Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Desktop

After much mental deliberation, I have decided to create a new blog. The Desktop. It can be found at the URL I have this a lot of thought (explained in detail on that blog) and put it into creation.

While Lost On Purpose has been a faithful blog, and treated me well, I fear, for the moment, I must abandon it. I hope one day to return to it, or at least, make it one chapter in a far larger book of travels. I know I will visit it from time to time to reminisce in the beautiful memories I had while backpacking through Europe.

I hope to see maybe some of you on The Desktop, but please, feel no obligation. I know it will not be nearly as fascinating as this one - it's mostly going to be the mundane life I live right now - which sometimes makes me feel like Bill Murray in Groundhogs Day where I seem to simply be doing the same thing over and over again. Ah well.

Thanks again for the dedication you gave to me and this wonderful blog.

So long, farewell. I hope to see you again some day.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Home Pictures

 The Umbrella
 Cliffs of Mohr, Ireland
 Dublin, Ireland
 Genova, Italy
 Rome, Italy
 London, England
 Liverpool, England
 Paris, France
Paris, France


Hello everyone from right here in La Crescent MM! I realize, not nearly as exciting as the previous month, but home is home.

Wow! How strange it is to be home again. It's weird because I've been going through all my pictures with Mom and I look at the pictures of myself in front of all these places, and I know I was there, remember being there and taking the pictures, but it doesn't feel real. The whole 5 weeks in retrospect seems like it was only 5 days and a long time ago. However, only 2 weeks ago today I was in London. Actually 9 days ago I was in London. The complete familiarity of home seems to wipe out the whole trip. I just set my life aside for 5 weeks, and since not a ton changed while I was gone, I was able to just pick it back up when I got home. It's like this weird time travel thing I've got going on.

Anyway, this first week back home has been busy. Immediately Saturday morning we got up and went to Eau Claire to meet Crystal's future in-laws, we were there for the day, Sunday I came home and did some unpacking, then Monday it was right back to work (I have to say, that was something I did not miss).

I do have to work this afternoon, but I thought it was time to wrap up this blog and say "Farewell" to you all, since you have been so amazing keeping up with me the past month.

I have some photos I'm going to post, but there is a bit of a story behind the photos. When my friend Brain gave me all his knowledge about travelling from when he took his trip, he had a kite that he flew in each city he was in and took a picture of it. Well, I thought this was super cool and wanted to do something similar. So, if you noticed in some of the pictures I put up for each city, I had a red umbrella there. I know I told some people about the umbrella before, but for those of you who did not know, the umbrella was just a fun little project I had going. Besides be travelling, my red umbrella travelled as well. And I copied Brian again, because he's cool and has really good ideas, I drew a little picture on the umbrella representing the city and wrote the name of the city next to the pictures.

I will warn you, some of the drawings are not most attractive (a combination of drawing on umbrella canvas and not having an eraser for permanent marker) but it was fun regardless.

I want to thank-you all again for being so supportive and wonderful through this entire trip/blog! Especially through the times when I was having a difficult time. Just knowing there were people out there rooting for me got me through every difficult second.

I have no idea if there will be a "Lost On Purpose II" or not, but I'm certainly hoping so. I already know where I would like to go next, so I suppose that's a good start.

I love you all!!! Thanks again and now I bid you, Addio, Adieu, Slán, Farewell.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

"I'm leaving, on a jet plane..."

"All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go; I'm standing here outside the door. . . the dawn is breaking, it's early morn, the taxi's waiting, he's blowing his horn..."

Ok, so I took just a few creative liberties with the lyrics, but what better song to use in my last European post? Last European post? Unbelievable. It's going to be weird to not put up a post everyday (sadly though, my day to day life is far less interesting than when I'm travelling abroad).

So for my last day in Europe, I didn't do much. I sat outside in this little 'court yard' area the hostel has, and for most of the day, just started to re-read my book. It's been lovely weather here the last couple days, and since I've seen practically everything I wanted, it was nice to just enjoy the sun the last couple days.

I am showered and scrubbed down, packed with my clothes laid out for tomorrow, my taxi is reserved to take me to the airport at 7 a.m. tomorrow morning (that means early to bed tonight and up early tomorrow - grimace), then all I need to do is check in, go through security, and wait to board the aircraft that will bring me home to all of you.

I don't think it's really hit me that I'm coming home. Just like it didn't feel real the night before I left. I'm sure this whole trip hasn't hit me yet. I don't feel like I've done it. It's hard to explain. Nevertheless, I have no regrets with this trip. It has been an enlightening experience, educational in more than one way, and most of all, fun! Even when I didn't think I was enjoying myself, I realize that I was. I can say that I was in (fill in the blank)!

