I finally transitioned to a self-hosted blog and would love for you to follow me over there!
I finally transitioned to a self-hosted blog and would love for you to follow me over there!
As I’m sure most of you know, Brussels (my current city of residence) was struck by a horrible terrorist attack last week, March 22nd. The city is slowly getting back up on its feet, and people around me are trying hard to go on with their day-to-day lives. I am not going to elaborate on terrorist attacks, the media, or anything related to these events (because a quick google search will get you immediately caught up), but I would like to reflect and expand on the fellow humans that surround me.
I am currently sitting in a popular coffee shop that is only about half-occupied. On any other day before the attack, this place would be packed, but alas, empty chairs are a-plenty on this particular Tuesday. Up on the speakers are the soothing and uplifting sounds of The Beatles, and around me I can hear various quiet conversations. Some people are quietly discussing current events, and others are deeply consumed by their books and lap tops.
It’s very easy to get consumed by fear. Take it from a girl with generalized anxiety disorder (I am also prone to panic attacks) – the easiest thing to do right now would be to lock myself up at home and feed into dark thoughts. But alas, that isn’t what I’m doing, and I can see that my fellow co-habitants of this city are also resisting the urge to do so. Most people around me seem hopeful. There’s a glimmer of hope everywhere, from the baristas that are managing to keep a smile on their faces and are brightening everyone’s day, to the quiet boy who is blatantly cramming for exams. Life just keeps going.
Recently, I have started dedicating chunks of my day for guided meditations. “Insight Timer” is a free app that my best friend just introduced me to. If you’re a meditation pro, or if you’re a newbie like me, you’re going to love this app. It has an awesome community component, so you can see how many people in the world (or even in your city) are meditating at the moment, and you can message people and thank them for meditating with you. I couldn’t rave about it any more if I wanted to. I wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone, especially all of you great people that are prone to getting sucked up by your own thoughts.
To my fellow people of Brussels, there are plenty of peace-loving humans around you that are going out of their way to create more harmony in this crazy world. If you’re reading this today and you desperately need to get out of your home and to a safe place, there is a mindfulness meditation session at Bon Jour Bruxelles tonight. I’m including the facebook event riiiight here:
With thoughts of love and peace, I sign out today.
This week during my travels I made a cat-friend and took a nap in a museum (okay, maybe not a full-on nap, but you know).
Co-writing a blog with my best friend – COME SAY HI!
You can find me over at http://www.beyondnoco.tumblr.com for the next week or so. My best friend and I are adventuring around Europe, and there are photos and posts galore.
Come say hi!
As a writer and blogger, it’s no surprise that planning and making lists are some of my favorite things in life. When the chaos in my mind gets translated into actual words, plans, directions, I am a happy lady.
Speaking of plans, there is nothing more exciting than making travel plans. Okay – there’s one thing that’s maybe a little more exciting. Making travel plans with your best friend that currently lives on another continent!!! *jumps from joy because ALL OF THE EXCITEMENT*
We’re starting our trip off in Brussels, where I currently live. I’m just about to book a hostel for a night in Ghent and we’re potentially going to look into a night (or maybe even 2?!) in Amsterdam. Ghent is one of my favorite places in Belgium, and I’ve never been to Amsterdam before, so I’m sure that’ll be a good experience.
Have any of you been to Amsterdam before? I could use some tips / hostel recommendations / advice! 🙂
Everything is happening in about two weeks and I’m so excited to share photos and stories on here.
Airplanes: my one true love, and my absolute worst nightmare.
I am an adventurer with a bold spirit. I love mountains and rivers, valleys and hills, cities and streets, shops and parks. I love the beach, and I love the snow. New places excite me to no end. I used to be unable to sleep before flying, from the sheer excitement of embarking on a new adventure. I used to dream of soaring through clouds made of cotton, and floating mid-air with nothing but the sun above. I used to.
Somewhere along the way, something changed. On a flight from Philly to Vegas, I sat stiffly in my plane seat and waited for take-off. My heart was beating way too fast, my palms were sweating, and worst of all – I felt like there was an elephant sitting on my chest. Like someone was gripping my lungs with their bare hands. Where were these feelings coming from?
