Three Ways to Live a More Creative Life

Since childhood, I have been a creative person.

In kindergarten nothing thrilled me like the opportunity to play with finger paints and other craft supplies and adding to our daily doodle journals, which we started every class with. The only exception to that was coming home at the end of the day and doing my homework, which consisted of writing two sentences and drawing an accompanying picture.

As I got older, I expanded my love for creativity and have attempted almost every art form I could get my hands on— writing, poetry, painting (watercolor, acrylic, and oil), drawing (graphite, charcoal, ink,), wire twisting, ceramics, acting (as well as my fair share of behind the scenes theater work), singing, a bit of dancing (hula dancing to be more specific), photography, various crafts (such as collage, beading, sewing, and finger knitting, and other childhood favorites), very minimal and terribly done web design, and others that I am failing to recall, I am sure. I still want to ( and plan to) try silk screening, glass blowing, and wood work, as well as crochet. My drive to create is a cornerstone of my personality.

It’s said that one of the most important elements to happiness is growth. We need to feel that we are growing and that our lives are changing and improving. One of my favorite things about being creative is the ability to see your growth. All skills can be improved upon with practice, and being able to visually prove to yourself that the growth is indeed happening is one of the greatest feelings. Creative endeavors also create a lot of opportunities to try new things, as there is no shortage of creative avenues to pursue.

I wanted to share three of the most important elements to living creatively, and happily:

Make Time For Creativity

This may seem rather obvious, but how much time do you make in your day-to-day life to pursue your creative endeavors? Between work, school, family time, and other obligations, it can be more difficult than it should be to find the time to commit to just creating. Everyone’s creative process looks a little different. For me, it’s quiet, preferably in a private place outdoors or in a comfy corner of the house with pillows and blankets and a hot cup of tea. The primary elements of my ideal creative time are privacy, silence, and comfort. For others it may be putting on reruns of their favorite TV show or going for a hike, but whatever gets your creativity brewing is worth taking the time for. It also helps me to create this time on a sort of schedule, if it’s once a day or a couple of times a week. Knowing when that time is coming around is helpful (to me at least) to get the creative juices flowing before I even begin the process of making my tea.

Here are a few thoughts to ponder when figuring out how to create your most fruitful creative time:

• What is your creative passion?
• What kinds of resources and/or space do you need? (This may differ between say a writer who may want a desk in a corner somewhere, and a painter, who may need a larger studio space to not feel cramped.)
• What makes you feel relaxed, inspired, and creative?
• What technical steps do I need to take to create this time and space for myself? (If you have children, maybe have someone take them to the park for a while. If you work all day, make a point of setting aside some time during your evening rituals to do something creative. Look at what is technically sitting between you and more creative time and tackle it that way.)

Immerse Yourself

Ask any highly celebrated author what the key to their success is and you will hear two things— “Just write!” and “Read as much as you can!” One of the wonderful things about creativity is that it is contagious. So if you like to write, then read! If you like to paint, then visit an art gallery! If you want to act then watch plays, TV, and films! The world is so full of amazing creators in every field, you are sure to find artists and works that inspire you. There are a million ways to immerse yourself in any creative passion, including:

• Books— You can read about any subject and get ideas to inspire your own creativity
• Magazines— Subscribe to your favorite creative magazine. It gives you a reason to get excited every month, and it’s nice to have images to accompany the articles you’re reading (especially for more hands on things, like beading)
• Films/TV/Videos— Documentaries, YouTube, and even Broadway; there are so many great visual resources for learning new hands on skills or taking inspiration from other creators (like acting, sewing and glass blowing)
• Podcasts and Audiobooks— Auditory resources like these have really been becoming popular recently, I assume because it is easier to listen to something during your morning commute for example rather than always focusing on a video or a book