It is a bittersweet farewell I say to Europe: I'm thrilled to be coming home to get back to all the things I love, the people I love, but at the same point, I know there are still unexplored cities waiting to be seen and that they're incredible. It just gives me an excuse to come back :)

Don't abandon me quite yet: I know there should be at least one (possibly two) posts after I return home. Again, thank you for sticking with me! I could not have asked for better friends and family! I will see you all in a matter of hours! Love forever!!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Enough Underwear

Hello my fabulous peeps! Well, good news: I packed just enough underwear! What are the odds of that happening? (For those of you who don't know, my great preparation for this trip was to pack 30+ pairs of underwear and 30+ pairs of socks and at the end of each day just throw them away and start with fresh ones - saves on washing and toting around). It's incredible, because there is exactly enough of both. I'm just wearing my sandals on the plane, but I have pair of socks for if my feet get cold and the last pair of underwear to put on after my final shower in Europe tomorrow night!

I didn't do a ton today since I was still tired from yesterday. That and me and Ingrid stayed up till after midnight watching Saving Private Ryan in the courtroom. And I can't help but wake up around 8:00 because everyone is moving around. So, just lazing about today, I finished my gigantic book that I brought with and have been reading off and on, unpacked my entire bag and slowly repacked it, taking careful inventory and throwing away everything that does not have to come back, and then took a short stroll later to get an early supper at a little cafe that I like (I took a nap in there somewhere too, but I'm still feeling tired).

It's hard to believe that tomorrow is my last full day in Europe. I don't really have any great plans. It's been great to just relax today, so I might do that tomorrow too and save on the nerves. I've already got the "Travel Sickness." It's just the nervousness about travelling I always get. I'm afraid I'm probably always going to have it. I know that it should go fairly smoothly, but I'm still getting to the airport exceptionally early Friday to make absolutely positive I make it through Check-In and Security and to my gate without any problems. Despite the normal nerves, I am pretty excited to break the Time-Travel barrier coming home. My flight leaves at 1:00pm here and I arrive at 3:30pm at home (same day) after being in a plane for 9 hours.

This has been a truly remarkable trip and even the bad and tough times have been worth it! I would not trade a second of this. I can't wait to see you all! Love from London!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Day Oot and Aboot Pictures

 The Changing of the Guard.
One of the big attractions of Piccadilly Circus! (Not really a circus, and it sort of looks like Times Square).
Me in Piccadilly Circus.
 The Millenium Bridge.
Me and the Millenium Bridge.

A Day Oot and Aboot!

Hello Lovely people! Wow! I can't believe that in 3 more days I will be home. It seems surreal that this entire trip has happened and has gone by this fast. Five weeks at home never go at the speed these last ones have gone. Nevertheless, the I have been trying to cram in what I can the last 31 days and hope that while I have not seen near to everything, that I have seen a lot for me to remember for a very long time (hoping of one day coming back and sharing the next experience with somebody).

I'm not going to say that this is going to be my last post, because I know I'll have at least another one or two before I leave and one or two when I get home, but before I talk about my fabulous day today, there a few things I want to say first (because I know after I post my last adventure, the attention to this fabulous blog will begin to fade and there a few things I think that I need to say which are important for me to share).

First, and even though I know I've said it before: Thank you. It is an all encompassing thank you. Thank you for the encouragement to take this trip, the support you've given me all through it, especially when I was at some of the lowest points I've ever been at with myself, the love you've given to me so freely, that I've felt from over 3,000 miles away. Thank you for following me on this blog, when there is no earthly reason why you'd have to - knowing that there was always someone on the other side of this has made all the difference in the world to me. Everyone has talked about this being a great experience for me and everything I'll take away from it, but every one of you is the best thing I'll take away. I know, without any hesitation you guys will always be there for me, and unfortunately for many people, they don't have that sort of support in their lives. I am so thankful for you! And, even though you might not believe it, you are all as much a part of this trip as me. You have been in my hearts and prayers since the day I left, and I have carried you all with me through every day I've been gone. It made being alone a lot less lonely. So again, Thank You!

The second thing I want to talk about is stability. It's a strange concept, I'm aware, but between all the e-mails me and Mom have sent back and forward, I've realized there's a "stability" in a physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual way that was not 'even' in my life before. I direct you to Shrek - we are all onions with many layers. These proverbial 'layers' need to be stable. What Mom had told me was she wished there was some way that everyone could take a trip like mine a few years after graduating high school. And I realized it would be the best thing for everyone. When you're taken completely out of your element, thrown into a place you have absolutely no familiarity with, and you're on your own, you're forced to face yourself. And for so many people that's something they don't want to do. There were times, especially on my Travel Days, where I'd be slowly and reluctantly packing my things up, crying silently, literally so scared about what I had to do, my body would feel cold and I didn't think I'd be able to move. The only thing that got me through was a solid rational thought of "there is no one to do this for me. No one can or will come and get me and hold my hand and tell me it's going to be fine. You have to do this or it won't get done." And no matter how much dread I had or how much I cried while trying to do it, I did it. And I've realized through this, that I can do a lot more than I ever believed possible of myself. And I talked about reconnecting with my faith before and faith is something you have to have: it doesn't matter what religion or creed a person follows, but there has to be some sort of faith or a person could never do anything. If I didn't have faith the pilots were trained professionals, I'd have never gotten on the plane to leave. A good example of physical stability, is all of you. My family and friends represent a real and physical stability in my life. As I mentioned above, I could not have done this trip without it. I hope that this makes me a better family member, a better friend, and some day a good wife and mother. I want to be able to be that stability in someone else's life.

