Staying Grounded When Chaos Hits

I definitely don’t live a standard life. And the thing about being a risk taker is that sometimes things fall short. And other times, everything falls short at the same time. Which is pretty much what happened last week. Let’s just say a lot of things crashed and burned. But that’s life, isn’t it? One minute everything is one way, and in an instant shit changes.

Since it seems like a lot of people in my life are experiencing chaos hitting the fan, I thought I would share some of my go-to techniques for staying grounded when life isn’t playing nice. Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Gardening

I’ve loved gardening since I was born. No joke. I think my love of gardening came from my Irish/English grandpa who always had a massive garden and would teach me how to take care of each plant and honor the earth it was planted in. Being around plants soothes me. At the moment I’ve created a bit of a garden with some vegetables, roses, herbs and the most beautiful hydrangea ever. When I’m feeling super stressed out I go and sit out on my porch and just take in the reminder that growth will still happen, no matter what life feels like at the moment. Related image

2. Reading

I own more books than is probably healthy, and I try really hard to manage my addiction to buying them. This one I blame on my mom, since I grew up with an entire library to choose from. I love the wisdom and dependability of books. They’re still going to be there waiting for you to learn, or love, or let you leap into a fire pit to save an entire world. Who cares how your day way? There are adventures to be had. Right now I’m reading these books:
The First American
How We Got to Now
The Name of the WindImage result for hermione book gif

3. Meditation/Prayer

If you’ve followed along on this blog for a while, you know that I’m a Christian and my faith is a really important way for me to bring balance to my life and worldview. When things get hectic and chaotic I take time to step back. I turn off my electronics and meditate to recenter. I think this is a really important part of being human, whether you’re connecting religion to it or not. Because when we find peace in ourselves, the outside world has a way of falling together, as well. Image result for meditation gif

4. Art/Cooking

I’m an artist and I do art. A lot. Whether it’s knitting, crochet, painting, cross-stitch (my latest craze), sewing, or making a recipe from scratch, creating with my hands brings me back to my center and calms me. I’ve always been like this, and I think it’s the same for a lot of people in my family. We’re makers. It’s in our DNA. We couldn’t stop even if we wanted to. Image result for cook little mermaid gif

5. Standing on my bed and lip syncing to Miley Cyrus

Ha. Ha. You thought these were all going to be adult and normal. Gotcha! I’m a huge Miley Cyrus fan (judge me if you must, you scoundrel) and I’ve found that her album Bangerz is just about the perfect lip syncing music to get that “F U” attitude off your heart. Be thou warned, that these are explicit lyrics. But, ya know, sometimes you need so yell a few swear words to get your mind back on track. The point is, have fun. You’ll be amazed how much of a difference it makes.

What do you do to re-center yourself? I’d love to hear about it! 

When You Don’t Feel Like You’re Enough

You are enough.

The older we get the more people seem to think they can tell us we aren’t enough. Now I’m all for self-improvement and for building on who we are to make even more bad-ass versions, but that’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m talking about is the people who tell you that you don’t belong. That your dreams aren’t valid. That you’ve tried and failed…and that you should stay down.

Don’t listen to them. For the love of all that’s holy, don’t. There are always going to be voices in your life that say you are less than worthy. It’s not true. But it’s going to be an ongoing trend in your adult life. Welcome to adulting. When you meet these people you’re going to have two choices:

  1. Believe them, and adjust your actions accordingly.
  2. Don’t believe them, and adjust your actions accordingly.

Now, if you know me, you’ll know which option I’m opting for. Fight. Fight back. Don’t ever let someone tell you that you can’t become successful at what you imagine for yourself. Build a network from scratch. Live off caffeine for a while, and put in 8 hours AFTER your 8 hours. Whatever you have to do to make that dream a reality, do it. I know it can seem like some far-off imagining. But find someone who has made it, and then follow their footsteps. Start telling everyone what your dream is. Anyone who will listen. Tell them where you are and how hard you’ve worked to get there. Then, tell them where you’re going–where you see yourself in five or ten years.