Surround Yourself With Creative People

There is something to be said about the people that you surround yourself with. I find it difficult being around my immediate family because none of them have any artistic or creative passion. As I spend most of my time with them, this puts a massive drain on my creativity because I have no one to bounce ideas off of or to do fun, creative projects with. This is why I am so happy to have so many creative friends. I actually cannot think of a single person that I consider a friend who is not creative in some way. I have friends who are writers, bloggers, photographers, poets, painters, ceramicists, jewelers, and many more. This is wonderful, because when I need advice or a creative boost, I have these people in my life to inspire me. A couple of ways to bring more creative people into your life are:

• Reaching out to people who inspire you— Is there a blogger that you really enjoy? Send them a message. Or is there an artist whose work changed your life? Tell them. I know that this obviously doesn’t apply to everyone (I would love to tell Sylvia Plath what her work has meant to me), but if there are people who inspire you in your day-to-day life, reach out to them.
• Take a class— I think there is no better or more obvious way to meet other people who share your passion than by taking a class. I thank the universe every day for my decision to join the English program at my university (I was eyeing up the Psychology department with interest,) because it has allowed me to form some of my strongest and most inspiring friendships.

Lately I have been spending almost every day doing something creative. Though I am in the process of trying to find a job, moving, and valuing time with my family, I always do my best to find that time to write, draw, sing, and read, just a little, each day, because I find that when I do, I am happier.

On my other blog titled “I Am The Arrow”— which details my struggle with mental illness— I discuss the connection between depression and other mental illnesses with creativity and the archetype of the tortured artist. Though I still believe in the observations that I made there, I am now able to look at the creative process in another light. Maybe much of my creativity has grown out of my sadness and adversity, but it brings me happiness every day.

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Creating a Postitive Life~ Thoughts From a Former Pessimist

If you talked to the right person, they may say that I am a notorious cynic, others may just say pessimist. I like the term realist. (There’s not really a wrong answer here.)

I also have a bit of an issue with depression, and anxiety, and a few other things that make it a little bit harder for me to see the good in things than the average person. I let that dictate not just my moods but my entire outlook on life and myself for a long time. I felt trapped, unworthy, and uninteresting. I figured that I was living the life I deserved, because I didn’t believe that I deserved much at all.

When I look back at myself six months ago, it’s not difficult to see why I felt that way, but now being back in a similar place in life— outwardly— I’m amazed by how far away I am from that state of mind.

What changed? How did I manage to go from being a life-long, self-declared realist ( ie: pessimist) to at least making my best effort to embrace each day? Of course it took a lot of effort, but there are some methods, tools, and people that have propelled me into changing my lifestyle and outlook on life. Here are a few of them:

Invest In Yourself

This was the biggest one for me. Between planning obsessively for the future, trying to make it from paycheck to paycheck, and rocketing between being way too busy to vastly not busy enough, I realized that I was not investing any time, money, or energy in things that I really wanted for me. When I say “invest”, I mean that I needed to make more of an effort to put myself forward. Yes, it’s important to work, show up for your friends, and buy your toilet paper, but it can be a little too easy to fall into the hole of doing that, and just that.

For me, investing in myself meant asking myself what I actually want in life and how I plan to get it. It meant having to turn down some invitations to social events (introvert here— I need massive quantities of recharge time), not grasping onto my job (which I did love by the way) for the sake of a sense of security, and making a very active effort to make time for myself (in my case, alone time to create and think in peace and silence). Of course I should mention that it also took a four month trip abroad for me to allow myself the mental space to accept a few things— you’re capable, you’re worthy, and look at you, you’re actually sort of interesting!

Spend (Quiet) Time Alone

Okay, so I may be biased here and this also sort of rides off of commandment one up there, but seriously, I think some time spent alone is one of the most healing, productive things that a human being can do. Just sitting with your thoughts can be a wonderful thing, or if you’re like me, it can go very wrong and send you into overthinking, “the world is crumbling around me and nothing means anything anyway” territory. This is where I find things like reading, studying, and especially meditation so wonderfully useful.

