Chasing the Northern Lights

A few years ago, I decided that I wanted to see the Northern Lights and I’ve heard I read recently that the Northern Lights are starting to fade to the point that eventually they won’t be visible anymore. So I knew that I had to start planning a trip to chase the Northern Lights.  There’s no guarantee that you’ll see them, there’s no way to predict it so I decided that I needed to try to see them in multiple countries.  In 2015, I went to Iceland and missed the tours just by a few days and that ignited the official need to see them as soon as possible. So, I decided it was time to start figuring out what I wanted to do, where I wanted to see the lights and I began planning.

The things I needed to take into consideration:

  • Where did I want to actually see the lights?  I know that you can see them in Alaska but, I wanted to see them somewhere new and I’ve already been to Alaska.
  • Would this be a solo trip?
  • If not, who would be able to go with me and who would have the time to go with me?
  • How many days did I want to be gone?
  • When did I want to go?
  • Am I prepared to go traveling in the winter?
  • How remote did I want to go to guarantee that I could see them?
  • Could I add another new country to my list, maybe two?
  • What additional bucket list items could I cross off my list on this trip?

And so began the planning for my trip to chase the Northern Lights.

Moving again, new adult life.

So, I feel like this post is so fitting and deep down I’ve been waiting for that actual moment in my life where I can share this whole fauxadulthood thing that my blog is named after.  I have this running joke with my friends and family that I’m a pretend adult and to be honest, up until just a few days ago, it was 100% true.  To be honest, I’m still a pretend adult at this rate because of what I still need to learn and such but with this move to Seattle, I made some pretty big adult decisions that made me feel pretty cool.

Some background. When I was in college and had finally moved out of the dorms, I had a twin bed that was a hand-me-down from a friend who had upgraded their bed.  It was great because it was free.  I had that bed for two years and then my friend gave me her full size mattress and box spring because she was graduating and moving to another state. So I got rid of my twin mattress and upgraded to a full size, but I didn’t want to buy a frame so my box spring and mattress were housed on the floor of my apartment.  Later, I made my way to another apartment and decided to finally buy a frame.  At the time, I really wanted a very specific Ikea frame but the local Ikea didn’t have all the right pieces for my full size bed. So I purchased a queen size headboard and footboard with full size side boards.  If you can’t image it, it just means that my bed fit length wise but width wise, I had some extra space on one side which I then decided to use as storage.

I kept that box spring, mattress and mismatched frame for over 7 years and to 4 apartments. I can guarantee you this, movers will definitely be a little confused when they put together a bed frame that doesn’t quite fit and then you have to them it’s totally fine and normal.

When I made this move back to Seattle, I decided that it was time for me to actually become an adult and purchase a bed and a frame that actually fit my mattress.  Let me just tell you that sleeping in a queen size bed that actually fits the frame and I know that if I end up at the edge of the bed, there’s not an extra few inches to the side, is a great experience. I’ve definitely found myself diagonal in my bed, starfished in the very center and I have loved every minute of my adult bedroom.

That being said, I have a complaint.  Now I have random pillows and blankets that used to have a home by my mattress in that little 5 inch space because of my mismatched frame. And now. They’re just sitting on my floor staring at me wondering why they’ve been rejected to sitting on the floor.  I need to find a new place to store them, or I should be getting rid of all the blankets…

But it is official, I purchased an actual bed!

Museum of Ice Cream, Los Angeles

 

I remember when I first heard about the Museum of Ice Cream.  I was sitting at my desk, aimlessly surfing the internet trying to find things that were interesting and I found a Refinery 29 article stating that the Museum of Ice Cream was going to be in Los Angeles. Prior to this article, I was completely unaware of any museum that was focused on ice cream and I LOVE ice cream.  So I immediately started reading through the article and had to go to a team meeting.  This resulted in a group conversation about the museum and I knew that I had to get tickets. I ended up missing the date because I was a little too over eager about the tickets and tried to them through the American Express presale a day earlier than they actually went on sale and then life got busy.  So imagine the happiness I felt when I realized that they were renewing the museum for another round in July.  I placed a meeting notice on my calendar to ensure that I could buy tickets early and I was ready 5 minutes early frantically refreshing the page to ensure I bought the tickets.  I remember this day because there were four of us with the ticket screens on our monitors and talking about it for what felt like hours.  I successfully bought my tickets and then… I moved to Seattle.

In July, I flew back to Los Angeles for the Museum of Ice Cream.  I want to call this dedication but I think honestly, I pretended to use it as justification for going back to LA but I really didn’t need an additional reason to go back. Granted, there’s now a running joke that I’m secretly living in LA and commuting to Seattle. Hardy har har.

The Museum of Ice Cream is quite the experience. As someone who had their hopes up and really high expectations about this place, it didn’t disappoint but it didn’t quite meet my expectations.  I loved seeing the colorful displays, the artwork, trying the different types of ice cream and the interactive portions but it was a very short experience.

