Tag Archives: advice

4 months of travel, 2 overweight suitcases, 1 passport.

25 Aug

jones, my sister soulmate, this one’s for you.


you steady your gaze as the quintessential california landscape coincides with the miles and miles of patriotic interstate beneath you.


your consciousness weaves amongst the thick layer of chilly sea fog and scattered oak trees and purple-hued wild flowers, all rolling seamlessly over the summer-drenched hills.

with a tight grip on your vacant passport, you realize your dreams are so vivid and curiosity is at your fingertips.

you’re fully aware that you’re about to enrich your life beyond belief.


and suddenly, your room, in our two-story home, tucked away on our proud little flag lot, warrants an american cliché of sorts.


you’re filled with every ounce of hesitation and exhilaration, tipping the scale ever so slightly to the later.

but any sort of fleeting moment is, alas, behind you.


eventually, once you’ve settled in to your everyday routine, leave room for spontaneity.

because i hope that one night, when the mediterranean rain grows heavy outside your new bedroom window, that you race like hell down the narrow staircase out into the cobblestone street and dance barefooted like that beautiful foreigner you are.

and just you watch:

the next four months are going to become a continuity of long bus rides and strong cappuccinos, drippy gelato and wine-stained lips, scenic countrysides and quaint, seaside towns.


and before you know it, you’ll be returning home with insatiable wanderlust and a longing to do it all again.


don’t fear getting lost. or for that matter, getting embarrassed. i guarantee you’ll be misunderstood, and you’ll automatically be perceived a certain way simply because you are an american. just…embrace it.

there will be certain times when you gotta just roll with the punches. things, inevitably, will not go according to plan. for this exact reason, always have extra euros (and snacks). also, patience is a virtue. whatever predicament you find yourself in will probably make for a hilarious story later.

pack like a boss. overpacking will only get you in frustrating tiffs with ryanair when they scoff at your oversized carry-on. i promise that if you can prioritize your suitcase, you’ll learn the difference between what you actually need…and what you can live without.

frame your study abroad in hundreds of photographs, but widen your lens. put an emphasis on capturing people and their interactions, not things. you’ll actually see life in your photos this way.

you’ll discover that through your travels, humanity is far more diverse than you could possibly imagine. you’ll come across people in all sorts of circumstances, faced with limited rights and poverty and it’ll ignite something inside of you. my hope is that you’ll come home (counting your blessings) and inspired to make a change.

finally, leave pieces of your heart in the destinations you travel to, as well as with the people you meet.

be safe, always.

i love you.

(signed, the post-grad.)

’tis the season for (comical) break ups.

5 Jun


if you’re into sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll, read on.

otherwise—you have been warned—this post isn’t PG-rated.

it’s hump day, after all!

to begin? well, where it allllll begins.


it’s either:

“we need to talk.” oh, about your day, baby?! mine was great too!


“this just….isn’t working.” i know, i know. more sex, less arguing? i can totally do that.



“i’m studying abroad next semester.” …..so? i’ll like, skype you or something. no clothes required.


“i just made out with your sorority sister.” babe, it’s fine. forgive and forget iiiiis my motto!



if you are guilty of ANY of the above break up banter, i’m probably judging you right now.

i will, however, give you a high-five for conversing face-to-face. whatta concept!


on the contrary. IF you were notified via snapchat

…my god, that’s low. but so efficient?


6 seconds of break-up time GLORY and then POOF!

it disappears into the vortex of every other pointless snapchat.

…f o r e v e r.

ummm, FYI. your ex probably sent it to like, a lot of friends.


regardless, i SWEAR! break ups are trending faster than juice cleanses, crossfit, and the paleo diet. can vegans and cavemen love each other? I DUNNO.

anyway. after you start hyperventilating, your thoughts resemble a self-conscious, irrational teenage girl requesting tampons, chocolate, and a shopping spree:

….seriously? OF ALL TIMES. you’re breaking up with me right now?

FIRST: you selfish idiot,

allow me to make sure i have enough PTO days left this year (which, shocker! i don’t.)




i am extremely sensitive. and emotionally fragile.

i WILL send bitchy e-mails without emoticons. watch me!

SECOND: i’m going to have a bon voyage party,


invite your closest friends,


and ask them to tweet and instagram until your newsfeed is cluttered with:






 THIRD: organize my funeral.


but really.

now what?

1. save a horse, ride a few cowboys?

2. survive solely on bethenny frankel’s skinny girl cosmos and ben & jerry’s half baked?

and bagel bites?

3. channel your inner-taylor swift and write passive aggressive hate music?



even more effective, shout (with 2-day-old mascara running down your face) taylor’s thought-provoking, mature wisdom:


you sound really good! and you look really good! no, really.



on a more serious note,

i get it.


you feel totally betrayed and abandoned and you hate everyone.

and you probably wish you could move on so effortlessly.


because suffering is one of the most painful experiences in life (besides realizing you’re out of bagel bites).


you’re adamant about defining yourself a ‘failure’ because the relationship failed.

but let’s honest, there were probably signs that pointed towards incompatibility. things that simply couldn’t be mended.


preach it, lil wayne.


take ownership of that failure.

allow yourself to be humble. ask for a little support.


when your heart is finally pieced together, you’ll knock it out of the ballpark when it comes to your next relationship(s).

you will find your identity again. your ex didn’t steal it from you, you just became so god damn dependent.

you’ve forgotten who you are.


i promise, that in this grieving process,

you’ll find bliss inside the mess.

break ups are not for the weak. it takes courage and WILL POWER to face your emotions head on.


i just ask one thing.

don’t settle.

and keep an open mind.

this is YOUR chance to get it right. go out. have fun. meet all types of people.



