The Empire State

When I think of New York, I think of the city. As I’m sure most do. But these last two weeks have proven that, although NYC is the most populated city in the country, the state itself is so much more than a 302.6 mi² stretch of land.

Being from the Boston area, it’s pretty well-known that the two cities are rivals. This would never stop me from going somewhere new, but I’ll argue it to the day I die that Boston is the greatest city of all time. But, whether a New Yorker or a Bostonian, I think we can all agree there are a lot of similarities, from the way we argue about sports to the way we come together when our cities are hurting.

Unfortunately, my first memory of both cities is a bad one. From running away in Boston after my step-dad proposed to my mom, to seeing a naked woman running down the streets of New York with a hot dog in her hand, it was an eventful year as an 8-year-old.

Since then, I’ve been to NYC a handful of times and each time, I left feeling anxious and dirty. Nothing against NYC, it’s just cities in general — they make me feel claustrophobic with the mass amounts of people and towering buildings. I think it would be easier to get lost in the concrete jungles than the real ones. And I find myself being more afraid of dark alleyways and drunk men than lions and tigers.

They say not to judge a book by it’s cover, but when the state’s nickname drives you to the city, it’s hard not to lose the surrounding regions in the background.

It’s always been stars and serenity that calm my mind and fuel my soul and upstate New York has provided just that. Taking a step back from the iconic city life, the stars are clearer, the air is crisper, the people are quieter and silence is appreciated.

The Finger Lakes is a region of New York that is comprised of 11 small lakes that extend from North to South between Rochester and Syracuse. The area is known for it’s wine production, numerous state parks/waterfalls and fresh-water fishing. All of which we were lucky enough to experience throughout our time here.

I’ve said it before in my earlier posts, but being surrounded by nature instead of people is a feeling I could never put into words. I could try, but Mother Nature would probably laugh at me.

If I’ve learned anything this first month on the road, it’s not what we do that will impact me the most, it’s who we meet along the way. And the people I have met thus far in New York with have a forever impact on my life.

To be continued –>

 

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GREEN MOUNTAIN STATE

Vermont was full of firsts for me. My first birthday in the RV. My first time catching a fish from a kayak. My first large-mouth bass. My first time fly fishing. My first Vermont grand slam. My first time swimming at a nude beach, nude. All equally as amazing,  yet such different feelings.

 

There is something so distinct about this state that I can’t quite put into words. I have never felt so in touch with both nature and myself. Maybe it’s the constant rivers and creeks flowing through backyards and under roads, maybe it’s the sun setting behind the mountains, maybe it’s the amazing people we’ve met along the way. There’s a unique type of happiness that can be found here.

At home, I was always on the move bouncing between one thing to the next with my friends. We had a routine. We’d get off work, go straight to the beach and then hit the bars or a friends house to hangout, staying up until three or four in the morning enjoying each others time and I loved every second of it. But, out here, I am alone in my thoughts more and everything is done at a much slower pace. I find myself getting lost in my head quite often when I’m surrounded by nature, sometimes even when I’m working, but it’s hard not to with such eye-capturing views around me.

The world isn’t meant to be industrialized and populated everywhere and Vermont really put that into perspective for me. There are more people in Indianapolis alone than there are in the state of Vermont. An entire state doesn’t compare to a populated city. That’s so special to me. It brought me back to what I imagine my ancestors felt when hiking or fishing for a living, for their health, their well-being. Of course, you can’t compare the two, evolution has made that impossible. But this journey is already changing me and forming into the person I feel I am meant to be.

I knocked off four different species this week — the large-mouth bass and a Vermont grand slam which includes a Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout and a Brook Trout all caught on the fly and in the same body of water. We took lessons from Tom Rosenbauer and Shawn Combs at the Orvis headquarters in Manchester where they taught us everything we needed to know about fly fishing and then took us to catch wild fish in the creeks. They really did a fantastic job and our results showed that. On my first cast into the creek, I hooked up on a Brown Trout — the only one of the day and the largest fish of the afternoon. Shawn and Tom were raving about how coordinated we were and how quickly we picked up the technique. We really impressed them but I think I impressed myself more.

Learning from Tom Rosenbauer was an honor as well. I didn’t realize how famous he was in the fly fishing community until after we were done fishing with him. He is an icon and a professional fly fisherman, an author, a kind and humble man and an excellent teacher.

I may have found my new passion in fly fishing. There is something so rewarding about being able to snap the fly into a little crevice between the rocks and pull out a two or three inch trout. Who would have thought catching a small fish would feel so gratifying? It’s an art I never understood but can tell I will love. It’s kind of like speed dating but with fishing rods — if the fish doesn’t bite by the third or fourth cast, move up the creek to another pocket of water and try again.

Vermont has stolen my heart in a million little ways. Thank you.

Transition

I have so much I want to share with you all (or as Rob would say, ‘y’all’). That’ll never happen for me, just like ‘wicked’ will never happen for him. Forming sentences into thoughts without a pencil has been difficult lately. I am so used to putting pen to paper and formulating my thoughts at a slower pace. To sit down in front of a computer and pluck away at the keys just seems less intimate and less true to myself and my personality. But when I have limited time and a lot to share, it will have to suffice.

