I love to write lists, sum-ups, goals (not resolutions) – I just like to write, yes :)) And usually this period around the new year start is a typical time when even those who don’t like to write, find their pens and papers, write lists of what was accomplished in the leaving year (or post them on social media), and then some even get to writing down the resolutions for the new year too.
A lover to write, I usually would gladly join the common listing fever. However, this time I opted out. I wrote down some wishes for myself in this new year (no resolutions, I don’t like the idea of them. Whenever I think “a resolution”, I feel like it’s too hard and kinda setting up for failure. I find that setting goals or making wishes is a much kinder approach :)). I didn’t do the sum-up of the leaving year. I looked back at it and thanked for everything it brought. But I felt that sharing the sum-up would be interesting to no one, not even myself 🙂
But there is one way to look back at year 2019 that I like. As I went through some of my old photos, I noticed there was much of one particular color in them. Of course, it was pink (surprise surprise). So this is what I want to do: to review 2019 in color-themed photos. One year in one color.
This will be the start of my road trip tale. Even though New York can feel like a whole universe, we wanted to see more. Once you fly over the ocean, you want to explore – but what to choose? USA is such a big country, and there is so much to visit! We settled on traveling along the East Coast – visiting three cities in the North (New York, Philly and Washington), flying to Atlanta and from there driving through Savannah and down South, all the way through Florida, visiting Saint Augustin, Cocoa Beach, Orlando, the natural park of Everglades, Miami and all the way down to Key West, at the end of the island chain stretching between the ocean and the Caribbean sea.
So, after three days in New York we took an early train to Philadelphia. It was a rainy day in NYC, good enough to leave the place – but Philly expected us with low temps around zero, cold wind and light snow. That’s why the alternative title to this post was “Feeling Chilly in Philly” 🙂 And as we usually do our exploring by walking, the weather made it challenging. But we made it any way, along with some disappointments and enchantments. Here I will share them all.
Sometimes everything we need for our creative energy to flow is to switch focus from our daily cares (especially in this busy month of December) and devote some time to ourselves. Investing some time in self-care can give a great payback. One evening I stepped out of my tiredness and did a simple “home spa” routine. Five minutes into it, and my mind was full of thoughts of what inspires me right now, and other ideas. So I want to share them here, together with my home spa routine.
Norwegian airline had this funny ad when launching their flights to USA. We see typical American images – Italian mafia-looking guys on the corner, roller-skating girls on a beach promenade, policemen holding a coffee cup and a donut – everyone on hold, every movement frozen. Then the red-tailed Norwegian plane lands and – “action”. Traffic starts moving and honking, Italians start talking, the policemen bite those donuts, the girls roll. Two Norwegian girls cross the street and a handsome guy asks them “How are you doin’?” And they say excited to each other: “Just like in the movies”.
What can I say, folks, about my first time in NYC? It’s just like in the movies! I kept on recognizing everything that I’d seen million times before. The subway entrances, the smoke from the sewer, the steps leading to the front door (like in “Sex and the City”), the fire staircases on the facades. And no matter the cold, the noise, the overpriced dinners – it was a thrilling feeling.
Ok, let’s talk about some wardrobe wisdom! Actually I wanted to start pouring my heart out over New York, but Vero with her post about style today prompted me to write this one. Honestly, I have been thinking of writing it since I came back from Norway – after 3 months there with only one suitcase. But the inspiration kicked in only now (thank you, Vero!).
This summer I went to Norway for two summer months which turned out to be three months, and very diverse ones. I packed well to be prepared for what a «Norwegian summer» may bring. Two pairs of jeans and a hoodie, a rain jacket, some cardigans, a pair of sneakers, because this is just how summer in Norway can be (and it was. Greeting me with cold and rain). I also threw in a pile of t-shirts, three pair of sandals (why three? I still don’t know why, I never used them all), a summer dress and a pair of shorts.