I love reading in my silent moments because I feel that I am always growing from it. Especially as someone interested in writing, I find even my deep dives into fictional worlds a useful and enlightening experience as it inspires my own work. No matter who you are or what your interests may be, there is a book out there for you. Or if you are a very hands on person, crafting, gardening, or building something can be therapeutic, especially because at the end of the day you will have a visual representation of the time that you spent with yourself.

Find Your Spirituality

Let me preface this with the fact that I am very actively non-religious. I simply cannot find it within myself to believe in anything enough to adhere to a set of rules or laws that dictate my beliefs. That being said, I do think that it’s super important to get in touch with yourself. Not so much who you are to the world, but who you really are, to you. There’s no science exact enough to truly pinpoint that effervescent element that is you. Personality, temperament, nature vs nurture— these things play significant roles, but cannot explain away some of the finer-tuned pieces of who we really are and what makes us that way. That is why I think it is important to try to get in touch with whatever that really is. I consider this a form of spirituality. To me, spirituality essentially means a search for something bigger than ourselves and/or something within ourselves. I do not think this is mandatory to produce a more positive outlook on life, but I do think that it really helps, and it did help me.

As far as spiritual practices, meditation is suggested by everyone as a useful tool for centering yourself and creating peace, and that’s because it’s true! I think what may turn many people away from meditation is the idea that they need to completely empty their mind. As a very introspective person with about 73 mental tabs open at a time, at all hours of every day, I understand why this would seem daunting, and it is the exact reason why I did not try meditation sooner. But the truth is, unless you are trying to reach Nirvana or are pursuing a very narrow or intentional spiritual path, meditation doesn’t have to be so serious. For example, I meditate for about five to ten minutes a day, wherever I am, whenever I can find that moment of peace and silence. (In my household five minutes is seriously pushing it sometimes.) When I meditate I know I cannot completely silence the “monkey brain”, it is simply outside of my nature, and spirituality should be the very essence of your nature. That is why I focus on certain images, particularly the elements. As I feel very in touch with the cardinal elements— wind, water, fire, and earth— I focus on images from my own mental archives. Of course you need to be careful not to let this become a rumination session, so maybe stay clear of memories and people or situations and focus on things “outside” of your own day to day life.

Make a List of Easy to Accomplish Goals, Daily

I am a sucker for list making. I have lists of lists to make, it’s practically an illness. That aside, I do believe that setting easy goals for yourself daily really does help build a sense of accomplishment. And the feeling of manually crossing them off a list creates a little bump in those feel good hormones (unless I’m just super weird, in which case ignore this). This also helps for when you begin to feel like you are not moving forward in life. You can look back at your lists and have visual proof that you are making progress, even if you can’t see the effects of it in your day to day life (yet!)

Try to Find One Good Thing in Each Day

This one used to be very, very hard for me. I simply could not see anything positive in my daily life. I hated everything around me, found everything ugly, and saw no good reason to get out of bed. Of course, some of this was depression, but some of it was just a result of a narrow life view. The cure for me was finding myself somewhere where everything really was beautiful and inspiring (looking at you Italy), but also seeing my wonder through the eyes of dear friends who could share in the small, beautiful moments. So even if you can’t take a trip out of your hometown, maybe go somewhere you haven’t before, or spend time with someone who sees things differently from you. It may help to crack that third eye open just a little bit and let some extra light in.

Surround Yourself with Inspiring People

As an introvert, this was very difficult for me as well, but I am happy to say that I have a few wonderful friends who constantly inspire and uplift me in ways I often feel I don’t even deserve (yeah, I’m still working on that one). Being around— even if it’s only digitally— people who share your interests, passions, and a drive for self improvement and learning is some of the best soul medicine that I can imagine. I am so thankful for those people in my life. If making friends isn’t really an option, there are loads of people online who make it their living to inspire and uplift others. It may sound silly, but even a few minutes of listening to a motivational speaker each day can completely change your point of view. Between the depths of YouTube, podcasts, and self help/motivational books and their audiobook counterparts, you are sure to find some words to brighten your day.

