I’ll Do it My Way

Ciao Lovers! This Love Letter comes to you as I glide along the Northern Italian countryside on my way from Florence to Modena. I’m out in the world again, and this time around, I’m doing it my way.  I’ll dip in and out of solo travel, backpack 10 cities in 30 days, stay put for 3 months, learn to snowboard, scuba dive, drive a motorcycle, and who knows what else.  I’m out here for me, and I’m living this life, my way (which will inevitably include some bumps and bruises).

Before we start in the Italian adventure, let’s acknowledge the fact that I am cheating you out of the last two months.  Recall Imma Li-ma Heart Here…, when we established that I was doing neither of us favors by rushing through an account of event that happened months ago, a slave to a perceived timeline, bound to recount every second of the adventure.  I won’t do that to you again my Lovers, I care for you (and my literary integrity) too much.

So, what will you miss by the omission of Spain and Bulgaria?  Quite a lot I’m afraid… there was street art and new friends, music festivals, missed trains, road trips, not one, but two traffic tickets in Spain (and stupid hot Spanish cops), the French baker (sorry DL), paella dates, horchata, paddle boarding, the Italian paddle board instructor, architecture, markets, Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona, to Bulgaria for mountains, lakes, bungee jumping, sail boats, mountain biking, more road tripping, Serbia, Belgrade, Kanyini, Mokrin, archery, the Serbian star gazer,  Nation House, Romania, Timisora, castles, churches, waterfalls and more.  But don’t worry, you can see all the pictures here.

Now, after that horribly lacking forward, let’s dive into the next chapter fuck it, let’s start a new book on this wonderfully random adventure I call life.

Italy is somewhere I have ALWAYS wanted to go.  My patriarchal side of the family hails from the country, and, I mean, do you really need a reason to want to go to Italy?  Tired of waiting for someone to take me, invite me, or even just go with me, I decided to take the month between Sofia and Cape Town and just take my damn self. I’m actually checking two bucket list boxes here, as while I will assume that I’ll still prefer having a community around me, solo travel is something I want to be able to say I’ve done.  I took short trips sans amigos nearly each month during Earhart, but this would be 4 solid weeks of just me – figuring out trains, busses, sorting my accoms, finding a workspace, seeing sights, eating all the foods and drinking all the wines.  Ask my fellow Earharts though, and they’ll tell you I was made for this – side trip planner extraordinaire, BNB game strong, the only part that worries me is my social creatureness crashing head on with my social awkwardness.

A week before leaving Sofia (after the debacle that was cancelling Turkey for work), I booked a ticket into Rome with a general plan to snake my way first north then south.  A fellow Remote was living in Siena for a few months, so I was headed to crash with her in the Tuscan Valley for a couple of days, but not before doing when in Rome things with my first Kairos roomie who was in Rome for a night before her homeward departure.  We dropped our stuff at the hotel and juiced up our devices before heading out to hit the highlights – the Spanish Steps (pretty), Trevi Fountain (crowded) and the Pantheon (mind-boggling). As we passed through the massive concrete columns into the Pantheon, my jaw crept closer to the floor as I marveled at the architecture, this massive stone structure, constructed nearly 1,900 (that’s one THOUSAND, nine HUNDRED) years ago, still standing, still awe-inspiring.

 

We wound our way back to the hotel to freshen up for dinner, stopping at piazzas and churches along the way, surmising what their importance may be, slightly embracing and certainly making fun of our own lack of knowledge for what we were looking at.  I’m fully aware I can be a bad tourist when it comes to the education of the history of the cities I’m in, but my brand of tourism is to walk out of my accoms, turn left or right, and see what I can stumble across.  Don’t judge me.  Also remember that this is life and not vacation for me, so as a Remote recently said in an RY article, “Im living everyday life, just with better scenery”.

After a quick change of clothes and me watching Erica try to whittle her bag down to the acceptable 23kgs she had to fly back to NYC, we headed out to Trastevere for some dinner.  After wandering a bit and being turned away for not having a reservation, we stumbled across Dar Sol Olimpio al Drago where we had a great bottle of local red, truffle pasta, Carbonaro, and meatballs that knock mine/my dad’s outta the park.  We rounded out the meal with tiramisu for both and a grappa for me before hitting the waterside for a nightcap.

 

The next morning my bus departure is rather early, and of course I overslept.  I’m throwing myself in a cab and praying Rome traffic at 7am isn’t a thing.  Thankfully it’s not and I even get to the bus station with enough time to grab a pastry and some postcards.  I board the bus and immediately realize that springing for the panoramic seat was a waste of funds as I plan to use this transport time (like most of my in transit hours) to catch up on the lack of sleep that accompanies this lifestyle. Sleep when you can, where you can, however you can.  Luckily the oversized Kairos hoodie I’ve buried myself in along with my sunglasses on and headphones in convey to the chatty Kathy next to me that I’m not in the mood, and I catch a good siesta en route.

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Katherine has already procured us a sweet whip, so she scoops me up at the bus station and we head into the hills to a winery known for its architectural structure being built into the hillside it sits upon.  When I say Tuscan Valley, your heart swoons, doesn’t it?  Even if you’ve never been, or seen pictures, somehow you just know in your bones that it will be breathtaking right?  Well, obvi, it does not disappoint.  Lush, green, rolling hills expand for miles and we stare out over the rows of grapes as sip our flights, Chianti for me and white for Katherine. After lunch we hit the switchbacks for sweeping views, Tuscan towns, and another winery set in a castle.  This second winery is a fan favorite, not just for its quaint little courtyard where we sample their offerings, but there’s a chardonnay we both love (even though neither of us are chardonnay fans), a gin that is rosemary heavy and oh so smooth, and a Chianti reserva that blows my mind.  Needless to say we left spirit heavy, both in the figurative and literal senses.

 

We round out our day in San Gimignano,  a walled city with narrow stone alleys set atop on my the many Tuscan mountains.  We do some exploring, popping in and out of tiny stone doorways catching glimpses of the valleys below before trying to find a spot for dinner.  We’re tired and hungry, neither of us really in the mood to pick, so we waffle bit before settling on Osteri Enoteca Quattro Gatti, a fabulous find with a back patio courtyard showcasing a valley sunset view. Its pici (the regional pasta speciality, a thick spaghetti like noodle) cacio e Pepe for me as we chat with couple from Boston there for their anniversary (whose travels mirror my own plans closely).  Satiated and saturated (mostly me, mostly with Chianti), we head back to her beyond cute villa and settle in with the previously procured gin and a Maggie Gyllenhaal movie that’s as funny as it is predictable.

