Travel Junkie cont.

My mother reminded me yesterday that all in one month I have visited 4 continents (my sister and I are still arguing about the validity of one of said continents) and 7 countries. In the last week alone, I visited 3 countries and 3 continents! Now that’s an achievement if I can say so myself. I love to travel! I am an avid traveller and will do almost anything if it means I get to see a new country or go on a new adventure. My dream job would be a travel photographer and/or writer and one would think I would be using my blog as a platform/practice but I tend to procrastinate way too much. Furthermore, I take lots and lots of pictures and feel like writing about some of my destinations without benefit of visual aids is a great disservice to anyone who reads it. So, that’s part of why I have not finished my adventure about getting stranded in Brussels. I got to visit some major monuments this past week and got to participate in an important event but as much as I want to share that, I refuse to do so without pictures. So, I am promising myself that after work tomorrow, I will come home, shower, eat, sit far far far away from the TV and work on all the lovely photos I have amassed over the past month. I remember when I first got my camera late last year. I was scared that I would never learn how to work it properly and while I am still skimming the surface of its abilities, I love seeing the beautiful pictures I create. Same with this computer which I got to help me elevate the quality of my pictures but persists in intimidating me. I shall conquer them both someday soon. And when I do, watch out world!!

Random Day.

Today I made my juice for the day and it smelled like freshly cut grass. While to some this may seem disgusting, to me it speaks to the fact that I am putting very natural sustenance in my body.

Today I found out that one of the cleaning ladies at work is from Colombia and speaks not a word of English. What it must be like for her to spend 8 hours in an environment where she is invisible because she cannot communicate with anyone? As a Catholic who was raised with the concept of Retreats, it could be that she gets to spend 8 hours each day in a retreat – in commune with God, a higher being, a supreme life force. 8 hours during which her brain may churn out the answers to life’s greatest questions. I am going to choose to believe this is the case instead of thinking that she spends 8 hours sad and alone, banished to the solitude of unwanted thoughts and memories that always come unbidden when we least require it.

Lately I have gotten obsessed with the notion of people dying alone. I don’t know if it is societal programming because if it is I will be pissed off, but I wonder if there is indeed a difference between dying alone and dying while in the presence of loved ones or any body at all.

As someone devoid of that special person in my life to call BFF, true friend, I find that I am always on the hunt for that special person. And the more time goes by, the more I fear that I won’t find one first of all because I believe that the best friendships are created in academic environments. College was my last chance and I blew it. If I can be honest with myself, I am hoping that joining the Air Force will create another opportunity for me to make good friends. After all, if you are going to trust me to protect you and your life you better consider me a great friend!

TV is the kryptonite of my creativity. I watch TV, get lost in it and don’t journal, don’t write, don’t edit photos. I am one contract away from getting rid of cable. Until then, I figured I would watch all the shows I have saved on my DVR. One of my favorite shows is Intervention on A&E but it comes on while I am at work so I record it on the DVR and watch it as soon as I get home. Well, one night in mid January, I raced home eager to watch that night’s episode. I pressed play and realized with dread that the night’s episode was about Bulimia. I was about 2 weeks into my juice cleanse and seeing food triggered some severe cravings and hunger pangs for me, so watching the young man on the show shovel plate after plate down his gullet was too much to bear and I stopped watching it about 5 minutes in. I am proud to say I watched it tonight with no side effects!

Fear shall not imprison me.

There come times in our lives wherein life requires us to make tough decisions. Sometimes it requires us to change the way we think or remove ourselves from a situation. Neither option is easy but often times before we even try we have talked ourselves out of it. Once upon a time, not too long ago, I had nothing. I lost it all and found myself at the bottom of the barrel with nothing and no one, at the mercy of anyone willing to extend a helping hand. The biggest lesson I learned from that experience was that having nothing can be very freeing and with it comes an absence of fear. I feared nothing and no one because the way I saw it, there was nothing anyone could do to me that could negatively affect me – meaning I was so low I couldn’t go any lower. There was nothing they could do to me that had not already been done. I remember telling a bill collector who threatened me with a lawsuit to go ahead at risk of losing his job because his company would spend more money in court fees that they would get out of me. I even added a giggle at the end of the statement; he was speechless. I found myself more emboldened than I have ever been in my life. I can honestly see why people who lose it all and become homeless prefer to remain in the streets. There is freedom from worry that exists when you have nothing that living a “normal” everyday  life lacks. There is no worry about losing one’s job, losing material things, no worry about enough money in the bank, no worries about downgrading or upgrading one’s lifestyle etc. Were it not for the value system instilled in me by my parents to strive for success and be the best I can be, I might still be hugging the bottom of my barrel today. As I picked myself up and my fortunes changed, I promised myself that I would always remember that while material things make us comfortable and may fill us with joy, they are not necessities to life and living. And while a job may provide us with the means to acquire the material things we crave, we should not feel obligated to remain in a  place that does not make us happy or leave us feeling fulfilled. In short, I never want the fear of losing anything to keep me imprisoned in any situation.

