Why I Cut ‘Jealous’ Out Of My Travel Vocabulary

Last week I bought a plane ticket to Europe. In January I’m going to be taking a trip through 5 countries and honestly I’m so excited to be going to my second “home,” again.

With every trip/travel experience I’ve taken, I come across people who say that they’re “jealous.” And while I know it’s not generally meant negatively, I wanted to have a quick housekeeping talk about it.jealousy-quoteObviously I’m not immune to the green monster that is jealousy, but I’ve noticed this conversation happening a lot, lately. I had to stop and think: Do we know what we’re saying?

Note for the love of linguistics: When we say, “I’m jealous!” what we’re actually saying is that we’re afraid of losing something.

“Jealousy is an anticipatory emotion. It seeks to prevent loss,” said Ralph Hupka, Professor of Psychology, Emeritus at California State University at Long Beach.

Despite the common misuse of the word (what’s new? #English) what we generally mean is that we’re envious of what the other person has. For this piece we’ll move forwards with the common knowledge that we, as a society, use the words synonymously, and that ‘jealous’ is interchangeable with the meaning of envy.

And now, back to your regular program/rant…

Why am I even talking about this? Well, in the travel community I think it can be easy to look over at someone else’s accomplishments (I’m lookin’ at you Mr. 153 countries in 2 years) and feel a certain tinge of green.

When you see that someone bought a plane ticket to a place you’ve always wanted to go, your initial reaction, as you’re sitting in your cubicle typing, probably isn’t going to be to high-five them. But guess what? You should. Why? Because that’s how we build community. You have to CELEBRATE.

As a woman, I think a lot of us grew up being pitted against each other. For some reason we’re supposed to be in competition with every other woman on the planet, and we’re supposed to sit in a corner moping, if we don’t sing like Taylor Swift, and have moves like Beyoncé.

When have we EVER been encouraged to throw a party when one of us kicks ass and conquers?!

Three years ago, after a rather tragic and heart breaking experience (#storyforanothertime) I decided to stop using the word “jealous” in my conversations with people (and to be honest, even in my mental conversations).

Why was it that when those people accomplished their dreams, I felt like I needed to protect myself from losing my own. Sound ridiculous? Sound familiar?

Hint: That’s not how it works.

I started my little vocab experiment when I realized how terrible I felt after I said I was jealous of someone. Even if it was meant to be light-hearted, it didn’t feel right. And generally speaking (unless the person was a smug-ass) I noticed that nobody was reacting positively to me expressing my jealousy.

At first it was really hard, I’m not going to lie. And to be more honest, it still is. Sometimes the words bubble up to my lips before I even get a chance to think about them and I have to push them back down. It’s a bit like trying to get a rolled sleeping bag back in its bag.

The Results: What I noticed when I stopped using “jealous” to describe my feelings is that my mindset changed. I started to replace stagnant thoughts with questions like, “How can I do that?”
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A few years ago I wanted to do a lot of things that I didn’t have the courage to do. Mainly because I spent hours on Pintrest/travel websites drooling over what other people were posting.

That’s no way to live.

When you start to ask yourself “how” you can make things happen, you start to open doors, and you start pushing yourself forward. Believe me, the universe knows when you’ve opened yourself up to new experiences. You might even land in another country, attempting to speak somewhat fluent French.

I’m just saying. It’s happened before.

The part that breaks my heart is that society is (generally) not on our side. Spend 5 minutes looking at ads on your TV and you’ll quickly see that we, as Americans, are constantly in competition with each other. MAKE the grass on your side greener so the Jones’ (and everyone else!) has to drool in envy. Go on a Caribbean cruise so your coworkers are envious (not to spend time with your family, don’t be ridiculous). The list goes on and on.

Fight it.

Get off your couch and go DO something. Buy a plane ticket, or start saving to buy one. And stop saying you can’t. Before I really even knew how to budget (or anything about travel), I would put away the tiniest amount of money every month, daring not to hope. When I finally had the guts to buy a plane ticket I had the backup that I needed. Literally EVERY SINGLE person told me not to, but I did anyway. Why? Because that was MY dream.

And now it’s time for yours to start.

Jealousy is a stagnant emotion. It doesn’t move you forward. It’s like one of those stupid gumdrop traps in Candyland that makes you lose a turn.

Stop jealously looking at what others are doing, and start making things happen in your own life. You’re so much more powerful than you know.

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You Can Call Me Pippi Longstocking

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I’ve always been in love with gingers.

I idolized them as a child. Friends, singers, actors, book characters – it didn’t matter. There are so many, it borders on obsession (I have a Pintrest board and boyfriend to prove it). I collect gingers. Sue me.