I hope that you find some of these insights useful.
I am so new to living in a positive state of mind that I almost feel silly writing this, but if it can give someone the motivation that they need to open up to a more positive lifestyle, then I am beyond pleased! If you have any other ideas for how to create a positive life feel free to comment them below!

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Welcome, New Year: Staying Inspired and Motivated

One of my favorite parts of each year is the end. No matter how wonderful or terrible the year has been, I am always pulled into the allure of a new page, a blank slate, or a fresh start. I understand that time is a construct and that the year is a wheel that keeps on turning over and over, but there is something undeniably exciting for me about making new year’s resolutions and challenging myself to make little changes in my life. Maybe it’s just because it gives me an excuse to be optimistic— I’m the sort of person who often needs one— or because I feel that there is something magical about so many people across the world coming together in some small way through the act of trying to manifest change, even if they are little personal ones.

2018 was a wonderful year for me. I changed my lifestyle, checked things off my bucket list, and yes, achieved some of my resolutions for the year. I also got inspired for the coming year, and had an opportunity to reflect on my year and actually see how much I grew.

While this blog has been largely travel based, I also want to produce content that inspires others in little ways, and encourages them to be creative and stay motivated. I thought I would share some of my ideas for building resolutions and motivation for the new year.

Here are some of the lists and projects that I use and ways that I try to stay motivated for the coming year:


What am I grateful for?
What were the best moments from this year?
What were the worst moments— and how did I grow from them?
What did I learn this year?
How did I change for the better?
List of favorites— favorite film, book, podcast, etc., from the year (I like to be able to look back on these later— it kind of helps put the year in perspective)

Maybe some of these will blend into each other, depending on your year, but I always find some reason to add another sub-list (because I just really like making lists).

Goal Setting and Future Planning

Resolutions: These are of course things that I attempt to incorporate or remove from my life.
I think the important thing about making resolutions is making them feasible.

For example, I want to become vegan, but I know that cutting out all animal products at once will only turn me off to the idea and make me hungry— so I plan to begin by eating more plant based meals, becoming vegetarian, and eventually building up a knowledge and stash of resources over the course of the year to help me comfortably reach my goal.

Start and Stop Lists: This ties into what the majority of resolution lists will have, but can be used more specifically for habits and lifestyle choices. I also like to make a “Continue” list to help encourage myself to continue good behaviors, even when my new habits may clutter my mind space.

For example, I want to start making time to write every single day, and stop biting my nails.

A Year From Now: This is a rather popular exercise and I love doing it. You make a list (and sometimes a doodle) of yourself in this moment (the beginning of the new year), and then make a companion list of where you want to be in life in one year’s time.

For example, right now I live in Hawaii, and by the end of the year I want to be living in Europe.

Timelines: These can be rather daunting for some and encouraging for others. Sometimes it is nice to have a visual and specific timeline of the things that you want to accomplish in the coming year.

For example, I want to leave Hawaii by the end of February, I want to have (self) published something by June, and so on.

Creating Accountability: Most times if you keep your goals completely to yourself it can be easy to give up on them. If you can have a support system— friends, family, or even make a session with yourself once a week or each month— that can help you focus on your goals and keep track of how far you’ve come, you may find it easier to keep on top of things. (I am part of a group message dedicated to such a thing.)

Vision Boards: I love making vision boards! It’s a great way to use images and words to help manifest the things that you want in a way that is creative and hands-on. If you’re not crafty, Pinterest is great for making vision boards, so that you can keep all of your ideas and goals in one virtual space. (You can also make them private if you don’t want the internet world to get in on your personal goals.)

Those are a few of my ideas for staying motivated and inspired through the new year and beyond. I wish you all a happy new year, and may it be filled with creativity, inspiration, and maybe even some travel!

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The Interim: Hilo, Hawaii

This is my first time writing since I arrived “home” in Hilo, Hawaii.

This is the part of travel that many travel writers don’t discuss— the end, the interim between one dream chasing mission and another, the period of stasis interrupting adventures.

