A better story

8. Discuss a spontaneous moment in your life that turned out to be fantastic.

Spontaneity is not something I’m great at. I’ve always thought it’s a great concept, and I love the idea of it. To not be tied down to schedules and plans sounds good in theory, but I have a difficult time actually living that out. While I definitely wouldn’t consider myself a spontaneous person, I do have some spontaneous moments I hold near to my heart.

I have a friend, Leah, who lives in Charleston. Aka one of the best cities on the planet. And she is wonderful. She’s full of life, tells it like it is, and is married to a “Ken look-alike” type of guy. A couple years ago she was in Delaware visiting, and as we were sitting at a corner table in Brew-Haha, she starts to tell me about her plans to get back home. You see, Leah is a photographer, so she was in town shooting a wedding and had to drive to fit all her gear.

IMG_4421Her plan was to take our mutual friend Madison
with her and road trip their way down the east coast and stop at all those cheesy places you hear about, but never actually go to. Giant roller skate, anyone?

The first words out of my mouth were, “I want to go!” And because she’s Leah, she said I absolutely should. They were leaving two days later.

My mind immediately went to not being able to miss work and all the other “planner” type thoughts you could imagine one would have, but I powered through and decided to go. And oh my word- I’m so glad I did!

My favorite stop along the way was an abandoned renaissance fair in no-man’s land Virginia. I’m not kidding- this place was creepy AF. I was just waiting for the village of homeless people to jump out and kill us at any moment. “Do I have my I.D. on me? How will they identify the body? NO ONE knows where we are right now.” All very real thoughts that went through my head.

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After turning what should have been a ten hour car ride into a fifteen hour one, we finally made it to Charleston. We visited plantations with the oldest trees I’ve ever seen, ate some of the most amazing food (shrimp and grits is a real thing!), and wondered the streets of one of the oldest cities we have. It was beautiful and wonderful and everything else you would imagine it to be.

This was one of those opportunities where knowing when to say “yes” was so important. It took some fighting off normal tendencies and a willingness to get out of my comfort zone, but I learned what has proven to be an important lesson for me.

Saying yes tells a better story.

 

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That one time…

8. Discuss a spontaneous moment in your life that turned out to be fantastic.

I am not a spontaneous person. Seriously. Spontaneity to me is stopping for doughnuts on the way to work without thinking about it except the 30 seconds before I pull into the parking lot.

So for my 25th birthday, when my friend Steve said “what do you want to do?” and I said, “I don’t know all my friends are in Alabama.” He said, “Let’s go to Alabama.”

He said this on a Wednesday. My birthday was on Saturday. I had to be back at work in Delaware on Sunday at 8:00am. There was no way. There was no time to plan. It was 17 hours one way. I have to work Friday. I could take off. I did take off. So we left Thursday night. and drove all night. and we arrived Friday morning. And left Saturday afternoon. It was the most insane, unplanned, last minute thing ever.

Except for the time I got a tattoo. But that’s another story. For a different day.

I don’t remember much of the drive, but I don’t think you could have put 3 more different personalities together. Steve liked to listen to K-pop. Or was it J-pop? Korean pop music. Japanese pop music. I don’t know, it’s all the same. And it’s horrible and weird. Christian likes Electronic Dance Music. I like indie/folk type music. Not to mention our personalities. So for the most part, the car rides are one big blur to me. That was probably not the ‘fantastic’ part of the story.

But I got to spend my 25th birthday with so many people that I loved. I had been living in Delaware for 9 months and I was terribly home sick. I still hadn’t made a ton of friends, and I was actually really sure that my birthday was going to a lonely day. And it wasn’t. It was surrounded by people I love in my old apartment. We took a million pictures.

And you know what? On Sunday, at work, I was so dead. But it was so so worth it. Super spontaneous = super fantastic.

Would I do it again? If I really thought hard about it, no. Who wants to spend almost 40 hours of almost 72 in a car? No amount of shifting gets you the perfect position to sleep in a car. No amount of caffeine can make up for the sleep loss that comes with an epic road trip like that.

But do I love the memory? Yes. I can never be grateful enough for Steve and Christian for going out of their way to make my birthday memorable that year by doing that crazy, stupid, uncomfortable trip just so I could have a great birthday. I had friends who went out of their way to be in Birmingham to see me. People who were around that changed their day around to come see me and hug me and wish me happy birthday. It was a fantastic trip because of the people.

Big dreams

5. Discuss some of the things on  your bucket list

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a bucket list. Activities I want to do, places I want to see, people I want to meet. I must have started this list in elementary school, and it feels like every time I cross something off, I think of something new to add. While some may think having a never-ending list drives my Type A personality crazy, it actually keeps me grounded.

Keeping this list is a constant reminder that there’s always more to life than what I’m currently going through. It reminds me there’s more places to see and keeps me dreaming. I think it’s so easy to let go of big dreams the older we get. Our logic kicks in more and more with each passing year and tells us it doesn’t make sense to want to see every country or one day meet the president (I plan on taking this off for the next 4-8 years depending on who wins this election.).

In the meantime, here are some of the bucket list items I look forward to the most!

  1. Visit every continent.

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I’ve had the travel bug since I was born. I grew up moving around every year or two, and while some may think that’s a crazy way to live, I loved it. It taught me how to make new friends easily, what it’s like to be the new kid, and how to entertain myself for hours on end.