 

The next day, after hearing about Katherine’s decadent spa day at a local mineral bath spa, we decide to make it a day of relaxation.  The previous night Katherine had done some research on spas near the small towns we planned to visit, so that morning I picked one and we headed out.  Our arrival was promising, and we each booked a massage and a facial with entrance to the thermal pools.  The waters are warm and a bright aqua blue, and it only takes a moment to get used to the squishy sediment that settles at the bottom of the pools.  We take advantage of having a companion (er, photographer) and snap some new Tinder profile pics before heading to the spa.

 

The first thing I notice about this spa is the temperature.  Its chilly to say the least, and we’ve just come from thermal pools, so we are in wet bathing suits, and having not been given towels to this point, we are relying on thin paper-esque robes (also wet) to keep us “warm” in this environment.  After waiting nearly 20 minutes past our facial appointments, I ask the front desk when we are going back (mainly to get under the covers on that heated bed).  They had indeed forgotten about us, and asked if we wouldn’t mind getting our facials after our massages.  Whatevs, but at this point I’m hungry and would have used the additional time to grab a snack had I know this would be the case.  My hangriness is exacerbated when we get to our couples massage room and I see beds with no covers.  And this room isn’t any warmer than the last.  We giggle at the predicament (because what else can you do), undress and hop on our respective tables, open and exposed to the frigid air with nothing but a paper thong to contain our dignity.  As massages go, this one left a lot to be desired. Or maybe I was just too focused on that fact that my nipples could have cut glass to enjoy it.  After our massages, we’re hustled into separate rooms for our facials, which are also found wanting.  Not to mention I got to undress and lay on another table, freezing my ass off. 

I left trying to keep good spirits, and we immediately hit the sauna to thaw out from our “luxurious” spa treatments.  In an attempt to right my mind-frame back into a pattern of grateful and positive thinking, I wandered out to the edge of the resort to take in the Tuscan valley views under the (thankfully) warm sun.  That and a sandwich had me back smiling, so we rinsed off and hit the road.

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Next up was Montepulciano, another small, walled town a top a mountain of switchbacks.  Montepulciano is even cuter and quainter than San Gimignano, with an epic sunset view.  We hear the sound of opera and piano, so we wander toward the sound, which we find is spilling out of a random window,  Though we couldn’t reach the source, across the street was an antique book store, a dusty old shop with 50,000 books dating back to the 1800s.  We rifled the shelves and pages, still in hearing distance of the melodic sonata and velvet voice from across the street.  I’ll honest, it was a little surreal.  Dinner at Ristorante Ai Quattro Venti in front of the Duomo and we head back for another movie night where I once again, pass out mid-film.

 

After a magnificent couple of days full of soul warming conversations, it was off to Firenze, only this time I didn’t bother with the panoramic upgrade on my bus and just took the $5 seat instead for the hour long ride. I hopped the tram into town and hiked the 20 minutes to my Florentine neighborhood. Another early morning bus meant my apartment wasn’t quite ready yet, but I found Hemingway’s, a quaint little coffee bar just across the street and got a caffe latte while I perused train schedules and booking.com in anticipation of my next move. I was a little nervous about my apartment – it was on the cheaper side for Firenze, and had gotten some bad reviews, but I’m ballin’ on a budget for now and this place was a stones throw from a Coworking space, so I rolled the dice. There was a stone stair case leading up to the 1br apartment, steep and narrow, but at the top I found the cutest simple apartment, complete with little green shutters that opened to the plaza streets below, a chandelier and TWO big ass fluffy towels (this is worth noting – I’ve been in plenty of BNBs that give one threadbare piece of shit that wouldn’t dry crocodile tears). I dropped my bags and took off to explore.

 

In this case, I took a right out of my apartment and headed across the river where I began to wind myself through the streets, left here, right there, chasing bell towers in the skyline. I had not one, not two, but THREE people ask me if I knew where the Duomo was.. which I suppose means it looks like I knew what I was doing, even though the only difference between them and I was that I had no specific destination in mind. I did happen to stumble upon the Duomo though, and my goodness, what a sight to behold! I caught a glimpse of it while walking parallel a block away, redirected my course and exited the alley to see the glory of the structure. Little did I know this wonderment and architectural would continue for several “blocks” revealing a dome, a tower a cathedral front, the beauty just never ended. I’m pretty sure I circled it twice, mesmerized by the enormity of it, the detail in the facade, the sheer SIZE of it. I’d give you some history…. but you know I don’t know any.

 

It was getting close to la hora de trabajo (I realize that’s Spanish, but I keep mixing them up on the streets here, so its only fair I do the same with you), so I zigzagged back to my area to scope out the workspace to prevent finding myself in a subpar, 2up 1down situation. The thing that strikes me about Florence is that in between the historic piazzas, the classic cathedrals, the streets are dotted with Gucci, Fendi, Salvatore Ferrigamo, and yes, even an Apple store. I can shake my head at the juxtaposition, but it doesn’t stop me from dropping into the Fruit to (FINALLY) get an iPencil. Handwritten notes incoming. After my obligatory $100+ drop on tech, I verify that the workspace is indeed fitting (and fancy AF to boot), so I grab my laptop and get to the grind for the day alongside a fellow Remote and staffer that’s living here for the month.

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Cowork got swagga

After a day of back to back calls (managed even with a 7pm kick out from the workspace) and an hour long CPE on sales tax (thanks Wayfair), my aforementioned counter part Brad invites me to his fav spot for some dinner. Why am I entrusting this man with my nourishment? Well, he lived here for 3 years, and it shows when we round almost every corner to a familiar face and enthusiastic hello. Of course dinner is on point, and we finish the night with Negronis and chats about Remote life. I use my walk home as an opportunity to catch up with my favorite yogi Taryn before dropping like a rock into bed.

The next day my go go go style (and the negronis) seem to have caught up with me, so I work from my adorable apartment while ordering delivery McDonalds to curb the hangover. I’m a bit concerned, as we didn’t drink that much (I mean, I have certainly drank more on occasion), but I listen to my body and take it easy for the day. I pop out for a bit to Hemingway’s, look into a trip to Mauritius, and get back to the grind until after midnight. Luckily my AM train isn’t until nearly 11, so I can sleep in a bit before shlepping myself to the train station that’s 20 minutes away. All my bags in tow comes in at about 15 kgs, which isn’t unmanageable, but I’m starting to regret some of my packing decisions. Sadly I packed all my favorites for the month, so nothing will be sacrificed, and I will suck it up. We cruise to Bologna where I switch lines (btduz, that station is MASSIVE) before rolling into Modena, a renowned food town in the hills of Reggio and home to the best restaurant in the world, Massimo Bottura’s (of Chef’s Table) fame Osteria Francescana. This is where things go sideways a bit.

