Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Feast for the Eyes: El Chaltén in Southern Patagonia

For when you're in the cloud

I learned something very valuable over the weekend.

R1 is a great partner in bouncing things off the wall.

She brought up being able to use the tried and true, improv move of

'yes, and'

When obstacles come up, or there are reasons why-not, then all you have to do (that phrase makes it sound easy, although it's a muscle that you have to work), all you have to do is say, 'yes AND'.

So, I'm going to give it a try. When you don't know which way is which, and you need something do move you in any direction but down.

Say - Yes, AND...


Monday, September 29, 2014

Tentative plans

Landing in Lima

(clase de espanol)


Galapagos - I'm on a boat

Salar de Uyuni (Bolivia tour)


(the whole length)


Buenos Aires
Wine drinking


I'll write more later. This is tentative plan as of 9/29/2014


I intensely dislike lying - aka what a relief that 'work' now knows I'm jetting

I had the conversation with my bosses last Thursday.
I didn't get firm no, and neither did I get a hell yes.
I asked for a sabbatical.

By asking, what I got was the opportunity to be brave.
It's the difference between 'need' and 'want'.
In my heart, I had nothing to lose. In my head I had to ask.
It's a great skill to be able to look at my 'ask' from the business perspective.

In not saying yes and not saying no, I am FREE.
I don't have any guilt, any reluctance to do the things that I want, in the order that I want, and if that means not setting an alarm to come back...

Well that sounds gorgeous.
Gorgeous like mountains, and Tango and ceviche, and Malbec.


Sunday, September 28, 2014


new year: remember it’s never too late for new beginnings. shed the weight that burdens your shoulders and go boldly forth into this new day, into this new year. tomorrow is yours; make of it what you will. the future is yours. tell the world what your future will hold, never the opposite. you are the master of your own world, and the owner of your dreams. remember to live, to laugh and to love with great intensity and infuse all of your days with passion. remember that you are beautiful, beautiful, beautiful and your life is full of love. just open your eyes to it and you’ll be sure to find it. remember that nothing makes you feel warmer than someone’s name beating through your heart, keep those names, those pretty birds, keep them flowingflowingflowing through your veins, and remember that your love for them and their love for you keeps you strong. they’re your white blood cells and they’ll help you ward off the bad. every day is a good day to realize that you can change your life and that you can mold it into whatever shape you want it to be, but the beginning of a new year is an especially good time because the whole world is reminding you that new beginnings are always possible. happy new years lovelies, with love, we can all work together to make this next decade a good one.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Feast for the Eyes: Sweden's Sarek National Park

I catch my breath. It stops. And my lungs fill. 

This is beautiful Sweden. Sarek National Park. 

Saying your piece

I'm processing a break-up. It happened a year ago.
I think that I just got healthy enough in my head to actually look at what happened. And that's a whole thing.

It's what my actions were.
Where they came from - where in my history has taught me how to do/communicate/express myself like that.
I'm also looking at what I was feeling.
What I need now.

I needed to say my piece to him.
I acknowledged my part.
Expressed some anger about where I hurt, and what part I felt that he contributed to - both knowingly and unknowingly.

I feel clear.
I don't feel any shame.
I don't feel the burn of being abandoned and let down.

I know what to expect.
I know my place - even if that place is no place near.

I am Grace. I am Bold. I am Compassion.
I learned a lot.


Friday, September 26, 2014

'This is a bad idea' - why I get this...hard.

For me it's about making a decision.
It's about changing my perspective.
It's about seeing what I'm made of.
It's about taking a road less traveled.
It's about leaving alone, and meeting new people as a brave, new Rachel.

Check out their Tumblr wehadabadidea.tumblr.com

It's nice when things touch you in a way that you think that no one else can see. Like a Venn diagram that seems incredibly tiny, but I will turn a corner and it will become as vast as the universe.


Everyday it feels a little closer

Often it's a relief to see little things in life that seem to affirm the direction you're going.
Here's a lovely medium roast coffee from Peru, in a mug that is so ugly it's cute. Yellowstone this summer past, and Peru in a month and a half.
I'm feeling good.


Thursday, September 25, 2014


Sometimes a move from here to there doesn't have to be measured in thousands of miles.

I really liked this piece

Especially the bit where they ask; Take us through your job search process. What advice do you have for other women looking for a new position?

Sometimes at work I feel like a real badass. I have my highs and my stressful 'lows'. 
In my moments of anxiety, I wonder what it'll look like to look for another job. 

Questions like:

'What am I actually qualified for?'
'What do I actually like to do?'
'You're a smart cat, what's going to make a difference in the world, and you can actually feed yourself on the profits?'

All reasonable right?


