Settling Back In & Winter Travel Plans!

I’ve been home from LA now for a little over a week now. It has been… the longest week and a half of my life. Ever, if I’m being completely honest. It’s been busy and I’ve been settling back into life back in Fresno and part of me feels bad. I know my family is happy to have me back… and my friends are planning get togethers with me so I can tell them all about my adventures, all I can think about is my next getaway and planning my next trip. Adjusting to life back home after being gone so long is trickier than I expected. It didn’t exactly feel like home before I left, and it feels even less like home now. After getting a taste of how exciting my life can be, all I want is to be anywhere but here.

Luckily, this week has been mostly good to me. I recently learned that I might actually be able to afford another getaway much sooner than anticipated. My birthday is coming up in two months (December 21st!), I figured since I will most likely be able to afford it, why don’t I give myself the ultimate birthday present? Go somewhere I’ve never been, on my own, just for about a week between semesters. Nothing is set in stone yet, but plans are slowly coming together. They’ll probably come together even more when I finally decide on a destination. There are three that I am currently considering.

  1. Orlando, FL. I was on Google Flights and couldn’t decide on a possible destination so I did what any traveler might do… I used the I’m Feeling Lucky feature. It told me to go to Orlando. I figure why not? Maybe I’ll make friends with an alligator or something. Also, I just really want to go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
  2. Portland, OR. Portland is somewhere I’ve always wanted to go. I actually had planned on moving there in the next 5 years before I committed myself to a life of travel after college. I have done so much research on the general lifestyle in Portland and completely fell in love on that alone. Actually visiting it for a week would be a dream. However, a friend and I are planning to go there this coming summer. I might just take Portland off the list for now because I know there’s a chance I’m going anyway later on.
  3. Vancouver, BC, Canada. Just another place I’ve always wanted to visit, for similar reasons as Portland. Plus it’s Canada. Also, I just really want an excuse to get my passport this year. There’s so much to do and see in Vancouver, I would love for it to be my first trip abroad.

As of this moment, I am thinking over the pros and cons of Vancouver and Orlando. I really can’t think of any cons for either.

  • With Vancouver, I get to experience a real winter. I don’t get a lot of that where I live and Florida’s winter is still swimming weather… which isn’t bad either. I like to swim, it would be fun to be able to do that in December/January.
  • Orlando has The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which is a place I wanted to go literally ever since it was announced.
  • Canada has poutine. I’ve never actually tried poutine, but I really want to.
  • With Florida, I will finally be able to honestly say I’ve been in another state, and I do kinda feel like I should explore other states in my home country before running off to other countries.
  • Vancouver would not only be the cheaper flight (more than likely), but it also doesn’t have a theme park that will cost me around $200. It’s ironic, considering Canada is generally more expensive than the US.

And there are plenty more reasons for one over the other on both sides, even though I know I need to make the decision sooner rather than later, especially if the choice it’s the one that requires a passport. I just can’t make up my mind one way or the other.

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The Concept of Home

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I grew up in California. When people think of California, they immediately think of big cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco. They think of the mountains and the beaches. It’s a state where you can literally go to the mountains for a hike and then to the beach on the same day, if you wanted. They see it like this because that is how the media portrays the state. In reality, it’s a farming state. All throughout the Central Valley, which is a huge section of the state, you will find nothing but farms. Because of that, the air quality here is crap. It is consistently smoggy and just horrible. Some might blame the cars, but I don’t think that’s the case at all. During my time in LA, I noted that there was WAY more traffic, but the air quality was so much better. The mountains are always so clear and it’s actually a lot easier to breathe. Most people who live in the valley are okay with the way things are. They were born here and spent their life living in this one place. They don’t know any different because when they do go somewhere, it’s only for a vacation that would last a week or less. That vacation is often going somewhere as a tourist, not really taking time to explore. Of course, this is really only a problem in America. In other countries, people are encouraged to go out and travel, explore the world. Here in America, we have the “American Dream” which is to get married, own a big house and and expensive car, work some stable but boring 9-to-5 job to support 2.5 kids. Even though this isn’t for everyone, we don’t really encourage anyone to do anything different, and that is really sad.

I have called the Fresno/Clovis area my home my entire life. Up until a few years ago, it did feel like home. Also, a lot has changed in the last few years. I can’t honestly say this corner of the world feels like home now. It hasn’t since my grandma was alive, which has been a good 2.5 years. When she was here and I lived with her, there was a sense of permanence and it felt safe. Everything after just feels so temporary. My mom’s house is the only place I can go and feel that permanence, but her neighborhood makes me feel unsafe. Lots of things about being there makes me feel unsafe. I currently live with my cousin and her husband and kids. I love it here, but at the same time, not even this place has the feeling that says “you are home, stay as long as you want,” even though I have lived here for a year now. There are times when I feel like I’m walking on eggshells, like I’ll be asked to go back to my mom’s.

Last week, when part of me was dreading coming back to Fresno, I was thinking of home. How that word just didn’t feel right when describing where I live and where I’m from. Don’t get me wrong! It has potential, with most of my family and a small handful of my friends also living here. The love I feel from people who constantly surround me helps a lot, and I appreciate it. I’ve just come to realize it’s not really enough now that I’m older.