Looking back, there was one particularly poignant character that I was always obsessed with. In fact, I pretty much wanted to be her: Pippi Longstocking.

Now, if you’re not familiar with the story of Pippi, here’s a quick run-through:  Pippi is a 9 year old pirate’s daughter (which explains so much about what happens to all of those kids) who lives alone in a mansion (with the exception of her spotted horse and pet monkey) and usually can be found with her hair done in two braids – sticking straight out. She does periodically see her father, so he can give her treasure and coins for her to live off of, but mostly she runs around having adventures with the village kids.

She goes places. She does things.

Since I was a kid, I’ve always wanted to go places.

I’m honestly not even sure how the whole “grown up” thing happened… because the last thing I remember, I was 10 years old.

Little dreamer. How was I supposed to know that traveling would become such a big part of my life? How could I have known that I would be able to take those adventures I dreamt about, while I was sitting on the couch in my childhood living room?

But it did. And I got to. And I wouldn’t trade my life for the world.

One of the main things I loved about Pippi Longstocking was that in the 1969 Swedish (English dub) videos we had, she took these other two village kids with her on adventures. Like in a hot air balloon. She didn’t need someone to give her permission. She ruled her life. She made her decisions. She was limitless and bold.

My birthday is this on Monday and I’ve been thinking a lot about what’s next for me. I’ll be tipping in the direction of 30, this year (which is crazy to think!) so I feel like I need to rewrite a list of goals to conquer.

So much has happened in the past 5 years, and so many dreams have been fulfilled.

So what’s next?

ee831714772c4c5cb5ebc7a9944fe5fdWell, as much as I’d love to give you a sneak peek into my future, I actually have no idea what this next year will hold. I might be taking another big trip. I might be going back to school to pursue higher education. I might write a book. I might paint a mural. Who knows? Maybe all, or maybe none.

But I think, at this point, it’s more about dreaming of new tomorrows.

I met someone once who told me I seemed younger than I was because I haven’t lost hope in my life. A comment which was met by the rest of the group nodding in agreement. But hey, why have we all lost hope?
I refuse to stop dreaming of new goals and new ambitions.

For 26 I want to dare more, dream more, work harder, reach my goals and keep living like crazy.
And I want to take you all in my hot air balloon, with me.

Dream with me. Whatever it is that’s holding you back from pursuing that little whisper of a dream in your heart, I dare you to unclench your fists, and ask the question of, “What if?”

Something I’m learning more and more is that the things that I regret, in my past, are the missed opportunities. Because, even the failures resulted in helping to mold and build me into someone who is so much stronger and so much more daring.

But I feel like most of the time I’ve known what I should be doing. The hard part is listening to that voice. That little tug on your heart. That little whisper of your soul. Don’t ignore it! Who knows what the future holds. But I do know that I’m fabulously excited for the 26th year of my life.

And lastly, I leave you all, my darlings, with the English version of the 1969 intro song to one of my favorite childhood movies. Enjoy.

4 Ways To Travel Without Leaving Home

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What if I told you that you can travel without ever leaving your neighborhood? 

Traveling is a big part of my life. Obviously. I spend hours each week blogging, researching and Tweeting about it. But the reality of the situation is that not everyone can just throw some stuff in a bag and hop on a plane, which is something I’ve been very fortunate to have done on multiple occasions. Right now, however, I’m in a bit of a hiatus for travel, or at least long trips, because I’m paying back the student loan gods and getting settled after a year of living in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

But back to you. I know there are a lot of you who love travel, but may not be able to right now, so I thought I would share some of my tips for curing (at least temporarily) the travel blues. Ready? Okay, here we go:

Postcards

You know, those tiny little scraps of paper that you pray will go where they’re supposed to because, let’s face it, there’s no return address. Yep, those. I love postcards and I probably always will. When I was a kid I used to had a penpal, and that’s probably where my love for snail mail originates from, but I think I also just like being able to talk to people without talking to them (if I’m honest) #introvert.

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The best part of sending/receiving postcards is that you don’t have travel somewhere in order to send them. No joke! Try out a website like Postcrossing to send and receive postcards from people all over the world. How does this work?

1. You go to Postcrossing and sign up.

2. They send you the addresses of a few people to test your commitment.

3. Once those people receive your postcards (which you’ve written a little code from the website, on) you start getting postcards and so forth and so on.

One time I got a postcard from Germany that led me to making a new friend in the U.S. and it was awesome. You never know what you’re gonna get!

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The wall of my bedroom in Paris.

