Remnants of a Broken Traveler’s Heart

Moving back home from Paris was something I’d been so excited about for a while.. Seeing my family, hanging out with friends, late night Taco Bell. I was so ready to have my own place, to catch up with everyone and to begin a new chapter in my life – even though I had no idea at the time what that next chapter would be.

Now that I’ve been back for a month, all of that has happened and I’ve been left with a giant hole in my heart that keeps getting bigger. For the first few weeks I was just so overjoyed with being back that I didn’t have time to think about how much Paris had actually become a part of me. But now that the initial excitement of all of it has passed, I’m a bit lost. My heart has become a crippled remnant of what it was before and I’m just now realizing it.

I knew it’d be hard, of course but never thought that I could be overcome by such strong emotion in such quick succession. Paris was my home and leaving it has now become one of the hardest things I’ve done. I know I’ll go back one day but it’s still so difficult to think about no longer being there. When you love something so beautiful, it’s hard to let go. So, I guess that’s what I’m going through.

I’m a wanderer at heart and that will never change, so though my heart is broken, I’m focusing as much of my attention on my next adventure as I can. The world is full of adventure and I’m just trying to find it. 

 

My Newest Adventure

I think it’s about time I updated everyone on what my latest adventure is. Get this, it’s so huge.. I’ve moved into my own real life big apartment.

That’s right, I no longer live in a shoebox.. I have an apartment with a balcony the size of my old room. It’s so nice to have space again! Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing I would ever have changed about my Paris apartment – it was home. But now that I’m back Stateside, I have my very own massive place.

I’m back in Columbia and living with the world’s greatest roommate yet again, Amy. We moved in a couple days ago and everything is all set up and perfect. For our first night back together, we had our three favorites: HuHot, wine & Pitch Perfect. We’d been planning it for months and I’m so happy to finally be all set up in my own space.

Now, you remember how I’ve talked about not being made for the 9-5 life? How I want more out of my life? Well, now that I’m back that still hasn’t changed. I have a multitude of jobs that I love to support me and am also going to be volunteering while here. While I’m home and working a bazillion jobs, I’ll be saving up for my next grand adventure – a month-long backpacking trip throughout New Zealand with my other half, Rowena! I cannot wait.

So basically, I’ve figured out that my environment doesn’t affect who I am – I am who I am and that’ll never change. I’m a wanderer who just wants to go on my next adventure while wearing wild flowers in my hair. So, wish me luck on this next stage in my life! Establishing a “wanderful” life no matter where I am. 

 

Readjusting

A week and a half has gone by since I moved back home and I’m still overjoyed to be back!

Since coming home, I’ve spent all of my time just indulging in lost family and friend time. The first full weekend I had my baby cousins the whole time and I didn’t let them out of my sight. I’m so happy just to be able to hug those beautiful babes again. 

    
 And I finally got to go on a movie date with my little bro again! He, I and his girlfriend spent the whole day at the movies and it was so nice to be able to hang out with him again. 

 I’ve eaten enough El Mags’ Mexican food to last me another year.. 

 And I dyed my hair again (finally!!).. Oh, and cut it.. 

 I spent a weekend in the city with one of my best friends, Liz.. I got to finally see her apartment and I loved it! Seriously, I want it. 

 Aaaand the world’s best roommate ever – Amy – drove an hour and a half to see me in KC for lunch. She’s actually the best.. I cannot wait to live with her again in less than two weeks!

Last but not least, I’m soooo happy to have a real kitchen back in my life. Yesterday, I made mini rainbow chocolate chip pancakes and they were a total hit in the house.

So, I guess you could say I’m happy to be home.. I miss Paris, definitely, but for now I’m just overjoyed to be back.

I don’t know where I’m going but I’m finding my way

Yes, I definitely titled this post with One Direction lyrics. What of it.

Anyway, as you may know, I recently went on an Alternative Breaks trip for Spring Break. I decided to spend my last break in college doing something good and helping others. It was a wonderful and life changing experience that I will forever hold dear to my heart. I met some fantastic people whom I now consider family and I couldn’t have ended my college career in any better way.

I spent my week playing with adorable little kiddos on the Fort Campbell military post who were a part of the Armed Services YMCA camp and they changed me for the better. I fell in love with each of those sweet faces and it was heartbreaking to leave them.photo-4

The Sunday after returning, I was sitting in church and all of a sudden it hit me. I love to travel and I want to help people. Right then I knew, I was being called to something bigger than myself. Right then and there, I decided to take a year to spread God’s love throughout this beautiful world that we live in through a volunteer abroad program.

So, six weeks before I graduate and had been planning to go into the career field, I completely changed my life plan and decided to volunteer instead. I have no idea where and no idea how, but I know that it’ll all work out and I trust this plan that God has for my life.

