A Decade of Travel

Florida, France, italy, mexico, Scotland, Travel

It has been ten and a half years since I took my first trip without my parents. In that decade I have learned a lot about the world, people, cultures, identities, food, wine, and maybe most importantly, myself.

Perhaps the most powerful thing about being on the road, about depending on only myself, about sleeping in strange places, about navigating subways is that you learn so very much about the person that resides inside. It is the quiet moments waiting on a subway platform or walking around a city all alone that you get to listen to the internal voice. It is disconnecting the cell phones and emails and constant bombardment of your life that you can listen to yourself.

In a decade on the road, where most adventures have been solo, I have found more pieces of me on the road than I ever would have staying put. On my own two feet I have found that I am strong, a problem solver, great at meeting people, good at budgeting, amusing and kind, great at navigating, good at picking up social queues and much more. My favorite part is finding out that I am in fact a brave and capable person, in spite of a society that tells women they’re not.

Perhaps my travel is a rebellion, as is all the other women that travel alone, to all the people that told me not to go. It’s a rebellion to the other women that told me to be scared and to stay home. It’s a rebellion to the men that warned me, or assumed my actions were reckless, or would have preferred I stayed home and did nothing. It’s a fight against the men that have tried to intimidate me, or have groped me, or have threatened me. I am saying, none of these actions, big or small, will keep me from embracing and existing in this world.

A decade of travel has emboldened me to be more outgoing and more bold to apply for promotions. A decade of travel has pushed me into scared moments of education and risk, and to walk away from crappy people and situations. Ten years of traveling has meant that I have found a voice, and a purpose, and I left my home town and I have never looked back.

While I get to own decade of travel it has only been facilitated by the support and care of family and friends that encouraged my journey. My grandma talked me through the planning and shared books and art resources for me to find. My family friends pushed me to visit them, or to make sure I went. In my college years my partner, now husband, supported my study abroad and Master’s work internationally. My mother took her own travel dreams and wove them into my own by connecting me with friends, and buying me books. My Great-Aunt and Uncle took me on my first trip without my parents. And so many more have helped me along the way, from teachers to mentors, to total strangers.

It is these hands of support and love that have encouraged me to become the confident traveler and woman I have. While I always will have more to learn about myself and the world, I know I have crafted a framework for success.

So dear reader, I deeply encourage you and the others in your life to get out there and see the world. It’s one of the most profound and moving experience that anyone can have.

Travel Is More Than Checklists

France, Ireland, italy, musings, Scotland, Travel

In my work, and my passion, there is a lot of talk about “bucket lists”. Bucket Lists, for those unaware, are lists of things and places one wants to go to before they “kick the bucket” aka drop dead.

While it’s great to have lists and goals, dreams and wishes, it’s also important not to lose track of all the other reasons one should travel.

No doubt I have my own goals I want to accomplish, and a bucket list a mile long, yet I know in my heart of hearts I travel for much more than checking off places.

When I was 19 and I took off to Europe by myself, I kept thinking “if I die now I will feel fulfilled”. I felt this when I saw Paris. Then again in London. Again in Edinburgh. Once again in Ireland….and I have felt it so many more times in eight and a half years. Yet I have not run out of places I want to visit, things I want to experiences, beauty I want to absorb. This is because the act of traveling is much more than coming home and saying “I have been here” it’s the stories, the people, and the moments that make traveling whole.

Some of my more vivid memories have nothing to do with making it to a place I always wanted to see. While seeing the Eiffel Tower was spectacular. I remember the same wonder at a funeral procession in the Orkney Islands. Something about those moments connected me deeper to humanity that I was witnessing, and the glory that was our existence. I laughed as much at a comedy show in Dublin as I did a little girl in a park in Blarney who was trying to talk me out of my crackers as I ate a picnic. I have wept seeing the Mona Lisa and the Birth of Venus, surrounded by hundreds of people, because of the connection we all felt through time and to ourselves and those around us in awe. I have also cried sitting alone on mountain tops, flabbergasted at the insignificance of my own size and existence.