Read

I know, I know, now I sound like
5th grade.Outlander-TV_series-2014 But it’s TRUE! Reading is an amazing way to experience other cultures and places without ever having to leave your house (literally, just order them on Amazon – you don’t have to ever leave…except maybe health reasons).The best part of books (other than that they’re relatively cheap) is that they can actually inspire you to travel to other places, and make your trips more fun.
Right now I’m reading the Outlander series, and I’m seriously considering going to Scotland just so that I can visit all of the places. It makes you appreciate a place so much more when you’re able to associate happy reading memories with the real life places.

Have a Penpal

IMG_0389One of the best ways to get to know people who are different than yourself is to do just that…get to know people who are different from you. I’ve had a penpal for most of my childhood and again for the past year. She lives in Liverpool, England and due to the crazy of each letter taking 1-2 weeks to get from point A to point B, we don’t talk too often, but it’s the most exciting thing in the world to get a letter in the mail from England once a month!

If you’re still a little skeptical that pen pals are for kids, take a peek at the website that I used to get mine: Letter Writer’s Alliance. They’re dedicated to making sure snail mail stays in business, and it’s a pretty awesome community. Not only can you get matched with another member (lifetime membership is $5) but you can also check out their awesome letter writing merch (not required to write, just awesome) as well as local meet-ups and other events.

Social Media Groups

You know what they say: the people you surround yourself with influence your behavior. The best part of social media is that you can choose who you’re around and gain inspiration that way! Obviously, Twitter is my biggest inspiration with all +5,000 of my travel buds, but I also love Facebook groups, as well. Instagram is (obv) a really good source as well, but I’ve never really been in to Instagram, so that’s not as much my scene. Try looking at these Facebook Groups (or even join a couple!) for travel inspiration galore.

Travelettes : Launched in 2009, Travelettes is an online magazine/ travelblog/ network for and from girls who love to travel.

Nomadness Travel Tribe: The Nomad•ness Travel Tribe, created by Evita Robinson, stemming from her travel series Nomad•ness TV, is an online social community of travelers and expats all around the world. In the Tribe, they come together to share stories, advice, dos and don’ts, in an interpersonal setting. The majority of our members are bridged by an urban background.

Americans in France:

Irish Central: IrishCentral is America’s number one news website for Irish news with over 3.5 million readers a month. (Also one of my favorite newsletters to get!)

Mama Loves Paris: Brilliant ideas, inspiration, fun and fab photography for families living or loving Paris life.

Jetting Around: Jetting Around by Pola Henderson is a blog dedicated to cities and their culture. In addition to writing, Pola hosts a weekly city travel discussion on Twitter called #JAchat (Fridays, 1pm ET) and international networking events for travelers, JA Café: Travel Talk Over Coffee.

Travel Noire: Travel Noire is a digital publishing platform that creates tools and resources for the unconventional traveler.

The Exploress: Inspire | Share | Educate | Together we are a global community of young, creative and adventurous women who share a burning desire to travel.

A Geek Guide To Vancouver, BC: Part 1

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If there’s one thing I like to do, it’s find out geeky things about a city. Remember that time I uncovered a Sherlock Holmes society in San Francisco, or when I visited every major spot in Paris that was from “Midnight in Paris”? Or what about the Star Wars x-wing in Denver? Game of Thrones castle in N. Ireland? Or the site in Ireland of the huge Braveheart battle? Yeah, yeah, I love geeky things. So, it makes sense for me to join the two things together while I’m on the road.

This weekend we’re spending some time celebrating our anniversary in Vancouver, and it’s been such a fun trip. Of course, any time I come to a new city I have to find out EVERYTHING GEEKY about it, so here is a compilation of my findings from day 1 in British Columbia.

Famous Geek Icons from Vancouver: 


Alexander Ludwig: 
It wasn’t until today that I realized that this hunk was from both the Hunger Games AND one of my favorite shows, Vikings. I really had hopes that I could correct the grammar on Vikings based off of the actors being Scandinavian, but nope. This boy’s from good ‘ole British Columbia. Luckily, he’s still fun to watch being a Viking bad ass on the show, and it’s nice to know we both hail from the west.


Michael J. Fox:
Blast from the past, and Back to the Future, it’s true that this Hollywood icon isn’t as active in the geek world right now, for obvious reasons, but he’s a geek idol, nonetheless. Back to the Future was a series that molded and shaped my childhood and I’m happy to find out he grew up not too far from me.
Ryan Reynolds: Obviously most famous, at the moment, for his portrayal of the Marvel bad-boy Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds has been a favorite from Just Friends to The Proposal. In case you (and half the geek world) are trying to still forget – he was also DC’s Green Lantern, and appeared in the Wolverine, as well.

