BrokenHeartArt

Today I took my broken heart, made it into art, and remembered my beloved dog while sharing some joy with my city.

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Just over a month ago, Meryl Streep gave a speech about her concerns with the new presidential administration, and her reaction as an artist to the current climate in our country. One line that stood out to me from her speech was some advice that her friend Carrie Fisher gave to her: “Take your broken heart, make it into art.”

2016 cracked my heart — I moved to a cold and in many ways unwelcoming city and struggled to find any sense of community. The current political climate in the U.S. made me feel angry and frustrated that so many Americans chose to support a candidate who wanted to only elevate others like him – a cis, white, straight man while leaving everyone else behind to struggle. Many times throughout the year my heart hurt, but nothing truly broke it as deeply as the death of my dog just a few weeks ago in January 2017. Continue reading “BrokenHeartArt”

America

How travel has helped me to understand others through compassion and conversation.

Growing up in New England, you might appreciate the classic beauty of our beaches and cranberry bogs, but nothing prepares you for the majestic beauty that can truly surround you once you go out west. Once I moved to California, I was struck by the most stunning mountainous skylines that I would encounter just driving down the highway. Rolling sand dunes, cavernous forests, and vast beaches where you can see dolphins play from the shore as you stroll past sunbathing sea lions. It was the time that I spent living in California and started to explore the western coast, that I got a taste for how overwhelmingly beautiful America really is.

My childhood in New England with a homogeneous neighborhood and insatiable craving for reading led me to imagine all of the wonderful things in the world were nowhere near me, and surely had to be abroad. As soon as I finished my bachelor’s degree, I moved to Europe. I traveled to as many countries as I could while living in Poland, but by the time I returned to the US I was 24, and I had only been to a handful of states outside of the region where I grew up. We often think that the only place worth living in, is where we have already lived. I wanted to be around those who thought the same way I did, who were also just as liberal. I thought I wanted to be where everything was my normal. But stepping away from what you know, is truly the only way to learn more. Continue reading “America”

Extras

A few of the add-on items that I released from my wants in order to live more simply.

There are so many items that we purchase as additions to our home, accessories to items we already use, or general extras. I used to buy things because I thought everyone has this stuff, and I need to have it also as a functioning adult. Everyone has a TV, I need one too. Once upon a time, I thought there never could be a home without a microwave. The embarrassing abundance in America has caused many of us to end up consuming completely mindlessly. We assume having all of these extras in our lives is what we are supposed to do, we assume this is normal. Continue reading “Extras”

Abundance

A month long journey towards becoming lighter.

As a woman in love with travel, I’ve often felt my belongings have weighed me down. Each time I move, including to and from Europe & two cross country moves in the U.S., I evaluate what I really need to continue to take with me. I’ve come a long way from the younger version of myself who moved to Poland with two giant bags bursting at the seams, worrying about all the things my mom warned me they didn’t have there. (FYI, she had been there at the height of the communist era, and now they *do* have everything there you would need in Poland, and more.)

In my most recent move back to the East Coast, I purged a lot of my belongings. I read a lot about minimalism, and I became a fan of many YouTubers who shared their ideas and inspiration on how to live life with less. Minimalism may mean whatever you need it to mean to live your life in the most meaningful way. At this point in my life, I’m striving for a less cluttered, lighter daily existence, so that I can achieve more of my life goals such as traveling more and saving money. I want to be free of belongings and debt that hold me to a traditional lifestyle. I have daydreams about living in a tiny house, or ditching my job to live on the road full time, only having the few items I truly love with my dog by my side as we explore North America together.

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The 46″x 49″x 80″ crate that I rented to ship items from California to Boston for my last move. Looking back, I should have stopped here, taking only one of the most important parts of my life – my dog.

For those reasons and many more, I decided to really evaluate as many of my belongings as possible in the month of October. Continue reading “Abundance”

Gratitude

My day hiking alone in Rocky Mountain National Park.

All throughout that day, I kept stopping to say Thank You. I was alone, so the thank you wasn’t expressed to a particular person. As a lifelong atheist, I did not express my gratitude to any higher power. But each step, each breath of the crisp, thin, wild mountain air, I moved and breathed in gratitude.

Continue reading “Gratitude”

Bravery

Examining the perception of the solo woman traveler.

That night at the bar, I uncharacteristically struck up a conversation with the couple having dinner next to me. I’ve noticed that when I dine by myself, it seems to be a lot more difficult to get the waiter’s attention. I imagine that it is something to do with the fact that as I’m alone, as I will eat and drink less than a couple. Still, after hiking all day I was hungry so being ignored by the wait staff is what got us talking.

When I travel solo, I tend to eat dinners on the go, or to get something and relax and eat in my room. I enjoy spending time in cafes or restaurants for breakfast or lunch, taking in the people watching, reading, or organizing my plans for the day. But something about eating dinner alone tends to feel more lonely to me, perhaps because when you are a woman eating dinner alone, usually a lot of questions or sad glances follow from the wait staff or other diners.

But on a recent trip to Colorado, I decided to sit at the crowded Whiskey Bar at the Stanley Hotel for dinner. I had spent the entire day hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park, and I was feeling exhilarated from challenging my body to finish as many miles as possible before sunset. My body was tired, but in that thrilling kind of way after you’ve done something you are really proud of. The Stanley Hotel is a gorgeous old hotel that just so happened to inspire Steven King to write The Shining, and I wanted to spend as much time as I could in the beautiful and slightly spooky space. Continue reading “Bravery”