I’m terrified, don’t get me wrong. Going abroad to a country in which I’ve never been, helping people whose culture differs greatly from my own and just trusting that it will somehow be taken care of financially? Not to mention the fact that I have no idea where to go or what organization is best or anything like that. Yeah, I’m probably crazy. But all I know is that I want to go to a country where I’m needed and help children. Not only by loving them, but also in the long run by teaching them so that they can go out into the world and change it. I want to spread God’s love and I want to promote diversity and multiculturalism in this gorgeous planet that God created for us.

Like I said, I know nothing about how to go about doing this. So, any input would be greatly appreciated. So far, I’ve looked into: Love Volunteers, WWF, Peace Corps, Go Corps, Mercy Ships and The World Race. I’d love any help on turning this plan into action so if you or anyone you know has any information for me, I’d be ecstatic!

I knew that going on an alternative break would impact me but I never thought in a million years that it would change me so much that I would drop everything and alter my life. I owe this decision to those wonderful, smiling little faces at the ASYMCA and know that whatever happens, I’ll be in God’s hands.

Spring Break – Alternative Style

10150592_2565730701303_84968902_nToday marks the beginning of my last spring break in life and I couldn’t be more excited. Instead of going to a beach somewhere, I chose to spend my break volunteering somewhere in the country to better the lives of those in need. The past few months have been spent preparing and planning for this day and I’m so happy that it’s finally here. In a few hours I’ll be heading off to Fort Campbell, KY to participate in an art program for little kiddos on the military base. I love kids and can’t wait to meet them and spend the week having awesome Dr. Seuss-ian fun!

My wonderful group that I’ll be going with decided on the theme of “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” for the week and each day will be a different destination for the kids to have fun with. For instance, Dino Day is on Tuesday so we’ll be traveling back to the prehistoric times with T-Rex tag and archaeological digs. The entire week will be filled with this kind of awesome fun.

I’m so thrilled to have an entire week to spend getting to know some spectacular, selfless humans who will be on this trip with me. It’s people like them who the world needs more of. I don’t know everyone very well yet but can already tell that they’ll become my best friends by the time this trip is over.

So, here’s to a week full of laughter, games and love!

I need a big kid job, please.

Someone want to hire me? ‘Cause I need one of those big kid jobs that everybody is always talking about.

Here it is guys, my last semester of college. SAY WHAT. Terrifying and exhilarating all at once. So, naturally, I’m on the job hunt. And it’s actually quite exciting. AFTER I accepted the fact that I’m going to make next to nothing and will live in debt for the first few years of my life, yeah, then the job search-growing up-thing kind of became exciting.

In a few short months I’m moving my booty out to the beautiful city of Los Angeles. Or New York. Or Chicago. Or London. Or anywhere in France.. As you can see, I’m a bit undecided. But that’s okay! I’m keeping my options open, sort of, and I’m tackling those dreams I’ve always talked about. It’ll be an adventure wherever I go and I’m so ready! ..Kind of. Just a little scared. But mostly ready! I have a whole world to explore, people and it’s just about to begin.

That entertainment world better be ready for the best publicist/social media coordinator/public relations rep/promotions coordinator that they’ve ever seen! ..Again, I’m undecided about my life. It’s probably going to be a problem soon.

So, if you want a fun, charismatic (ha), intelligent, adventure-seeking, happy, INCREDIBLY OUTGOING, awesome graduate with a degree in Journalism, HIT ME UP SOON.. ‘Cause I really need one of those things called “a big kid job.”

LinkedIn SAY WHAT.

Star Wars Audition

Currently I am en route to Chicago to audition for Star Wars Episode VII. Man, I gotta say that I love this life I live. If I had one piece of advice to give to people, it would be to take advantage of every opportunity handed to you. And if there isn’t an opportunity, make your own. I promise, life is full of adventure, my life is testimony to that.

I found out about this audition a couple days ago and immediately cleared my schedule to get to it. Shout out to my coworkers for making this possible for me by covering my shifts. Side note: I work with the most amazing people. I love each and every one of them and it’s true what they say about Olive Garden, “When you’re here, you’re family.” I love those guys so stinkin’ much. Anyway.. Back on topic..

This audition. I know that there is literally no chance I’ll be cast, seeing as how they’re casting for one role and I’m sure 87 gajillion people are going to audition. But! I also know that it’s the experience and adventure that really matter. It’s the ability and courage to take advantage of what’s placed in front of you. And it’s the amazing friends who are just as crazy as you, who will drop anything and everything for you to road trip six hours in the middle of the week last minute to be there and hold your hand while you conquer the world. That’s who Caitie is to me. As she sits next to me right now singing at the top of her lungs, I’m not sure if she’ll ever know how grateful and blessed I am to have her in my life. She’s been there for all the best memories I’ve made in college. If I hadn’t met this girl, I wouldn’t have some of the best memories I’ve made in my life.