I’ll warn you now…you’re probably going to freak some people out with your ambition. They’re going to see you glowing like a lightbulb and tell you to tone it down, or to stop striving for more. “Be more focused.” “Can’t you just take it easy?” “Calm down.” “You’re showing us all up.”

Show them up.

Keep doing what you love, as long as it burns a fire in your heart. And then, if it starts to die, reignite it. Those people who are standing in front of you, telling you that you’re trying too hard–those are apparitions. Those are the ghosts of dreams past. They were scared to try, and when they see you the fear that’s choking their heart is reminded of it’s former glory. Push past them: mentally, physically, however you have to. Block them out. Turn on EDM and eat french fries for lunch. Watch cat memes, and go lay in the sun. Remember you are from dust and to dust you will return…but not yet. First you have dreams to wrangle in. You have pursuits to run after. Run. Don’t ever stop running.

Surround yourself with people who believe in your vision. People who say, “No matter what happens, you’ll find a way to make this work out. You’ll be fine.” Stick with people who believe in your strength. People who will dance with you in the kitchen on days when shit goes down and you feel like curling up on the floor. And to those who don’t understand what you’re passionate about–those who stare at you like you’re crazy? Let them stare. Let them be swallowed in their confusion until they convulse in their own bleak reality. You were made for more. Live beyond the naysayers and the dream-wreckers. You got this. We got this. 

The Wisdom Of Wes Anderson: Chaos And Creativity

A couple days ago I went and saw the new Wes Anderson movie “Isle of Dogs” and it got me thinking about how much I love his movies. Not only are they completely original, they are completely him. When you see one you know who made it. You know whose art it is.

This movie also got me thinking about the age/time of life I’m currently in. One where self identity is more and more important. Let’s be real, sometimes it can feel like there’s a timer on how long you have to peg down an identity. In life, for instance, there are different cliques of people. You’ve got the millenial moms, the broke artists, the fashion bloggers, the activists, the forever students and the dream droppers…just to name a few.

I’ve never particularly felt like I belonged to any of those groups but that’s less because I didn’t want to, and more because the preverbal sorting hat just couldn’t pick a faction for me to belong to. I’m not divergent (a little of each), I’m more just not on the chart. Like when you ask your doctor what the expected pain intensity of a procedure will be and they kind of squint because who knows? It changes. I am that pain point. I am that unknown. And sometimes that terrifies people. Heck, sometimes it terrifies me.

Four years go I started blogging because I was terrified to shit about moving abroad. To be honest I don’t even know if I wanted to move abroad, but I knew that the time-meter of my life was telling me I had to grow up soon and I needed to get that checked off my list before I regretted it. I’m not sorry I lived in France (I mean, how could I be? It gifted me with so many amazing tales of adventure), but maybe I’m a little bit wiser. I’m not onboard with putting myself in situations, anymore, just because I feel like I should be there. Is this what it feels like to grow up? Does a celebrity host pop out from a corner to award me a gold star for having matured?

BACK TO YOUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED PROGRAM: Let’s just say I’ve reached the point where I don’t want to do things out of obligation. I want to be in spaces and places that feel natural. I want to be around people who don’t make me feel like it’s a chore to exist in the same space.

Wes Anderson was interviewed once about what it feels like to continue with your creative instinct, despite it not being the norm and his answer was refreshing. It feels like chaos. It feels like not knowing how thing are going to fall together. But, despite that feeling of uncertainty, you know you have to press on in a certain direction. Of course, that’s me paraphrasing so please don’t write Wes Anderson and tell him I quoted him wrong. Thanks.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that maybe it’s okay not to fit into a box. Maybe it’s okay not to be a hybrid, either. Maybe it’s okay to just float along doing whatever makes you creatively fulfilled even though those things don’t line up to the naked eye. Maybe, just maybe, Christmas means a little bit more…wait. Sorry, I got off track for a minute.