First, I don’t even want to talk about the fact that I was a sweaty mess with my greasy hair piled on top of my head when an adorably cute boy plopped down next to me on the train. Italian meet-cute properly sabotaged by my inability to make myself presentable during travel, I let him off the train ahead of me and still manage to fluster with my bags (great, 35 years and I still haven’t figured out how to behave like a normal human). In my state of frustration, I have failed to properly seal my water bottle… which proceeds to empty itself into my bag. Guess who points this out to me? Kill me now

I recover from Watergate to find my way to the bus that takes me close to my hotel. Clearly defeated from my previous display, I’m not paying attention and fail to press the button for my stop request and end up two stops too far from my hotel, an extra 20 minute walk. I’ve confused my check in time and can’t get a room for another 2 hours. There’s no WiFi in the lobby. At this point, I take a temporary time out to walk into town and walk off these minor inconveniences.

Modena is a gorgeous little town (are there any towns in Italy that aren’t a 1000 on the WOW scale?) lined with pastel colored buildings and the required cathedrals and bell towers. After dropping into Osteria Francescana and dropping my best southern sickly sweet request (I had fixed my hair) to be put on the wait list, I took my usual zig zag route to my lunch destination, stumbling upon churches and plazas and well, you get the picture by now – if not, they’re posted below. I grab lunch a da Danali, order the tortellini suggested by the only English speaking waiter (I’m trying my Italian, but I’m not even close) with a glass of Lambrusco – very Modena. Post lunch, I wander back in a different zig zag pattern on my way to work.

 

Here comes the second set of challenges for the day. I’m elated at the prospect of getting to my room and stripping out of my now sweat soaked clothes. For September, its still quite warm during the day here in Northern Italy. I specifically (and not randomly) booked this hotel for the AC, but a sign in the elevator had alerted me to the fact that the AC was not available. Ugh, but not the end of the world. I get to my room and empty the aforementioned soaked bag and hang everything to dry while I set up for work. The WiFi is, well, hotel WiFi, and this is why I have Project Fi, so I hotspot my phone and go to plug my converter in because it drains the battery on both my phone and computer. POP. SNAP. Sparks fly, and the room fills with that acrid burnt electrical smell. Great. Now I have to call the front desk. Only I can’t figure out how. The instructions on the phone are clearly outdated. Fuck, now I have to put on pants. Maintenance checks out the outlets in my room and in the only words (gestures) that I understand, move me to a new room. Good news: this room has a balcony. Bad news: my converter is fried. Good thing I have two. Thankfully the excitement for the day seems to be over, so I settle for the grind before taking myself to dinner where I once again eat whatever the waitress recommends, although this time no one speaks English, so I have no idea what I ate. Pumpkin tortellini, I think… and something that if I understand her gesture correctly is pork calves.. do pigs have calves? Who cares.. They are playing Moon River and I have Lambrusco in front of me.

The next day I take myself out for another Modena stroll, and after my breakfast plans are thwarted by a closed shop, I park at a nearby coffee shop to catch up on some writing and do some work.  Im transferring myself from coffee shop to lunch before my train to Venice when…

fuck

not again….

My dress is suddenly soaked as the ENTIRE CONTENTS of my water bottle have emptied into my computer bag… this time with all of my electronics in it. I was literally on the sidewalk in Modena, my dress saturated, with the entire contents of my computer bag splayed out on the ground screaming “fuck fuck fuck!” when a super sweet pharmacist came out and gave me napkins and a bag to put my stuff back in.  By the time I reach a table where I can assess the damage, my iPad refuses to acknowledge the power button usage, and my laptop is just flashing a big circle with a line through it at me.  My stomach sinks as I realize that I have reduced myself to my phone for tech, and the closest Apple Store is a 3 hour train ride away.  With no other options, I pack away the useless hunks of junk and head to the hotel to grab my bags and catch my train.

I arrive in Venice, immediately drop my bags and head back off the island to the Apple store, a solid 45 minutes of public transit away.  Upon my arrival I do indeed get the stomach gnarling news that my tech is in fact deceased, and I’m so upset I’m nearly in tears, which earned me 10% off my replacement laptop from the Apple employee that felt bad for me.  New laptop in hand (and now iPad-less, glad I bought that iPencil), its closing time and there are no cabs in sight, Uber is not a thing, and there is only one bus left to the train station, but the kiosk to buy tickets is closed, so after nearly breaking down again, the bus driver is sweet enough to let me ride fare free.  The universe is throwing me curves, and I may not be knocking them outta the park, but I’m at least fouling them off and avoiding a strike out.

After a sketchy walk to the train station and getting back onto the island, its all I have left in me to boot and set up my new laptop (with a European keyboard, which has taken some gettin used to), answer pressing Slack messages and emails, and turn in my expense report for the Euros I just dropped on the new work MacBook Air.

7 days in Italy and this is what I have to report.  The highs have been high and the lows have been manageable, and there are three weeks left on this solo adventure.  Stay tuned Lovers. Its gonna be my way, and its gonna be good.

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Randomly yours,

SR

You Can Never Go “Home” Again

Hello my Lovers of Random. I hope at this point I have satiated your needs for updates on the adventure that was Remote Year Earhart. Even though I’ve closed the chapter of that particular adventure, I am in no way done. There will be sequels, both in the form of adventures with new ‘Krews’ as well as reunions with Earhart past. As I write this post, I’m 10,000ft in the air on my way to Denver to see Marky, my first Earhart neck to hug since my tearful goodbye with the ever so beautiful Mel at the Cancun Airport. But before I land and begin the second chapter of my nomad life, let’s touch base about life in the US post RY.

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photo cred Ryan Nelson

I have to tell you that I truly didn’t know what to expect upon landing on native soil after a year abroad. I landed in Houston with time to make an earlier flight to Memphis and hopped terminals to see if I could secure a seat. With the help of the friendliest United gate agent I ever met, I made it onto the flight, only to be delayed, deplaned for maintenance, and reboarded 10 minutes after my original flight took off. I was rewarded with a seat in 1a, which I was grateful for as I found myself succumb to the emotions that had been hiding the past few weeks. Silent tears slid down my cheeks nearly the entire flight, and I’m thankful for the flight attendant, who handed me tissues and a Jack on the rocks with no questions asked.

