Consume This #7

Monday, January 15, 2018

Consume This is my monthly curated list of interesting links for you to read, watch, and listen.  If you come across something you think I’ll like, tweet at me.


champagne is the secret to solo female travel

how to feel comfortable eating alone

Mourning in Paris

I'm a struggling writer whose life is falling apart

Star Wars conspiracy theories are one of my fave things

Ask Polly: should I start blogging?

the critical time we need to get off social media

I Did Everything You Said and I'm Still Alone

W A T C H I N G  &  L I S T E N I N G 

A Letter to London

Jane Fonda's on Life's Third Act

You have to believe, in your heart, that even if you don’t work hard and exercise and think positive thoughts and make new friends and march triumphantly into the future, you are still enough. You will always have bad days. Being broken doesn’t make you a loser. You can crumble, and you will still be enough. Make that your religion moving forward. You are here to feel this moment. You are not here to become someone better. You are not here to impress or compete. You are not here to prove yourself. You are here to savor this life. Let down your guard. You are already enough. Believe it.   -Heather Havrilesky 

My Last First Day

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Lviv, Ukraine
I'm having a very emotional time in my life, if you haven't noticed. I feel like I'm always having a rather emotional time simply because I blow everything out of proportion and have to analyze everything from every possible angle. That's just how I process things, but my current life events warrant a minor crisis.

It's my last first day as a college student. In four months I will no longer hold the title of "student" and will have to find other ways to define myself. I'll no longer be an active sorority member (I'll be a sister in my organization forever of course, just as an alumna), I won't be an Honor Council member anymore, won't have my job in the tutoring center or event staff to report to anymore.

It's crazy that I'm here. I remember being a sophomore in high school, absolutely HATING my life for multiple reasons (some very valid, other just normal teenage angst) and counting down the months until I could go to university and escape. Every old person told me to "enjoy your time in college, it'll be over in a blink of an eye" and I was like YEAH RIGHT. High school dragged on forever, I'm sure college will be the same.

Yet suddenly I'm four years older and 18 countries wiser and lived in Europe for 8 months and traveled around BY MYSELF to countries my parents didn't even know existed until I told them I made it safely to my hostel. Traveling solo may not be a big deal to many Europeans and Australians who are raised in the adventurous gap-year culture, but hot damn, 13-year-old Victoria is so proud of me right now.

I think that's the goal for my last first day and for the rest of my last semester of my first degree. To make 13-year-old Victoria proud (and 14 and 15 and 16 and...).  If SHE'S proud of me, then there's no one left to impress.

That's what I've been mulling over, on my last first day. Accomplishments and goals and timelines. College is filled with them. College is also fairly easy. You're given a syllabus on the first day of class and as long as you organize your time well and study, you should be able to get a good grade. Hard work and a little brown-nosing with the professors practically guarantees you an A, as it should. The problem is, as I'm leaving academia for the first time, I'm realizing that life isn't like that. Your effort does not guarantee correlating results.

I hear you yelling at your computer, "DUH! Life isn't fair, sweetheart!". Please don't be concerned, I am painfully self-aware. I know that life isn't fair and nothing is guaranteed, but that doesn't change the fact that kids are raised with the mantra "Work hard, be kind, and good things will happen to you". Which is an ideal people need to have or everyone would give up and nothing would ever happen and daily life would suck.

At this point in my life, during this messy, confusing, transition period, I'm starting to learn that hard work doesn't guarantee happiness and good things, but I have to believe it does anyway.

Believe in yourself, kid, and hopefully good things will happen. Because they must.

My 2018 Travel Goals

Monday, January 1, 2018

2018 will be a year of change. Sure, a lot changes EVERY year (2016, anyone?), but 2018 will be a year of plenty of forced changes.

I'm graduating from university, for one. 

On May 12, 2018, I'm graduating with a Bachelors of Arts in English and a Bachelors of Science in Neuroscience (two degrees for the price of one? heck yeah) and will be forced out into the world as an adult without any plans. Well, of course, I have plans, but nothing like the rigidity of the American education system that has a strict timeline I must conform to.

So what does 2018 have in store for me, travel-wise? 

I have big, big plans, but there is so much up in the air right now. Possibly none of the following can happen, or everything could happen and more! Come what may, I'm going to try to see as much of the world as I can.

Here are my ambitious 2018 travel goals.

Appalachian Trail

My friend and I want to do a few weeks on the trail after we graduate in May. She's done a 2 week AT hiking trip before and I've never even camped outdoors overnight. But if Cheryl Strayed can do it, I can too, right? If I had it I can just go home with no harm done and if I love it I can carry on for 3-5 weeks. This will be our big graduation hoorah without spending too much money. 

Get a traveling job or internship

I'm applying for a few short-term internships and jobs that start right after graduation. If I get any of them (which honestly the chances are low, but I'm still trying) I could end up in a European capital for a month, Washington DC for the summer, or 20+ American states for a year. Fingers crossed I get one of them because they'd be great resume builders while also letting me see different parts of the country and world.

The Baltics

Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia. I flew from Glasgow into Palanga, Lithuania, a cute seaside town as the very first stop of my eastern European summer trip in 2017. Because I was in such a hurry to see Poland and Ukraine, I didn't even stop in the capital, Vilnius, much less go up north to Latvia and Estonia.  Almost everyone I talk to tell me about how cool the capitals of these three countries are (and the surrounding areas, of course) so I'd love to see them for myself.

sunset over the High Tatras on the way back from a hike
Eastern Europe and The Balkans

They overlap a bit so I'm including them in the same section. Romania and Bulgaria were on my original 2017 summer travel list, but that was before I got so incredibly burnt out and hid in the Slovak mountains for a month (I should post about that at some point, probably). I met so many people who were doing months solely focused on the Balkans and they were having the time of their lives. There's a lot of hitchhiking in that area, which I really need to get used to. 

The countries I was to visit most: Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania, Montenegro, Slovenia and to go back to Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina since I spent so little time there. 

It's an ambitious plan for the year, but 2017 was pretty big, too! 

I visited 18 countries in 2017, 16 of them for the first time, so I'm sure I can visit a few more in 2018!

What are your travel plans for the year ahead?

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