My point is that travel is an emotional experience. Travel is a humanitarian experience. I travel to be more in love with the people I share earth with. I travel to be humbled at the beauty of nature. I have traveled to get closer to family and friends. I have traveled to escape family. Traveling means pushing my comfort levels to a breaking point. Traveling means eating food I never would try otherwise (hello escargot). Travel means drinking and eating at totally bizarre places and falling in love with it. Traveling means looking other people in the face and feeling connected to them, even if they are a complete stranger.

Because checking off lists holds you to a form, and the earth is far better explored in its natural chaos.

Travel is to live your life to its highest value.

Travel, in its pure form, is magic.

Happy Travels!

Accomplishments and Goals Part 2

musings

In part one 1 I began the discussion on the importance of taking note of your accomplishments and note of your goals to compare the two. This keeps one grounded on the road through life and aware that even small things are meant to be celebrated. Small things can be profound, and even our mistakes can mean we earned something. At the end of the day, the morsels from our achievements are sustenance to carry on, to be better, to be stronger, to carry on. While the journey may be rough, the goals are worth it.

Here is my shortlist of accomplishments I have made based on my own goals.
  • I graduated High School
  • I graduated from my Undergraduate program with a double major
  • I graduated from my Master’s program
  • I moved out of my childhood home and have not gone back
  • I financially support myself and help with my family expenses
  • I am happily married with a great husband and step-child
  • I have a job moving into a real career
  • I have a roof over my head
  • I have a newer car
  • I have plenty to eat
  • I have a fantastic circle of friends that love and support me
  • I have hosted a radio show
  • I have been published in a newspaper
  • I have survived the loss of loved ones
  • I have been to Paris
  • I have been to London
  • I have been to Rome
  • I have been to Florence
  • I have been to Edinburgh
  • I have had champagne in Champagne
  • I have cried at the Isle of Skye’s beauty
  • I have cried at the rolling hills of Ireland and their beauty
  • I have recovered from illness
  • I have danced on a table
  • I have held management positions
  • I have made positive changes to companies and organizations I work for
  • I have over 130 subscribers to my blog
  • I have made friends at every stage of my life
  • I have hiked all day
  • I have traveled to 13 different countries in two continents
  • I had a beautiful wedding
  • I made my wedding dress
  • I have photographed beautiful weddings
  • I have been to a beer festival
  • I have worn crazy outfits in public
  • I have loved deeply
  • I have had my heart broken
  • I have eaten exotic food
  • I have danced at a Burn’s Night
  • I have been to countless concerts
  • I own my own business
  • I create art
  • I have sold art
  • I have tattoos
  • I have tried different piercings
  • I have made mistakes
  • I have left things that don’t serve me
  • I have abandoned abuse for instability
  • I have found peace in therapy and support
  • I have an innovative eye
  • I inspire others to see the world
  • I have started to write books
  • I have shared my stories with others
  • I have delivered a eulogy to a crowd of people
  • I have shared pitches with my bosses
  • I am learning not to fear authority
  • I am learning new skills at my job
  • I am challenging myself each new year
  • I am a Girl Scout Troop Leader
  • I make art for those I love
  • I have a growing blog
  • I can read and write
  • I have read more books than I remember
  • I have worked since I was 17
  • I have worked to pay for my travels
  • I have traveled three times by myself to Europe
  • I did a study abroad program in Italy
  • I have cried at the Mona Lisa
  • I have made countless costumes for myself and others
  • I exercise 2-4 times a week
  • I have shared a love of history with children
  • I have acted in pays
  • I have adopted a pet that was homeless
  • I have been on a cruise
  • I have been to an all-inclusive resort
  • I have taken an airplane multiple places
  • I have taken a train multiple places
  • I have taken ferries to cross oceans
  • I have taken children on daily and travel adventures
  • I have witnessed nature’s unparalleled beauty.
  • I have woken up to bagpipes playing in Scotland
  • I have had my makeup and hair done professionally
  • I have had my nails done professionally
  • I have helped build homes
  • I have laughed so hard I have cried
  • I have survived being very ill
  • I have sang and drank with friendly Germans
  • I have danced and celebrated with happy Scots
  • I have been soaking wet due to bad travel planning
  • I have carried too much luggage
  • I have had flight delays
  • I am paying off my student loans

Part 3

Share your story in the comments!

