Whats Up? (aka the past 4 Months)- Frisco, Texas

Back in April I started posting about the trip me and the bf took to Europe together at the end of March and since then it’s been pretty much all i’ve posted about- both because I had so many photographs I wanted to share and because I do like providing a more linear kind of blogging experience vs sporadic postings all over the place. But, because of that and my reigning title as Exemplary Blogging Procrastinator, it’s now the middle of August and i’m just now finishing up posting about the trip (which isn’t even counting the fact that I didn’t do my usual Outtakes post but lets not get into that…)

So whats up?

A fair amount of stuff actually. Here’s a handy numerical list of things :

1- House sold. The bf and I decided you know what, as has probably been apparent for a good while, living in the suburbs isn’t for us so we decided after 3 years of living out there in a house much too big for just the two of us, to sell it and move closer to civilization. We’re now renting a 3bd apartment in the city of Frisco, Texas and it’s honestly been fantastic.

3- Fantasy books bought because my co-worker suggested them as we have the same taste in books. I still haven’t read the first one because this guy promised me they were a complete trilogy but a frantic late night discovery on his part reveled that nope, it’s an ongoing series. I didn’t commit workplace violence by throwing one of the books at him but, it was a close thing.

2- New places visited and marked off my bucket list- Washington (specifically the Seattle and Olympic Natl. Park area) and Vancouver. To put it simply- I loved it. Like no exaggeration here, i’m already making plans to figure out how to move out of Texas and live somewhere in Washington permanently.

1- Work related goal completed. I doubt i’ve mentioned this before but my day job (the one that I was offered last year while I was on vacation in Germany) consists of working in Sales Ops as a Salesforce Administrator and in June I finally put  my money where my mouth was and took the certification exam- and thankfully passed! Its not the first certification i’ve gotten for a job but it certainly felt like the hardest.

8- parcels/letters sent. Outside of work and traveling, i’ve a giant procrastinator. This definetly applies to my love of snail-mailing and after coming back from the aforementioned trip to Seattle and Vancouver, I sat my butt down and put together a bunch of packages to send to friends and realized as I always do when I get back into it, that I love and miss snail-mailing.

2- Unexpected work related things that happened in June. My director ask me if i’d be interested in going to the yearly Salesforce conference  (Dreamforce!) thats held in San Francisco and after I said yeah sure, why not? got issued a company credit card. Neither of these should be taken as a not-so-subtle humble brag though, because after that happened I had a deep existential crisis about what the heck i’m doing with my life and decided escaping to the PNW for a couple of days with the bf would be a good way to clear my head.

4- Pairs of weird and cool pj pants bought- one has whales, the other dancing cactuses and the third happy ice cream cones. The last one had otters on it that I sent to my friend Julia (the one who is amazing and let me stay with her when I visited her in Germany last year) and if thats not a sign of affectionate friendship that transcends international borders, I don’t know what is.

Countless- Cheeseboards eaten (because thats what you get when you realize you can either make them yourself or easily order them in place of a meal especially when you’re stressed as all heck)

And so thats, more or less, a compendium of whats been up in the last 4 months. Ideally the goal is to start posting about the trip to Seattle + Vancouver here sometime soon, but at this time i’m also navigating work (and studying up for my next Salesforce certification that I want to take in September at the conference), working on polishing up a manuscript to shop around to agents (query letter hell here I come), trying to get back into my art and snail-mailing, oh and also planning my next trip to Europe at the end of November. I think I forgot to mention that in the list above so here-

2- Plane tickets about. One roundtrip ticket from Dallas–> London and one from Budapest to London. 3- Hotels booked so far- cities include: London, Prague, Budapest.

Yup. Life has not slowed down and if anything it’s looking to just keep getting more and more interesting but apart from needing cheeseboard and coffee breaks here and there, i’m enjoying it.

Not drowning in my coffee cups yet,
~m

Joshua Tree Sketches, Postcards and Travel Plans- Frisco, TX



First up- Travel Plans!

I’ve been a bit hush-hush about this since the end of March when I bought my plane ticket, partly because I had no idea where I was going and partly because I didn’t want to utterly jinx anything. But with less than a month left before wheels up and an actual workable itinerary on hand, I think it’s probably time to share the plans.

So back at the end of the last roadtrip taken to have adventures in Colorado , while we were waiting for the snow to stop falling enough to be able to actually leave CO and head home, a price alert came up on flights to Paris. And I remember sitting there on the couch in the living room of the cozy cabin we were staying at and deciding after two minuets of solid thinking, yes, i’m buying it. Did I particularly want to go to Paris? Not really, but I have a good friend there and Paris is an excellent gateway to the rest of Europe so that settled it for me and the ticket was snapped up.

Fast forward a good few months later and it’s July and I still didn’t have a single clue where I was actually going to go, never mind the fact that I had yet to apply for my Passport (I did have an expired one …but it was from when I was a minor and not valid for renewal, though it was valid to use a second ID somehow). And so last month consisted of me getting that ever so important task taken care of- shout out to that lovely lady at the passport office who waived the fee for my photo and who I believe is responsible for the near miraculous turn around time (considering I didn’t pay for expedited service)- and also figuring out my itinerary.

Two weeks was the allotted time I had to work with, and while I know plenty of people would choose to pick just one country and spend the whole time there, i’m that kind of person that loves to just exhaust myself trying to see as much as possible. With that being said, I did hold myself back from going too country-hopping happy.

