I’ve been traveling for almost five months! I’ll save reflections on my travels thus far, and how I feel, what I’ve learned, etc., for another post. But one theme that has been consistent throughout: embracing change and not being afraid to try something new! At the beginning of these adventures I thought: if there ever was a time to do something crazy/drastic with my hair, this period of travel/funemployment is it. But took me awhile until I was inspired to take the leap. When I decided to do so, I knew there was only one person I could trust with such a dramatic change- my stylist (and friend) of five years, LoAnn. Seriously people, if you live in DC and go anywhere other than Salon L’Eau… why?! So I built my trip back to the U.S. starting with a couple days in DC, so I could get my hair done; bonus was spending time with a few dear friends, including Jerome, Jennifer, John, Ursula, Melissa, Grace, Sachin, and even a surprise visit by Nancy and Brian (who also happened to be in DC at the same time). I spent so much time really enjoying time with all these wonderful people that I failed to get photos with most of them. D’oh!
When I arrived to the salon, LoAnn and I realized there had been some miscommunication and what I wanted typically takes an entire day, if not a few hours spread over two days. So while LoAnn freaked out, I remained remarkably calm, knowing that she is SO good that even if she wouldn’t have time to finish, I’d still look great. I wanted a dramatic change, and that’s what I got! I love, love, love long hair but mine had been boycotting me for months (it just wouldn’t grow) and life is too short to hate your hair, so change was very welcome. Plus, it had been TEN years since I last chopped my hair off. No time like the present! Until very recently, I never thought I’d bleach my hair or go so light (assumed it just wouldn’t work, especially with my dark eyebrows). As with just about everything else I’ve taken a chance on in the past few months… LOVE IT!
After less than two full days in DC, I hopped onto a plane and headed to Tampa, FL, to spend a couple days with my BFF from college, Mandi, and her fabulous family (ok, so Rob was at work or asleep pretty much the entire time I was there and Trenton at school and sports, so mostly girl time- which includes lots of cuddles and kisses from their crazy cute dog, Patches). Lucky me, another good girlfriend from DC moved to Tampa (shortly after I departed DC), so Maggie joined us and we had a fun girls’ night out.
Less than two days after landing in Tampa, I was off again! This time headed back home. My parents were sweet enough to take time off work and drive the two hours north to pick me up from the St. Louis airport. My ride-or-die travel buddy (and one of my BFFs), Laka, met us for lunch. I so appreciate all the awesome people who have carved time out of their busy schedules to come meet me and hang out, even if only an hour or two! #squadgoals all the way! We headed back down to Cape, where I spent the short amount of time I had at home running errands, doing laundry, and repacking. And then up at 4:30am on Saturday morning (less than two days after arriving to Missouri… yes, I was crazy when I planned all of this) so I’d be ready for the airport shuttle that was picking all of us up at 5am. By 11amPT, the folks and I were in sunny SoCal. Our reason for the trip to LA: my cousin Bryan’s wedding to the adorable Ali. This couple has been together longer than most marriages last, so that doubled the fun in celebrating their union with them. And my uncle Dan and aunt Julie (and Julie’s BFF, Lynette, also fabulous) were kind enough to switch hotels to stay in Manhattan Beach (“MB”) at the same place as my folks, so we were able to maximize Maguire family time. Though not nearly enough time with my cuz Meghan (and her adorable hubby Danny)- so Meghan, I’m expecting you to visit me during my travel adventures for more girl time 😉
While the family crashed at the Residence Inn MB (definitely recommend!), I stayed with Xuan in Hermosa Beach. Xuan was one of the first friends I made when I moved to MB May 2017 (friends of friends network for the win, again!) and it was so nice to spend extra time with him and stay in his FABULOUS dream beach home. It was so nice to be back in LA and definitely reconfirmed that, unless I find myself somewhere to land abroad, this is the place I want to call home again when I’m finally done with my travels.
When the wedding and family festivities wrapped up, and I put my folks back on a plane for Missouri, I then took off for Joshua Tree with Marc (another friend-of-friend introduction last year) and his awesome pup Cambo. I’m such a nature/outdoorsy/hiking girl, so one big regret I had when I left LA for my travels was never making it out to Joshua Tree National Park when I lived only 2.5 hours away! When I planned my travels in the U.S., I decided to leave one extra week in LA before taking off again. I wanted to catch up with friends, and thanks to Marc (for driving and making arrangements), I got to go for a great hike (Ryan Mountain, total of 3 miles roundtrip with first 1.5 miles pure incline up Ryan Mountain, which makes it a moderately strenuous hike) and enjoy Joshua Tree. We camped in this awesome trailer Marc found on Airbnb (#bigbluethetrailer). One note about the photos below: technically, you are not allowed to have dogs on the hiking trails inside the park. The park allows dogs inside the park- they can camp with you, but you can’t leave them behind (at campsite, in an RV, or car), regardless of weather, and you’re not supposed to hike with them. Trails weren’t too crowded (so low risk of bothering people or running into a park ranger) and the weather was awesome (sunny but not hot, so low risk of Cambo getting overheated), so Cambo came along- and loved every bit of it. But please don’t read this and think: I too should take my dog for a hike in Joshua Tree, because if you do so, it’s at your own risk.
My final photo for this post is of the Hermosa Beach Pier at night. Because I failed to get photos with Matt, Lindsee, Nick, Alex, and Lisa, all of whom I hung out with while back in LA. Thanks for the beautiful visit LA, it was wonderful exploring nature and being surrounded by family, friends, and lots of love.
100 Day Meditation Challenge
I was having a great conversation with my life/career coach (yes, I have one, it’s just largely been on hold since I decided to put things on pause and travel abroad) and knowing that I’ve never quite succeeded at getting in the habit of meditation regularly, she challenged me to complete 100 days of meditating. And post it on this blog, for additional accountability. So here’s my declaration! I started yesterday, upon arriving in Hawaii, and will continue through mid-February. I do not intend to post updates regularly, but if you have questions (or want to check I’m sticking to it) please message me or comment. I’ll definitely provide an update at the end.