I landed at Memphis and after a snafu with my car rental caught a 45 minute Uber to my parent’s house in BFE Tennessee. I hadn’t clued them in to my early arrival, so when I rang the doorbell, there was a round of surprise and hugs, and an off comment or two about my red and puffy eyes. My unsuspecting nephew rounded the corner straight from the shower and his face lit up at the sight of his Aunt Krystal. Before I knew it, he was on me, and I wrapped him up in a bear hug and spun him around a few times. If that doesn’t cure the blues, idk what does.

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I spent a couple of days rummaging through the boxes left behind in my parent’s attic. It was almost reminiscent of being a kid and playing in my attic with my grandmother’s old clothes. Resurrecting #formerlifePino was surreal – although I did enjoy the full breadth of my shoe collection.

A couple of days in I was boarding a plane to Atlanta for Xerocon and an in person meeting with the HPC crew. The week was a whirlwind of co workers, new colleagues, fantastic speakers, and, as any good conference has, too much whiskey. Xerocon didn’t take enough out of me to not meet up with some ATL Citizens at the end of the week though, including the lovely Jess, my definite partner in crime had I been a Meraki. We had dinner, drinks, and talked about how the world didn’t’ get us as we watched the ATL night ride.

The next morning I was headed back to the fam for a chill week in good ol’ Oakland, TN. The week before I had dropped in on Crossfit Penance, a box not far from the ‘rents, so I got back into the routine of throwing weight around between hours of settling into my new role of Head of Client Experience at HPC. All in all, a welcome uneventful week.

Friday had me taking off for Birmingham with a quick stop in T-Town for a catch up and hair rescue with my stylist of 17 years. As soon as she touched my hair, he faced revealed everything I already knew… it was time to say goodbye to the golden locks, the lion’s mane mop of curls I had been torturing all year. Within the hour she had me fixed up, a brunette beauty again with layers and depth, free of split ends. The woman is a hair goddess and I am lucky to have her.

Birmingham kicked off with a mini class reunion of a few of us that crewed the night shift at UAB’s accounting program. We caught up over pork loin and beer before I hightailed it to catch up with the most consistent friend I’d had all year. She offered me refuge on night one, and we drank local craft brews while catching up on all the gossip.

The next morning was Saturday, which in my mind, means a couple things in BHM. 1) Pepper Place Market, with a guaranteed stop to see the Salsa Guy (who remembered me after a year abroad) and 2) Brunch at El Barrio, complete with a Palmoa for Two (but really just for me) and the Cuban Madam. After getting my fix of both of the above with Aaron and a guest appearance from the #PIC, I headed to the ‘burbs t meet up with some old bar patrons and friends at a memorial to honor our fallen comrades (oh, you thought I meant old as in time… no.. they’re old as in age. JK guys, love you all). After a lot of hugs and too many stories, I headed back downtown to join the “family” for dinner at my FAVORITE spot, Highland’s Bar and Grill. As per usual, I was over served, over fed and welcomed back like I’d never been gone.

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Sundays in Birmingham are for brunch at Dyron’s, so I rustled up the other half of the ACs and we joined Sloan to chat over Titos and grapefruits (fresh pressed, of course) while munching on beignets, crab claws, and chicken and biscuits. I left brunch in hope of catching a Baron’s game, but an Alabama summer thunderstorm had other ideas, so beers at Good People with Sarah, the #PIC, Oliver and his fam was the play. Once the rain settled, the boys took off on their one wheels and Sarah and I headed to Jinsei for the best sushi in town. Once again, there was no love lost as I was welcomed back by Abe, still managing the place, and Patrick, still slinging the best Hot Kiss this side of the Prime Meridian.

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A slammed packed week of catching up with friends was promptly derailed once I saw my Gracie baby and realized she was sick. A trip to the vet confirmed she had leukemia and was struggling to breathe. Sarah and I made the decision to put he down, and I cried… for days. Despite my guilt and grief, I was able to muster the energy to make a few engagements, have a bowl of pasta at Gianmarco with Jake still nailing my wine tastes, compete in a competition at Wheelhouse and podium, hit the community pool with my Ella bug, and grab a Spicy Hawaiian from Slice with the ACs and the Ex and his new Boo.

Exhausted and spent, I hit the road back to the fam to spend a few more days with them before jetting off again. Between dinner at home with the ‘rents and dinner dates with my nephew, I met up with another Citizen and SS Shitshow crew member for some pizza and peanut butter pie with a mutual friend of ours. Is anyone catching a theme here yet? Food. It’s all about the food.

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My bags are once again packed, and I’m toting 60lbs of my life off to Denver before hitting the world again. First up Europe, then South Africa for an extended stay. While it was good to see faces, hug necks, and eat and drink my way through my former life, it didn’t quite fit anymore. There was an uncomfortableness to the comfortability of it, and I found myself anxious to get on the road again. I got a hitch in my stomach every time someone asked how it was to be “home”, and I quickly realized that for me, Birmingham would never be “home” again. As amazing as it is, and although it holds some of my favorite souls, I have outgrown it, at least for now. So, the only reality I see is to keep going, onto the next home, on and on until I find that one place that captures my eye, heart and attention for the long term. Here goes nothing,

 

Stay Tuned Lovers.

Randomly Yours,

SR

CDMX Part Cuatro: The Final Chapter

Here we are my Lovers. The final week of the adventure that was Remote Year Earhart. 51 weeks. 7 days shy of a full rotation of the earth that I spent circling it with 50 47 42 39 35 32 of some of the most quality humans I ever met in my life. Earharts. Braveharts. Danceharts. My Harts.

With most of my core group still business retreating it up, I took Monday to spend some time with the ladies in RY that mean so much to me. It started with a bistro lunch work date with the Dinster where we talked life after RY over a bottle of Beaujolais. Later I cheffed it up for my Medellin roomies, SaraBear and Kiminy, along with Kellz Bells and Momma Gorks. I threw together my signature roast chicken with some mashed potatoes laced with ooey gooey Oaxacan cheese while we sat in their kitchen indulging in wine and memories. I’ve always been a guys girl, but the last 51 weeks had taught me that there are amazing women in my life, and all I have to do is trust them enough to let them and the result is life long relationships with strong, beautiful, caring ladies who empower and enlighten me. I’m so grateful to those on RY that pushed me to tear down that wall, my distrust of female figures, because it led me to the friendships I had in that moment along with a hundred other moments on RY that I never would have had otherwise.

As Tuesdays go, I was busy with work calls the majority of the day. I found time for some outdoor cafe working and even snuck in a mani/pedi before my favs got back home. House and heart full again.

