Hi I am bouncing to South America in ONE WEEK so I should probably catch up with the end of last year’s Europe travels.

I’ve talked about GISHWHES a few times — site apparently in limbo right now — and like how the people I met in this team I randomly found are some of the most brilliant and awesome people I’ve ever met, and genuinely changed my life — I did not document 2014 or 2016, but 2015 and 2017 — I have hung out in New York City and Seattle (with some great cats and people) and taken a day trip to Vancouver to play hopscotch — and last year I got to spend a few days in Northern Ireland with another just fuckin’ joy of a human. so much love and I hope to see you again sooner not later ❤

(I apologize, I haven’t edited for shit, because I’m trying to get caught up enough to “reset” this blog” so like total photodump)

(and all the photos I took are with my horrible replacement phone camera after getting my phone stolen in Serbia and then leaving my camera in Albania so whatever) (she says pretentiously)

 

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And then we drove to Derry (wherein I got in on the wrong side of the car EVERY SINGLE TIME) and saw the Giant’s Causeway —

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And then to Derry, which I swear there’s nothing more evocative than a walled city.

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IN ONE MONTH I peace out to Colombia, to the fifth continent (technically) and then hopefully on to the southern hemisphere for the first time.

So here, have a bit of Glasgow photodump.

 

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blue skye

SINCE I am one month and six days (not that I’m counting) from bouncing off to Colombia and onwards, perhaps I should actually finish photodumping the last of my European travels — Skye, Glasgow, Belfast, Derry/Londonderry,and Dublin. Now that it’s been like nine months since I was actually there.

Anyway, all in all, Skye is probably the one place over all others that I wish I’d spent more time; I think I was only there three nights/two full days. Which seemed like enough for such a relatively small place, but definitely was not. I wish I’d taken one of the day bus tours, which I’m generally not huge on, but definitely a much more efficient way to see the region, and I’m super sad I missed seeing the Fairy Pools and Fairy Glen, and only saw the Old Man of Storr and the Quiraing from the local buses. However the tours mostly only took cash, of which I had basically none after losing my debit card in Montenegro, and figured it wasn’t worth the hassle. Incorrectly.

I loved pretty much every place I’ve been in my wanderings, from Paris and Rome to like Kosovo and the coast of Africa, but Skye was… unsettling, like I suddenly sort of understood why the fae folk are so prevalent in Scottish folklore. It felt like I could almost, almost catch a glimpse of otherworldly goings-on just barely cloaked by the mists.

I did manage to get to Dunvegan Castle, which was breathtaking, although my Clan Fraser of Lovat ancestors would be rolling in their graves, since I didn’t go see the clan castle near Inverness. Photographs weren’t allowed inside the castle, since it’s still a family residence, but the grounds were absolutely stunning.

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And Portree itself is lovely, as was the train journey from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalch, as well as the bus from there to Portree. I stayed at the Portree Independent Hostel, which was inexpensive, super comfortable and close to the bus station, and generally great. Since I was there for so short of a time, I mostly was outside of town, but the chilly grey mist is so up my alley. I think I’m too much of a city rat to handle having to go an hour outside of town for most things beyond a grocery store, but like, I might try.

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And yeah, the rest of my sightseeing was mostly from a round-trip local bus along the coast, so the photos are pretty worthless, but hey, sheep are always good for a smile.

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Man, looking over these pictures has really upped the ante on the wanderlust itch, and I am so, so, so happy to have a one-way plane ticket to somewhere Anywhere But Here.

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welp

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that is all.

🙂

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A year ago today, I was in Bratislava. I’d like to say I stayed up partying until dawn and watching the fireworks over the Danube, kissing some sexy Slovakian at midnight, but uh, I actually passed the fuck out in my hostel bed at like 10pm. In fairness to myself, the previous week had consisted of flying from Prague to New Orleans, drinking copiously over Christmas, flying back to Prague three days later, and taking a bus to Bratislava, so the exhaustion was justified.

And now I am in my least favorite place in the world, again.

It’s been a weird year, to say the least. It’s hard not to feel like a complete useless failure when I’m here, unable to effect any positive change in my own life or in anyone else’s. On good days, I try to remember that my dreams have never been those of Normal Life™, with a lovely husband (or wife) and a dog and a nice house in the suburbs or apartment in the city, and that’s okay. Okay, well, the dog, yeah, but the rest can fuck off.

My dreams have always been entangled in wanderlust. Most of my adult life has been spent packing up my life and moving a thousand miles in a different direction for a new school, new job, new life, until tearing it all down again. And the farther I get from that normal life, the more myself I feel.

On good days. On good days I think maybe I’m doing all right by my own self, and fuck everyone else, and that all the trajectories I’m missing out on are maybe worth it to explore the world. I spent the last year and change in forty countries and four continents, mostly (though not entirely) on my own dime and entirely of my own volition.

Maybe someday I’ll figure out how to make this life truly sustainable, but for now, I’m trying to accept the fact that sometimes I’ll probably keep ending up back here, hanging on by the skin of my teeth and saving money until I can get back out. At least now I have a fairly reliable freelance job, so once I manage to get my finances even a little into the black, and the major initial airfare expenses paid for, I should be able to support myself fairly indefinitely, if frighteningly.

I’m still thinking about heading to South America, because flights to Colombia are cheap, but I’m kind of leaning towards the Caucasus countries. I’ve heard so many amazing things about Georgia, and trains between Tbilisi and Azerbaijan and Armenia are like $20 USD, and flights to Kazakhstan $100-150… . . .

