I have always kept a record of my travels. It used to be with a pen and paper and 35 mm film. Now it’s all digital. On Flashback Fridays I reflect back on some of my past travels and travel mishaps before I started this blog.
More Wales…though this time farther south than Anglesey and a little more north than Cardiff and Swansea.
A lot of the charm of Pembrokeshire lies in its remoteness. It seems as if it is a different world. On the edge of the Earth. Rocky coasts. Charming little towns. The craggy coastal towns on the Atlantic Ocean. Castles. Sleepy little towns.
Some of the best walks on the Wales Coast Path runs through Pembrokeshire.
If I had to choose one are of Wales to visit over and over again it would be Pembrokeshire. Cardiff is nice for industry and Snowdonia is mountainous and wind, but Pembrokeshire gets my vote. It is wild. And beautiful. And sparsely populated. And of all the places I’ve ever visited, this land speaks to me more, and I could one day, you know, immigration laws notwithstanding, call it home. I’d even commit to learning as of now the unpronounceable Welsh language.
In some ways, 2016 has been great; and yet, it’s been rough in lots of ways. I have had four physical addresses in the last 6 months. 4 times of packing up my stuff and moving to a new location. 4 times of unpacking boxes. 4 times of trying to get the kitty cats comfortable. 4 times of trying to get settled. 4 times of buying duplicate things because I couldn’t find what I needed at the time. 4 places where I’ve tried to make a home. On top of that, I’ve had three jobs + some freelance work in the last year. It was the opposite of what I needed, but in reality, I had no choice. It was either move or be homeless. It was either work or end up at the *poor farm.
In June 2016, I quit my toxic hospital job. I had worked in a hospital (not necessarily the same hospital) on some level since 2003, and it was a big deal to leave. Even though that was one of my goals for becoming a RN. Even though my latest work environment was toxic; even though my co-workers were cruel and hateful. The hospital had been my one constant my entire adult, working life.
Also in June, I left a living situation that was no longer working for me. And it didn’t go well. In the time from telling her I was moving until the day I left, it was beyond stressful. The cats were mistreated; my things were mistreated when I wasn’t there [and let’s be honest, I was only there to sleep because I felt so unwelcome.] A few things went missing or were broken. A number of mutual friends, while still cordial when out paths cross, aren’t exactly people I’d call friends anymore.
And in July, one of my closest friends, for lack of a better term, ‘broke up’ with me. He was my main camping buddy and hiking partner, and while it sucks not to have a person to do that kind of stuff with anymore, it certainly won’t stop me from doing these things.
I’ve always been more on the private side even in real life. I strive to be truthful and honest in all my interactions, but here lately, I’ve been even more reserved. One of my goals in this new rendition of the blog, is to be more open and transparent. But some things will always be private.
I started a new job at the end of June. It’s been three weeks now, and I’m still loving it. It’s crazy busy, and keeps me on my toes. It’s still healthcare, so what I can say about what I do and where I work is quite limited. I now work in physical rehab. It’s so different than what I used to do, and I get to use both of my skill sets. I have a lot more freedom to do what I need to do, to do what I think is the right thing, and I love that. I love that my skills and knowledge is valued, but what I love more, it that it feels like what I do matters. And I haven’t felt like what I do matters in a long time.
I also have new living quarters. It’s palatial by New York City standards, and more space than I really need, but the price was right, the neighborhood is good, and the landlord is chill. After living with roommates since 2006, it is nice to finally have space of my own… where it doesn’t matter if I empty the dishwasher the second it’s done or if I leave clean clothes in the dryer for a week. A place where I can decorate as I choose, and a place where the kitties and I can relax however we see fit. And most important, a place where I can start to feel settled.
The Next Steps
In August, I head back to the classroom (metaphorically speaking–all my classes are online). Depending on which option I pursue I could be finished by the end of next summer (with a BSN) or three years from now (with a MSN or DNP) Who knows what direction my life will go, but at least for the next year, I’m going to be pretty stationary. I’ll still find time to do the things I love, and hopefully, deepen relationships with all my friends.
I don’t know where the road is going to lead me, but I hope you will hang around for the ride.
This was my introduction to Paris. And to be honest, it was a bit much. Beautiful, but excessive. I’ll be the first admit that I came to Paris, not wanting to like Paris. I knew it is an expensive city and I didn’t need yet another expensive city to be crazy about [London, I’m talking to you]. I knew a lot about Paris before I came here. I knew that if I didn’t resist its charms, I would regret it later. Sort of like that extra bottle of wine at dinner.
If cities were people, Paris would be a supermodel. Super hot, but incredibly high maintenance. It’s unreasonably expensive if you want to take full advantage of what the city has to offer. Compare that to Krakow, Budapest, or Prague; they are just as amazing– just not as famous.
Yes, Paris is beautiful. Gorgeous even. But still I think it’s overrated. But tourists seem completely infatuated with the city. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Eiffel Tower gets dry-humped a few times a day by overzealous tourists. [yes, I realize I am being crude]
Perhaps if Paris had been my first adventure instead of London [although to be honest, it took me years to warm up to London], I’d have a different opinion. Or maybe one needs to visit Paris as a couple. Or in the spring. Or perhaps I just have a completely different idea of romance than most.
Admittedly, I am sure I missed out a lot by not knowing French or not having a background in art history or not being a culinary snob. But I can see the city as a very livable city, if you are earning a local wage. The public transport system [I usedit over the holiday weekend; it was vomit-covered, but free] and bike-sharing system are among the best I’ve encountered.
Parisian Metro vomit–not quite the introduction that I was looking for
I can see the appeal of Paris as a vacation spot for tourists. Amazing art and architecture are everywhere so it’s like a massive orgy of tourism.
And I guess therein lies the problem. I stopped being a tourist about 7 years ago. My ideal way to travel now is slow and easy… to feel a city as a local. I don’t always get to do that, but it’s what I would prefer. And when you try to do that in Paris, you feel like a low-born serf. Cheap in Paris is still expensive.
In the two days I was there, I found people pretty helpful especially considering I can’t speak any French apart from “Bonjour, parlez-vous anglais?” and “s’il vous plait”. I mean strangers weren’t exactly inviting me home for glasses of wine, but I didn’t find them any more rude than say people in New York City. What I did see was rude tourists rambling on in English without any introduction. And if they weren’t understood, they would just speak louder. Parisians aren’t fucking deaf – they just don’t speak English.
My favorite parts of the city were Pere LaChaise cemetery and Notre Dame cathedral. Maybe it says more about me that I preferred hanging out with the dead than engaging with shopkeepers, waiter, or merchants.
Should you visit Paris? Sure, it’s definitely worth visiting. Especially if it’s your first time to Europe. Would I go back? Probably not, but I’d glad I checked it out.
If you’ve been to Paris, what did you think? Would you go back? What am I missing?