I’m Your Fall “Basic Witch”

colorado, Colorado Events, love, musings, outdoors, Throwback Thursday, Travel

No shame in being Basic you all! I love the little things that come with fall.

Seriously, why do we mock the things that make the world a happier place? In a sea of crappy news and unsettling politics I am damn well delving into a sea of things I love, when I can.

That means enjoying some pumpkin pie spice flavored coffee and fuzzy pajamas. I will take my Girl Scout troop to a corn maze and I will go buy some pumpkins and carve them into some awesome designs. I will wear my black boots with skinny jeans and cute socks and all my scarves. Because these are things that make me smile. These are things that make my little life joy.

So this season I encourage you all to just love the things that bring you joy. If you love leaves, go roll in some. If you love pumpkin patches, frolic in one. Because, who cares? The reality is that your joy and helping small community farmers will bring happiness to someone else.

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One of the reasons that I love this stuff so much is because I grew up in the mountains where fall was such a short amount of time we barely enjoyed it before it was all gone. At 9,500 feet above sea level, the leaves change in September and by October 10th they are gone. There are no pumpkin patches or corn mazes because nothing grows that high. And the journey to such a thing was at least two hours away, a trip my parents could not afford.

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Yet, with all of these restrictions my mom made the most amazing treats in the fall and winter. Caramels and leaf cookies with brown sugar. Pumpkin pies you wanted to sink into and die because they were so divine. Roasts and potatoes and carrots that were perfectly savory and bone warming after cold days feeding horses and cows. There was always sweet and spicy hot chocolate and apple cider. All of it brings me a smile just thinking about it now.

So while I dreamed of haunted carriage rides, I had the divine sweets to make up for it. So to honor the fun, and my earliest memories of golden aspens, I delve into the joys of autumn with a happy heart and a love of all things.

I hope you do too.

What are your favorite seasons? What do you love to do?

My Diploma Hangs on the Wall

musings

My diploma hangs on the wall

It’s best friend by it’s side

One has a $60,000 price tag

The other $40,000

They’re beautiful pieces of paper

Expensive as they are.

 

They have a lot of memories attached

Memories of fun and learning

Memories of personal growth

There is travel mixed in there

and summers abroad.

 

They’re beautiful pieces of paper

Representative of education and time

They’re beautiful pieces of paper

that show my passage of time.

 

I even had them framed so that I am reminded

of all the hard work I’ve done

And of which I should be delighted.

 

Yet they hang there on the wall while I struggle to pay my bills.

 

They hang there on the wall while I try to keep my head up.

 

They hang there on the wall while I can’t pay my debt.

 

They hang there on the wall while I wait for my ship to come in.

 

A Vegetarian’s Take on Memphis Meat

food

Have you heard of Memphis Meat?

Founded in 2015 and based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Memphis Meats was created to provide a solution to many of the problems associated with conventional animal agriculture: environmental degradation, animal suffering and food products that contain high amounts of  fecal matter, antibiotic residues and other contaminants. The team combines decades of culinary and scientific expertise to develop a way to produce delicious, real meat (not plant-based meat substitutes) directly from animal cells, without the need to feed, breed or slaughter actual animals. The process is expected to be significantly better for the environment, the animals and human health. Memphis Meats is backed by SOS Ventures, New Crop Capital and Efficient Capacity, among others. For more information, visit www.memphismeats.com.”

It’s a pretty cool thing. It’s basically taking cells from “meat” AKA animals and allowing the cells to grow into what we know as meat. It’s actual meat from a scientific standpoint.

