Category Archives: life

How Travel Has Helped Me To Be…. Me

You ever sit back and evaluate your life? I mean really sit and reflect on how far you’ve come? You remember that one thing that finally pushed you out of your comfort zone and sparked a change of pace for your growth? I can remember feeling like I needed something more out of the life I was living. I was merely existing, too scared to take a leap or give in to whatever crazy idea I had floating around in my head. Too scared of the possible outcomes of acting on something that I genuinely wanted to do. I placed limits on myself where there shouldn’t have been any.

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I went the majority of my life feeling like the person that I truly wanted to be wasn’t realistic. I couldn’t be adventurous with student loans. I couldn’t be inquisitive about exploring other parts of the world when I had a career to plan. I was responsible Latricia, who always made the most informed and logical decisions because I over analyzed everything. And then one day something happened. I stopped giving a f@$k. That one thing that pushed me out of my comfort zone? A plane ticket to Northern California. Travel is my thing. It keeps me sane and happy. Without it, I’m a grump.

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“I guess travel is so important to me because it gave me a voice I didn’t know I had.”

My path has not been easy ( I don’t think I know anyone who has had an easy path, honestly). But being able to travel has made it easier to balance, to center myself. I guess travel is so important to me because it gave me a voice I didn’t know I had. It made me more self aware. It made me less fearful. I gained a whole new outlook on life when I was in one of my darkest places. Meeting new people. Discovering new places. Immersing myself into a culture. Its all helped to shape me into the woman that I currently am. I’ve always been pretty self sufficient, but having to rely solely on myself and my ability to adapt to new things at a rapid pace in a completely foreign country has made me realize that I’m pretty f*$king fierce.

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I’ve learned that I enjoy my time alone more than anything else in this world. I stand firmer in my decisions to do things alone. And I’ve seen the fear of being alone slowly start to dissolve over the years since I ventured off onto my first solo trip. And yet on the contrary, travel has also turned me into somewhat of an extrovert. Me, the girl who would have instant anxiety attacks when walking through crowds of people in the student union on the way to class in college (social anxiety disorder is a bitch).

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Some may say that its not that deep. That life would go on without being able to take trips as freely as I want. And that is true. But man, would it suck (for me at least). Its like not being able to do the one thing that you’re passionate about. Life is all about finding your passions, exploring them and cultivating them. Life without passion is like sleep walking. I honestly am at a point now where I don’t know what I would do if I were not able to travel and explore. My ability to travel always come to mind when considering job offers. It comes into play when I plan out my yearly goals and when completing my personal budget.

“Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”
– Miriam Beard

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There’s like this secret bond that I develop with every place I visit. For the duration of my trip, the destination knows my fears, my worries, my stressors and anything else that may cause me grief. I begin to get comfortable enough to where none of those things even matter anymore. All that matters is the moment with which I am in. This goes back to what I said earlier about being centered. I don’t have the usual distractions that Im used to at home and this new place requires all of my attention. And when its time to go back home, I take a little bit of each place with me. These little bits serve as reminders. Reminding me that I took a chance on life and chose to actually live it, full force.

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Wanderlust-ing: My 2015-16 Travel Wish List

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So I have finally put the finishing touches on my travel wish list! Because my job’s fiscal year is September through August, I have to plan my trips around our year beginning and end. This also aids in knowing which locations I can visit during what times of year for the best price, based on busy/slow months at the office. The list stretches into 2016 (I’m pretty handy with budgets and spreadsheets). I also incorporated a “wild card”, just in case I find some extra money floating around. What places does your travel wish list consist of?

1. Tulum

2. New Orleans

3. Oregon

4. Niagara Falls

5. Breckenridge, CO

6. Big Bend National Park, TX

7. Belize

8. Great River Road Drive (Louisiana road trip)

9. Ireland

10. Charleston, SC (wildcard)

Backyard Musings: Elements of Serenity

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You ever drive through your hometown and set out to discover the yet to be discovered? Or maybe set out to capture the beauty of the unappreciated? That’s always been a goal of mine, even from a little girl. I was always determined to find my town’s best kept secret or at least pretend that it was.

Beaumont,TX (my hometown) is full of treasures. Although buried deep or often gone unnoticed, there are many points of interest I’ve always been drawn to. I’ve been going to Collier’s Ferry Park (or as the locals call it “The River”) since I was a little girl. My uncle would pull out the boat and we would go tubing during the summer. Every trip I would feel a rush of excitement, as if I didn’t only live ten minutes away. Even as an adult, I still sort of get a little excited. Often times as I got older, I would go just to be able to think. The silence is so calming. You could literally hear a pin drop. Its been said that pure silence is the best time to hear God speak. Either way, my little moments at the River have helped me think through many life decisions.