I personally do not deal with this period of time very well.
As a person who loves travel, trying new things, hearing many languages, meeting new people, and learning about architecture, art, history, and other cultures, living on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is far, far less than ideal.

The place that I come from may appear to people passing through as a beautiful, small sea side town— but appearances come with a price. A fraction of the reality is this:

It has a terrible education system, a sky-high crime rate (for such a small place), is lacking in opportunities of any kind (good luck finding a good job or starting a career), has absolutely nothing to do, is “cheap” but still has a disproportionate cost of living, and is constantly hailed as a great place to live with literally no evidence of such a thing being true. So when you tell people that it is not the right place for you, they insist that maybe you are not trying hard enough to be happy or need to just “think more positively”.

That being said, I can honestly say that the threat of lava, hurricanes, and tsunamis is the least stressful thing about living here.

There is always a reality behind every place that you visit. There are always people living their every day lives there— working their jobs, tending to their families, and just trying to stay afloat. I think that many tourists tend to overlook this. There is no such thing as paradise.

One of the only things I appreciate about this place is that it taught me so much about how necessary it is to grow, how much I actually love my family (I never, ever would have come back if I didn’t), and how to conduct myself as a person in the world (mainly through examples of how NOT to be, as seen through locals and tourists here).

So here is to the travelers whose flight feathers have been temporarily plucked, those who need time to regrow their wings or refill their wallets.

I’m there with you.


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Maui, Hawaii: Returning “Home”

Home means a lot of different things to different people.
We all come from somewhere that in our heart of hearts is the source of our origin, whether that be where we were born, raised, or took that deep sigh and thought “this is it, this is where I belong”.

I find a little bit of home everywhere, in areas scattered across the globe.
I was born on the island of Maui, in Hawaii.
I was raised on the Big Island of Hawaii (otherwise known as Hawaii Island).
I found myself at home in the hillsides of Ireland, in a small beach town in Italy, and again in a little village in Germany.

And of course, I leave a little sliver of my heart in every place that I visit— a bit more in some places than others.

It seems fitting that after months of seeing new places and leaving bits of my heart behind, I would find myself returning to the place that I was born. To many people, the place that I come from is paradise— white sand beaches, palm trees, exotic flowers, and kind people, on a land secluded from the rest of the world. On some level, it is comprised of these things, and does hold a magic that you cannot find anywhere else in the world, but as is always the case, there is far more to a place than what you may see on post cards and television shows. There is a reality that escapes the attention of most people, even those who find themselves here.

Over the next few weeks I will give a deeper look into Hawaii as it really is. For now, I am sitting on a lanai overlooking the Pacific Ocean , watching palm trees sway in the breeze, hearing the waves crash, and smelling the sweet scent of a plumeria tree in the near distance. For the first time in a long time, I am feeling just a little of the magic that I haven’t felt in so long. I want to thank all of the people that I met on my travels that made me see the magic of their own lives, and made me realize that maybe I have some of that magic to share as well.


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Miami Beach: Sunshine and Changed Minds

I think that every traveler has a bucket list of must-visit places humming in the back of their mind at all times. With each trip, the goal becomes to visit as many of those places as they can, and to see as many of the sights as possible. Greece, Scotland, Portugal, and Morocco are still at the very top of my list of places to see, though sometimes— as was my case— decisions have to be made and some places have to be shelved for “next time”. That being said, you may also find yourself in completely unexpected places for infinite reasons— I’m referring mainly to Germany on this one. I have yet to set foot anywhere in the world— outside of my home state— that didn’t feel like a wonderful adventure, but I’ve also been rather selective in deciding where to visit.

Now I am in Florida, literally the last place on Earth that I ever expected to be. I actually made quite a point during one period of my life not to come to Florida, ironically enough. Coming from a tropical climate myself, I didn’t see the appeal of humid days, brightly dressed crowds, and skyscrapers blocking once pristine views of the sea. I built an image in my head of what Florida would be, and nearly missed out on a wonderful opportunity to visit a place brimming with culture, fantastic food, and a history much more vast than I previously imagined. Don’t get me wrong, Florida is full of skyscrapers, brightly dressed tourists, and its fair share of humidity, but the reality is so much more colorful and exciting than that. I am thankful to be spending my time here with family, and if it wasn’t for them, I likely never would have set foot in this state at all. I’m realizing now that would have been a shame.