Nobody enjoys turbulence, but I used to just be able to ignore it. Seriously, the plane could shake however much it wanted to, and I would just look out the window, or scribble my way through a sudoku. On this particular flight, everything felt wrong. The moment we hit a rough patch right above Vegas, I broke down. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t talk, all I could really do was cry. Tears were streaming down my face as turbulence shook the seat under me, not even that severely. All I wanted was to be safe on the ground where I could fill my lungs with the air they longed for. My parents tried to calm me down, but couldn’t understand why I was acting in this strange manner. I’ve flown frequently my whole life, often traveling overseas, and often traveling alone. Turns out, this was my first in-flight panic attack.
That was half a year ago, and since then, I’ve flown 9 more times. My life has always consisted of movement and travel, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Unfortunately, the panic and fear got worse before it got better. I’m well aware of the fact that, yeah – airplanes are safer than cars, and yeah – turbulence isn’t a life-or-death situation. Reading reassuring fact on the internet did not help me one bit. I tried tackling the problem (and failed) so many times before I made some fairly minimal progress.
What makes me feel better:
I don’t want to lie and tell you that my flight anxiety is cured, because that would be a lie. Fortunately, I’ve learned how to manage it (for the most part). A piece of cloth with lavender essential oil on it (it relaxes me and calms me down), a pair of headphones (to make the plane noises softer, rather than for music), and breathing exercises. The most important of these is definitely the last one.
Breathing exercises have been a life-saver for me. Breathe in for 4 counts, hold it for 7, breathe out for 8. In 1-2-3-4, hold 1-2-3-4-5-6-7, out 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8. Simple, but effective.
I also prefer to travel alone. While traveling with someone can be comforting, I find that when people worry and care for me, it makes me all the more anxious. A stranger on the other hand, is someone you can make a fool of yourself in front of, because you’ll probably never see them again. I can’t even fathom the amount of wonderful strangers that have held my hand as I’ve tried to take control of my anxiety. Thank you, you nice people.
*Pro tip: if you inform the flight attendants about your anxiety beforehand, they’ll give you free alcohol, which is never a bad thing.
If you take anything away from reading this post, let it be one thing:
Fear attracts fear. The moment you learn to control it, is the moment you’ll learn to be free.
Now, go hike those mountains. Play in the sand, run through the snow, spend the day at central park, or make love under the stars. Just try not to get caught.
I’ve always been into the concept and thrill of adventure. I wouldn’t say that I’d be the first one to sign up for rock-climbing, but I find it extremely important to take a break out of whatever routine you’ve gotten yourself into, and just go. Having the ability to just leave everything and go, surprisingly requires a lot of planning. This is why, the next time you see an opportunity to do anything that you feel like you’ll remember for the rest of your life – anything that you’ll look fondly back on, I dare you to do it.
Today, I’m going to share with you photos of a time my best friend and I went on a little adventure of our own. We had just finished our junior year of college, and I made sure to book my flight back home about a week later than I would have otherwise. We got into her car and headed to Cape Cod. See, I’ve never been to Cape Cod, and she’s spent her summers there, yet I’m pretty damn sure it felt like an adventure to both of us. We packed our backpacks, a tent, sleeping bags, a stand up paddle board, and lots of snacks.
Adventures and trips don’t need to be extravagant. No need to whip out your credit card and book that cruise in hopes of getting some peace of mind. You can start by turning the music up in the car and singing at the top of your lungs – but only after you’ve gotten a coffee big enough to get you through the first hour.
Once we got there we set up our living are for the next two days. Again, we really just enjoyed the set up process and took in the beautiful sceneries that surrounded us.
When you’re in such a setting, you don’t need to plan any further. You’re not on any sort of schedule, and you really can just do what feels right. Whether that’s sitting on the beach, going into “town” (i mainly mean grocery stores and restaurants), or simply just exploring your surroundings. Our adventure took its own pace, and was filled with all of the above.
By “took its own pace” I mainly mean that we ate a lot of fried seafood. No one’s ever going to complain about that. But more importantly, we took the time to appreciate the sun, the wind, the waves, and the sand.