Hayden Christensen: Personally, I prefer to think of him as the actor who brought Jumper to life, but we do have to credit him for some of the weirdest Star Wars movies, as well. To be fair, it wasn’t entirely his fault that they’re the embarrassment of the geek community – the script writers weren’t doing to hot, either.

Shawn Ashmore: I may or may not have had a crush on him when I saw the first Xmen movie (I was like 12) but how could you not!? Him and Rogue were the perfect couple and then she went running after Logan – what was she thinking!? Anyway. He only kind of counts because he was raised in Alberta. But he was born in Vancouver, so they still claim him as their own.
Colbie Smulders: To be honest, I still don’t even know her Avengers character name, but she’s awesome and one of the few female characters in the movies who doesn’t have powers. She can also be found on Agents of Shield, a show that, for the life of me, I can’t find time to watch, mainly because I’ve heard some good and a lot of not so good about it.

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Somewhere to grab some geeky books: 

I love used bookstores. In fact, I love pretty much any place I can get a good deal on a good read, and this morning that was the first place I plopped off to. I was really excited to score on a book by Diana Gabaldon, who writes the Outlander series. I learned about the books via the STARZ show, but I’ve started to read the books and I adore them, as well. The book I found was an accompaniment to the series, called “The Outlandish Companion” which goes into details about the series and why Diana chose certain aspects to put in/leave out. It also has commentary and helpful additions, such as genealogies, to help out along the reading of the first four books. Overall, I’m really happy with the find. Especially since it was only about $15 (with the conversion rate). Somehow I always end up finding the heaviest books while I’m traveling and this one weighs in at about 600 pages to keep the trend going.

My stop today was at Book Warehouse, which is located at  632 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC V5Z 1G1

 

Geek places to eat:

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Storm Crow Ale House: This is an updated/more contemporary version of the Storm Crow Tavern, which is amazing in its own right. We kind of accidentally stumbled upon this one, not actually realizing there were two in Vancouver, and really loved the atmosphere and the people who were hanging out in there. I actually was really happy to be hanging out mid-day because a lot of people were just hanging out there, playing games and having good food. I would definitely recommend. Click HERE for the website.

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Storm Crow Tavern: This Tavern is also a real treat, and is decked out with memorabilia, geek art, books and a giant octo-monster head. And they also have tons of games to choose from playing. The best part is that the food is also amazing. I had a cod sandwich and some raspberry rhubarb crumble for dessert. It was sublime. Definitely stop by this spot if you’re a sci-fi and fantasy fan. Click HERE for the website.

Scottish Highland Games 2016

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Wow, what a crazy summer it’s been! For the first summer in a while, I’ve been out traveling around, having so many adventures, that I’ve had no time to write/sit here and get my thoughts out. This upcoming week is the last week I’ll be working at the Summer day-camp I’ve been working for, though, so things should start being a little less crazy. In addition, cool and crisp fall days are almost here and I CANNOT wait. Not only is fall the host of my birthday, and every good holiday (with the exception of New Years Eve), it’s my very favorite for reading and writing and enjoying life the way that it’s supposed to be…under four wool blankets and with a hot cup of tea.

That being said, I should probably start posting about what I’ve been up to this summer, huh? I definitely have been traveling, but I’ve had no time to put pen to paper…or, I guess, fingers to keyboard. I’m excited to bring you guys in on all the fun, though! First off, waaaaaay back in July we got the amazing opportunity to celebrate one of the favorite parts of my family (where we, no doubt, get our strong headedness and our tempers) by going to the Scottish Highland Games. I was so thankful for the info that the event was happening up in Skagit Valley, so a huge ‘thank you’ to my Outlander Fanatics of Washington Facebook group. Yes, you read that right. Have I mentioned how much I love the show Outlander? If you haven’t seen it, yet, you better get on that.

The event as a whole is one of my favorite things I’ve done all year. And the best part is that it’s supposed to be one of the smaller Highland Games in Washington, so next year we’ve agreed to go to the one in Enumclaw, so we can see the whole sha-bang. Eventually, I’m hoping to go to an actual one in Scotland, but baby steps, right? Anyway, we spent the day lounging in the sun, watching men throw trees, and Border Collies herd sheep. All the while being lulled by the sounds of the bagpipe competition being held in the far side of the field. Sounds like heaven, right? It was. I can’t decide what my favorite part was, yet. The food was amazing, the dancing was fun and (of course!) the athletic events were insane. Men competing in kilts. It’s just all types of perfect.

Here are my favorite pics from the day!

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