Though I’m not making my way to Disney World or Key West (this time!), I have found myself in the Miami Beach area (thanks to my wonderful family for having me, of course) and I think that is more than enough for a first timer.

Some of the things that strike me most about Miami Beach:

The colors! Miami has not let the Art Deco era die. Some of the various flamingo pink buildings can come across as a bit much, but hey, at least it’s a city that knows itself and isn’t afraid to undeniably Miami.

The beach! I’m an ocean lover, and could never see myself living anywhere too far from the sea for very long. The long, white sand beaches may be a little less magical due to the fact that they are partially man made, but a sunset looks just as beautiful from any beach in the world to me.

The cultures! I was somehow not prepared for the international flare of Miami. It makes complete sense of course, as it serves as a sort of gateway between North America, South America, and parts of Europe. I can walk into a grocery store and see holiday posters with the Star of David, buy a magazine in Spanish, visit a bookstore and find a selection of books in foreign languages, or can say “Hello”, “Hallo”, “Ciao”, or “Hola” and be greeted with a smile.

The food! One of my favorite things about virtually every place I visit will inevitably be the food. The blend of Cuban, Caribbean, other Latin foods, as well as more “new wave” options— like vegan food— and everything else in between allows anyone to find something that they will enjoy. (I tried fried plantains for the first time and am upset that I have been missing out on this for all my life.)

Of course, like any place, Miami has its problems. Like many other tourist or luxury driven economies, Miami thrives on a particular subset of people and industries. This can make every day living difficult for people in “off season” times, or when there are other patterns of change that cause instability. Florida also suffers from the simple issue that it is part of a nation that is undergoing great— and sometimes terrifying— social, economic, and cultural changes as a whole, all of which have a trickle down effect to the every day people living in cities like these. (Florida is a “red” state in spite of the multicultural atmosphere of some of its cities, which is a whole other conversation.)

Of course as a visitor, Miami is not particularly affordable. It has an air of luxury, pride, and vanity that isn’t necessarily rooted in a bad place, but does set a certain image and draws in a particular group of people. If you’re like me— living life on a shoestring— it may not be a super welcoming city, at least to your wallet. That being said, if you have a need to live in America with a desire to travel internationally, and perhaps with an affinity for sunshine, a fast paced life, and spicy food, Miami isn’t a terrible place to look.

If I have learned anything from my time in Miami it is that you can find beauty and excitement anywhere. I have at times heard travelers say “I have no interest in ever going there” or “It’s not really my scene”— yes, by this I mainly mean me— but Miami has been the city to convince me that maybe there really is something amazing to find in every little corner of our big, beautiful world. So thank you Miami, for the family time, the sunshine, the fried plantains, and the epiphanies.

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100 Days Abroad: An Ode to the Good Moments

The day after I post this will be my 100th day abroad.

That’s one hundred days of exploring, seeing new places, meeting new people, working, laughing, eating great food, and being free. I have stayed in six countries (not including my day trips to Switzerland and Austria, which are more than worth a mention!), three of which I had never seen before, and now I am on the last leg of my trip.

I am writing this from Barcelona, and in about a week I will be preparing to head back to America, and then more specifically back “home”. It feels like I am preparing to undergo a test of faith and personal strength.

It’s difficult not to begin to focus on the negatives. That is why I wanted to dedicate this post to some of my favorite moments that I’ve experienced abroad.

Meeting so many wonderful people in Ireland and being given a true Irish welcome (and breakfast!)