Upon watching one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen (Cape Cod sunsets are magical), we got into our tent and wrapped ourselves up in our sleeping bags and slept and slept and sleeeept until we naturally woke up happy and rested. I think that my favorite part about camping is that you can take your time waking up. And you can have breakfast in bed because where else would you have breakfast otherwise?
Being rested means more energy for exploring. We spent the rest majority of that day on the beach, and went on to eat more amazing food.
Now go, do something that you can write a book about later on in your life. Create memories that will not only inspire others, but that’ll continue to inspire you. Enjoy the thrill of adventure, no matter how big or small.
Till next time,
As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, I recently moved to Brussels, Belgium. After years and years of living in cramped dorms, I was faced with the awesome opportunity to create and decorate a room for myself. Since I frequently write, it was really important for me to have a desk / office space in my room. The only other thing that I needed to ensure, is that I would create a space for myself that promoted calmness as well as inspiration and creativity.
So, welcome to my room! I hope you enjoy it, and I hope it inspires some of you.
Let’s start off with the window / desk space. I got pretty much everything you see from Ikea (except for the Swell water bottle, which is my favorite thing ever). Gotta love Ikea.
The next section I want to talk about is my bed area. I didn’t get much of a say in picking the actual bed (it was already in here), so aside from the fact that it’s a little bit small, I have managed to make it super cozy. The pillows again, are from Ikea. The blanket and the wall decor are all from Maison du Monde in Brussels. The cute slippers are from Primark, and my notebooks are from Madison Modern Market in Madison, Wisconsin.
And last but not least, I have the middle section of my closet completely open, and I use it as a decorative / visual space.
Here you can see my St. Lawrence diploma, some books, notebooks, a coloring book, some light training weights, trashy magazines, and two storage boxes.
I still have room to decorate more, so if there’s anything you think would fit in really well, please let me know in the comments! I hope you guys enjoyed this little tour.
Till next time,
I have only been in Brussels for about two weeks, and the one spot that I have officially come back to on three different occasions is the one and only Peck 47. If you’re spending your day sightseeing around Brussels and you happen to be looking for breakfast, lunch, or a place to unwind, I would strongly recommend giving Peck 47 a chance.
Rue du Marché aux Poulets 47, 1000 Bruxelles
Food / Drink:
Before I start, I have to say – the reason I picked this as the first place to write about is because I have never had a negative experience with the food. It’s all absolutely amazing.
Let me know if you visit this cute little spot and happen upon something amazingly delicious that I need to try!
Hello dearest blogger friends,
I am back, and I am back for good. Before I jump in with regular blog posts, I would love to update you on my life so we can all be on the same page on what you will be seeing if you come to this site!
First off, location.
After spending a couple of months working and living in New York City (which was absolutely amazing, and I will follow up with a whole blog post about this), I attended my graduation (woohooo!) and went off to do a little west-coast trip with my parents. We covered Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco (wait for a blog post about this one also). Once our trip was up, I moved into a small studio apartment with my boyfriend in Madison, Wisconsin. My summer in Madison was a good time! I made wonderful new friends, got my first taste of working in retail, had a job I thoroughly enjoyed, and a job that was just okay (that only lasted a month). All was well, but I wasn’t making enough money to be able to afford rent, and I wasn’t in the right mental state to start actively writing again. With our short lease coming to an end, I made the crazy decision to move to Brussels, Belgium where my parents happen to be living at the moment. This unfortunately meant that I would be in a long-distance relationship yet again, but life is like this sometimes and I have kind of learned to deal with it and work toward what I want. But alas, I AM IN BRUSSELS!!! Not only that, but I feel like I am finally in the ideal state to really focus on writing again. This past week has been filled with exploring, adventures, and not too many other distractions (and lots of coffee). Not just that, I also find that the apartment I am living in is very bright and that in itself is pure motivation for productivity.
Anyway. now that I am here, here’s what you should expect:
So here we are! Starting Monday (and maybe this weekend if I’m feeling super antsy to post something) come back three times a week for (hopefully) something fresh and different. I hope to make friends here, so please do reach out and say hi in the comments!
Looking forward to an exciting start,