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles, Marianne Williamson

And Happy Birthday to my momma!


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sometimes my horoscopes are scary spot-on

Today, as transformative Pluto wakes up from a five-month retrograde in your partnership corner, it's time to own up to some feelings you've been keeping to yourself. Security is important to you in all your relationships, but if you don't let people know what your needs are, they're not likely to be met. In your personal and professional life, it's time to reexamine the expectations you have for others and decide whether you truly feel satisfied— without resorting to neediness or dependence.

It's difficult to admit it, but I struggle with feelings of neediness or dependence. I am independent, and I am strong. But I also value having people that I care about around me, and having people that care about me around as well. My reliance on their external validation is something that I try to walk away from. Every moment of every day is a chance for me to flex my own self-confidence muscle.

Good reminder. Thanks Universe.


Monday, September 22, 2014

File this away under 'of course'

Accept that there are holes.
There is no expectation that you hold the shovel to fill them.

It's much the same idea that you don't need to show up to every argument that you're invited to.

This seems so obvious now, but it's also so very difficult to let lie.
Especially since I've been a 'doer' and an 'accomplisher' for my 29 years.
I have to realize that it's not failure. And even if it were failure - it's one failed endeavor, and not a failed life.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

The 4 Agreements

1. Be Impeccable With Your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Don't Take Anything Personally: Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don't Make Assumptions: Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

4. Always Do Your Best:
 Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret." 

- Don Miguel Ruiz in The Four Agreements

Print it off. Tape it up, Make a conscious choice to think in these ways. It's hard. And maybe worth it?


Friday, September 19, 2014

And vs But

When you're saying something 'difficult' to a loved one, here's one important thing to put into practice.

Use AND instead of BUT

I love you but I need your support of my decision.

I love you AND I need your support of my decision.

Isn't it amazing how that changes things? When you add AND to a statement like it, it includes the other person in a positive way. Instead of negating what comes after the BUT, it builds the other person into the solution.

I've been giving this some thought, and it's hard.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Beautiful Stranger

Beautiful stranger, I've dreamed of someone like you. Someone who is so radiant with happiness that they are easy to love.

And breathe. And again. It puts a little hitch in my giddy-up. I still remember the first time that I saw this back in 2007.


Via PostSecret.blogspot.com

Monday, September 15, 2014

Small Step - Giant Leap

So I found this post on one of my favorite blogs.

She talks the small step. About the giant leap.
And I'll be thinking about that for the next week as I look at having a LARGE conversation at work next week.

What do I want?
How do I get there?
What if it changes?

Hold me accountable because I want to have a small step and a giant leap by the end of the week.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

...and 38 miles later

I'm so proud of myself.
Every hill is hard, but maybe just a little easier than the last.


From Peru to Argentina

Things change.
Talking about my trip seems to both firm up details, but then also blow the doors clean off.
I'm landing in Peru. Ticket bought - done.

But now I am feeling a craving to see Argentina. I think that I'm meant for the Euro-flair, amazing vistas, romanticism of the language, and learning how to both tango AND drink wine.

And I'm going with it. I'm flowing with how things change, and with the unknown.


Thursday, September 11, 2014


Taking to strangers gives all of us the opportunity to show up and show off the best parts of ourselves.

Doing so tonight showed me just how much depth I have developed over the last 12 months of grittiness. I have become a more compassionate soul, and at times I let it shine out of my eyes and words and touch.

Some words that give me comfort and lift me up: Grace, Radiant, Bold, and Wit.

It was a good night.


Sunday, September 7, 2014


sometimes you just need to love things with everything you’ve got. it can be exhausting but you need to do it because what if you don’t? live with no regrets. your heart is big & constantly beating & we need to open our hearts & let the things we love pump our hearts for us. the boys, the girls, the dreams. pump, pump, pump. let our hearts grow.


Over the course of the last year, I needed to decide what I live by. I build myself. Everyday I work construction. I work towards GRACE. The quote above is part of that definition.


Saturday, September 6, 2014

An Ode to My Fortress of Solitude

They're showing my apartment this week. Living alone has its perks. And by perks I mean not wearing pants around the house, and cleaning on my own schedule, not anyone elses' timetable.

I get weirded out by having strangers rambling through my former apartments. It means that I have to tidy up, and also be out of the apartment, even when all I want to do is hold my couch down for the evening. What do they touch? What do they inspect? Oh crap, should I check what's in my own fridge? Gah!!!

I've liked this apartment more than any other I've had. It truly felt like a fortress of solitude.

Oh, Fortress of Solitude
You were airtight and warm in the coldest winter I've ever endured.
You were cool and airy - no A/C needed - all through the summer.
You sit at the nexus of my loves of nature, cycling, and Metro Transit.
Your parking spot was a blessing, now I ponder using you as outdoor living space with a patio set.
You were the place where I perfected my Szechuan Eggplant recipe.