Staring over the Cliffs of Moher in awe

Castles, so many castles (and possibly meeting a ghost in one of them)

The many teas

Meeting a seal in the harbor at Skerries, Ireland

Spending time with a dear friend in Ipswich, England (and trying a chia bowl for the first time)

Sitting in the sunshine in the park with said friend and enjoying an ice cream punctuated by talk about the workings of the universe

Arriving in Italy in one piece after my first international plane ride solo

Attending a mushroom festival in the mountains of Liguria and having a sudden lightning storm turn out all the lights while people cheered and sang

Meeting so many kind people at the B&B named Bella Vita in Bracco

Cooking lunch and dinner with my Work Away host and having a good laugh at my knife cutting skills

Spending every other day on the warm Italian beaches (and shell hunting there)

Gelato, all the (café) gelato

Making the daily morning espresso (and nearly burning it way too many times)

Meeting my fellow Work Away volunteers and becoming such good friends

Making pizza together

Arriving in Germany after a terrible twelve hour bus ride and getting to fall asleep safe and warm

Spending time in Germany with some of my best friends and really feeling at home

Picking fresh apples off of the tree

Meeting a willow tree for the first time

Taking a cable car up the mountain in Austria

Walking along Lake Constance (in Germany and Austria)

Making apple bread (more specifically making it look like a dinosaur)

Going to a medieval festival

Carving pumpkins

Visiting the Rhine Falls in Switzerland

Meeting monkeys

Visiting the medieval town of Perouges

Visiting more beautiful castles

Seeing the view over Lyon

Arriving in Barcelona and being greeted by Sagrada Familia

All the spicy food in Spain (how I missed spicy food!)

The massive outdoor markets

The experience of helping teach others how to speak English

There were so many more moments, and there are sure to be more before I touch back down at “home”, but these have been some of the highlights of the last 100 days that have made me thankful again and again for deciding to take this trip.

Thank you to any of you who decided to follow me on this journey so far. More adventures are still to come, even if I don’t know what they are yet.



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I am known for having a fragile heart.
Traveling has only made it more obvious.

Travel gives you so many experiences that sometimes it feels like your heart may burst from all the things you’ve seen, and all the things that are left to see and do. The further you travel, the more you realize how much further there is to go.

I often wish that I could leave a piece of myself in every place that I’ve stayed and loved, so that I’d never have to truly leave. Sometimes it feels like every place I visit hollows out a little space in me that can never be filled in any other way than by returning.

As I’m preparing to leave Germany, even with a wonderful adventure ahead of me, I find a part of my heart melded in the most unexpected of places.

I suppose it is just a hazard of traveling with an open, fragile heart.


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Traveling is something that many people long to do, but the act of traveling alone is often stigmatized and looked upon with with either awe or concern.

The idea of traveling alone first came to me only a couple of years ago, when a dear friend of mine decided to travel solo and then study abroad. At this time I was completing my first trip abroad in the company of friends (which was a huge deal for me), and the idea that I could experience the world alone had somehow never occurred to me before. As the next couple of years passed and the wanderlust grew, I realized that none of the people in my life were in a position to undergo extensive travel, and it became all I could think about. Then another friend of mine embarked on a long term solo trip through Asia and worked by teaching English online. That’s when the doubt in me vanished and was replaced with determination.

I began the trip with my partner in Ireland, and when it was time to bid him a farewell back home while I began my solo adventures I broke down into enough tears to catch the pitying eyes of nearly everyone in a fifteen foot radius. All the worry and fear that I had pushed down until that moment came flooding out of me (it also didn’t help that we had to wake up at 4:00 am and I was running on less than five hours of sleep, if I’m being honest). He jumped on a plane bound for home and I jumped on a ferry and began to set out into the world alone.

As a naturally introverted person, I relished the thought of having no one but myself to rely on and entertain. So much of my life had been defined by the roles that I played around others, and now I was in a position where no one knew me and no one had any requirements of me except myself. Whether cuddled up in my hostel bed or walking down a busy street, I was free to exist just for myself. It was liberating.