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artwork credz Mel

Wednesday brought the unveiling of the hard work Yancey Pants had put into our farewell video, but not before a screening of a surprise video from our former city teams, a heartfelt and hilarious congrats from those who had provided recommendations, experiences, laughs and love along the way. After we watched our send off from them, we were given a first (and second, then third) showing of the video below. Yes, we cried. We also laughed, smiled, and felt the weight of what we had achieved in the previous year. I dare you to watch it and not feel the same.

As we all cleared out, Kiwi, M and I convinced Momma V to join us for a carnivorous feast at Sonora Grill. The venue itself was an eclectic mix of 80s and 90s music videos paired with a Bern’s like offering of steak galore. We over-ordered, overshared, over drank and over loved. On our way back home, we stopped to grab some drinks (because we hadn’t had enough), but its after hours and Marky and Kis have to bribe the gas station cashier to sell to them while V and I wait in the sketchy cab.

Thursday was B U S Y as I tried to balance work with running this month’s PI event alongside Duffs. The afternoon found us Ubering far from our Condesa bubble to a double cart trip to Walmart (my first Wally World all year) to stock up on food and booze for our rooftop bar and bbq to raise money for Yugen Build. After we filled our carts with snacks, beer, tequila and charcoal, we headed back to the workspace to set up for the night. I had to excuse myself to join M in a frustrating attempt to procure a whip for tomorrow’s balloon adventure, adding to the already stressful nature of the evening. Beer without ice, beer pong without beer pong balls, a ticket system with no tickets, charcoal with no lighter.. but somehow, as these things always do, it all came together at the last minute. I parked myself at my familiar spot behind the bar and doled out beers and shots to a stellar turnout to raise money for the Yugen Build. Kiwi was on the grill charring hot dogs and brats to soak up the drinks, and Kiminy and Kellz had arranged for entertainment by La Laura Guevara, so we swayed to her velvet voice as DL and Flickty took the beer pong championship. The night ended with Rappi burritos and leftover beer. Hey, too much is better than not enough, right?

The next morning (and I mean morning), M and I loaded up in the previously mentioned rental to head to Teotihuacan for a hot air balloon ride for two above the pyramids. Recall in week 1 I had decided against this adventure at that time, but its and RY staple, a CDMX must see, and we weren’t going to miss it. We arrived to a chilly morning, and it wasn’t long before we were soaring high in the skies above the former Aztec ruins. The views were breathtaking, and the ride exhilarating, albeit a bit scary because the foundation was straw, so every movement felt as if we might fall through. We landed our balloon and M tried to work out our next meal with the tour guides. I’m both grateful and resentful of his advances in Spanish – on one hand, he gets done what we need done, but on the other, because of his fluency, I’m never pushed to use mine. Either way, we ended up with breakfast and were hooked up with a tour guide for the pyramids.

We spent the next few hours in the grueling sun touring the moon and sun pyramids amidst the Teotihuacan ruins. I have dressed WRONG for this windy day, and several times in ascent and descent, I give the fellow tourists around us a show. You’re welcome pyramid goers.

After our ruins tour, we load up to grab lunch at La Gruta, a neat little restaurant nestled in a cave.  The atmosphere is beyond amazing, even if the food is mediocre.  We’re both practically falling asleep at the table, and have a combined battery percentage of 3% in our phones (read: maps), so we devise a plan to get back to CDMX on our limited juice, both personally and technologically.  I took the first shift, so we weaved our way back to the highway with both phones dying before we even got there.

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Between the two of us, M is definitely the one with the better sense of direction.  Much like my Spanish, I haven’t had to rely on my own merit because he’s so good at it that I just trust and follow him.  The problem with this is that in true Markolepsy fashion, he’s now lightly snoring in the passenger’s seat and I don’t have the heart to wake him.  But I’m an educated woman, so I can figure this out, right?.  We aren’t close enough to the city yet that there are signs for CDMX, so I decide to just follow the signs that point to the airport…. and quickly land us on a road that is not the highway we were previously on.  M wakes up long enough to ask a local “Dónde está la Ciudad de México” who replies “Derecho, Derecho, Derecho” (straight straight straight), and he’s back to Marky nap land while I follow the old man’s instructions.

Problem number two: this road isn’t straight.  It forks.. in a very unclear V fashion… a lot. Still not having it in me to wake M, I just make the best decision I can at each fork, hoping that some context clues (mainly the plates of the cars around me) are leading me in the right direction.  Thankfully they are, because soon I am passing the airport, and before you know it, we’re in a city like atmosphere.  The adventure is far from over though, as CDMX is a large city, and we live in a very small part of it… somewhere…. not close to where we are.. and neither of us has any clue how to get from point A to point B… so after a couple of failed attempts, we pull into a gas station and buy a phone charger.  Google maps FTW.

Safely back to our Condesa ‘hood, we drop off our rental car and hustle over to Cicatriz Cafe to meet DL and Kiwi for a (second) mezcal tasting, and this time I walk out with 6 bottles of the rocket fuel to take home with me and share with friends.  Momma Joe eventually joins us and we plan to hit the pool hall after swinging by our favorite taco joint.  After several tacos and a nearly 20 hour day, suffice it say M and I never made it to pool.

Friday is our last official day of RY.  I’ve already got a busy day planned between packing, getting my last set of coordinates, checking those if us staying an extra day or two into our bonus BNB, but when M proposes we go hit a few of the sites we haven’t seen yet, I agree.  While I was waiting on him to come scoop me up to head downtown, I figured I would start packing.  I started toward my closet to grab my suitcase, and was suddenly stopped in my tracks.  It was as if someone has built a brick wall of all of the emotions, thoughts, feelings and implications of the fact that this is the last time I would pack my suitcase as a member of Earhart.  I was frozen, unable to move another inch towards my suitcase. So I did what I do when I’m hurting.  I wrote.

Once I processed what was going on internally, I was able to throw a couple of items in a suitcase before M was shouting beneath my balcony, my very own modern Romeo, hurrying me into an Uber.  Once we got downtown, we grabbed a couple bikes and pedaled around, marveling at the sinking buildings of CDMX, which was built over a lake and sinks an average of 8 inches per year.  I’m due to be inked with my last set of coordinates, so I bid M adieu and join Sarabear and Dre by Day  (the designer of my current set of digits) at the shop to complete my set.

photo creds Dre By Day and Marky Mark

Friday night…. we were together.