It’s meat with a minimal impact to the environment and animals didn’t have to die in the making of every hamburger and chicken breast.

It’s actually really cool in a wonderfully Frankenstein and scientific way. Take away any ethical concerns and at its base is a wonderful alternative. It also means that we have the start to remove ourselves from the horrors that is the commercialized meat system.

Many vegetarians would consider this a good chance to “eat meat again” and while I might consider it at some point another reason that I don’t eat meat is because I don’t crave it or miss it. Eating meat used to make me extremely sick to my stomach and when I stopped eating it a lot of my symptoms subsided. This is all in tie with my having celiac disease and a long story, however, “missing meat” is not part of my story.

I imagine a lot of vegetarians might agree.

However, what excites me the most, is that those I love, my fiance and my family, I could buy “meat” and not feel a nagging guilt on having anyone consuming it. I wouldn’t feel bad about animals dying, because animals didn’t die. That also means that I would have a relief of not having to worry about animals being treated cruelly. I also would lack some of the concerns around environmental impact and what the meat industry does. There would also be a reduction in health-related problems by being able to make meat more healthy and with less of the fat and problems that contribute to poor health.

That is, if Memphis Meat proves to be the viable company and production, which everything I have read is showing it will.

All around it could also mean an end to the meat industry and its environmental impact that is one of the leading contributors to global warming and pollutants. lobal warming and pollutants. 

Until Memphis Meat hits the market, and naturally some competitors, there are a few ways one can help without going veggie. It really all comes down to consuming less and being picky about what you consume. Eat meat with only one meal a day, or have a few days a week that are all veggie. Not only is it good for you, but it’s also good for the planet. Our power as consumers is also choosing how and what we buy and using our money as a vote for the kind of products we want to be available.

Take Care of Yourself

family, love, musings

This season is hard on a lot of people. Not only does it bring on financial pressure to travel, to buy food and gifts, but also an expectation of leaves many anxious around their finances. Myself included.

Add on any family conflict. Myself included.

A dash of missing loved ones that died this time of year, or that had birthdays this time of year, or anyone you spent the day with this time of year. It becomes really stressful and lonely. Myself included.

The problem I am having is being stuck in my head too much, and stuck at home too much. I work remotely about 50% of the time, so this isn’t surprising. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t feel isolated or even trapped. Mostly, because I’m not practicing the things I know that are important for a healthy state of being. For myself or anyone else.

So I remind you all to take time to reconnect to what your heart loves and craves. If it’s music, find a concert- even a free one at a church or school. If it’s a social gathering, find a book group with the library or local book store. Maybe try a coffee shop and use meet-up  to connect.

Perhaps you just really want to play with dogs all day? Try signing up as a doggy daycare provider with dogvacay or volunteer with a local shelter.

It’s not easy to know what to do, but there are options. I am currently finding odd jobs t pay bills and connect me with new ideas and people. I am also making an effort to see friends and get back into craft projects that keep me happy.

I leave you with an idea discussed last night, as dinner, with ones I love, BE BOLD, BE BRAVE, BE. Be your own advocate, be a voice of reason, be someone that picks themselves up and dust themselves off and carries on. Be loving, and BE. IF you have a dream, see what it would take to get there, and take a step to be there. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid of learning. Research. Imagine.

And finally, if you are feeling sad and vulnerable and scared, then acknowledge those feelings in a friendly way. As you would to another friend. Hug yourself, drink tea, watch a favorite movie, breathe, and eat well. Hug yourself, cuddle a pet and just do anything to make you feel better.

Sometimes it’s not even making anything better, at times you can’t, but just getting through the day, the week, the month, the year, and working on something better.

Love,

Rebecca Lee Robinson

Keep Track

Uncategorized

This was one of the first things I saw this morning:

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It really struck me too. Because it’s something so basic and simple, but yet it’s happening. These things are either being tucked away and hidden or new nastiness is seeping through the cracks to the mainstream.