For those of you who don’t know anything about this museum, it’s designed to be completed in about 45 minutes.  There’s no one shuffling you through the exhibits but they’ve designed it in such a way that you can really only take so many pictures and do the activities for so long because you feel ready to move on. Plus there are hoards of people coming after you throughout the museum.  You start off the experience with a quick lowdown for a member of the team. Our “guide” was adorable and energetic which I think was a requirement for all the people who worked there.  Then we were guided into the first room, given some chocolate and then into a bright pink room full of telephones that provided the next set of instructions.  From there, we wandered into the California/Los Angeles ice cream themed room which was filled with murals of pink palm trees, the Hollywood sign replaced with the words “Ice Cream”, Hollywood stars with a fun twist on celebrity names, and some local ice cream that you could try.

Museum of Ice Cream, Los Angeles, CA

A post shared by WinnyC (@winny.c) on

After that, we made our way to a mint green room where they were growing mint and we got the chance to eat mint mochi ice cream, sticking with the theme obviously.  As we continued to make our way through, we went through other exhibits like one with a claw machine (which we didn’t win anything from), a room of black ice cream, giant popsicles, the sprinkle pool and the final room with a ping pong table, ice cream sandwich swing and gift shop.


Overall, it was a great experience and I’m really happy we had a chance to go.  I know that I had it all hyped up in my head but there is no part of me that is unhappy that we went. I don’t believe they’ve decided to stay in LA for another round and they’re all sold out.  But that being said, they’ve officially announced that they’re making their way up to San Francisco in September!  If you’re in the Bay Area, and can get access to tickets, I would definitely check it out.

2017, new beginnings

2016 started out as a year of fresh starts and changes. I moved to a new city, a new state, a new company and even did some crazy stuff with my hair. I took some risks I never thought I’d take. And as apart of those crazy changes, I started dating someone I never thought I’d date.

2017 started out rough and it’s been a year of rollercoasters. I moved again, but this time I moved back to a familiar place. I started yet another new job, did my first solo three day roadtrip, and ended the relationship that I never thought would have started.

In retrospect, there’s no part of me that regrets any decision I’ve made in my life, especially in the last year and a half. There’s no part of me that wishes something could have been done differently because in the end, everything happens for a reason. I was sad to leave Seattle, I was just as sad to leave LA. I was excited to start the new jobs, excited for the new relationship and broken hearted to end it all.

But maybe ending that relationship, my job and leaving LA was the perfect way to close that chapter. It still all feels new and the wound is still fresh. I find myself on the bus staring out the window at the city that once felt so much like home and wondering how long I’ll be here. And where my next move is, or maybe this is permanent. I find myself wondering ‘what if’ we had tried long distance, would we still be together?

In a way, I fell for a city and a guy all at the same time. They were my home when everything felt strange and terrifying.

To the city that showed me I could do anything, there will always be a special place in my heart for you.

To the boy who broke my heart, I’m disappointed it’s over, I’m hurt that I wasn’t enough, but I’m thankful for the time we had and what you taught me.

Back to Seattle

So I can officially say that I am back in Seattle for the time being. Making the formal decision to say that LA is not for me, the job that I had was not the right fit and start the process of finding something new was daunting and not something I was sure I was ready to.  I’ve heard from many people that it usually takes a bit of time to realize that you love LA.  Most of my friends have been telling me that it’s taken them about 2 years to decide that LA is a place they love and would never consider leaving. I truly wanted to stay in Los Angeles for at least 2 years so that I could make an informed decision as to whether this place was my home or a place that I was just temporarily hanging out in. Unfortunately due to my circumstances, staying the minimum of two years was not the right option for me at this time.

So I started the process of find a new job, seeing if another city would be a better option and found myself with a job up in Seattle. I tried to see if LA had an opportunity that would call my name but unfortunately, all opportunities appeared after I signed my offer back in Seattle. 

I’m back to being a Seattle-ite and we shall see how long I will be here for.  But I have to admit, it’s nice to be back.

Things I Do When I’m Bored

I went through a period of time where I needed to figure out how to entertain myself.  Part of this was driven by the fact that it was slow at work and the other part of it was that I was getting tired oft he internet.  Is that even okay to say?

Any way, I got pretty creative in terms of things that I did to keep myself entertained at work during this slow period:

