Things of which I am sure…

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1 – There is no such thing as a fool proof plan – however, there is such a thing as a fool with a plan! Couldn’t be more true of my efforts to book, 3 flights and 2 hotels! Manage to book first flight, last flight and one hotel! Totally forgot the other flight and hotel realising at almost the last minute! All sorted though via some travel jiggerypokery (always wanted to get that word into a blog)

2- I am no longer afraid of tiny tin can planes, having now been on a 30 seater, if i am completely honest i loved it, closest i will ever get to a private jet- however where there is a positive usually a negative isn’t far behind! Whilst flying from Orlando MCO to Washington DC Ronald Reagan on a slightly larger plane, we encountered a truly terrifying storm which made the turbulence appalling and the decent & landing extremely stressful- but thanks to really wonderful captain and staff on the Jet Blue flight I am here to tell the tale.

3- I have a skill for honest writing, truthful, heartfelt difficult writing, and not about something I made or somewhere I’ve been, just about me & my thoughts. I have always been one for the flamboyant and dramatic – I know, I know, you’re all shocked by this admission! Nevertheless during this trip I have avoiding the overly theatrical and focused on the exceptionally heartfelt, something you dear readers have been exceedingly keen on.

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4 – I am happy being chilled out, not achieving something all the time. I like my own silent company, since being here I have gone through what I now call the 5 stages of being alone.

“Denial and Isolation” – the awful realisation I had that despite my protests that I am the queen of being happy alone, once it was thrust upon me I was suddenly very aware of being ‘lonely’ rather than alone.
“Anger” I can say with entire sincerity, I was really angry that at 26 I was alone, no boyfriend, no casual fling, no friends to hang out with, no mum to go for coffee with.
Then comes…..
“Bargaining” I decided that it was fine, I bargained with myself that I would stick it out for 2 weeks and if I really wasn’t happy still then I would go home safe in the knowledge I had ‘tried’ and god knows we all love a trier!
“Depression” followed, although very fleetingly, I was homesick, sleep deprived and had come to the conclusion the entire trip was a mistake…after all this came “Acceptance” which was a welcome friend, I realised that this trip wasn’t a forever, it was a tiny part of my life, MY life. As the saying goes we come into this world with nothing and leave the same way, it’s what we do in the living that matters.
Oh did I mention these 5 stages happened during the first week of my trip – see always space for a little drama. Out of that week though I learnt the difference between being alone and being lonely.

5- I like nature more than I thought, i went on a beautiful beach, swam in the ocean and meandered down the Itchetucknee River and I lived through it all to tell the tale. I am however still terrified of bugs. Especially the ants who tried to eat me and the roaches that forced a truly epic girlie scream and leap onto a chair from me.

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6 – I like way more foods than I thought – foods that are not always cheese or meat based. I have no had a dairy milk fruit and nut since I arrived although in the practice of full disclosure I have eaten a substantial amount of ice cream, cake and key lime pie – and you know what the moments on the lips were 100% worth the life time on the hips….arse….double chin!

7- I don’t need to drink to have fun – being around people whose Saturday night doesn’t involve drunkenly stumbling home at 1am, however I will be indulging in a French Martini at Restaurant Bar and Grille with mu girls my second night home and a Lemon Drop shortly after that.

8 – I’ve learnt to sleep in silence and darkness. No tv, no radio no light. Just me. Oh and for those who know I still sleep with a bear called cedeic, I left him at home, so yay me!

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9 – I thought I knew a lot about the world, I know hardly a grain of sands worth, something I plan to change. I started changing it mostly when I arrived here in Washington DC, I have stood at the feet of Lincoln & Jefferson, I’ve read the names of the victims of the Holocaust, I’ve seen real Pandas, fed an iguana, stood where Martin Luther King Jr stood for his ‘i have a dream speech’ the list goes on and on and on and on. In a few days I will be at Niagara Falls and in Toronto! Will be immersing myself in the life & history there too. I plan on doing the same when I get home, lots of weekends away indulging in history and culture.

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10 – I am happy. That is all.

