What did you want to be when you grew up?

I have had a funny old weekend, starting with some really rather horrid tests to try to work out whats up with my heart – my doctor found it very amusing when I told him maybe I was the tin woman and I just did’t have one!

I’ve found whenever I am ill it makes me think back to being a child and how things seemed so much easier when I was poorly and 7 than poorly and almost 27.

Got me to thinking about the others things that change. Whilst feeling sorry for myself on Saturday I watched Eat Pray Love, a movie I have seen more times than I care to mention. Yes, yes I know its not as good as the book and there are parts that are just too outlandish to really believe, there are also parts that really resonate with me, that make me analyse the life that I live.

When Liz ( Julia Roberts) is in Italy she talks with her friends about what ‘word’ she is – if you had just one word to describe yourself what would it be? Would it be the same as the word you would have used as a child to describe what you wanted to be when you were grown? When did it change, more importantly why?

When we are little we learn all about “explaining words” ways to describe things, people, places. We are wildly imaginative as children, using words far above and beyond what we could ever have experienced. But with that lack of experience came a sense of wonder and hope that one day we would travel through space and time to a land where the clouds were made of candy floss and sand on the beaches made of sherbet. We were asked as children ” What do you want to be when you grow up” how many of you wanted to be a Fireman, a Nurse, an Astronaut…a footballer or a CEO? What are you now?

So what happens when we are grown ups, is that it? No more dreaming wildly of ‘when we grow up’ because here we are, we are grown up, are we where we wanted to be 20 years ago?

Me aged 7

I am intrigued by how many people have dreams as adults, they have aspirations to do something life changing, sadly I have found that mostly when they admit these dreams out loud people are less than supportive. Think back to when you were a kid and you told your mum that you wanted to be a Princess or the Prime Minister, how did she react, did she laugh in your face and tell you not to be so ridiculous, did she list the numerous down sides and reasons that it simply would not work out, doubtful. Instead she listened with care, consideration and support your dreams. Now if like me, you are a lucky bean and have a mum who supports you regardless of your wild grown up dreams, I am thrilled for you. However if you don’t then here I am offering my support and care for whatever you want to do.

This all came to a head for me the other week when I was chatting to one of my closest friends. She had decided to do a night climb up Ben Nevis for charity, what an awesome thing to do I thought, however her hopes were dashed when her mum told her she didn’t think it was a good idea, in turn that made my friend feel like her mum didn’t support her dream and therefore didn’t support her.

Sadly although my mum is a never ending beacon of hope and support for me, the same cannot be said of the rest of my family, when I told them I was starting my own cake company the majority of comments were along the lines of “but you have no training”, “there’s a recession you know” & “you’ve never run your own business”.

Not once did any of them say, “that’s amazing, good luck”. As a kid I have a lemonade stand with a friend when I was on holiday in San Francisco  everyone cooed about how industrious we were, fast forward 20 years and I am being irresponsible and it wont work.

I have many people in my life, from a little girl who just turned 3 to my grandmother who is 85. I plan on being as supportive of them every day of their lives as possible, no matter age, time of life, ideas or dreams. So Gracie if you want to be a Princess in 20 years then I will be there with a big ass hat sitting proudly in the Church, Amy if you want to make your books into movies then I will be more than happy to audition the leading man :-) and Gran if you want to run a marathon I will buy trainers and run with you.

If I had listened to the negative comments, I would never have owned my own cake shop, I would never have made cakes for everyone from Radio 1 to First Direct, I wouldn’t have been a part of so many amazing weddings, I would never have sold up and had the money to travel America & Canada, I would never have started writing a blog whilst travelling, I would never have had the nerve to go for my dream job and I doubt I would have got it. So if you think that I dream too big then go right on ahead but know this, I might be 20 years older and wiser than I was when I had my first dream of being a CEO but I still have the dreams, I still aspire to greatness and that wont ever change.

So today do me, and yourself a little favour and be supportive of someone, even if they are not doing things exactly how you think they should, give them praise for dreaming big, for wanting more than the mundane.

Think to yourself, how would you have described yourself 20 years ago, and how do you describe yourself now?

E x

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

Slightly stressful arrival but I’m here!

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Well it's been 16 weeks in the planning and finally on 7th June 2012 I touched down in Miami

After the most relaxing massage and pedicure in the executive lounge at Heathrow where I was waited on hand and foot whilst being served perfectly chilled Verve Clicquot made my way to departure gate 18 terminal 3 and boarded the Virgin Atlantic 747 to Miami flight vs5. Plan of action for the flight went a little like this….. Vodka&Tonic, lunch, movie, sleep – perfect – but clearly deluded! It was mostly vodka&tonic and movies, no sleep and awful food :-(

I really want to tell you that my arrival sparked a love affair between the city and I, sadly that was far from the case!

I appreciate how important customs and security is in the states but wow any one heard of air con! Standing in the queue for over an hour, exhausted and hotter than hell on earth I felt my bad mood rapidly approaching – that and the two women in front of me on the plane who were like witches round a cauldron!

Once through the emotionless customs it was baggage time and then a good solid 5 hour wait for my greyhound bus to Gainesville.

Now, I think of myself as a reasonably brave person, happy to travel and blend in, not your typical tourist. Today I was the extreme opposite. I arrived at the greyhound terminal, having been informed that they no longer picked up from the airport, to what can only be described as a scene from a bad horror movie. You know that point at the beginning where you shouting at the screen "give up now! If you think this is bad you have no idea!"

As I pushed open the door practically hanging off its hinges and drag my case to the counter I am informed that the next bus to Gainesville is not until 11am the next day! Which meant a 16 hour wait in the most soulless tin can.

At this point my usually hidden middle class white girl kicked in and the tears began to fall, "that's it" I decide I'm just going to go home! I've tried, no one can say I haven't tried but it's not for me!

As I stared at the departure boards for the next flight back to the UK, I spotted a flight to Gainesville, and as a huge fate devotee I reasoned that I was meant to stay and brave out my adventure.

After that it was plane (excuse the pun) sailing – a tiny plane with no more than 40 people on board the American Eagle ER4. As a less than keen flyer the thoughts running through my mind were, "holy crap I'm going to die" but as I promised myself I had to learn to be brave I strapped myself into the window seat and forced myself to enjoy and boy did I – with some of the most breathtaking views over the lakes and glades I was suddenly calmed and can honestly say loved the 49 minute journey.

Seeing my cousin stood at arrivals in the tiny but perfectly formed Gainesville Airport I suddenly realised that all the drama was behind me and I was at the beginning of the greatest adventure…..

Gonna go now, start making memories, oh and get some food!

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