(signed, the post-grad.)

finding happiness, without a set destination.

28 May

do you ever get in your car and just… drive?

miles and miles of unsolicited pavement and unfamiliar exits, white dotted lines and that ominous center divide.

a shuffled playlist with the windows rolled down, each note and lyric, a memory.

some good! some not so good.


slowly, warmth settles on your dashboard,

the smoggy city air beckons as the hostile enemy to the fresh air you crave.

left hand out the window, it creates energetic waves, parallel to the ground below you.

sun on your cheeks and in your hair,

eyes gaze forward, stretched wide-open.

> > > > >

gas, break, clutch, wheel, mirrors:

the mechanisms to your indefinite finish line.

time doesn’t really matter,

and the rest of the world is distantyet calling—from the confines of your four-wheeled ignition.


like driving, life is the result of actions and their corresponding reactions.

breaking abruptly and changing gears and switching lanes to get us where we think we’re supposed to be.

circumstances are not-so-pretty road blocks,

unforeseen and usually out of our control.

they challenge our happiness. like ULTRAshitty drivers. and even worse, traffic.

but! at the end of the day (err, the end of the drive?), WE are very much in control of our OWN happiness.

LOVE traffic. WAVE to the asshole tailgating you!

i’m kidding.


actually. at this point in time, i suggest making the responsible, mature choice:

find the nearest taco bell or in-n-out drive-through.

cool dorito ranch taco with a side of animal fries? 


looks like i just condoned eating your emotions…

it’s FINE! we all do it.


okay, okay. before i give up, just one last thing:

on my almost-empty-tank-of-gas drive this weekend,

>>yep, just me and my baby!

my mind was spinning in correspondence to my wheels.

as i drove nowhere in particular, i toyed with the cliché saying that it really isn’t about being the first one to get the finish line.

because in that sense, you’ve sort of missed the entire point.


finding the thrill in driving somewhere, somewhere t o t a l l y new is much more real.

i promise you’ll find long-term happiness this way, instead of the reckless, temporary satisfaction that comes from always wanting to cross the finish line, first.


with your hands on the wheel, YOUR happiness is, well, all yours.

every now and then, check your rear view mirror. we take with us where we have been.

but gazing forward will automatically propel you in a NEW direction.

one with adventure and opportunities.

and hopefully plenty of happiness

and more taco bell! obviously.

(signed, the post-grad.)

this time, last year: what i would tell my 22-year-old self.

21 May

a few weeks shy of this time last year, i walked across my university’s graduation stage.

i was embarking on the decade synonymous with the assumption: ‘i better have it all figured out. STAT.’


trust me, if feeling the pressure to ‘have it all figured out’ isn’t an overwhelming sensation…i’m not sure what is.

i told myself i was supposed to have a set plan. and i put a pretty decent amount of pressure on myself to turn that plan into action.


i think it all started before i even graduated. i felt the need to achieve. academically. professionally. athletically. socially.

to work part-time and take a full load of classes. to be president of my sorority. all at the same time.

to never cheat. and always act ethically. and avoid drinking underage.


(no, my parents weren’t hard-asses. in fact, they encouraged me to play just as hard as i worked. and they supported me in my endeavors. and intervened when i needed them. and i’ll always be thankful for their guidance. always.)

but if i told you i never cheated and i always acted ethically and i didn’t partake in illegal drinking and experimenting, i’d be lying.

i mean, newsflash: perfection is torturous! and not even SLIGHTLY realistic. so…forget it.


sure, i was able to create external results during my college years, but it cost me.

do i regret how i spent my time?

no, not entirely. i learned so much, and i’m proud of what i accomplished.

although sometimes i truly asked myself what the f*** i was doing trying to over-extend myself.

but regret is a stupid thing, really. if we spend our whole lives regretting decisions we made in the PAST, well then, we’re living in the past.



at any rate, this last year has been challenging, but totally rewarding.

and a lot of fun.


so. here are a few things i would tell my 22-year-old self on graduation day:

1. don’t be so hard on yourself, seriously. turn DOWN the volume of your inner-critic.

2. you think it’s soooo motivating to create results. ALL. THE. TIME. but it’s actually completely exhausting. you’re probably doing enough already. really.

3. that do-all! be-all! attitude is incredibly overrated. you will find your purpose. sometimes it’s just a matter of process of elimination.

4. let inspiration be your drive, and let curiosity be your road map. oooh and that was metaphorical of me! and probably just ‘fluff.’ sorry.

5. stop, stop, stop comparing yourself to others. just….stop. you are enough. and people are going to judge you no matter what. what they say is bullshit, until you actually start believing what they say.

6. you know that guy (or girl) that you’re obsessed with wanting to date? don’t force it. it isn’t worth it. if things are meant to be, they’re meant to be. i very much believe that.

7. on that note, you’re going to get over your heartbreak. cry it out. punch something. or someone? take the lessons you learned and move on. you will love and be loved again. that’s life.

8. have a generous heart. that’s how you’ll make a difference in the world.

9. most decisions you’re making are NOT ‘forever’ decisions. choose what feels best right now. these opportunities are a means to an end.

10. and my most recent epiphany: maintain your friendships. they become the family you get to choose.

>>>> and with that, ’tis the season for graduation! GO CELEBRATE.

if i were you, celebrate not having it all figured out.

it’s much more fun that way.

(signed, the post-grad.)

inspired here.