Whilst you are reading this I will have spent the morning basking in the awesomeness of the Newseum then strolled over to the Supreme Court, Capitol Hill and Library of Congress.

Happy Friday y’all

E x

I was wrong…..

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So today marks the start of the end, the end of my time in Gainesville.

I have to admit that when I first arrived here on 7th June late at night, I was not exactly in a great state of mind, as I am sure those of you who read my first blog are well aware. I had the awful feeling that I had made a mistake and that the best thing that I could do was stay a week and then admit that it wasnt for me and fly home, tail between my legs, hoping that people wouldnt judge me for too long.

But I have to tell you something, this Floridian city has taught me so much, healed my broken heart and helped me realise not only what matters to me, but why I matter.

I am staying in a quiet sleepy suburb of Gainesville, my cousin very kindly calls the “hood” the majority of the houses are small open plan single storey properties, with large yards and painted pale pastel shades. A stark difference to the old world buildings of the Downtown area with its beautiful paved streets, theatres, bars and independant stores.

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I always thought that what I needed when I came out here to have an adventure was loud exciting and over the top experiences. The first week this feeling plagued me and in turn made me feel very underwhelmed about being here. I felt I should be out partying, spending hours learning new and exciting skills and surrounding myself with painfully cool people I could tell you all about when I got home and fill my facebook with albums of pictures, you know to make people I dont really know what well jealous (admit it, thats why we do it).

During the second week of my trip, my cousin went to canada, I was left alone, something that I thought I loved, HA!!! Not the case it seemed. The first two nights she was away I did not sleep a wink and decided I would check into a hotel in a busy district of the city so that I was around traffic sounds, something at the time I needed to sleep. Whilst there I realised that there was no point waiting around for things to come along and make my trip worthwhile, if I wanted them, I had to go and get them. A life lesson as well as an adventure one!

So I left my hotel room with a map in hand and I explored, I spent hours walking around the incredible University grounds, reading wonderful books, writing in my journal, chatting to people. I sat in the sun drenched grounds, I read Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and wrote pages and pages of my own novel – 17,500 words to date. Who knew I had it in me to write a blog, let alone a book! Amazing what can be achieved when we simply remove ourselves from the norm and accept that maybe the way we have been living just isn’t right for us anymore.

Learning that actually this time away isn’t about over the top adventure, it is about me, learning who I am as a person, not just a daughter, friend, boss, business woman, but as a human being. I thought I would come over here and it would be like a movie, I would meet an amazing guy, fall madly in love and suddenly see the world through rose tinted glasses. Instead what I have done is be quiet, peaceful, contemplative. I have had real silence, where all I can hear are my own thoughts, not opinions, just me, myself and I.

But I have some people to thank for my ability to find all of this, they are my cousin & her wonderful friends, people who at home I would think of as my mums friends, but here they have made me literally howl with laughter, they have offered me a shoulder to cry on, checked in on me when bloody fire ants tried to kill me! They have shown me the hugely diverse cuisines here, from vietnamese diners, real southern fried food, boiled peanuts, mung bean burgers and a micro brewery. They’ve taken me to see independent movies I would never usually have seen & introduced me to books I never would have read.

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These women are an inspriation to me, they own thier own homes, are single and strong women, with jobs that they are skilled at and admired for, and such a healthy view of the world. They believe in Karma & that the solar system affects us all. But they thing that has changed me for the better is they are kind to each other, all the time. There is no talking behind each others back, they do not try to out smart each other or be the bigger better one. They support each other, listen kindly without judgement and most of all they clearly adore each other. Of all the things I have learnt whilst I have been here, its how to be kind, really genuinely kind, to myself and also to others. Something I plan on continuing when I get home. Removing negativity outwardly towards others leads to a positivity within.

I have walked through the Prairie with aligators, experienced the amazing Florida springs, seen an influencial authors home, watched 4th July fireworks, laid on an incredible beach, swam in the sea, seen wild dolphins, taught people to bake and been surrounded by love.

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Makes me realise that although I love the big glamorous holidays there is something very humbling about being not only allowed into someones life, but accepted and I hope to have brought something to them as well.