Right before the election I head an analyst describe the Trump movement like fracking, we had tapped into a hidden oil stream. Except this time, it’s a sludge of hate, bigotry, lies, racist and misogyny and still people are making a lot of money on it.

Back to the tweet.

Which is really a picture of what Amy Siskind posted on her Facebook:

1. Acts of hate – for the first 400 per SPLC, I could name many that I had seen covered by the media. Then I noticed the count exceeded 700, and I realized I knew very little about those additional 300.
2. Reporters critique their own paper’s coverage of Trump, then delete it (see attached which disappeared overnight, after 2k+ retweets).
3. A president-elect is openly (on Twitter!) trying to take away our freedom of expressions, First Amendment rights: targets this week include SNL, NYT and Hamilton.
4. The media, including traditional media, covered an alt-right conference and published their demands, which included a ban on immigration for 50 years of anyone not white, and an all white nation.

5. Major media following Trump’s reality show storylines, instead of reporting as traditional media/journalism.

6. Democrats advocating for a Mitt Romney appointment to SOS [secretary of state] – a man with whom we agree on almost nothing on policy, but because he is competent and not a racist or a bigot.

7. The pace of untraditional, unorthodox acts, and conflicts of interest by Trump are coming so fast and furious, they’re barely getting coverage.

8. Utter outrage by the left at the complacency and largely silence of our elected leaders. Watch of a Tea Party-esque type uprising.

9. A request for tolerance for, and understanding of, white supremacists.
What observations would you add?

Let’s pick this apart, and let’s be honest about what is happening right now with “media” and with the coverage of this election.

Really, and fully, the media didn’t think we would be where we are now. Those that wanted it, now have it, and those like Breitbart are celebrating because they are getting free coverage of their issues. Their issues are amalgamations of “research” by a non-profit that Mr. Breitbart owns, that he has sent to media organizations to get coverage on. Which elevates his non-profit and then Breitbart can turn around and make sensational and ridiculous articles on. Making a strong, never-ending money making oil that has pulled many a good journalist into the mix. On the Media analyzed this today, which you can listen to here. All around you have someone that was very skilled in media manipulation and he won the game. He denied the presidency from someone that was actually skilled and delivered it soaked in sludge for the American public to devour.

The problem is that we didn’t start talking about this, really, actively talking, until now.

We let Trump dominate our news streams and say horrible things, and NOW we’re seeing the depth of his work and his plan to get where he is now.

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As someone with a MA in journalism, I am literally screaming on the inside that more was not done to analyze this relationship. This is also where I say, WE NEED BETTER JOURNALISM PRACTICES!

WE NEED LONG FORM JOURNALISM AGAIN

WE NEED REAL JOURNALISTS DOING JOURNALISM- meaning people with education, experience and standards

WE NEED TO HOLD PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS AND STATEMENTS- something we obviously didn’t do enough of with Trump because we didn’t take him seriously. Which means we also need to TAKE EXTREMIST GROUPS SERIOUSLY AND CALL THEM OUT.

AND I do not mean groups outside of the country, no I mean the ones that are our neighbors that hide behind confederate flags and Facebook memes.

Things have changed on a personal level for me. And maybe I have just had it with being bullied in my life from employers and “friends” and ignorant assholes online. I’ve changed and I’ve had it and that means that I have been actively not taking crap anymore. Which means I am butting heads with more people, where before I would walk away or not say anything. I’m sick of being a “nice girl” and never getting anywhere so I’m done with it, and I want to demand accountability. This means that I have been called names on social media and bullied.

I pissed off one guy for calling him out on his ignorance on the definition of “Celtic” peoples. I admittedly called him a douche. But instead of even reacting to my comment, he instead tweeted out my name to his 34,000 followers. Who decided to start attacking me in his name. I was told I was ugly and stupid and that my money spent getting my BA and MA would have been better spent on plastic surgery.

Other comments I have made on simple things such as a New Yorker comic, which was today, in that I liked the comic. Someone decided I needed to be called a LibBitch due to the way I wrote “You.Made.My.Day.”.