Telling my landlords that I wouldn't be renewing my lease started my momentum towards the leap.

I'm escaping my Fortress of Solitude.


Lady Business

Question of a usually highly personal nature:

What does an international leave-r do with the contents of their personal treasure chest?

Do you take it with?
Toss them?
Is there re-use it potential?

This is a serious question. Seriously, en serio!


Friday, September 5, 2014


Sometimes you have to leave everything you were and go somewhere else.
Sometimes it's an escape. Sometimes that escape is a necessity.

I'm in good company.


Thursday, September 4, 2014

time > $$$

You can always make more money.
Time, not so much.

Quit being unhappy. Do everything else possible to be happy. Life is too, too short.

Ain't no one got time for that.

How to be hardcore

“I think this is the point where the mind has to go on an evolving stage. The lazy mind cannot grasp it. The lazy mind cannot function. Things like cynicism and irony and negativity, those are syndromes of a lazy mind. It takes no effort to give in. It’s too easy to be a cynic. It’s too easy to be ironic. It’s too easy to be negative. It’s a lot more harder to be like Charles Bukowski or Tom Waits and find a piece of trash on the street and be like, “You know what? This is the best f***ing thing I’ve ever seen in my f***ing life.” It’s a hardcore romanticism. I kind of come from that school of thought. I think that being here on Earth is a gift to make a full use of before whatever the next stage is. A lot effort is required for that. I’m not scared of the effort and willing to give my 100% to speed up evolution. Something has got to happen.”
-Eugene Hutz

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

For the love of lists: There are a million and 1 definitive packing lists on the internet

Everyone has an opinion. And who doesn't love a nice list. Three is a good number. Below are three lists that I've found recently. Any suggestions for what they're missing - let me know!

List 1: Yes and Yes

List 2: Half the Clothes

List 3: Travel Fashion Girl

So far all I know is that I need to add 'pick one color story' to my list of things to do.
I'll get through this sometime between now and when I leave for the airport. I'm a last minute packer!


Why I HAVE to say that I'm a BADASS

This article puts it all out there.
Your inner monologue sounds different when you tell yourself that you're worth it.

Does anyone else think that there's a difference between what you 'know' in your head and what you 'believe' in every other square inch of your body. Even the shadowy spaces?

The Confidence Gap - via The Atlantic

Eat This Poem: Literary City Guides

Keeping excitement steady is work for me. Right now, I have a focus to live in the present.
Have you tried this - at times, it's like pulling out of the skid.

I found this today: EAT THIS POEM

Take a look!


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Okay isn't okay enough anymore

How to sum up why I go?

This is not my life anymore.
It's hard to walk away from something that is 'okay'.


It's harder to imagine just being 'okay' for years. Seems exhausting. And cruel, because I'm better than that, and the best of me is what both I and everyone else deserve.

Whatever you are, be a good one. - Abe Lincoln

So I am taking a leap of faith. I've stopped talking about it, and instead charged it. Visa to be exact. 1.5% cash back. With a set date, it's really real. It's real for me now. I know it's definitely more real for the people who love me. November 17th, 2014.

It's hard to sustain the excitement for this future. But I get little zingers by hearing people tell me of their excitement for my trip, and how courageous I must be. When a former colleague writes me a recommendation, and she hopes we keep in touch. It feels like the shock. The acid of a mouthful of sour patch kids. Or like when you're looking for someone in the baggage claim, and all of a sudden the crowd parts - there you are. That rush. That  jumble. That's how my trip feels. 

Lima. Lee-mah. It shall be the gateway to what comes next.
I don't know where I'll end up.
But someone very smart and kind once gave me a beautiful compliment. When asked what kind of person I am, he told me that I was the kind of person that likes to rise to the occasion. The kind that likes how it feels to surpass expectation.

Another very smart, and kind person told me that I'm a rocket. When asked why a rocket, he said,' like a device that is used to break escape velocity and get out of earth's gravitational pull.'

Not to be defined by other people, but instead to have realized that many times other people see the things in ourselves that we can't or don't acknowledge.

Keep reading if you'd like. I will ramble here. This will keep you up-to-date. Keep everyone that has real estate in my head and my heart part of all of this. Is there a non-sappy way to say that I hope that you find joy and glee in reading about how I'm feeling and what my brain puts together. I also hope that you keep me with you - on the tip of your tongue, and the corner of your brain reserved for puns and other daily oddities.

I love you. Heart open. I love me too, so I'm leaping. November 17th, 2014. It feels better than okay.