Does that make sense? Have you ever felt that way?

As an artist and a writer I think it can be really easy to feel like I have to fit in one mold. Or even just pick whether I’m an artist or a writer. But what we create doesn’t have to be crammed into a checkbox. Be bold enough to create your own genre. Wes Anderson that shit! 

 

Peace Like A River: April Travel Inspiration

Where in the world has Emilee been?

Not an unusual question, since I’m usually traveling around the world. But lately I haven’t been on my blog, and there are a few reasons for that. March was a really crazy and kind of terrible month in my life. I had a lot of upsets, and a lot of plans got literally trampled in dirt and tears. But that’s part of life, isn’t it? And as much as it hurts, I know that I’m strong enough to press on, and to dig deeper.

I needed to take a couple of weeks away from my writing to recover, but behold — I’m back! And April is already proving to be a much (MUCH) better month.

For starters, I’ve started writing again, which is always a good sign. When I’m writing, I’m happy. If I’m not writing, there’s probably something wrong. April has brought all kinds of new opportunities for me to be able to partner with other creatives, which I’m so incredibly thankful for, and I love that the pieces keep coming together, in order for me to keep doing what I love.

So what’s up next?

April is going to be filled with copywriting projects, continuing my Etsy shop and working on paintings for the exhibit I’m getting ready to display in June (I’M SO EXCITED!). Oh, and continuing to work like a mad-woman. In the past I’ve apologized a lot for working so much, but there shall be no more of that nonsense. I love working, and I love where I work (all four jobs). And the thing is, if I love what I’m doing, how dare others condemn it. Can I get an amen!?
In other inspiration news I’ve been watching some cool shows, while working on my many projects. Here are my favorites at the moment:

Elementary: An American version of Sherlock Holmes, that actually isn’t that bad. It took me forever to start this show, because I was so worried it would be terrible, but I actually really like it.
Harlots (Viewer discretion advised): This show is a Hulu original, and all about bad ass women at the end of the 18th century. It has a (basically) all female cast and I love the politics of strong women who are so entirely bad-ass.
Mercy Street: Season 3 just ended, but I’m absolutely in love with this is an amazing Civil War era drama. Again, strong female characters who have strong character development (sarcastic *GASP*) and there’s just a really well rounded cast, overall.
The White Queen: This show is set during The War of the Roses, in England. I LOVE IT SO MUCH. I’m also really excited because there’s a sequel, “The White Princess” coming out on April 16th!
Survivor:
 Yes, this show is still on. One of my friends mentioned it and then I thought, “Oh, I’ll just watch one episode” and I got hooked. #guiltypleasure

I’m also really excited for all of the amazing arts events Seattle has to offer in the month of April. I love living in a city that’s so passionate about art and music and theater. It really does feed my soul. This weekend I’m going to the Seattle Art Museum’s new exhibit, Seeing Nature, and I couldn’t be more excited. I literally always need a little more painting inspiration in my life.

I mean, LOOK. The Seattle Art Museum’s current exhibit “Seeing Nature” looks so amazing!

I’ve also been reading a lot, lately. Over the past year I’ve bought about 20 books I want to read… and I’ve read approximately 3 of them. So, now’s the time to dive in and consume them ALL. My current read is called Uninvited and it’s a beautiful book written by Lysa TerKeurst. To be honest, the title of the book sounds depressing, but it’s actually about living intentionally with others in your life, establishing a strong self identity and overcoming obstacles. I’d highly recommend it.

And lastly I’m working on this project. It’s kind of an awesome New Years Resolution that’s been really hard for me, but has proved to be so incredibly inspiring. This year, rather than resolving against something I decided to resolve to do something: every month in 2017 I’ll meet up with one person to have coffee. Not a work date, not a group hangout session, but a one-on-one intentional sit down cup of tea/coffee. Sounds easy, right? It’s not.