While all of these are great lessons, I think the most important thing I learned is there’s always more out there to see. The thought of getting to see so many different people and cultures is exhilarating to me. The more places I go, the more I want to. So far, I’ve been to both America’s, Europe, and Africa. I’m basically halfway there, which isn’t too bad for being 24.

2. Visit every state.

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Yes, I’m super excited to visit every country, but the more states I visit, the more I realize how much there is to see right here!

Just last month I went to San Diego for the first time and absolutely fell in love with it. Though I’ll be honest- being on a flight for 6 hours and ending up in the same country did feel a little anticlimactic. Visiting the sea lions totally made up for it though.

IMG_0121I also would love to be able to look at map of the United States and be able to say, “Yep, I’ve been to all those places.”

3. Run a half-marathon.

Okay, so I know this one is completely unrelated to the first two, but I still want to talk about it. I used to love running. I’m talking “would run 8 miles just for the heck of it” type of love. Yet the older I got, the less I loved it. It started to feel like a chore, and anytime I started training for a race, something got in the way. I injured my foot, I ended up going on vacation, etc.

For me, being able to say I ran 13.1 miles is another way for me to say I pushed past all the stuff I don’t like to do something that’s good for me. I don’t want to be the type of person who quits something just because it’s hard, so this one is definitely more of a symbolic bucket list item than actually wanting to run long distance. I’m also hoping that in the process, maybe I’ll start to love it again.

 

 

 

*insert globe pic*

5. Discuss some of the things on your bucket list
My bucket list is 90% travel destinations. If you’ve known me for more than 24 hours, this cannot be a surprise to you. All my locations hold special meaning though! So… happy reading!
1. Verona, Italy
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I’m going to go ahead and assume that you, my dear reader, are not going to be too judgmental when I open my heart up to you and tell you some of the special meaning behind these places for me.
Okay, having said that, I’ll let you guess why I want to go to Verona.
“Two households, both alike in dignity, in fair Verona where we lay our scene.
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes, a pair of star-crossed lovers take their lives. Whose misadventur’d piteous overthrows doth with their death, bury their parents strife.”
Yes, that is the opening for Romeo and Juliet.
Yes, I wrote that from memory.
There is probably nothing super special about Verona. (Save that it is located in Italy.) And I understand that Shakespeare didn’t WRITE this in Verona, it’s just set it Verona. I know. I’m an adult, I know things.
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But Romeo and Juliet holds a really special place in my heart. It’s my favorite play. I honestly find it so beautiful and so tragic. I weep every time I read it. Romeo is one of my favorite fictional characters and Leonardo DiCaprio is my favorite Romeo. It’s okay that we can’t be friends anymore, but one day, I will read Romeo and Juliet sitting in a cafe in Verona, and you won’t get to see the artsy photos that I post about it cause we aren’t friends anymore.
2. Hobbiton 
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The other thing most people know about me within 24 hours of meeting me is my love for The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings. Yes, it’s that fandom movie obsession thing and whatever. But I’m going to give you a slightly more sentimental reason for wanting to visit and perhaps you’ll understand more and judge less. (*cough* Alyssa *cough*)
“In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit…”
When I was in 4th grade, my mother and I read The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien together. We would read chapters out loud to each other each night, or almost anyway, until we finished it. It’s a memory I associate with love- love from my mother, love for my mother, and love for reading. The Shire, the Misty Mountains, Erebor, Lake Town, the Lonely Mountain, these were the far off places my childhood imagination explored. They came with me to adulthood. When I finally read the Lord of the Rings series, I added locations: Rohan, Mordor, Gondor, but I also went back to The Shire.
You can imagine my excitement when I realized that The Shire was a real place. So it’s been on my bucket list for years.
3. Visit WWII memorials/ camps
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I love history. Love to study it and read it and I find it interesting and engaging. However, This (WWII) is my favorite time period to study. I am morbidly fascinating with all the events and details of this World War. I’ve been to DC six or more times, and visited the Holocaust Museum at least 4 of them. I love fiction novels set in this time period, movies set in this time period, I am beyond fascinated by every single aspect of this war. I took a class in college called “Remembering WWII: Europe” about how different countries in Europe remembered WWII in their literature, museums, statues, etc… I waited three years to take that history class because I specifically wanted to study WWII.
I grew up in The South (Georgia) and being able to visit historical sites had a great impact on my life. A lot of our family vacations had some element of history to them. I always feel weird admitting this, but I want to take a tour of Europe and see the camps and the statues.
I’ll finish up on a happier note…
4. The Globe theater 
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You already know I like Shakespeare. There’s a good chance you know I was a theater major in college. Combine that with my appreciation for history and it doesn’t take a detective to figure out why I want to go here.

ACTUAL FIRST TIME SHAKESPEARE PLAYS PERFORMED HERE. This is history and theater and SHAKESPEARE, people!! I’m dying to go here. So much so that two different people have brought me mugs from the gift shop. I also had a friend who was in London briefly, and took a picture outside of the Globe JUST FOR ME. Like, crunched her schedule, forced her travel companions to go to this place, and took a picture outside just so I could see.

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Proof that my friends love me and believe in my dreams.