Now that I've done my "preaching" (which I thank you for taking the time to read -- I know I can carry on a bit) I'll tell you about my day: so there's actually a girl from New Jersey in my dorm room that I met a couple days ago, and this morning we were eating breakfast and since neither one of us had much on our agendas we decided to keep each other company for the day.

I have to say this, and for those of you who don't know this part of my family, I apologize, for those of you who do, you're going to find this absolutely hilarious. The girl, Ingrid, is an exact match to my cousin Nicole. Personality, mannerisms, her voice is almost identical, same height, same build, the only real difference is that Ingrid is black - though her skin is fairly light - but even some of her facial features resemble Nicole - her nose, the way she smiles, eye shape, everything. If I wasn't looking at her, I'd sometimes think I was with my cousin. It was weird, but fun.

So since neither of us had seen the changing of the guard, we took off for Buckingham Palace - wow, I wish that was my house! It was feaking huge and beautiful! Of course the armed guards just made it look all the more fabulous, so naturally I'm going to break up Kate and Prince William and marry him so that can be my summer home. Anyway, we got there and there were a ton of people! I thought for sure we'd be the only idiots waiting outside the palace watching a few men in uniform change shifts, but apparently not. We got there and I thought we had missed the big show and just as we were about to leave, a bunch of trumpets blared and we could hear drums going, and out came a bunch of soldiers, dressed in red uniforms and big black hats, some carrying instruments, some carrying guns, marching down towards the palace, through the palace gate, and then they proceeded to change the guard. Incredible! I kept thinking, "I wish a bunch of people would show up with cameras when I finished my shift at work and take pictures of me."

It was kind of nice today, Ingrid talked me into walking instead of taking the Metro, which while it would have been much faster, we would have missed a ton too. So since I had never seen the Piccadilly Circus, she talked me into seeing it. I had no idea what it even was. On our way we stopped at Trafalgar Square. Just a cool neat building with a few fountains in front, where people just go to sit. There was actually a big clock they put up counting down the days, hours, minutes, and seconds until the Olympics start, so that was super cool. I've seen a bunch of stuff for the Olympics over here. The country is just gearing up.

We walked on and finally made it to Piccadilly Circus, which is quite literally a mini Times Square. It was super cool! There were just a bunch of shops and businesses and little independent stalls selling suvioners and ice cream! The atmosphere was just great. After that she had us walk down to the Covent Garden, which is a bit of a deceptive name. It's not a garden, but just a small of London, with more small shops and tents set up with clothes and trinkets to buy, more little food carts, restaurants, and just a whole assortment of things. It was just a neat bit of the city. And along the way, while we were walking we got to see a bunch of cool buildings, including St. Paul's Cathedral - a fabulously huge church - it was great to be walking again. My mind set changed when I got to London and I just started using the Metro because it is easy and fast, but I didn't quite realize how much I was losing with it also, so I was glad Ingrid talked me into it (though my legs were slightly less thrilled).

Our ultimate destination was Tower Bridge, because Ingrid had not seen it yet, and since she's leaving London tomorrow, I absolutely refused to let her go without seeing this bridge. When we were getting close (and by close I mean about another 45 minutes walk) we found this niffty bridge, only for walking on, called the Millennium Bridge. I think this is the bridge they show every British person walking over whenever they film in London. I'm not positive, but maybe. Super neat anyway.

We finally made it to Tower Bridge, though when I pointed out London Bridge, she thought that was the one we were actually going to see, and was a bit disappointed. I had to tell her that was not the bridge we were going to, and the other one was much more impressive (which lets face it, it really is). Ingrid was really excited when she finally saw the right bridge. She was glad that I had taken her, because she said she would have been mad if she had left London and not seen it. So we walked across and caught the metro back to Kings Cross and made our way back to the hostel.

Overall, we were oot and aboot walking for 7 hours today. It was super enjoyable. Oh! I suppose I should explain the funny title and spelling of words. A couple times today, Ingrid had to have me repeat what I said. Including the words "out," "about," and "house." Apparently in Minnesota we have an accent and pronounce those words differently than they do in Jersey. When she had me repeat them she had a look of complete lack of understanding. I'm sure I had that look when I was Italy and France when people would talk to me, and I had no clue what they were talking about. Aboot. More than once I had to find a different word - like with house, I had to same a was just the funniest damn thing. Who knew us Minnesotans had an accent?

Well this post is fantastically long, so I do apologize, but I looked and there's no way I feel I can make it shorter. My bad. I have no great plans for tomorrow other than to go through and throw stuff out of my duffel bag and re-organize that and my backpack. Since I have to change rooms Thursday I'm not going to have access to my bag half the day and will probably be so keyed up about leaving Friday morning, tomorrow is the day I'm going to relax and go through everything.

I know I've been saying it, but it is so unreal I'm packing to come home. These final days were as unfathomable as the day I left. I take my hat off to you all and wish you a beautiful night and day tomorrow! Love from me to you!