Life has been an absolute whirlwind these last few days since I moved into the trailer, but it’s a transition that I have been excited to embrace. Thankfully, packing up basically my entire life into a few small suitcases was a lot easier than I thought it would be. Compartmentalizing my needs and necessities continuously became easier in my four years of college. When I was a freshman, I felt like I needed to have absolutely everything with me. Come senior year, and I packed more decorations than I did belongings.

Now, I have a twin sized couch with my belongings wedged underneath it in various plastic, rolling boxes. For the first couple of days, I had to climb under the table to grab my underwear but today, we installed shelves above my “bed” so I can just slide the boxes off. It’s working well. Small adjustments here and there but we are getting the hang of it.

The last time I saw my ex, he told me something that will stick with me forever. When you become complacent in your life, it’s time for change. He related that to being in the Navy and how he had become really good at his job. Yet, he was pursuing a different career choice. I immediately posed the question, “If you’re good at it and like what you do, why do you want to change it?”

Complacency. If you’re not being challenged enough, you won’t grow.

When I was first offered this job, or offered myself to this job, that was the first thing that came to mind. Life was good, life was fun. But it was easy. And I didn’t want easy. I wanted challenge and adventure. More than I wanted it, I craved it so intensely I found myself avoiding job applications and headhunters because in my mind, I couldn’t fathom the idea of sitting behind a desk all day.

In my eyes, Rob lived the dream that I always wanted. And now, by some series of extremely fortunate events, I too get to live out this dream.

“No matter where life takes me, find me with a smile,” – Mac Miller R.I.P. 1992 – 2018

 

 

 

 

Winding Down

I always considered myself spontaneous. Not a “jump in an RV with a man I barely know” spontaneous but I guess I have to live up to the adjective if I’m going to use it to describe myself.

When the summer started, I promised myself I would say yes to everything but I had no idea that would mean getting a jump-start on my career and my life like this. I was thinking more along the lines of going out the night before I had work at 4 a.m. (which I did) or going on a date with someone I didn’t really know (which I also did — still single). Little things. Drive up north for a weekend, jump on a plane to an unfamiliar destination, go on a road-trip with my best friends. Not uproot my life like I’m about to do.

I’ve questioned my sanity almost every day since I said yes to this. I don’t know what my mom would prefer more; a tattoo because I’m bored (I’ve done this as well) or taking off cross-country with a YouTuber. Either way, she’s definitely more supportive of me reaching for my goals than permanently inking my body but you win some, you lose some.

As the days are winding down to my departure, the nerves are subsiding. I am more than ready to get off this little island of mine and explore the world one mile at a time. Who knows where I’ll end up, or who I’ll end up with, but this journey is going to take me to places I couldn’t possibly imagine. I am fueled by the idea of adventure and being high off my own happiness and satisfaction. But I’m trying really hard not to wish my summer away. I’ve said small goodbye’s everyday but the sadness and reality won’t set in until I cross that bridge. And man, what a feeling that will be.

New Beginnings

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My greatest support system and my biggest fans — my family. 

My life is about to change significantly and who would I be if I didn’t want to document every feeling and experience that I am going to encounter. I’m full of emotion. I’m nervous, overwhelmed with excitement, terrified to leave behind everything I know but so grateful and happy to have this experience.

Leaving my friends and family to embark on the journey of my life is so bittersweet to me but everything I have dreamed of and I’m overly thankful to have this opportunity and for the overwhelming love and support I’ve received thus far. One day, I hope to write a book about my travels and I want to have these thoughts to look back on, especially as I’m preparing for what’s to come.

I have a lot of thoughts but what’s going through my head the most is the amazing opportunity I have in front of me. For so long, I have wanted to find a job that would allow me to combine my love for travel and journalism. The fishing aspect is just the icing on the cake. Cliche, but there’s no other way to describe it. It feels too good to be true and maybe it is. But, what if it’s not?

The other half of me looks at the life I’ve built and what I have here and it breaks my heart to leave it all behind. But I know I would be stupid to turn this down. And no matter how sad the thought of leaving makes me, I know nothing will change my mind.

We were born with feet, with the ability to leave and the ability to return. It’s time for me to see what the world has to offer. The good, the bad, the ugly — this is my time. I’ve always been adventurous, I’ve never been able to stay in one place for too long. I crave adventure but more than adventure, I crave love.

I feel all the love in the world for my friends and my family and I hope that will be enough for me when I’m gone. I’ve grown to love every part of myself and it took a damn long time to accept who I am. It was never me that was wrong, it was the people I surrounded myself with who couldn’t see my internal beauty, my huge heart. They couldn’t see me. And knowing I have a group of friends who see me, and love me, (flaws and all) makes me feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

So maybe leaving is stupid but I know these friendships I’ve made will last me a lifetime and I will never forget the way home makes me feel. It’s bittersweet but it’s my time to go. Time to reflect. To learn about the world and myself. To fall in love with my surroundings and experience everything this short life has to offer.

Will I ever be ready? Probably not, but you can only remain comfortable for so long before you realize it’s time to push yourself out of your comfort zone. But this isn’t a push — it’s a jump. A leap into the arms of the universe and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t f*cking terrified.