10 days! 

Hotels, hostels, & AirBnBs all booked and logged in each offline map; train tickets booked, itinerary meticulously complete, stuff purchased, packing planned, hair scheduled, dogs taken care of… Now to get the job under wraps, while impatiently and anxiously twiddling my thumbs for the next week. 10 countries. 17 days. 2 backpacks. 😱 Ack!
I have to thank Jackie at The Budget Minded Traveler for her awesome packing advice. I swear I’ve looked at every article/blog on packing advice, but hers was far and away the best. I love how she updates lists with what worked, what didn’t, what she didn’t end up using, etc. I’ll probably still overpack, but I’m feeling much better about it. I’m bummed I can’t justify bringing my new kickass hiking shoes, but it is what it is. I had this totally narcissistic vision of epic Matterhorn pictures wearing them like some sort of not-noob-tourist, but whatever. 

I’ll post photos of what I actually end up packing as it happens. Hopefully it’ll be helpful to a reader, and will be good future reference for me. 

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I left my… 

Cellphone. In San Francisco. Not really, almost though. I left it in a bathroom of that god awful airport and got all the way to ticketing before I realized what I had done. Thank the stars it was a deserted bathroom in a buried corner somewhere in between terminal 2 and the clusterfuck that is the international terminal. Ran all the way back, duffel over one shoulder and two-handing my egregiously heavy and broken tote (thanks MacBook), and burst into the bathroom to find my iPhone exactly where I left it, sitting on top of the TP dispenser. Gross, I know, but had I left it in my back pocket it would have fallen on the even grosser floor and I also didn’t want it to get lost in the vortex of my defunct tote. 

Anyhow, San Francisco is beautiful, and it’s charming (sometimes), yet overall pretty  fucking weird.  And I’m from Portland, so you’d think I’d have seen it all by now. Nope. Even I couldn’t prevent myself from gawking judgingly at the (badly) synchronized roller skating in golden gate park, complimented by the dirty tweakers swaying unsteadily near the kindergarten outing. What.

I told my friend that San Francisco’s cumulative fashion sense was like the party child of Nirvana and a Forever21 mannequin hastily dressed by a hungover freshman who doesn’t give a shit. I’ve never experienced a city so reluctant to give up its combat boots.

But, I digress. I was unfortunately not there long enough to really see or do much of anything. The downside of business travel. But what I did end up seeing was either fascinating, or lovely, and sometimes both. 

First up, coastline and the ubiquitous Golden Gate Bridge (at a distance). Driving around led us to this lovely and lonely little beach underneath a residential area. Those houses were not the cheap seats, let me tell you.


Next up, omg the flora! This city is succulent paradise, with me plantgasming all over the place. As you can see, here I am, clearly having a great time: 


I get shit for this constantly. I am the resting bitch face poster child. Sigh. It is what it is. 🙄

Here’s more flower and pretty architecture photos:



San Francisco will also be remembered as the place where I learned an important lesson about getting older and mixing food (or more accurately, lack thereof), wine, and new medication. Yikes. And here is me, summing up the experience in possibly the most authentic way: 


You do you, SanFran. 

It’s not obsessing, it’s planning.

18 days until Europe.

I’M GOING TO EUROPE IN 18 DAYS.

ack!

I’m not the type of person that gets super excited before a trip, because I am always too focused on obsessing planning to really soak in the anticipation of it all. And, goddamn, have I planned. More on this later.

But, after deciding on a whim to extend our trip for a few more days, and then figuring out what we could DO with said days, I then allowed myself (or, maybe it was just impossible to keep down), a few moments of hyper giddy, arm-flapping, squealing, face-contorting moments of pure excitement. It was glorious. This was basically me:

giphy

And now it’s gone. It was followed up with a fresh round of anxiety and stress, and at least another 10 hours of research, and finally now everything is pretty much all planned and now I only have to think about what to brincg. Which is a whole new post in itself. Anyhow.

What got me so excited? Um, only the MATTERHORN. You know, nbd. Insert yeti!!

We are going to overnight in Zermatt, Switzerland and do the five lakes hike! As much as I am so looking forward to soaking up the cities and experiencing the history- the Matterhorn is on another level. When I think about it, why it gets me going besides all of the obvious reasons (beauty, nature, etc), well,  I think it brings me back to a place of literal childhood wonder. I have a memory of being at Disneyland, and my dad excitedly talking about the Matterhorn rollercoaster. He almost had a sense of reverence about the mountain’s significance, or fame, and it’s always stuck with me.

I never thought I’d see this in my life. I guess I always thought it was unreachable, figuratively and literally.

We will also be taking the famed Bernina express, and staying in Bergamo, Italy for two lovely nights.

But. The Matterhorn.

This is going to be one hell of a trip.

Two dogs in a blanket

My sketching teacher has been AWOL for working on two weeks now, but it gives us impetus to come up with our own things. I felt guilty for not sketching for like five days, and I was SO TIRED of watching boring television, that I decided just to draw what I saw.

Didn’t even finish my wine.

I’m not unhappy with this. It’s rough, it’s juvenile, and I still can’t figure out perspective and shading (especially when color is involved) but I feel like I’m starting to develop a style. I didn’t obsess (too much) over details and the need to be super realistic, and I tried to keep the lines simple. I want to eventually have this illustrative, simple & somewhat loose style. I want people to recognize the subject without compromising the “art” and individuality of it. I have to keep reminding myself that it’s not a photograph for a reason.

The 90’s called…

They want their logo back. 

I think I was channeling my inner 9th grader when I made this… I think it’s safe to say that typography isn’t my thing. That being said, this would make a totally rad tank-top and/or wetsuit for waterskiing. Literally, let go of the handle!! 😂

*This design for commercial use for No Fear or Bad Boys inc. only*