In recent years, my hometown has been the center of much controversy and scandal. It has seen many changes, some for the good but a lot of bad. Crime rates have rapidly increased alongside a failing school district. But somehow, I can’t seem to find it in my heart to completely forget where I’ve come from. I visit often, mainly because of family. But also because there is no place else like it. And because of places like the River, in all of its simplicity, still manages to exude a whimsical blanket of serenity whenever I’m near. To me, it feels like the calmest, quietest place in the entire town. Many of my friends who left vowing never to return may think I’m stuck in a fairyland for writing this. But I understand that no place is perfect, and there will always be trouble anywhere you go. I just choose not to let the bad completely overshadow all of the good that I’ve grown to appreciate. We all have our own things we find beautiful; our own aesthetic truths. Doesn’t always require a trip to a completely foreign place to realize either.

Head on Collision with My Biggest Fear

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Fear is paralyzing. It has the power to keep you from living, if you let it. But there are times when you succumb to fear out of pure stress and anxiety. In a previous post I briefly explained my mother’s battle with breast cancer. She was a fighter. Some days I wish I had half the fight she had. Seriously, some days I feel like the biggest chicken shit, even amidst the kudos I get for traveling alone. Nah, she was a REAL fearless, fighter. In a battle I was so sure she would win. But when you’re seven or eight years old, everyone is a superhero. And of course, her bill came due.

I’ve always worried about cancer, if it was genetic and if I was destined to get it. Obviously that’s not a given that I will, but the thought is scary as shit. I’m adamant about my check ups (I’m 28 and get mammograms). I mean, that’s only natural right? And then, there’s that feeling that I can’t let fear win because my mom didn’t.

At my last checkup, I discussed my family history and my concerns with my doctor. She stressed getting tested for the BRCA genes as a risk assessment measure and to better tailor my screenings. I had done some light research on testing and I had also read about women having their breasts removed who tested positive for the gene. The fear of finding out I had the gene and the millions of thoughts of death and worry that came with it overwhelmed me. I kind of felt that maybe it was best if I never found out, for my own peace of mind. But on the day I was visiting my doctor, I decided to go through with it. Strangely enough, my test is scheduled on what would have been my mother’s 60th birthday. I didn’t realize this until a few days ago.

I’m a little nervous, but this is what she would’ve wanted. And now, it is truly what I want. I feel like I’m facing one of my biggest fears, beating it to the punch. Not so much a post about travel or art, but maybe it’ll inspire someone:)

Onward and upward, positive vibes and good wine….

Random Ramblings: Finding My Way Back

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In case you didn’t know already, I initially went to undergrad for Fashion Design. How I ended up in Accounting, I’m still trying to figure out, but I like it. I eventually changed over to Merchandising after the last straw with the teaching assistant in my drawing class. Art is such a subjective area, there really is no right or wrong. Either you hate it or you love it. And the type of person I am, I worked my ass off to get the best grades possible, only to be met repeatedly with mediocre grades. Mind you, I had been drawing my entire life just about. It got to a point where something I loved so much instantly became a pain in the ass. So I switched majors. Some may say I was a quitter. I’d like to think I was more of a misguided freshman that didn’t really know exactly what was worth fighting for at the time. But I think I left my creativity at the switch.

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Random drawing from my first drawing class 10 years ago

I love art museums, shows, exhibits. I could spend all day roaming through them. That Iove I never lost. But I’ve found that over the years, its become increasingly harder for me to visualize things, as I have always been a visual learner. Picking out clothes, coordinating decorations, etc requires much more effort than it used to. And all the while I’ve been thinking “I miss my creativity, how do I get it back?”.  It’s true what they say. If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.

Still life sketch from undergrad
Still life sketch from undergrad

Welp, after sitting on the thought long enough, I went out and bought a sketch book and some pencils. I haven’t sketched in about 6 years. So you can imagine that the first sketch was rusty. But with the help of YouTube for some refreshers, I’m slowly easing my way back in. I try to carry my sketch book with me everywhere. Eventually, I want to get into figure drawing. I have always sucked at it and I switched majors before we really got to studying it. I miss my artsy, fartsy self. Late nights in the art lab, analyzing works for hours at a time, scaling still lifes with my pencil, re-upping on acrylic paint… all of it. I’m slowly getting back to it. The beauty in this life is the fact that you don’t have to be confined to just one thing and versatility goes a long way. Artsy Analyst has a nice ring to it.

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Music Mood Monday

This song pretty much describes my love affair with life, with travel, just everything. It reminds me just how much purpose we all have on this earth. We all have our stories to tell. Dear KING, can I hire you to soundtrack my life? Please?

On that note, coming down from one of life’s many highs, I got my first tattoo. Small chat (and drinks) over tacos led to a firm decision. I’ve been wanting the tattoo for ages, I was just too chicken shit to go through with it. Fairly simple but a subtly powerful testament. I am here and I’ve weathered many storms. And I’m still in the business of living. 28 years and counting.

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