My Heart is Content Thanks to Paris
It's been quite a while since I've written. I thought it would be different this time around, but I'm coming to terms with the struggle. I love writing. I love blogging. I love engaging in creative endeavors. However, the phase of life I am in is so busy with the daily tasks that being able to sit and write has become a challenge. It's not that I'm not still creating. It's just that I've been more focused on intentional living and mindfully engaging in each task that I'm getting the benefits without having to write about them. From the beginning, I wanted to be clear that I was not in the blogging world to make money. It was a creative outlet that allowed me to explore, experiment, and experience. Writing/blogging came to me when I was in the thick of it in grad school and working full time. I needed the reprieve, man did I need it! Writing was the one way I could ground myself in something that I wanted to do. I fought hard to find something I could do that was just for me, that wasn't for anyone else or about anyone else. I wrote a lot. I experimented with photography. I experimented with music and with paint. The blogging process was vital to my survival during that phase of my life and I am eternally grateful I got into it when I did. I’m grateful I found a few muses along the way that unconsciously kept me going. I’m thankful for the evolution my writing and creating has gone through. I am very thankful for that stressful time in my life and would not wish it away for anything in the world, because it allowed me to take a leap of faith, find courage and publish what I wrote.
Fast forward 4 years and that need is no longer here. I kept hoping it would be, but I started engaging in other things that filled this need and reduced the amount of activities that felt too much of a stress for me. In 2018, I turned my focus on health. I worked out, I ate healthy, I experimented with the Keto diet. I found balance again in nutrition and nourishment. I also accomplished a really big item from my bucket list: travel overseas. I went to Paris with one of my husband's cousins (Becky) and had the time of my life. It was so surreal, and I was living in the moments. I thought I would write about it, and I did. In November, which is National Novel Writing Month, I completed 50,000 words towards a memoir that I titled Falling for France where I chronicled the trip from my perspective. I planned to share parts of that story on the blog, but I never did. I was so focused on the writing of it in the word document, I did not want to try to break it apart. I wanted it to stay complete. I thought I would share pictures from the week abroad, but once again, I only shared minimally. I wondered if that meant I didn't care about the trip, but I realized the trip was for me. It was an experience that I wanted to cherish as my own, one that spoke to me of determination, sacrifice, and patience. Traveling overseas had been a dream of mine for several years. There were a few times I was close, but for some reason or another, the trip would fall apart. I didn't give up though. With the support of my husband, James, and the constant encouragement of my sister, Melissa, I made this dream a reality. It was not easy. There was a lot I had to give up, but I was ok with that. This was further evidence that I could do whatever I put my mind to. I was so excited for the ability to accomplish this dream that seemed so far away, and here I am, still reminiscing on those days and shaking my head that it’s already been a year.
I traveled to Paris and London in September of 2018. I stopped doing the Keto diet which I had started in July 2018. I was trying to go for 100 days, but realized I was not going to be doing Keto while on this once in a lifetime trip. Instead, I did Keto for one and a half months, continued going to the gym as I had since May 2018. and continuing with the tremendous progress I had made in my health. I wanted to carry that with me to Paris and London. As a self-proclaimed foodie, I was afraid I would throw everything I learned to the wind. Instead, I surprised myself by enjoying the food, but limiting it at the same time. I did not binge on any one meal. I did not eat nonstop all day every day. Instead, Becky and I enjoyed each meal, sometimes forgetting lunch until later in the afternoon because of our immersing in the activities we were in, and experienced the tastes of Paris. We didn't have a lot of time in London, and sadly the London food experience was not as exciting as Paris, so I will need to give it another go. Still, we ate carbs, we ate desserts, and we enjoyed each meal without judgment. It was so refreshing to have this new mindset about food. It helped that we walked a TON while on this trip, so we burned plenty enough calories.
After coming home, I created a scrapbook. It was so fun to go through all the photos I had taken, go through all the tickets, pamphlets, receipts, and maps that I'd kept to put all together in one place. Well, I couldn't fit it all, but I had a snapshot of the experience. It's something that I still cherish and look through. The beauty that surrounded me while in Paris enchants me so. I embrace the fact that my wanderlust will probably not ever fade away, but I can honestly say, going on this trip has helped me learn to be content. I made the trip once, which means I can make the trip again. I pushed hard to achieve this goal, and I know that I can do that again. As evidence, James and I went to Hawaii this summer which is something I NEVER thought would happen! I suppose that's a story for another time. Here I want to say that this experience gave me the confidence that I have a story to tell. Since coming home, I’ve looked back at all my travels with a new set of eyes. What I once took for granted, I have now learned to cherish. The small trips, the big trips, the childhood adventures, the short weekend getaways. All of those have been impactful in my life and have helped mold me to the woman I am today.
My eyes are on Spain and Greece next. I don't know when that might happen, and I'm ok with not knowing at this time. Right now, I’m focused on my pregnancy and the reality that we’ll have a little one to cater to for the next long while. I hope and pray that we can travel with him when he’s young, so he can learn the joys that we have, yet I am also aware that life doesn’t always go as we plan. This new chapter in my life is amazing and will be an adventure all on it’s own. I am embracing the fact that I can still have these desires and goals without having to act on them in a rushed mindset; we have the rest of our lives ahead of us. I have also learned that planning trips is a BIG part of the joy for me, and so I will plan many trips on Pintrest and wait for the days they can happen.
Until next time!