Presently, I find myself once more in a defining moment and while I can’t quite explain it, it feels different this time around. Lately I have begun to fall victim to fear but I am determined to conquer it once again. I am going to make a decision that will change me and my life but it must be done.

Commitment phobia? Present!

I suffer from commitment phobia: I fear commitment like a plague. I fear apartment leases, car notes, cell phone contracts, anything that locks me in for either a determined or an undetermined length of time. Every time I have to make a commitment, I either down play it in my mind or negate it’s significance to myself. The first time I signed an apartment lease I opted for a 6 months lease even though I knew that I was most certainly going to be there longer than that – I signed a new lease 2 more times, 6 month leases each time. When I sign cell phone contracts I have to give myself a pep talk before I agree to the terms or tell myself that all I am doing is paying the cost of the free phone I am getting. Likewise in relationships, I refuse to establish timeline parameters: I have never celebrated an anniversary because I never establish a start date. No start date, no length of time to count.

When I began juicing I knew it would be a lifelong commitment. Now almost 4 months after I started, I begin everyday with fresh green juice or green smoothies. That’s just they way it will be for as long as is conceivably possible. However today I took time to sit back and actually ponder what juicing had become in my life – a life  long commitment. There was that dreaded word. I wanted to fight it, find some way to negate it but I can’t. Finally, at least for now I have found the one thing that can lock me in forever and there is not a darn thing I can do about it.

Travel Junkie cont.

Growing up, I did not have the best relationship with my mum and I never imagined that it would get better. My dad can be extremely morbid and would try to prepare us for their eventual demise by having conversations about it. When I was younger and less to close to them than I am now, I was certain I would not miss them and would recover quickly from the loss. But now as time goes by and I get closer to them, I know I am going to miss them dearly. So where am I going with this? I don’t even know. I just felt the need to put that out there. Well, then again I think I know where that train of thought started. I love to travel, like adore, like hopelessly in love with travel. I am a wanderer and a seeker of adventure. Any who, I have goals in life like getting a PhD, making a documentary, not relying solely on my job for financial stability… little things like that. While visiting my mother this past week she brought up the fact that in the course of achieving my goals, it might become necessary for me to put travel on the back burner. I nearly passed out at the thought but the more I thought about it the more I  realize that she is correct. She sent me a template outlining how to set SMART goals – Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant Timely. The conversation that brought us to her sharing that information was one I never imagined having with her and that is why I know that I will miss her dearly whenever we part in this mortal realm.

So, as previously mentioned I recently acquired Moira my new laptop and we are still getting to know each other. Eventually, Moira will help elevate my photos to professional standards but until then enjoy these raw and untouched images of this past weeks journeys.

I was driving and trying to take pictures at the same time. Not the best way top get good pictures.

I was driving and trying to take pictures at the same time. Not the best way to get good pictures.

Children crossing the street on what looked like a school outing.

Children crossing the street on what looked like a school outing.

I stopped in front of this building which looked like a palace to get directions and still have no idea what it was.

I stopped in front of this building which looked like a palace to get directions and still have no idea what it was.

Belgian countryside.

Belgian countryside.

Travel junkie!

Brussels

So it has been a week since I was here and what a week it has been! I am not sure how I picked the dates but I made plans to visit my parents in the motherland at the end of March. Since I am not as conscious of the christian calendar as I should be, I neglected the fact that the week of my visit would be Holy Week: that is the week preceding Easter. From the start, the journey was fraught with little headaches here and there. First of all, when I went to get the visas for myself and two other friends who were joining me on the trip, I forgot one of their photos and so a second trip was necessary. Additionally, my mother sent me a shopping list long enough to stock a small warehouse and what with 12 hour days  here and there, it was a struggle trying to sneak in shopping between work, so I bribed a friend of mine to help me out which led to several phone calls while I was at work with questions like: liquid of powder?, what is lemon green?, are you sure she wants 20 Glade sprays? Finally, all the visas were obtained but then we realized that for some reason the normally scheduled Monday flight was cancelled and so we would have to travel a day later. We regrouped and I actually appreciated the extra date as it gave me a chance to close all loose ends and get a moment to relax before the trip. I ended up not sleeping the night prior to flight day but spent it packing and weighing. Once morning broke, I left the house to pick up some last minute items. I was doing great on time but some where along the line I lost control and ended up doing my normal mad dash to the airport with minutes to spare.

We made it to Brussels just fine even getting Business seats. In Brussels we bought liquor, horsed around and strolled to the gate. When I asked the gate agent what the seat availability looked like she informed me that there were seats available but because of weight load restrictions there was the possibility that we might not make the flight. I was not worried as I had taken this route several times before with no issues. Not today! We did not make the flight and the next one was 2 days later! Could anything else go wrong?