These are only two examples of the hundreds of statements I’ve heard since I was a teenager, including: Feminazi, libTard etc. Granted there have been others that were meant to be offensive such as dyke and cunt, but I don’t find those all that offensive, so…..

Even if these little things have happened to me, little things because they’re done behind a safety blanket of social media, they don’t matter that much. They sting a little. I’m getting a thick skin from this year. Yet, they’re VERY small potatoes compared to the OVER 700 crimes committed that are considered hate crimes in the last WEEK-AND-A-HALF. Crimes that involved physical assault and the ruining of property. Crimes that have threatened safety and families. Disgusting, cowardly and horrendous crimes that are creeping out of the sludge.

And like Siskind points out, our lack of thorough and high-quality journalism has meant that we worry more about Hamilton (a musical I LOVE btw) “offending Trump” than we are about the hate-crimes committed or the human rights violations dealing with the Dakota Access Pipeline.

While giving air-space to people like Richard Spencer, we’re not taking the time to fact-check and deeply discuss what people like him are saying and what it means that they’re saying these things. We’re not looking at these White-Supremacist meetings as anything serious, yet that’s how we got here in the first place. We’re not freaking out about Trumps administration because we’re distracted by all the other sludge he’s drowning us in.

And maybe, just maybe, we all (us historians and journalists and and left-leaning peoples) feel so low and shaken by this election that we are wanting to be optimistic and play by the rules of nice. Yet, as someone that has always played nice for 25 years and I’m regretting it, I say we only play nice when others are also going to follow the rules. So far, the Trump-ites are not, and I am refusing to play nice while we descend into allowing such extreme ideas become the norm. I refuse to let the sludge become a part of our normal existence, and you should too.

Keep track of the changes. Speak out. Refuse to be idle.

I’ve been down a lot over the last few years.

Let’s make it the last decade or so.

Things have been crazy, things have been hard, things have made me cry and scream and fight.

Blood, sweat and tears means way more to me now than ever before.

Because everything I have done has had some serious pieces of me poured into it. Bled into it.

I don’t take my work lightly, I put as much effort into it as I can. It’s not always perfect, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t care or that I didn’t try. Sometimes this doesn’t translate into an end product that everyone likes. Sometimes, people don’t give a shit.

When this is the case, we often feel down, malcontent, anxious and even miserable. Yet if I have learned from anything, the down, turns back up. The down is also a chance to turn things around and make something of significance to your own life!

Take the pain and frustration of a failure, or heartbreak or being frightened to tears, to find something about yourself.

Maybe it’s a chance to learn something new to make the “failure” better in the future. Perhaps it’s not even changing your work, but demanding respect and care from who you work for. Maybe it’s even realizing “bad” work atmospheres as they become visible and learning to get out when you can. Sometimes it’s learning how to make trustworthy friends and that you’re worth more than people treat you like.

Or maybe it’s time to learn a new language or a skill so you can market yourself, maybe just brush up on a set area. Learn a craft for your free time. Read a book you’ve not had time for.

The upside to falling down is that it can also shock your mind into realizing problems around you. When I was forced to resign from a second job in six months, I realized so clearly what I had felt in my gut. They were going with a company to do marketing and they were downsizing everywhere! It wasn’t me, it was the company making serious changes.Of which, I had ignored for weeks while I saw co-workers leave or conveniently retire. I ignored overheard phone calls, and being ghosted by my boss. Now I KNOW what to look for….and I know it wasn’t personal when several other people were also thrown under the bus.

I also have a much better understanding that just because somewhere looks like a good place to be on the outside, doesn’t mean it’s actually a candy center….often it’s toxic sludge.

So I urge you, if you are down, deep down, deep in the trenches….fight…fight for yourself and the ability to be better. Fight your way out and up and onward and I leave you with this song as a measure of hope.

Best,

Rebecca

 

The Upside of Down

musings