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The weekend came to a close as we all slowly departed over the next few days.  Each goodbye got a little harder, and after a week in the Yucatan, my last see-you-later was said at the Cancun Airport, where I walked around, hollow and dazed until my flight was called.  Even at the last minute, I was gripped by a need to panic, not board this flight, not end this year. But everything I learned this year would be for not if I didn’t take it forward and use it to continue living the best life I can imagine for myself.

So, after:
21 Countries
39 Flights
4 Overnight buses
8 Trains
18 Hotels
20 AirBNBs
5 Hostels
2 Homestays
18 Boats

I closed the Earhart chapter.  But if you think that means this is over, you haven’t been paying attention.  And boy are you in for a treat.

Until next time my Lovers,

Specifically Yours,

SR

Pics are up to date!

CDMX Part Tres: T Minus Two Weeks

We’re getting down to it My Lovers.  The last two weeks of the adventure that was Remote Year Earhart.  Though my Harts will live on in my heart forever, our time together did dwindle.  And here’s what we did with week three in CDMX.

At some point back in Split, I had voiced to Starbucks that my favorite scotch was a Balvenie 12 Year Doublewood, and unbeknownst to me, he had looked in every liquor store he walked into along the way for that exact bottle until finally, in month 11 – Bogota, he found said bottle and procured it as a thanks for all I had done throughout the year.  I was extremely touched by this action (and slightly confused, as I couldn’t pinpoint said conversation), but I believed that a scotch like that was best shared with friends – and what goes better with scotch than steaks.  I organized a night with my three favorite guys to cook steaks and enjoy the bottle – but I quickly realized that I had more than three guys in my Earhart life that would appreciate this, so before you know it, the night had blossomed into a full blown guys night, complete with a second bottle (a McCallan 12 year) and a smattering of cigars to go alongside.  After an initial steak ordering mishap, we ended up with KILOS of meat, which I promptly cooked up beside my risotto for an evening with the boys.  The steaks were tender and juicy, the scotch was smoky, and the company was second to none.  We ended the evening with invites to others and rooftop chats, capped with a second cooking of the mis-ordered meat. Languages are hard guys.

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The next day we had a track that consisted of a tasting of mezcal.  We gathered at Cicitriz Cafe where the owner indulged us in both his knowledge of the local liquor as well as a generous tasting of his signature bootleg collection.  I excused myself for a work call, missing out on a particularly good round, but the host made it up to me when I got back by bringing out some of his private stash, the good stuff, bottles I would eventually purchase to take home.

Wednesday I deviated from my #freshink Friday tradition to tag along with Mel, Becks and Meilz for our Earhart inking.  Mel had come up with a fantastic design that both her and I got, and even to this day, I haven’t gone one day without a compliment on this tattoo. It is my favorite, for sure.  I just hope this isn’t the beginning of a sleeve…

That night was Duff’s birthday celebration, the last Earhart birthday of the year.  There was plenty of the aforementioned steak left over, so Marky and I got to work on cooking birthday steak tacos, complete with Oaxaca cheese and many satisfied customers.  The crew sat around, celebrating our resident optimist in proper fashion.

Thursday was date night, and Marky had outdone himself by getting us reservations at Pujol for a Michelin Star dinner for two. The boy even showed up with a rose. I was impressed and flattered to say the least. We had eight courses of delicious cuisine with the wine pairing, of course. The signature dish, the mole two ways did not disappoint. Afterwards we found a whiskey bar that was VERY generous with the Balvenie 12yr Doublewood pours, after which we stumbled off for late night tacos where we decided we were too whiskey laden to attend DL’s frat party, a decision he made us both pay for.

Friday was lunch calls with Marky, Kiwi and the best chilaquiles in CDMX. Kiwi accompanied me back to mine, where we perused photos from the year while he did his wash. There was only one load of laundry, which means we didn’t even make it through Europe before the clothes were done. After our trip down memory lane, Kis left with all his clothes clean and the roomies and I settled in for another pantsless, Rappi kind night. We throw on some chick comedy, open a bottle of wine and post up on the couch. Crushin’ Friday night.

Saturday we hopped on a bus and headed to Las Estacas, a natural reserve outside of CDMX for our final farewell of RY. The day was far from perfectly executed, but it was perfect for us. There was lunch by the lazy river followed by love and reminiscing. Polaroid camera were brought out, keg stand were taught, and a “romantic” float down the river was interrupted in the most Earhart fashion. The Mommas and Thrill threw some trivia at us until it was time for our evening BBQ, which looked like it was going to get rained out. Never a group to shy away from a little rain, we rallied and set up the fire, weather be damned. After brats, beers, marshmallows, music and whiskey, we got back to story telling and Earhart praising. I’m always humbled by this groups willingness to open up about what they have gone through on a personal level as a result of being a part of the tramily.

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As you can imagine, movement on Sunday wasn’t a lively as Saturday, but we all managed to find our way to a pool, throw around some pigskin, and catch up with some crashers from Kaizen and Meraki before boarding the bus back home.

I had the apartment and the evening to myself, as my roomies and three other closest Harts had taken off on a business retreat. I settled into my comfy PJs, threw on some Netflix and got to writing a bit. Before I know it, there is an intense hailstorm outside, and I have to run out to our balcony in said PJs to save some items that were baking in the sun out there. Thinking that would be the excitement of my evening, I nestled back in. About an hour later, I hear a noise…. it’s familiar… a low wub, wub wub… I know that sounds… it takes me about 10 seconds to realize its the earthquake alarm.

SHIT.

Previously mentioned comfy PJs is really a white satin night slip, and its raining outside, so I take the next 10 seconds deciding that I don’t need to be going out in the rain in this.

SHIT.

Now I’ve got 20 seconds to change, get downstairs and outside. Not enough time. Time to find shelter inside. The last time the alarm went off, Mel had decided my interior closet was the safest spot inside, I so grab my phone, crouch inside the closet, and prepare for another few minutes of nothing, like the last time. Then I hear the building start to creak.

Its all in your head, Pino, it’s fine.

But its not in my head, and the three doors I’m crouched in between start to sway in their frames.

FUCKFUCKFUCK.

Yep… I start to panic.

Run outside! STAY WHERE YOU ARE!

I’m frantically texting our roommate chat, letting them know exactly where they can find my crushed remains after my epically bad decision to stay indoors.

Am I overreacting? Of course, because in a moment, the swaying subsides, the door stand still, and I emerge from the closet unscathed. Lovers, I had survived my first earthquake, a 4.0 that occurred several miles outside of CDMX central.