What I wasn’t prepared for is that we spontaneously had to stay one month more, which was September. And September took us very fast from a mild autumn to almost winter. September in Oslo was suddenly colder than December in Barcelona. And I had to do some urgent shopping. A light winter jacket, a beanie and gloves were just essential for survival. I also had to buy two sweaters since I had none. And my biggest problem was jeans. I was tired of using all the same jeans over three months, and my man said: «Just go buy some new». Haha, if he only knew that finding your perfect jeans is like finding your perfect man. Nothing is as difficult as shopping for jeans, agree?
Yesterday we were walking in the heat of +30 in Miami and watching the city from the metro mover, a little train going really high. Today we were looking at the sunrise over the snow-covered mountains of Pyrenees while landing in Barcelona. It means that we are back! Back from our USA road trip. Which will be The Epic Road Trip of my life. But that I will realize much later.
I have missed my home and my “normal” life. My bed, my fridge and my kettle. I have missed this blog! I have heard that some of you have missed me too (salut, Vero and Snow!) – oh, that is so touching! I have missed you too!
I was away for three weeks and I thought I’d throw an occasional post here (so I never warned there would be such a long silence). I was dreaming once of traveling and blogging along the way. But now really I don’t know how people do it. Because after a day of exploring – of driving, searching and finding, asking and learning – my mind was exploding inside my head (does exploring equal exploding?😆). And to create a blog post was the last idea I would pick up. So much energy went to process all the inputs, that I has nothing left to make an output. How do those travel bloggers do it?
What I appreciated during this time is Instagram (yes, I am back on it. After a year of a break from it I am back). Especially its function of Stories (sharing photos and videos just for 24 hours). I would share them in the evening, creating a visual diary of my day – without much strife for perfection. And while I have bags to unpack and million of photos to go through on my camera – I would share here some images from Instagram. If you follow me there, you’ve seen them all (if you want to follow, you’ll find me by @marina.exploring). Images and words. Because with all the respect for the visual bit, I really love words!
I remember when I was a teen, I loved watching the photos of interior magazines – and it always had this one effect on me. After a short while I would look away from the photos and around: and notice beauty everywhere. The everyday beauty of small simple things which would usually escape from my eye. But in these moments everything felt like magic – like opening some secret ability to see beauty in everything.
I still feel this effect now. This is one of the reasons I keep on buying those magazines. After some minutes I can turn my gaze to my own place and feel inspired. Sometimes I take my camera and start taking photos of those small simple things. Because they are so lovely.
And if our life is often more about simple everyday things, why not make it into a good habit – to notice the niceness of them more often? May it be my practice!
If you happen to travel in the North of Catalonia, make sure to pop by in Empuriabrava, the town of channels. If you check it in Google Maps, you will see that this place has as many channels as streets 🙂 It seems also that it has as many boats as cars 🙂
If you don’t own a boat, it’s ok. You can always take a touristic boat ride, or stroll along the main street and the biggest channel, watching the houses by the water, the boats with a mountain backdrop – and dream about spending a summer here … or about whatever you want to dream of :))
This summer lilac seemed to be the trendiest color. Or better say, its lavender shade. I’ve seen dresses and t-shirts, bottles and bags in that color. And I found it lovely every time.
At that very time I decided to do the photo hunt for all different shades of lilac and violet (which is one of my favorite colors). But only now did I come to the wish of sharing my finds.
I may seem to be careless and dreamy as I write this now. But actually I do this post from Barcelona which has seen five days of protests against the sentence for the political prisoners. Some of protests were more violent than usually (the Catalans tend to be peaceful in their fight). Today is the day of the biggest demonstration with thousands of people walking from all of Catalonia to Barcelona. It is the day of general strike too. Read More »
I should have written this before. I actually wanted to write about “Joys of Being Back” in my first weeks in Oslo. But love is felt at its most when it’s time to say good-bye, ironically – and as I sit on my return ticket I feel more for expressing it now :)) Plus there is such a lovely sunny day in Oslo. Plus I had such an amazing night yesterday, meeting one of my best friends for dinner and going out to dance salsa later.
Before it is too late – I want to share my reasons to love Oslo. Now or never :))