Of course, this wasn’t the entirety of the solo travel experience. At a hostel in Bath I shared a bundle of grapes with a lovely woman from France as we talked about travel and teaching opportunities. In the crowds in the London Underground I noticed a child waving at me and returned the gesture. I was approached by a dog and struck up a conversation in very broken Italian and English on a beach in Sestri Levante. I greeted dozens of people from all over the world at a Bed and Breakfast in Bracco and formed potential lifelong friendships. I learned that this was really the experience of traveling solo.

Everyone’s experiences are different, but for me, travel is largely about creating connections with other people; people you would never meet otherwise, people you can learn from, people you can come to care for. The truth is, on my solo travels across Europe, I have never really been alone. I have shared cramped hostel spaces with others, worked with strangers who would become friends, and have been graciously invited to stay with multiple people. I have had moments of feeling alone, but these have been infrequent and short-lived.

For a while I was trepidatious about the connections I was building. I had felt a sort of comfort in my complete anonymity, but I soon realized that though my connections with people in the past had often brought me a sort of confinement, it now also opened so many doors and provided me with a sense of safety and happiness that I didn’t even know I needed or wanted.

So my input to those thinking about traveling solo is this: There may be times when you are alone, but those will become wonderful learning moments in which you get to know yourself and the world more intimately. The rest of the time, you really won’t be alone at all— even if it’s just a smile from a person walking by or a conversation with someone about local go-to spots at the bar. The world can be a scary place, and yes, there’s a lot of bad in it, but I have learned that the majority of people that you will run into as a traveler have open hearts. I have been absolutely inspired by the kindness and compassion of those I’ve met abroad as well as those back home during this trip.

My spot of advice for those traveling solo: You know that feeling that you may get when you realize that every single person has a life of their own, with all of the experiences and feelings and life that makes them an individual? I have been trying to interact with every person I cross with that thought in mind. Meeting new people is like discovering new cities; you can never know everything about them, but you’re always the better for trying to learn what you can.

Love, Ari


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Many of us get homesick, but some of us get distance-sick, aching for adventure and a fast track to the horizon. The worst two years of my life were between periods of travel. Granted, there were many elements that went into making that period of my life absolutely unbearable, but chief among them was the sense of loss that I felt when returning “home” from an amazing adventure. I had opened doors, collected experiences, and breathed deeply for the first time, and then when I landed back home it seemed like all I got to keep were the knick-knacks and memories. That wasn’t enough for me.

I began to experience that overwhelming feeling of wanderlust, bordering on sickness. When I have been abroad, including now, I have never for one second missed my “home”— just my friends and loved ones, of course— but the feeling of missing the rest of the world was inescapable for the entire two years that I spent trapped back in the place of my birth.

On my quest to cure my distance-sickness, I had to change a lot. I had to let go and reanalyze my ideas of what my future would look like, how I would maintain relationships, how I would practice my spirituality, how and what I would eat, how to manage my illnesses, what my personal values were, and my entire lifestyle. I went from a very depressed, sedentary individual who ate primarily meat, lived with her partner, who used a lot of props in her spirituality and who had way too much stuff (like way too much), to a much more mentally sound, slightly more active person who is at least attempting vegetarianism, is temporarily nomadic, and is living (mostly through necessity) a rather minimalist lifestyle.

These were all goals that I had at one point or another, but felt too overwhelmed to attempt when I was “home”. It was through following my truest desires that I was able to come to a place where growth in other aspects of my life was possible.

When you can come to a place within yourself where you accept that the things you deeply desire are more often than not a sign of what you really should be pursuing, life becomes a lot less complicated and a lot more enjoyable. You can choose to cure the sickness of want that you’re experiencing if you can trust yourself enough to know what you need. Maybe this all sounds obvious to most people, but it took me an awfully long time to accept these things and an even longer time to put them into practice.

The cure for my poisonous life was simple— leaving it behind, prioritizing my mental health and wellbeing over societal norms, and finding myself among people and places that make me feel alive. Maybe it’s not always that simple, but it’s always worth trying.

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