There’s a crazy world out there just waiting to be explored. So go out there and do it.

Growing up

So, here’s the deal. I graduate soon. Wow.. It’s terrifying to actually say it. Next semester I’ll be leaving home and making my own home somewhere completely different and that’s scary.. (Hopefully my Momma doesn’t read this post).

Now that being said, I don’t know exactly what I want to do with my life. But before you start to judge, let me tell ya that I’ve got my life pretty well under control. I have a level head, I work my booty off at both my job and my internship in order to have my own money and I’ve been looking into jobs for a while now. I’m not worried for what will happen to me after I leave home, it’s all in God’s hands and I know he’ll take care of me.

I have a blank canvas in front of me and I can do whatever I want with it. It’s freeing to think that I’ll be moving on soon and that I can do and be whatever I want. I can be a publicist. I can be an actor. I can be an agent. I can be a writer. I can be a public relations representative. I can be ANYTHING.

And that’s exactly what I’ll do. No matter what the future holds for me, I know that I’ll be doing something every day that puts a smile on my face when I wake up. And I know I’ll do this because I know exactly who I am. I know that whatever path I end up taking in this wonderful life that I have, that I’ll be happy and more importantly that I’ll make an impact. I want my life to affect others. I want my life, my story and my choices to inspire someone. Anyone. I just want to live my life happily and know that I can positively impact someone somewhere in this world – doing what? I don’t know.

But I know it’ll be grand.

Leaving Home Behind

IMG_1502Well, this is it. It’s my last night in this wonderful country that I’ve come to love with all of my heart. Tomorrow morning I’ll be leaving my home behind and a piece of my heart. This has been the most wonderful summer of my life and I hate to see it come to an end but all good things must come to an end. So, as I sit here with tears in my eyes, I recall all the amazing memories that I’ve made throughout this time.IMG_1494

This city has become my home and even though I know I’ll return one day soon, I hate to say goodbye. Everywhere I look, memories surround me. Starting with this wonderful family that took me in as their own for the summer, I can’t say how grateful I am to them. I look at the girls as my own sisters now and know that we’ll always be family. I love this house and how beautiful it is when I look outside. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to spend this time and don’t want to think about leaving it.

The relationships that I’ve established here are for a lifetime. I’ve found some of my best friends in the entire world and now that I have them, I can’t imagine life without them. God truly blessed this trip for me and I am so thankful to Him.IMG_1426

Austin, Austin, Austin. Austin is such an amazing guy and I love how close we became. We fought and bickered constantly but the kid is great for dealing with 19 females for the entirety of the summer without another male to help soothe the pain. You have to give him props. That’s pretty spectacular. He didn’t even kill any of us, which is a plus. Seriously though, my summer wouldn’t have been the same without him here to spend time with and eat lunch with and have hold my things for me while I was shopping and listen to me ramble about Johnny Depp and take care of me when I was down. I love that kid and know that he’ll go incredibly far in life. He’s going to be the world’s most renowned anesthesiologist, I know it.1010055_10152045606817564_101705474_n

And now for mon petit oiseau. Man, oh man, do I love my little Aubs. She is one of my favorite people in the entire world. Who knows what would have happened to me if she hadn’t been on this trip to keep me calm when I needed to vent or to take care of me. Literally. I can recall a night when I wouldn’t have lived through it if she hadn’t been there to get me through it. Honestly, I’m being for real people. I already miss our movie nights with horrible wifi that stopped us from always completely watching a movie and our dinner nights where I would cook for her and our multiple conversations about beautiful Frenchmen. Well.. MY conversations about beautiful Frenchmen and her listening of the conversation. I really like Frenchmen…But anyway…Auburn is my soul mate. We’re exactly alike. So much so that it’s scary. So, she’s my soul mate. End of story.

I’ve made a lifetime full of memories this summer and can’t wait to come back one day. I met some friends whom I don’t want to leave behind. Tasted food that will forever haunt me. Tasted food that will I forever crave. Explored ancient ruins. Experienced the best nightlife ever. Became addicted to macaroons. Became addicted to quiche. Became addicted to wine. Became addicted to hamburgers and rice. Became addicted to basically everything here. Tried everything new. Came to know and love a world outside of my own.IMG_1520

I found myself. I fell in love with a part of the world that I never thought I’d see. And I had the absolute best summer of my life.

To all of you back home, I’ll see you soon. To all of you on your way home already, I’ll see you later. To France, I love you and I’ll return one day soon.

Bastille Day

Yesterday I was able to celebrate Bastille Day here in Lyon with some amazing friends.

I spent the evening in town watching fireworks explode over an ancient basilica and it was breathtaking.IMG_1491

My time here in Lyon is coming to a close and I can’t believe it…but I’ll save that for another time.