2017 has been a pretty shit year for writing, though, like majorly. Aside from this blog, I wrote under 5,000 words of fiction. For comparison, in 2016 I wrote over 100,000 words, in 2015 almost 130,000 words, and even in 2014 — the first year I actually tried writing fiction ever, despite my creative writing minor in college — I still managed 100,000 and change. So, that sucks. I feel like being in a different country every few days left me kind of inundated with ideas that I never had the stability to process into words. Here’s hoping 2018 is better.

Here’s hoping 2018 is better in like… six hundred thousand different ways. Peace out, shit year, and to blatantly steal something off of Tumblr, I hope the best of 2017 is the worst of 2018 for everyone.

 

 

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Being back in Boston always leaves me with some intensely conflicted feelings to sort through.

I mean, I love this city. I’ve loved it since the first time I saw it, sitting on the roof of some B&B in the South End with my mom as I resettled here for grad school. I love the changing seasons, the way it’s more muted than the chaotic shifts in the Midwest, like it doesn’t have to prove itself anymore. I love hearing the shitty green line grumble its way down Comm Ave. But it’s not mine anymore

And I think most people know this feeling in some way or another. There’s a Twilight Zone quality to it, almost dreamlike, in a way. You know where you are, you recognize it, you know it intimately, but some things are just… wrong.

At this point I’m far enough removed from DC that I only notice specific places of meaning, like the dead Barnes & Noble in Georgetown where I went the first night of my life there, during freshman orientation at GW, when I walked there with a boy, and we bought a copy of Ginsberg’s Howl, and read it together all night. I never saw him again and don’t remember his name. But I never had a life there anyway, not even nascent tendrils of roots; only a useless degree from a school I barely interacted with.

But in Boston I existed, I was a person here, as much as I ever have been, and it’s impossible not to somehow think time will have halted since the day you left. Which, of course, it doesn’t.

It’s been eight years since I lived here, which kind of maybe in that not-so-sweet-spot it’s the same if you don’t pay too much attention, but then suddenly there’s a Target by your old gym? And the Thai place in Cleveland Circle is now only like a block away but weird and decrepit, and you almost don’t want to walk by your old apartments anymore, because there are so many ghosts, so many things that are just a little bit wrong.

This fades, of course — so quickly that you feel a little guilty about it, maybe.  I wrote a poem once, back when I could write poetry: photographs become farewells and descriptions become eulogies. Stay, and the eulogies become descriptions again. Target is no longer the grave of whatever you tangentially remember; it’s just fucking Target. But it’s transitional, and when you never stay anywhere, it doesn’t settle.

But I just question so much my decision to leave, what my life would be had I stayed. And that’s a vicious rabbithole to wander down too often, it will eat you alive — but it is there. I had a life here, ish, I had a job with benefits — with Prospects — with Room For Advancement — it is conceivable I’d be a real person had I stayed. Maybe I’d have a home, stability, something like relationships – maybe even a career. It does eat me alive, a little bit.

I had hope here, I guess. I had positioned myself on the trajectory I thought I belonged on: prestigious graduate school on scholarship, language, all that shit — like, maybe, maybe, I was okay. What if I had worked through all the things and somehow… something?

But if I hadn’t left, would I have found myself still here, instead of back here sometimes, back in Florida sometimes?

Like — which is better or worse, waking 36 years old in a job you’ve hated since the day you walked in, but sustainable, like a real person — or waking up not knowing if you’ll survive the next year, let alone the rest of your life, but you do things, you go places.

It’s easy to say the latter but it’s hard to do.

I know the answer, of course, but I walk down the streets of this city, and I feel like I’m home, but I can’t stay here because I don’t belong; I turn my palms upwards and I wish I had answers to anything.

I said at the start that this is a blog about depression and how I deal/don’t deal with it. Mostly it’s easier to just post pictures of places and things and people because it’s evidence of my existence. If I hadn’t left Boston I might never have left Boston; I like myself a little more because of the things I’ve done.

leaves

 

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nyc/boston redux part 23857329329

Hi dudes, still alive, still wandering aimlessly!

Finally tore myself out of my little sanctuary in Charlotte, spent a week with dear friends in NYC where I also got to converge with my friends I made at a random hostel in fucking Morocco, and then later Germany, on continent number three (!!!)!

I’ve been to New York a fair few times by now, but since I’m always piss-broke, I tend not to do much. And we basically just wandered (for eleven fucking miles, ow) but I got to see bits I hadn’t before, like the High Line and Chelsea Market, and actually I don’t think I’d been to Washington Square Park. And shuffled our way across the mass of humanity of the Brooklyn Bridge, which is not quite as surreal as biking across it, but still surreal.

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And actually linked up again with my dudes from Germany before they bounced off to continue their odyssey across America! Basically pizza, Central Park and the Lincoln Center. As one does.

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Also some really excellent black cats in there too.

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SPEAKING OF WHICH, on a personal note, my own black kitty (my mother’s, really, but also mine) is apparently 100% recovered from liver shutdown last January. No more prednisolone, which would have killed him eventually; no more holding him down to squirt Atopica into his mouth.  The odds were really solidly against this, so like. I’m beyond thrilled. He’s a pretty important little shitlord.

Anyway I’m in Boston now for a hot minute, with a couple more very dear friends and tomorrow fall in New England is supposed to actually start feeling like fall in New England, and I’m basically just cramming in as much work as I can make myself do (aka spending the morning writing a useless blog update), and then meet up with my brother in NYC and kick rocks back down the East Coast.

And then I might go to Colombia for a little while, just because I can get there for cheap. And probably maybe won’t die. *shrug*

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