It was quite the way to finish out week 3 of CDMX, and with only one week remaining in the adventure of RY, I’ll bet you’re more excited to read the next chapter of CDMX that I am to write it. The final week… all the feels.. and to share it with you means reliving it, all the feels, all the memories. I miss my Harts everyday. But don’t fret my Lovers, though this next and final chapter of RY Earhart will be difficult to write, I will deliver the last week in all of its pain and glory.

Stay tuned.

Specifically Yours,

SR
Pics are less and less, but there’s still posted.

CDMX Part Dos: T Minus 3 weeks

Considering this is a continuation of a series, I’m thinking there’s no need for the usual witty intro, the Lovers greeting, the quippy jokes. Or maybe I’m just a little lazy about it these days. Either way, in lieu of this year long staple, I’m just going to launch into week two of CDMX.

The night after the Klingande show, the majority of the crew went on hot air ballon rides at the Teotihuacan Pyramids. Knowing my propensity for being an absolute grouch on not enough sleep and need to crank out some work, I had decided to skip the trip and spent the {Sun}day catching up instead. When my roommates arrived back looking like zombies, I patted myself on the back, put the work away and fired up some Netflix.

The next day was more work work work with a side of PI planning. This month I had stepped up to help run our positive impact event, so I met up with Duffs, KSheng and the city team to throw together some plans for an epic last month event. I was suffering a second (and thankfully less severe) bout of Montezuma, so couch and girls time was in order after PI.

I was grateful to be feeling better later that week, because it was Temazcal time. Don’t have any idea what I’m talking about? It’s a sweat lodge experience. In a teeny tiny clay hut. Month 12 and I’m still facing fears. Dark. Claustrophobia. OPENING UP. Fears aside, the experience was like no other, and I left it pretty raw and open about some things. I took the opportunity to channel those emotions into some brutally honest conversations, because at this point, we’ve got less than three weeks left, so if there are to be no stones left unturned, let’s start kicking rocks.

After some air was cleared, the boys and I took to the bikes the next day to change the scenery for work a bit and pop our laptops up on Polanco. We start at Pujol, where we drank overpriced cocktails in between client calls. We moved to a new spot where we indulged in Italian dishes between rounds of mezcal. The Earhart crew is doing some damage nearby at a bowling alley, so we join up for a few rounds of pin dropping and beer drinking. As with most evenings, we cap it off with some tacos el pastor before calling it a night.

The next adventure proves to be more of a challenge than I bargained for. We’re signed up for a track where we are dropped at nearly 14k feet to hike up and into a volcano crater. I’ve tackled many a feat with a hangover this year – climbing up and rappelling down waterfalls, hikes to remote Thai villages, boat rides, etc… but today was different. Once we reached the edge of the volcano, before hiking down into it, we were offered the chance to summit one more peak. Being the guys girl I am, I followed the boys up without question. Mistake. I made it about 75% of the way up this peak before began to feel dizzy. I sat down and prepared myself for the descent. We made it back down, but I was light headed and irreconcilably nauseated. A few of the crew stayed behind with me, only forging ahead when I requested them to so that I didn’t have an audience to the eventual loss of my breakfast. The remainder of the day was a struggle where I continually felt like I was trudging through molasses. Add altitude sickness to the list of experiences for this year.  But the views….

In typical RY fashion, there wasn’t much time for recovery, especially considering the number of citizens in town that weekend. Rooftop bars, dance parties and mezcal ensue, with a late night taco stand stop soaking it all up before Trajineras in Xochimilco the next morning.  The roomies and I are running a bit late, grabbing supplies and hustling our way to the morning bus.  I’ve donned my shades for more reasons than one, but as we approach the bus, I’m grateful to have them as a shield for the tears that stream down my face when Kiwi pops off the bus, a surprise month 12 reappearance that has me smiles all day.

The trajineras are all of the fun and total shitshow that was promised by previous groups and when we pour our sun worn, alcohol saturated, over tired bodies onto the bus, I take it upon myself to remind everyone that the mother’s day surprise for our PLs that Marky and Mel put together is still a go at our place 30 minutes after our return.  A rally effort was made on all parts, and the Mommas appreciated the effort, even if we scared one and make the other cry.

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Temazcal, altitude sickness, and the return of good friends made for a good week two.  We’re cranking though it guys.  Week three coming your way shortly.

Specifically Yours,

SR

CDMX Part Uno: T-Minus 4 weeks

Hola my Lovers!  It’s been a while since I’ve indulged you in a detailed play by play like I did back in Split or Budapest, where I recounted my adventures on a least a weekly or biweekly basis, often more frequently. Either way, and though it is after the fact, I feel like there is enough content to break my last month into a 4 part series covering each jam packed week of Mexico City, our final adventure on our chosen journey.  And I feel I can do this in a manner where I don’t feel like I’m rushing you through in an attempt to “catch up”.  Instead, I’m looking foward to re-living the live, laugh, love that was CDMX.

Travel Day Adventures

The CDMX adventure began way before we hit CDMX.  With a 4am rousing for a 430 airport pickup and my continuing procrastination regarding packing, the most exciting part of my night before transition was Mel’s uncontrollable giggling as I answered the door for my Rappi order in my Rappi hat, a favor Sadie and Marky had championed for our travel day activity.  We arrived at the airport, zombies in bright orange hats, only to discover our flight was for Sunday.  All of RY always travels on Saturday.  As my Ella and the mommas tried to sort things out, I found a Marky and used him as a nap vessel until we were told they had managed to get all 30 of us on a flight that afternoon.  Able to make it past the security gates, we found a bar to post up in and Marky, DL and I took advantage of Aguardiente bottle service, pouring ourselves onto the plane as gracefully as we had poured each shot.

After an annoying delay on the runway, I re-engaged Marky’s services as a pillow for my second much needed nap <er, pass out>, waking in time to see our plane swinging wide and adding more time to our already re-booked and delayed flight.  Turns out there was a hailstorm in CDMX preventing us from landing.  After landing and collecting baggage, a few find that checking into the wrong flight has caused bags to not arrive, so the gaggle that got checked in before the scheduling error was discovered proceed to lost luggage, the rest of us pile around eating Mexican Cheetos and grabbing our pesos out of the ATM.  By the time we get rolling an to our accoms, its after midnight.  Don’t worry about the math Lovers, that’s a 20 hour travel day.  Went out with a bang.