The itinerary, as it is now (and trust me I wish I could say i’m 100% sure it’s not going to change anymore) is as follows:  leaving Dallas —> literally almost a full day of traveling –> Edinburgh, Scotland–> Amsterdam, The Netherlands–> Salzburg, Austria–> Bavaria, Germany —> Paris, France –> home to Dallas

More as to my actual plans in these places next month when I actually sit down and think through that part more, but at least for now, i’m glad to actually see the full scale of my travel ambitions written out and so close to coming true. This will by first time in Europe and to say i’ve dreamed of doing this for almost 10 years is only just a slight exaggeration.

Apart from setting down those plans, I finished up the Joshua Tree sketches I had mentioned wanting to do and also sent a bunch of postcards to a new penpal in Poland, as well as a couple to one in Germany that i’d really love to fill with enough wanderlust as to make her visit the USA for a roadtrip one day. It’s been a good end to the month and hopefully September brings more creativity, less storms and maybe some more interesting people to send postcards/snailmail to.

~m

p.s If you’ve been to any of the cities/places I mentioned above, feel free to leave me suggestions of places I should see in the comments, i’m very much still at odds as to what exactly i’m going to try and see or visit so it’ll be appreciated :)

 

Love, Trilobites and Postcards- Snailmail Wednesday

What do Norway, Germany, England and France all have in common? Well obviously plenty of things but if you guessed their respective mail services having to deal with deciphering my atrocious handwriting, then well….you’d be correct and you would also have to be a mind reader I think.

I took the last month off from posting anything on here to devote effort to other things and also to just give myself a little time off- it might not look it but a good bit of time and effort goes into these, mainly cause I firmly believe if you’re gonna do something, do it well (or are well as you can). Part of the “other things” I was doing was catching up with friends and my snail mail, making sure I was still set on heading to Europe for two weeks at the end of September and surviving the onset of the devils season in Texas (aka Summer).

Snailmailing is something that has been a love of mine since I was 17 and actually the biggest reason I got into traveling and being more curious about the world around me. Only a few of the people I met during that first foray into penpalling are still around and while i’ve learned how easy and subsequently painful it can be to lose touch with people you’ve grown close to through letters, it’s still a thing I enjoy greatly. If anything, snailmailing and having penpals I can send postcards to and exchange travel stories with still remains a big motivator for those days when I’m so tired from work and trying to plan an epic trip and all I can think of is “gods, I wish I could just take two weeks off to be a couch potato“. These days especially with how stressful work can be, knowing I have a friend in Germany who will recommend me some amazing places to visit or another in Paris who’ll help me feel like less of a tourist in one of the most visited cities on earth, it helps to keep the wanderlust alive.

And if sometimes I end up sending people a weird art piece, a pizza pin or a t-shirt with a Texas state outline on it in addition to something I picked up for them on my travels? Well, i’ve gotten no complaints so far.

not drowning in my coffee cups yet,
~m

SnailMail Wednesday- Glass Jars and Postcards

I try and get out there, travel as much as I can when I can and if you combine that with the type of personality that loves to hoard things of little to no value, you end up with a person who’s got a stash of postcards and travel trinkets that could rival a gift shop.

Thankfully though, for both my house storage capacity and my friendships, I love sending and sharing all the travel ephemera i’ve picked up. So sometimes when i’m writing to a friend who suffers from the occasional bout of wanderlust that I do, I might stuff 1 or 2 (or 10)  postcards into the box and send it on it’s merry way. And then add a magnet or keychain, maybe a cool rock or leaf. I like to think of myself as an intelligent, mature near-adult but when i’m sitting on my office floor surrounded by postcards and bits of tape stuck on my pjs, trying to decide what sea shell to send on the basis of which one seems prettier, I gotta admit I’ve probably still got years to go.

Its definitely worth it though, both when I’m reliving the memories of trips past and when I hear back from a friend who got inspired to visit somewhere I sent them a postcard from. 

(Fun fact- the place I have the least postcards from is actually my current home state, Texas.)

~m 

An Embossed Seal and A Gold Response- Snailmail Wednesday

I’ve been snailmailing for about oh….8 years now? Its something I used to do with fervent frequency, dashing out letters almost everyday to friends far and wide, some just a couple of counties away from mine back in California. These days though, i’m lucky if I get the time to write out one a month.

Thats not necessarily a bad thing though. Before I might have had more time to devote to spilling out words on page after page and flinging them thoughtlessly halfway across the globe to anyone friendly enough, but these days my time is constrained to the point where I only devote the effort on people who mean enough for me to craft responses with more care and deliberation. Theres something about putting pen to paper that slows down your thoughts, presses them onto the pages with care and finding people who enjoy doing that as much as you do and getting to know them through this medium can be one of the loveliest experiences.

This particular letter was actually crafted and sent on it’s way months ago but I hadn’t had a chance to share it till now, given all the travel posts I’d been doing. A good friend from the UK had mailed his first letter to me after months of sharing words online and it was eloquent and very lovely. For my response, I decided to shove eloquence to the side and burst forth with paper and what ended up being almost it’s own kind of art piece. While the years might have taught me restraint with words, apparently I still have no chill when it comes to paper and all you can do with it. But considering i’m just finishing up another letter to send out to him this week, thats probably not such a bad thing, all things considered.

~m