The reality of the world that we live in is that we’re constantly on the go. Especially as Americans, we’re taught to keep running, running, running. But what about the people who get left behind? Not because you don’t want them in your life, but because you’re so busy chasing a career or the next adventure, or a marriage, or your children, that you completely forget to connect. Intentionally connect.

My New Years resolution was to intentionally connect with people in 2017.

I’m not going to lie, it was really hard the first couple of months. I have a really crazy schedule, and so do most people I know (because they’re complete bad-asses) but I’ve held true to my resolution. The crazy thing is, I barely made time in January, slid by in February, but in March (*dramatic pause*) I grabbed coffee with THREE people.

I’m basically a hermit, so this is a big deal.
The lesson I’m learning? We’re a very lonely society, and no amount of Netflix binge-watching is going to cure that. Once I started making time, I started noticing more opportunities, and (the best part) people started to reach out to me. It’s like once I let the universe know I was ready to let people in, it started to help me out.

It’s really hard for me to make myself leave my comfort zone/house and spend time with people (#introvertproblems) but you know what? I was wired for it. We, as humans, are wired for connection. And especially in today’s world, where things just seem to be perpetually going to shit (sorry, mom), it’s more important than I think we realize.

So, let’s take the challenge together. Who can you intentionally connect with? Who can you call, or write a letter to? Who can you grab coffee with?
Take the leap.
Oh, and leave a message in the comments to let me know how it went!

Yesterday’s Ceiling Is Today’s Floor

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Totally not my graduation. But entirely the right graduation picture.

This week I received an invitation from my alma mater to attend my five-year reunion. I had to decline the invite, since I live 5,000 miles away from where I went to college (and flying back to watch a basketball game and drink punch doesn’t really seem worth the $1500 plane ticket), but getting the email made me think. This is year five. When people asked me in college what my five-year plan was, this is where they were asking about.

The same as most twenty-somethings, I remember people frequently asking me where I saw myself in 5 years. I never really had an answer. I knew I wanted to be happy. I knew I wanted to feel like my life was moving, and not static. But beyond those two things, I honestly had no idea.

Going to a small conservative university where “ring by spring” was more the ideal, than a catch phrase, a lot of people had marriage, kids and white picket fences on their list of five year objectives. And while there’s nothing wrong with any of those things, I never felt right saying any of them as an answer (at least not within my 5 year span of time).

Was “having an adventure” an option?

I always want to be in a place where I’m moving forward. I think my biggest fear in life is waking up one morning and realizing that I’ve wasted years of my life hating what I do and who I’ve become. But when I look over the past five years I don’t see that. Did I become the person people thought I would become, while I was in college? Who knows. But I do know that there were dreams, so deeply buried in my heart, that I didn’t even know they were there until they were realized.

The mere fact that I can’t attend my reunion because I live in EUROPE is amazing. I never would have even dreamed that this would be an opportunity for me.

And as I’ve looked back over the past five years I can safely say I’ve had quite a few awesome moments that I’m so proud of.
And, in the spirit of five, here are my top highlights:

  1. I became an artist: I’ve been creating art since I could move my hands, but over the past five years I finally learned to embrace it as who I am. I am an artist. And no matter how much I want to be a doctor, lawyer or astronaut, that’s who I am. Art is what I dream about. What gets me out of bed in the morning. It’s what I think about when I’m riding the metro, it’s what I look at when I’m walking down the street. I never before felt comfortable declaring myself as an artist. But over the past years I’ve been able to make some incredible friends who have helped me embrace that this is my identity.
  1. I became a writer: My whole life I’ve written stories. I used to force my siblings to have story writing competitions with me and we would cut up cereal boxes to “bind” out books together. Libraries were always my second home, so it makes sense that stories became my second language. While I did get my BA in journalism, I never had any idea what I would do with it. I had no interest in brooding news stories. And I used to shock my journalism professor by telling him that the only journalism I was interested in was writing for a tabloid (what no journalism prof. ever wants to hear).
    I always felt like everyone else was always just better than me at being a journalist. From editor to fellow writer, they were a beautiful brooding bunch that stayed up late watching CNN and talking about world events and politics. That wasn’t me. And no matter how much I wished I could be like my stylish editors or the praised writers in my classes, I couldn’t change that.
    I was pretty lost for direction until the past couple of years when I discovered that writing doesn’t always have to be about reporting world events (although that’s important too!). It can be fun and colorful, it can mean going on adventures and writing about them! And then the best part ever happened: me. Little ‘ole non-journalistically inclined me, became an editor…and I love every minute of it.
  1. I travelled the world: I don’t think I would have ever guessed how much travel would be involved in my future, when I was in college. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved to travel and learn about/experience other cultures, but I never thought I would have the opportunities to go out and experience so many of them. I’ve gone with groups, I’ve gone solo, I’ve lived in other states and another country (on another continent!) and I’ve been able to learn so much about myself by looking through the eyes of people around the world.
  1. I worked for organizations that made a global impact: Societal change and sustainable business is SO important to me! And regardless of where I work or what point in my life I’m at, I want to always find a way to give back to the communities around me. Being able to work with non-profits and with small businesses over the past five years has forever changed my outlook on the world and on the way that I interact with it.
  1. I made friends for life: Something great happens when you’re dirt poor and forced to live with three other people in an apartment that should probably only hold two people. I think American society teaches us to fear those growing points in our life; the parts where we have no money and have to work weird jobs to be able to pay our utility bill. But my best memories in my life have come out of times when I had no money, weird jobs and had no idea where my life was going. Was it comfortable? No. Did I cry a lot and ask God why the hell he had put me there. Maybe Yes. But now, looking back, I understand why. I get why in seasons where I thought money was the object, the actual title of the chapter was “Friendship” and I could not be more grateful for the relationships that were molded during these times.

Note. None of these things have made me filthy rich, Instagram famous or listed on “America’s most influential 30 under 30.” But if I was asked if I accomplished my five year goal I would say “Yes.”

Because I am happy. And I am free to do the things that make me happy. Over the past five years I’ve gone on too many adventures to count. I have so many stories I could write a novel. I’ve met some of the coolest people I think I could find on this planet, and I have never felt more loved or supported in my life.

I am me. Uninhibited, nonconforming and entirely me. And I think that’s something to celebrate.

And now, it’s time to dream EVEN BIGGER., and to add some new goals for my next “five year list!” I have no idea how I’m supposed to top this one, but here’s to brighter tomorrows and bigger dreams.
What are some of your guys’ dreams from the past or for the future?

The Most Excellent Adventures

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Musee D’Orsay

Ok ladies and gents it has been WAY too long since I wrote a blog post!

First off, welcome to December, everyone!

Let the Christmasness commence (even though it’s been Christmas in France for the last month).

The last couple of weeks have been complete madness: filled with birthday parties, cooking and adventures, so it’s been hard to sit down and collect my thoughts in this little bucket I call my blog.

But I am determined to hash it out. Fight my crazy and Write! Write! Write!

Ok. Well, first off, Goalvember is over, so let’s go over my goals and see what happened!

Open a French Bank Account: In France you can always depend on two things. First, the bread is always going to be amazing. Second, the process to do anything is going to be fifteen steps. So, after five trips to the bank I’ve finally accomplished getting an appointment with someone who speaks English…next week. Well, better late than never, right!?

Design more: I may have waited until the night of November 30th, but I DID finally use my sewing machine, and now I can’t stop! I love to sew so much, but it’s been a bit hard with having to start over in the art supplies department. But now that I’m set up I’ve been creating, and I’m going to be working on a new project now…but I’ll write that in my December goals.

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A little doll I created this week as the first project to be made on my sewing machine. I think I’ll call here Coco. Like Chanel, duh.

 

Etsy shop up and running: This has to do with my December goals too because I’m thinking about shifting the emphasis of my Etsy shop, but more info to come!