In the last episode of Finding Carter (2.14), Carter says something that I really connect with. She is talking about dropping out of high school, arguing that school wasn’t for her, that she never learned anything while she was there. When she was out in the real world and doing things she enjoyed is when her skills finally came together. Interestingly, this is exactly how I felt when I was in LA, venturing out on my own for one thing or the other. When I am out, doing something I’ve never done before in a place I am unfamiliar with, suddenly all my senses just kick in and I actually know what I’m doing and it feels good… and I am happy. It’s an exciting life with exhilarating experiences. Full of feelings I have never felt before. I knew right then that home isn’t a place. It’s a feeling. An indescribable feeling. It’s the feeling I get when my curiosity about the world is being satisfied, or when I am completely lost in a place I’ve never been. It might not be home in the traditional sense of the word, but it’s the most at home feeling I have ever felt. My home is Planet Earth. Where I can go anywhere and do anything and not feel bored because I’m too busy learning about the things around me. It’s a feeling I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Reaching Out…

Today’s post is a little bit different. I am in the process of something and I am not really sure where to start, so I thought why not reach out for advice?

In June of 2014, I moved from my first apartment back into my mom’s place for the first time since I was like 14. I brought with me everything I owned that was in the apartment, which wasn’t much, if I’m being completely honest. Because my mom’s house was the last place I wanted to be, I never actually got around to unpacking. I think I might have unpacked maybe 10% of my belongings. I’ve actually lived with my cousin since around September/October of 2014, having a bare minimum at her place and I’ve barely even thought about going back to my mom’s to look through the many boxes that remain packed.

Since it’s been almost a year and a half since I’ve even looked at all that, I just thought I might as well sell or donate it all. I obviously don’t need any of it. My question is basically how to go about selling all of it? I think like 40-60% of it is old clothes… then a bunch of kitchen stuff and other miscellaneous items. Honestly, I don’t even remember what all there is.

Any tips and ideas would be much appreciated!

The Struggles of Telling Your Family

I was just watching this vlog that Aly (AKA PsycoTraveller) posted today and it really is quite inspiring. It made me think of the struggles I had at the beginning when I first decided to save up and travel the world. Telling your parents and people who love and care about you that you plan to drop everything and change your lifestyle to see the world is a really, really big deal. More so if you know they probably won’t support it.

I am lucky to have a mother who supports everything I do as long as it’s not hurting anyone else. She worries about me going away to unfamiliar places, especially alone, but she supports me 150% and she knows it will be good for me. She knows it will only help me grow as a person. I am thankful to have her as such a huge support system in my life. Most people have been very supportive from the beginning.

Of course, not everyone was that supportive right away. I have an aunt, she is in charge of the inheritance I got after my grandma died. While I am thankful for that because I was terrible with money before making this decision… I’d probably have nothing out of that $10k if she didn’t keep it out of my hands unless I absolutely needed it. Knowing someone other than yourself is in control of that much money that’s actually all yours kind of makes it feel like that person owns you. Like they have control over you and what you do. I know that isn’t the case, but it doesn’t stop that feeling. I knew I had to tell her and I knew she wasn’t going to like it. I felt like she was going to tell me I can’t go and, having that feeling that she owns me, I felt like I wouldn’t be able to fight her. Turns out, I built her reaction up in my head that I was scared of nothing. It’s true that she didn’t support the idea right away, but she also told me it was my life, and to live it. In time, I think she realized just how serious I am about this, how it’s made me better with money. I feel like she supports me better now than she did when I first brought the idea up to her.

Sometimes, all people need is time. Not everyone is going to be 100% supportive of this kind of thing right off the bat. But in the end, I am the one living my life. The decisions I make are my own and they don’t affect anyone but myself. Same goes for everyone else.

Lessons.

This month in LA is coming to a close soon. I feel this trip has been an important lesson. I experienced much more than I really expected and it’s not even the end. I learned a lot. I learned that anyone can learn music (I was in a band! Kinda… I played percussion! And I was actually good!) I also feel like I got a good taste of what it’s like to travel – to be a far distance from home, away from the people I see on a daily basis. Here are just a few of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my time spent away from home…

  1. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder. As much as I have truly loved spending so much time away from home, loved the experience… I miss my family like crazy. Things that drove me crazy before, things like the boys busting into my room to play with me while I’m trying to finish an assignment, suddenly hold more meaning. Honestly, the kids in my life are probably the ones I miss the most. I can’t wait to see them again next week. Even though I’ll have only been away from them for a month, it feels like so much longer and I’m almost expecting to come back to discover they’ve had this major growth spurt while I was gone.
  1. People aren’t all that annoying. I tend to be a loner, I don’t always talk to others. I have talked to a lot of people throughout this trip. On walks… at the mall… in the donut shop down the street… all these people are people I’ll probably never talk to again, but they all had something to offer. Not in the physical sense, but I feel like learned to appreciate a good conversation with a perfect stranger. This is definitely something that will ultimately help me later on.
  1. If you want something, go for it. You might just get it. I’ve been acquainted with someone I look up to for a while thanks to the internet. I met her on my second night here and expressed interest in meeting her before she left town again, and so we did. I learned a lot from her, much more than I intended. Her friendship is something I’ve wanted for a while just because she’s such an awesome person all around. I am grateful that I feel like I have that now.
  1. Possibly the most important thing I’ve learned. As much as I miss my family and can’t wait to go home and see them again, I don’t want this to end. I don’t want to wait until I’m done with school to officially start traveling to farther places and doing more. Considering I have summers and like 3 weeks between semesters in the winter, there’s theoretically no reason why I can’t. Hell, with student discounts, while I am in school might be the best time to travel abroad. I am actually in the planning stages of my first trip abroad hopefully within the next year-ish… doing a load of research and developing a budget and other plans. I will talk more about that in a later post. Big things are coming!