 

Swankity Swank

I’m rooming with Mel and Taryn this month, but when we arrive at our home for the month, I’m focusing on a friend in crisis at home, so they get the run of the place prior to rock-paper-scissors for rooms.  Round one goes to T.  Mel takes round 2, which leaves me with the shit room. They take the two upstairs.  Oh, I forgot to mention our apartment is two stories. With an open ceiling living room.  And glass all across the front.  I trudge off to my losing room…. with a patio.. and a walk in closet… and my own bathroom… wait a second, if this is the shit room….. further inspection reveals that we won the apartment lottery this month, so instead of going out for the evening, we Rappi in some Indian and settle into our bad ass digs.  Just when I think it can’t get any better, Marky responds to my location pin that he’s 100ft away on the bar street – which means bad ass apartment IN happening part of town. Double win.

The next day is city preview, so we walk to the workspace amongst the ice and foliage that covers the ground after last night’s storm.  Despite the storm, it is a beautiful day, so after our intro, the team takes us to Chapultepec Park for a tour and some history.  Afterwards, a large majority of the crew hits a local eatery for lunch, after which we depart to meet up with some Citizens we had met along the way.  A few rounds in, we decide to move the party to our place (our swanky, loft-esque, built for entertaining space) and quickly grow to 20+ deep over the evening.  Monday is work and WestWorld, and I make it to bed relatively early.  Unfortunately, I don’t stay there long.

Montezuma’s Revenge

Around 3am, I’m awakened by a feeling… a feeling I haven’t had since…. Peru… I’m going to… I’m not… oh, fuck, yes, I am going to throw up.  I barely make it to bathroom in time, and spend the next 7 hours or so in a similar state. Bed>bathroom>bed>bathroom.  I’m able to doze off a bit in between spewing my insides up, and awake around 9am to an alarming number of messages in our group WhatsApp.  After some back and forth, we discover that 17/30 of us have gone down with some ailment – I consider myself lucky mine was up, not out.  One of the affected is my roomie T, so we Rappi some activated charcoal, Pedialyte, and home for quick recovery.  I hop on a call and quickly preface that if I suddenly disappear from screen, I have good reason.  By noon I’m feeling better, so I try some soup, and by then end of the day I’m keeping everything down (and in).

I rebound swiftly enough to hit Crossfit the next morning – and I exit class with a text message from Marky asking for a water delivery after his house went down the night before.  Seems that all but 2 of the 13 that had escaped the first night went down in night two. Montezuma does not discriminate.  I deliver all the above mentioned goods that got me back on my feet so quickly before hitting the workspace for a call laden day.  Besides a packed work day, I’m running another Going Deeper session this evening, so I’m prepping for that in addition to everything else. Told you it was a busy month.

Lucha Libre

I’ve got no complaints about an uneventful Thursday and Friday – my roommates and I have discovered the only thing better than our apartment is staying in it all day and only putting pants on to answer the door for Rappi.  But Friday night is Lucha Libre, so we adorn lower extremity clothing for some good ol’ fashion Mexican wrestling fun.  We’re given a tour of the arena and private training before the show – RY exclusive, of course.  After our ring tumbling lessons, we find our way to our seats for one of the most entertaining shows I’ve ever seen in my life.  We laughed and cheered for hours while we downed beers and nachos and instant ramen – yep, the concession guy sold instant ramen.

 

Wrestling is followed by dancing at Whiskey Wallace, conveniently located across the street from – you guessed it – our bomb ass apartment. This made it easier to abandon ship when the subsequent club search was less than fruitful.  T and I headed back to our place (sensing a theme yet?) to (take off our pants) open some wine, and, well, whine a bit.  Mel came home to join and we washed down leftovers with Malbec while chatting the way girls do.

Here to There to Klingande

Saturday I was doing a test run on an app for a company wide photo scavenger hunt, so I enlisted Mel’s help and after some brunch, we bop around grabbing pics of ourselves in the city.  After 5+ miles of hiking, we decide to head back and post up at Whiskey Wallace before grabbing a pre-Klingande nap.

 

Excuse me?  Did you just ask what Klingande is?  Lovers, let me educate you – you can thank me later.
Jubel    RIVA    Somewhere New
A N Y W H O
I saw him perform at Tomorrowland, so there’s no way I’m missing his CDMX performance.  We meet up with some Citizens – including my long lost roomie from my short stint in Belgrade, dance our little hearts out and pour outta the club around 4am.  As we’re debating Uber size, Sutton points to a stud behind me – its KLINGANDE HIMSELF!  I’m a <little> intoxicated, but I strike up a convo and we talk Tomorrowland (guys, he’s main staging next year) among other things for a good 10 minutes.  As I thank him for his time, he asks if I want a picture…. I was so busy fangirling, I for.got.the.pic.  We grabbed a quick snapshot and the crew and I Ubered off.  I poured myself into bed, still jazzed from the night, so I swiped my World Clock to see who I knew in the world still awake.  Kiwi and Hunter were the lucky winners subjected to my ramblings while I waited for sleep.  Solid dudes those guys.

 

That wraps up week one.  Stay tuned for week 2, coming to a blog screen near you soon enough.

Randomly Yours,

SR

Guess what? Pics are updated!

The Har{t}est Part

Hola My Lovers. I come to you this morning with a heavy heart.  I wrote in my last letter that, like most of my fellow Harts, I had been approaching the last days of our program with an eery calm… gratitude for the past year, excitement for what’s next.  This morning that calm shattered as I am overcome with thoughts of how life will look come tomorrow when the Earhart Official calendar comes down.

Why do I say it like that?  Because as our days come to a close, the only thing about Earhart that truly ends is that calendar.  We are still Earharts and will always be. We spent a year together, an unimaginable, inexplicable, glorious, tragic, beautiful year as a part of each other’s lives, and while the sand on our 358 days runs out, nothing is coming to an end.

I’ve said a thousand times that I can’t imagine what it will be like to wake up and not have these people in my everyday life.  Come tomorrow, that unthinkable becomes my reality.  I have fallen in love with these souls, over and over again, and while some hold bigger pieces of my heart than others, as we depart from each other over these next few days, they will each take that part with them, leaving me heartbroken.  But as my beautiful Amelia once showed me, love is not a finite emotion.  Our hearts create love as we need it. And my Harts have given me the greatest gift: the ability to love them and myself.

As I sit here, unable to pull out my suitcase, literally unable to even attempt to pack this year up, physically or emotionally, I’m hoping to reconcile with the fact that even though today is the expiration date on these relationships as they exist in this moment, there is no end to the love we’ve gained this year.

This one is for my Harts.  Please take care of the pieces of me that you take with you when you go. I look forward to seeing you again on this beautiful journey we call life.

Home is where the Harts are  video courtesy of the epically talented Rachel Yancey

Specifically Theirs,

SR