Go to a tourist/outing every week: The weeks have been crazy, but we’ve been out and about pretty much every week (with the exception of last week when we brought the party to us!!) and we’re going to keep going strong. This week I’m going to Art Ludique to see an exhibit on Takahata and Miyazaki, which I am SO excited about. I’ve been marathoning films from both as preparation, but it’s going to be so much fun to actually go see the sketches and art work!

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Musee D’Orsay

 

Have an amazing “Friendsgiving”: Oh. My. Word. Did we have a good Friendsgiving!? Yes. Yes we did!! I was so happy with the way everything and everyone came together to make Thanksgiving dinner such a success. It was a little bit chaotic to get ready for, but I couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out. I definitely think it goes up there on the top of my “favorite Thanksgivings” list.

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December goals
Goalcember? Hmmm…maybe not.

  1. Blog more: Let’s be real. I’ve been slacking when it comes to blogging and it’s a bummer. I really want to remember the good, the bad and the ridiculous during my time in France, and that requires writing. My goal is to post 2-3 times a week. Let’s do this.
  1. Etsy Shop Listings: So I’m designing a collection of little cute things that I want to release in December in my Etsy shop! I’m really super excited, and a little bit nervous, but it feels really good to be creating, again! Stay tuned!!
  1. Have an amazing time in Amsterdam: For Christmas I’m going to Amsterdam and I’m so excited!! I really want this to be just the best trip ever, so here’s to making it rad. (Also, if you guys have any suggestions for places to go, let me know!)
  2. Vlog more: Maybe you know, maybe you don’t but I started (as in 2 videos) Vlogging when I first came to France and then life got crazy and hectic and I stopped. I want that to change!! It is my goal in December to make 1 video per week on my Vimeo channel. Do or die. Ok, maybe that’s a bit extreme…

 

  1. Stick with the program: I’m part of this fitness accountability group on Facebook that is really really amazing. The group consists of people from back home and people I’ve never met but I love how much positive energy there is flowing through the group. It’s my goal to stick with the plan and workout regularly and eat right. Finding workouts that don’t kill me/ put me to sleep is hard, but I recently stumbled across some that are Zumba/Bollywood style and I’m in love.

 

  1. Get real serious ‘bout French: I’ve kind of been slacking. I won’t lie. I don’t have to speak French at the house, and I’ve really been slacking off when it comes to perfecting my French. This needs to change, even if I have to drag myself to French tutorials every day. It’s so hard to not curl up in a cave of English movies, films and songs, but I don’t want to waste this experience and I want to make sure I’m always learning while experiencing France.

 

  1. Finish classes on KhanAcademy: I’ve talked before about how it’s really hard for me to finish things. Well, online classes are the same. But I’m determined. I’m taking a class on Revolutions through the 1700-1900’s, Computer Programing and Hereditary Biology and I want to finish them ALL OF THEM in December. Reaching high? Maybe. But it’s really important for me to be stretching my mind in multiple ways.

 

  1. Finish The Hobbit, See The Hobbit: Yeah, fun fact: I still haven’t finished the f*ucking book. It’s sitting on my nightstand, right next to my hefty sense of guilt at not doing anything with it. But it has to happen because the last movie is coming out and, as overly dramatic/drawn out/over cinematized it’s going to be, you know I’ll be first in line (Figuratively. I don’t actually believe in waiting in obscenely long lines for films).http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSzeFFsKEt4

 

  1. Storyline a story: I’m midway through writing a story that I’m then going to (hopefully!!) pay one of my darling friends to illustrate into some kind of comic or something, but I really have to get on story boarding it and it’s so hard to get motivated!!

 

  1. Get involved somehow in a French event and meet more French people: It could be/is very easy to only talk and hang out with other English speakers, but I really want to be intentional about meeting people who are actually French. Believe it or not, it’s actually not that easy. Goal: Make a French friend. It’s as simple and hard as that.

