Travel Announcement! What I am Packing, Mentally and Physically

Hi everyone,

Sorry for the long hiatus. Sometimes you need a mental vacation to get your creativity flowing again. Honestly, this has been a challenging winter for me on a personal level. I just graduated college, as you know, and seeing everyone who graduated with me seem to, on the surface level, fall easily into “real” jobs and “real” lives has been tough. I fell into a routine where I felt I needed to create, create, create all the time to “make up for” my reasonably unstructured days being my own boss. That pressure made it harder to start my projects. I didn’t feel passionate about writing or editing or doing much other than procrastinating all day. What work should take an hour took five.

I suppose I was also frustrated with myself. The busy work got in the way of big, important self-development. It is easy to push off addressing your demons when you can reason them away with “I’m too busy to think about X right now”. My mental health wasn’t great. A rat gnawed at my stomach and pushed buttons in my brain to fly on autopilot. I wasn’t getting out much, other than for work and the friend or two who would invite me places I couldn’t wait to leave.

“Too busy,” I said but in truth, I felt a slimy feeling of dread when I considered getting in my car and just driving somewhere, anywhere, for the hell of it. I was afraid to break away from my rigidity because I believe this lie that to relinquish even a little control is to set the whole damn barn on fire. But that’s exactly what I needed, you know? I needed something to snap me away from the safe and expected.

I don’t know if this makes sense. Frankly, by now in my early twenties, you’d think I know myself better. I’m someone who is really good at doing what’s expected of me because I’m afraid of being a burden if I fail. I know exactly what I want as surely as I know there’s a hand attached to the end of my arm but not once, in all twenty-something years of my life, have I felt that it’s alright to allow a little risk and go after it. I did the high school, went to college, majored in what I’m good at, and never really went after “dream jobs” because the jobs that did come fell into my lap by circumstance.

Why am I being so honest with you? Well, it’s what I’m good at and through some serious self-honesty, I decided three things. You may skip down to the numbered list to find out or continue along at my leisurely pace.

I was sitting with my sister in a bookstore today. Her name is Alexa. Alexa read while I wrote. I felt inspired to write, though the page looked impossibly blank in front of me. I wrote anyway.

Alexa is turning twenty. She is very tall with hazel eyes and a dye job that’s turned red. We refer to her as a “ginger snap” due to the brassy quality of the box dye. This might sound terrible, but in reality, the accidental redness brings out the green in her eyes quite nicely. She got a job at the DA’s office this upcoming semester and law school on the horizon. She’s going to be a lawyer and if not that, something else.

We were having one of those fucking awful conversations about what the hell we’re doing with our lives. For the first time in four months, I felt alright saying, “I don’t know.”

I had decided three things.

  1. I want to be happy. Frankly, if you’ve read anything else of mine that’s depressing, you’d know I genuinely did not expect to make it this far, living, I mean, whether by physical or mental health. I am impressed and bewildered that I did. Why now, after wasting so much time being the physical representation of a dried corn husk, am I to waste my time on anything I don’t feel jazzed about?
  2. My twenties will be the teenage years I never had. (See previous melodramatic essays critical self-reflection.) I am going to travel, write like hell, and feel okay with spending money on experiences. I am going to be okay with not being okay. I am going to let go. If not now, when? Ten years from now? Twenty? If one of my organs shits the bed five years from now or I’m hit by a bus at fifty, I’d rather be poor with a bucket list the size of a post-it note than sitting on a pile of useless money feeling just as miserable as ever.
  3. I do not fit in a shoebox. Physically, I do not. My bones do not bend that way. I have many strong muscles and a sparse quantity of fat and hair. It would be useless to try. Mentally, I certainly do not fit in a shoebox. So, why do I have this tunnel vision of myself? I’m too complex to be just a writer or just a runner or just any one thing. It makes me unhappy. See point number one. If I only allow myself to be one thing, say a runner, I obsess over it. I identify with it. I find myself unable to separate myself from the task. I miss out on celebrations and outings and time that could be spent talking to interesting people or exploring interesting new hobbies. My personality is a runner. My purpose is running. I am a runner. I refuse to be any one thing, good or bad. I am writing, not strictly. I am running, not strictly. I am eating, not strictly. I am good, not strictly. I am a human who is getting their life together, not strictly. I don’t want a big house in the suburbs or any other traditional measures of success and that is okay.

If you’re still with me, thanks. Along the lines of point number two, I decided I’d be happier if I spent a week in Germany. It took me roughly ten minutes consideration a week ago and I leave April 4th. The trip is ten days in length. I fly into Frankfurt and will visit my partner who lives in a small town to the Southwest of the country. I spent a lot of money on this. I do not care.

Here is a comprehensive list of everything I am physically packing for my trip as a bonus round for making it through the inner workings of my mind.

Checked Luggage

Bottoms:

  • Tights, two pairs sheer one pair opaque
  • Exercise leggings, two pairs mid-length one pair long
  • Running shorts, two pairs
  • Blue plaid skirt
  • Gray pencil skirt

Tops:

  • T-shirt, two pairs, one cotton and one exercise material
  • Black long sleeve
  • Blue long sleeve
  • A few black tank tops
  • Jean jacket
  • Black cardigan
  • Fleece jacket
  • Sweatshirt
  • Gray sweater

Dresses:

  • Casual blue knee-length dress 3/4 sleeve
  • Fancy blue scoop neck dress
  • Ultra casual white-striped dress for sleep

Shoes:

  • Running shoes
  • Comfortable black heels
  • Casual slip-on shoes
  • Lots of socks, etc.

Makeup:

  • Powder foundation
  • Undereye concealer
  • Mascara
  • Eyeliner
  • Red lipstick
  • Brownish lipstick
  • Lip gloss
  • Lip scrub
  • Balm
  • Blush
  • Brown eyeshadow
  • Black eyeshadow
  • Blush brush
  • Eyeshadow blending brush
  • Eyebrow kit
  • Highlighter
  • White nail polish
  • Beige nail polish
  • Nail polish remover
  • Cotton balls, etc.

Toiletries:

  • Tea tree oil
  • Soap
  • Shampoo bar
  • Face lotion/body lotion
  • Face brush
  • Hairbrush
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Essential oil perfume
  • Medicine

Carry on

  • Neck pillow
  • Laptop in case
  • Comb
  • Hair tie
  • Cell phone
  • Laptop charger
  • Cell charger
  • External hard drive
  • SD cards with my work on them
  • External charger
  • A small camera with its battery, charger, SD card and battery
  • Plane books: The Widow’s House, The Bones of Plenty and The Tiger’s Wife (long flight, these are for the trip there and back including a long layover)
  • Glasses
  • Headphones
  • Thick socks
  • Gray scarf
  • Purse: Wallet with $, ID, passport, little mirror
  • Sleep mask
  • Gloves
  • Lip balm

Alright, that’s all for today, thanks for being along for the ride.

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2 thoughts on “Travel Announcement! What I am Packing, Mentally and Physically

  1. I love, “I’d rather be poor with a bucket list the size of a post-it…” We should all live that way. As a 55 year old, I will tell you, you are always getting to know yourself and that is part of the fun. I love when I surprise myself. Like the new tattoo I want. Sometimes, the best answer is ‘I don’t know.” I enjoy “I don’t know.”
    Don’t forget, though it won’t take up much space in your luggage, you are packing a lot of peoples love. See you soon!!!!
    Eli

    Liked by 1 person

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