Monday, February 24, 2014

A love letter to life

I am frequently exhausted, almost always have at least a hint of a cold, only make time to run about half as much as I'd like to, and often, like this past weekend, end up with something like churros for dinner at 10:30 pm rather than the healthy meal I imagine myself eating at a normal time.

But I absolutely love it. I love this life that I've chosen, that my job with Bus2alps has allowed me to live, more than words can say. As wayward as I am in actually updating my own blog, I'm a pretty devoted reader of quite a few other blogs, most of which detail day-to-day lives in America. Which I enjoy reading for multiple reasons--they remind me of home, they give me a glimpse into the type of life I might someday enjoy, they have pretty pictures...but for the life of me, I can't imagine living a life anywhere near that right now.

None of this is meant as an indictment on anyone who's chosen a career/life route that looks more typical than my current one--I respect and admire that in a lot of ways, and even tried it out myself without as much success as so many people I see excelling at chasing their own dreams more gracefully than I ever managed at home.

The thing is, on days like today, when I wake up to a sun-soaked Florence after a weekend in the French Riviera with moments that bordered on magical, and after (perhaps most importantly) a full night of sleep, I can't imagine being anywhere else. I don't think it's possible to be 23 and not dancing around some kind of doubt about what you're doing with your life (if I'm wrong, please let me know, because I would love to meet you). But the fact that I've been lucky enough to find myself living in Italy with a group of some of the most talented, hilarious, street-smart, beautiful, caring people I've ever met, showing people just a couple years younger than myself the sights that entrance me and have taken my breath away, is a kind of good fortune that, had you asked me a year ago, I didn't think I'd ever come across.

When people ask me if I like my job, my response that I'm living my dream life is not an exaggeration. Yes, there are everyday challenges and frustrations and a ceaselessly-growing to-do list that might make me give a different answer if you catch me in the wrong moment, but all in all, the fact that I worked my way out of a lifestyle that felt like a cage to live in this place means that there's nowhere else I'd rather be right now. 

So what is the point of this post? I guess it depends on who's reading. Had I read this a year ago, it would have been a lifeline of hope, a reassurance that if you want something fiercely enough, it is possible. That if seeing the world is something you dream of, you can make it into something more than a dream--a lesson I've been taught more and more every day by the people I've met along the way.

Happy travels, friends, in whatever way that might apply to your life!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Winter wonderland

Let's be real: I'm not cut out for the cold. Born and raised in California, my body typically starts shutting down organ by organ when the temperature dips below 50 degrees. But there are some places that make braving the cold more than worth it, and Interlaken, Switzerland is one of them.

I just got back to Europe after about a month at home, and hopped right off a plane to Rome onto a bus to the Alps for my Bus2alps orientation...makes sense. This is where I spent my last weekend before heading back to the states so I was more than ready to head back to this magical land. 

The weekend was a mix of meetings and snowy activities. We stayed in the cutest hostel that looks just like a little Swiss chalet and is a short walk to Lake Brienz, one of the most picturesque places on the planet. 

This was a weekend of a lot of firsts for me. I tried snow shoeing, which was basically a giant hike up a mountain followed by literally bounding down it in fresh powder almost up to my knees. It definitely involved more than one snowy tumble but was a ton of fun and provided some of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen.

There was also night sledding, which, it turns out, is not just sliding breezily down a hill. The whole steering thing kind of evaded me, but the following fondue dinner more than made up for it, and hanging out in the Alps after nightfall felt like a once in a lifetime chance. 

Suffice to say, I'm eagerly awaiting many more (I hope) Interlaken trips this season. Maybe next time I'll get brave enough to try this!