care of yourself-mind, body, & spirit.

8. Don’t underestimate what you can accomplish in one day.

9. Confidence in your own individuality is straight up sexy.

10. Make an intentional effort to strengthen your friendships.

11. Don’t underestimate the power of eye contact.

12. Reading is an easy form of knowledge and perspective.

13. Fall in love with yourself. You’ll realize how freeing it is.

14. Be dependable, keep your word…people appreciate that.

15. There is beauty everywhere and in everyone.

16. Learning how to love again is just as incredible as falling in love for the first time.

17. There’s no such thing as strangers, we all have to start somewhere. Be friendly towards everyone.

18. Be in tune with your aspirations and future goals.

19. Challenge yourself often; learning never really ends.

20. Your vulnerability unfolds into courageous beauty.

21. Stop waiting/complaining for something to happen, make things happen.

22. Liberate your mind. There’s nothing sexy about hatred or close-mindedness.

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What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list”

First spontaneous trip: Budapest, Hungary
First spontaneous trip: Budapest, Hungary

It’s remarkable that one decision can unfold into a myriad of memories that encompass your journey. Transitioning into living back at home in California after almost a half a year of living and traveling abroad has honestly been difficult at times. Sometimes I feel like I need to satisfy my craving for a change of pace and have days that remind me that life isn’t about routine and playing it safe. I’m also learning that “home” is no longer just a place.

Home is a feeling. It’s laughing with my family and friends. Regardless if it’s under the roof I’ve lived under since I was just 3 years old.

I don’t think I realized this until I was able to live thousands of miles away from my family, in a place that was once completely foreign to me, and have it turn into that feeling of home. I remember the times that I came home to my apartment in Perugia and my friends were cooking dinner and we started all singing together, when mornings started by enjoying my espresso as I peered out my window just to see Perugia waking up, and the times my friends and I had late night chocolate and vino runs to our favorite spot– just because.

These moments piece together why I’ll never think of life differently than the little moments we create.

Yes, the big picture is important. But if you miss the smiles from people around you, the deep conversations in between mundane activities, dancing to your favorite song, and enjoying that delicious Neapolitan pizza like it was your last meal on earth–what’s the point?

I’m a big believer in the power of putting action behind your dreams. It’s silly to argue that dreaming big is enough, it’s not. Actions make things happen, not wishful thinking. While backpacking on my own, I remember feeling fearless; capable of accomplishing anything. Not as in I didn’t feel fear at times, but as in I didn’t buy into it.

I didn’t let being scared hold me back in doing the things I wanted to do. If I felt like going off to Sweden on my own, I just did it– like it was some normal thing like deciding what to eat for lunch.

What if I felt that fearlessness everyday? Well I’m continuing to pursue my dreams. I’m currently saving up (and trying not to go out for margaritas) so I can afford a trip to Brazil in January. Latin America is so intoxicating and the opportunity came up, so I figured, why not?

Returning from an adventure that was the time of your life creates opportunities to explore your current surroundings with new eyes, plan your next adventures, and share your stories. So that’s what I’m doing, and I like that life is keeping me on my toes a bit.

So what would you do if you weren’t afraid?

Wednesday’s wisdom: do it with passion

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Loving my new home for summer… beautiful San Francisco at dusk

“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds, your mind transcends limitations… and you find yourself in a new and wonderful world, dormant forces, facilities and talents come alive and you discover yourself to be a greater person than you ever dreamed.” -Patanjali

 

So friends, what inspires you?

5 things I learned from my first solo backpacking adventure

I should start by saying I never planned on backpacking. Like eating a whole bag of popcorn while watching a movie, it just… sort of happened.

It was a week before my semester was ending and it dawned on me that 1. I had no real travel plans (daydreaming of island hopping around Greece doesn’t count), and 2. consequently, I’d be homeless in Italy real soon. And I could tell you that by my first day of backpacking, I knew I was about to have the experience I’d been missing out on during my time studying abroad.

And to be honest, I learned more in the two weeks I backpacked on my own then the time I spent studying and living in Italy. It must be the beauty of getting completely out of my comfort zone and not having a friendly face to depend on for anything. Here’s my thoughts:

1. Less things scare me now. My family was pretty nervous for my safety (understandably) and I was anxious about how I would figure all the planning out. But after overcoming something that once seemed daunting, I gained a new perspective and confidence in what I can accomplish.

2. A simple life is always more beautiful. You don’t need most things, you just don’t. I learned to appreciate every little thing I could fit into my bag. Especially the travel size goodies that I held onto for months. I swear, it’s the simplest things.

3. Don’t let others dictate what you can and cannot do.  Just because traveling independently has its precautions, it doesn’t mean it can’t be done (and loved). I was surprised how passionate and comfortable I felt; the people I met during my adventure made my experience exceptionally memorable.

4. There’s no price on education. I want to learn and grow–and I guarantee that you can’t buy experiences that grab a hold of you and transform you from the inside out. I learned to react  to mistakes that fostered a new kind of patience and understanding that I hope will stay with me forever.

5. People have this innate gravitation towards others. Even if you’re not an extrovert, when you’re in an unfamiliar, thrilling situation like traveling independently, you naturally gravitate towards others. You want others to share that new experience with you. I can only explain it by illustrating it as a basic human need.

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A view of one of the waterfalls in Monachil. One of my favorite memories.
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Travelers from literally all over the world. All day Hiking in the Monachil village in Granada, Spain

Would you ever backpack on your own?