    And that’s all for now, folks. Living in France is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I’m taking it one day at a time, and slowly, but surely I’m making it work!

 

Prayers, thoughts, happy wishes and snail mail are always loved and appreciated. ❤

 

 

Life Hacking My Way To Paris

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Washington State Beauty

I love Monopoly. There are several reasons, such as a desire for world domination, a completely unnecessarily competitive nature and an overbearing Slytherin mindset. But mostly, I like it because it gives you a lifetime worth of money and resources to strategically manipulate in a game lasting a few hours (or longer if you marathon it like me and my siblings did growing up).

I’ve always loved the idea of taking money and finding ways to stretch it beyond what people think it’s capable of – which is probably why I always win Monopoly. If you know my mom, you know where I get this mindset. So, of course, when it came to buying my plane ticket, it was no different.

A couple of months ago I was looking up plane tickets to Paris. I honestly couldn’t believe how much they were. The cheapest were around $1500 – one way.

Knowing that, as an Au Pair, I wouldn’t have a lot of cash flow piling in my bank account (AKA I need to save money, now), I decided that something had to be done. There was no way in hell I was letting $1500 slip through my fingers just to GET TO the country I wanted to live in. So I started researching.

I stumbled across this article on Pintrest that talks about ways to life hack your way around the world; how to travel without paying, or with paying reduced amounts.

I’ve never really looked into life hacking or finding ways around the travel scene, before. I kind of always thought, “Well, that’s the price, so that’s what I have to pay.” False.

After looking up what I would be needing, in regards to travel, I put together a grand scheme.

The next week, I walked into my local Chase bank early one morning (people are nicer in the morning, and they can help you one-on-one because they’re not as busy), and after asking for personal help, and looking up options, I decided on getting my first credit card – joy to the world.

In general, I really hate the idea of credit cards. I don’t like not paying my debts (how Lannister of me) and spending money that’s not mine just doesn’t feel right. I understand why they exist – I just don’t like them.

This time, though, I got a card called the Chase Preferred Sapphire, which allowed me to earn $500 toward my plane ticket as long as I spent $2000 on it during the first three months.

Now, normally, I don’t spend that much money just hanging out with friends (and things like rent and student loans – my main costs – can’t be paid with a credit card) but I did realize, when I got the card, that it was right before tax return season.

Note: As a nanny, I don’t pay my taxes throughout the year but, instead, all at once in Feb/Mar/Apr. 

You’ve probably guessed what I did. Charged that bad boy with my taxes and came out just over $2,000 ($14 over, to be precise). I immediately paid this off, but having spent the initial amount, I still got the voucher.

Then I thought, “Great, I’ve knocked my $1500 down to $1000, but I still think I can do more!”

So I started to look up flights.

Having traveled to the UK before, I knew that Ireland loves people to travel through there, and Dublin will drop its prices drastically in order to get your business. So, I decided to fly into Dublin, and then from there get a smaller plane to Paris.

Side note: I also just LOVE the Dublin airport because they are the most laid back people ever… and I may have really wanted an excuse to hear Irish accents, again. 

Ticket from Seattle to Dublin (after using my $500 voucher) – $448.

Looking up tickets to Paris was a bit harder, but that was because I very specifically wanted to find one that went to Orly airport (the most southern airport in Paris, and more popular – aka more expensive), since that’s where my au pair family said they could pick me up. I settled with a ticket for $200, with a 2 hour layover in Heathrow – another favorite airport (British accents FTW).

Grand total? *drum roll*

$648.

Having saved somewhere around $1000, I feel pretty happy with my plane ticket purchase, and that I have more money in my bank account and a ticket to Paris on my nightstand.

I’ll probably continue life hacking, since this process has the potential to be ridiculously expensive, but so far so good! Have you guys found any awesome life hacks out there while traveling? Send me a comment!

À bientôt!

I've got a golden ticket!
I’ve got a golden ticket!