  • Browse the internet (obviously) but for strange and interesting things.  Obviously I would check out things like the news, social media, etc but I would also bring myself down small little black holes of entertainment.  I went through and would find videos on Youtube that would lead me to other videos and then I just couldn’t stop.  Animals videos and music videos were my videos of choice during this time.
  • Organize my computer and the files on my hard drive.  This included and was not limited to decreasing the amount of photos that I kept on my desk top.  Deleting items from my computer that were taking up space and I would never need. Changing my computer background to something a bit more up beat and active.
  • This then led to organizing my emails.  I went through a major cleaning of all my emails, worked to get my inbox to under 100 emails and then created a filing system so that I could store everything.
  • Taking the long way to the bathroom.  I upped the steps per hour on my Fitbit so that I had to work harder to reach my hourly goal.  This meant taking the long way to the bathroom and having to do it often because….
  • Drinking an excessive amount of water.  I’ve always been a less than hydrated person and so this was the perfect opportunity for me to start consuming more water which would also mean that I had to take more trips to the water fountain.
  • Planning trips and planning hikes around Los Angeles.  I wanted to see everything and anything the city had to offer so by using this time to plan things, I could really get a better idea of what was available around the greater Los Angeles area.
  • Discovering new blogs.  There’s one that is beautifully done and amazing.  Check it out: Wallpaper
  • Sitting and having full on conversations with my coworkers about their lives and what they’re doing.  This meant moving significantly past the formalities and actually getting to learn more about the people around me.
  • Going for walks around the parking lot just after work to get some sun and exercise.
  • Updating my blog.
  • Practicing new languages (Duolingo is great)
  • Madly texting alll of my other friends. The way I see it, someone will respond eventually.
  • Planning my evening activities and my workouts for the remainder of the day.

Do you have anything you do when you’re bored at work or any additional suggestions? I’m always looking for entertainment.

My Faux Bucket list

A faux bucket list for someone who is a faux adulthood. This is only a faux list because it may not necessarily be a list of what I want to do before I die, but rather just a list of things I want to do and see. This includes things that I have done and things that I want to do.  This is constantly changing and updating, but here’s what I have so far:

  • Go to Finland and stay at the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort
  • See the Northern Lights
  • Visit the Segrada Familia
  • Go to the top of the Taipei 101
  • Go to Iceland and see the Hallgrimskirkja
  • See the glacial lagoons in Iceland
  • Go to the Elephant Sanctuary in Chiang Mai and play with elephants
  • Meet a panda and say hi
  • Meet a koala bear
  • Hold a koala bear
  • Zipline from Spain to Portugal
  • Go see the Great Wall of China
  • Eat Szechuan food in China
  • Visit Burma
  • Go visit Hobbiton
  • Drink wine in Italy
  • See the White Temple
  • Hike in Milford Sound
  • Ride in a helicopter
  • Hike a volcano
  • Go to the ramen street in Tokyo
  • Stand in the center of Shibuya crossing and take a photo
  • See the monkeys in the hot springs in Japan
  • Eat soondubu (soft tofu soup) in Korea
  • Eat pho from Vietnam
  • Cruise through Ha Long Bay
  • See the Emerald Buddha in the Grand Palace
  • See the hot air balloons in Turkey
  • Visit Angor Wat

 

Domestic travel habits

I’ve recently noticed that I do a few things when I travel domestically that I don’t do when I am traveling internationally.  I’ve noticed that these things have been driven out of convenience and the fact that I have access to my phone which I don’t usually do when I am traveling internationally (still old school and don’t get data when I travel internationally).  A few of these things that I only do when I am traveling domestically are:

  • I’m not as adventurous with my solo traveling when I am traveling domestically.  I am more okay with just sitting in a hotel or slow aimless wandering.  I don’t feel like I have to squeeze in as many things during those trips.
  • I am more willing to order food to my hotel room, not necessarily room service.  In fact usually not room service because it is expensive with that service charge.  But Uber Eats or Amazon Eats.  Yes, this has happened multiple times and it feels like I am exploring because I am trying a local restaurant but without the hassle of having to find it, wait in line and deal with people.
  • I find that I am more anti social when I am traveling domestically.  It might be because I am lazier or just not as adventurous but I am more inclined to not speak to anyone.
  • I will Amazon Prime Now food if I need to.   Yes this is a thing.  I did Amazon Prime Now groceries to the Cosmopolitan in Vegas for a bachelorette party. We didn’t have time to get snacks and groceries for the group prior to arriving at the hotel so instead we just had Amazon deliver snacks to the hotel and it was amazing.
  • I use the time at hotels to catch up on all the TV shows that I don’t typically have access to.  Yes. I do this. It’s sad but it’s true.
  • I shop significantly more than I do when I am traveling internationally.  I think it is because usually I am going to cities with stores that I don’t usually have and so it’s an opportunity for me to check out other things.  Plus, dependent on the city, the clothing options will differ and so you can find things that you wouldn’t find at your regular store back home.  While when I am traveling internationally, I am significantly more picky about shopping since I have even less room to bring stuff back with.
  • I am less picky about the food that I eat while I am traveling domestically.  When I am in another country, I will try to only eat food from those places but when I am traveling domestically, I will eat whatever sounds good.  I’ll try to eat only local restaurants but I like to keep my options open during that time.
  • I take a lot less pictures.  I don’t know if it is because I am focused on the area, if I’m distracted or because I don’t see as many things that I want to take photos of.  But I’ve noticed that the amount of photos that I have of domestic places I’ve been too are significantly less.

I’m not entirely sure why my travel habits are so drastically different between domestic and international travel but I think that it’s time for me to figure out how to up my travel game. I need to learn to better appreciate the experiences that I have regardless of where it is located.