I have to admit to making a mistake and judging Gainesville too quickly, something that two months ago I would never have admited to.

I was wrong. And as it turns out that’s ok, I don’t need all the answers all the time, i don’t have to be righ. Sometimes, it seems, the things we think are “wrong” gift us the ability to see all the things that are right.

I read a great quote earlier and those of you that follow me on twitter @emglobetrotter may have seen it :-

“Before befriending others, you have to be your own best friend.
Before correcting others, you have to correct yourself.
Before making others happy, you must make yourself happy.
It is not deamed as selfish but personal development.
Once you balance yourself, only then can you begin to balance your world.”

So as a bid an emotional farewell to this beautiful city, I leave with a happy heart, full tummy and wonderful memories. I leave with the lesson to “notice” how I treat others, how my words can affect the people closest to me, how much I value those people, and how easy it is to be kind.

So for now its goodbye from the Sunshine State – next stop Washington DC.

E x

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A little self doubt crept in

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Well I have to admit that this blog post has been hard and long in coming. I always thought that when you are meant to write the words come to you with ease and flow onto the page with a river like quality, actually for me it has been more like a stagnent pond.

So this week has passed with no writing, not of my book and not in my journal and not even small notes on my phone. Suddenly I no longer heard all the lovely supportive things people had to say about my writing, suddenly I was a failure, I was a writing fraud. It amazes me that in one breathe we are on top of the world that people adore what we do and have to say, we feel we can write for years and the words will just keep coming. In the next breath there are no words and just a whole world of self doubt and a decision to stop and quit. Quitting is something that I am not comfortable with, however I am a keen punisher of myself if feelings of doubt creep into my life.

I decided today that i would silence my inner chatterbox and just sit, chill and read, watch and listen to things that make me happy. So I have watched When Harry Met Sally, have read blogs that I love, and listened to various albums including Beyonce “4″

one of the songs on this album is called “I was here” it is all about wanting to leave something behind when you physically leave this earth. to know that you made a difference, that you will be remembered, that you left your mark.

The line from the song that really resinates with me and for some reason more so today goes like this….

“I was here, I just want them to know. That I gave it my all, did my best. Brought someone to happiness, left this world a little better. Just because, I was here.”

I think that knowing that we have left a legacy behind us is something we all need, even if we do not ever vocalise it. Whether its having children, working for a charity, inventing products, fighting for what you believe. All of it means that when you are no longer living your work, family or legacy will live on. I have realised that it what I want from my writing, I would love that if I ever did go on to have children that they would not only know me as a mother but also as a woman. I beleive that sadly children do not see thier parents in that way until they have passed away. I didnt really understand my dad until I heard people talking about him at his funeral, I saw him as a friend, confidant and more than simply the wonderful father that I knew & loved.

I thought that my last relationship would lead to marriage, kids and happy ever after…but it didnt. I thought that my business would make me a millionaire and lead to eternal happiness….it didnt. Then I realised that I was looking externally for my happy ever after, I am now happy in the knowledge that the only guarantee of happy ever after, is to learn acceptance, grace and forgiveness, and to find an outlet, my outlet is writing. I have now come to the wonderful feeling of acceptance that I am good at it, simply because it makes me happy, it gives me purpose, it helps me accept my feelings and thoughts. in turn it is great that it helps others, people I have and maybe will never meet, as well as those I love.

So to avoid this feeling of not contributing or not leaving a mark on the world, I have written the 5 ways I plan to leave my footprints in the sand.

1 – Document everything, write about it, photograph it. Keep it safe.
2 – Contribute to the lives of the young people in my life, my cousins, my friends children.
3 – Love someone with all of my heart
4 – Write honestly, from my heart without any concern how it will be percieved
5 – Do not limit myself. Ever.

It has been so rewarding to read people on twitter and facebook willing me on to write more, that they are waiting to read more of what I have to say about life, my little life. So thank you for that, for being kind to me and making me feel that I can do anything I put my mind to.

So for this time that’s all folks.

This week I will me ensuring that I “notice” everything on this adventure I have embarked on.

Thank you for reading and il be back soon

E x

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