This is my 400th Post.

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It seems totally insane that I started this blog in October of 2010 and it’s now March of 2014. Seems like a good time for a little reflection, doesn’t it? So, how has my life changed in 400 posts?

~ I’m not a jewelry designer anymore.

~ I’m not in a long-term (14 year) relationship anymore.

~  I’m not in a 3 1/2 year relationship anymore either.

~ Yes, that makes me very much single at 42 years old. Which is like, totally OK!

~ Travel wise, I’m still not over the fact that I might have hit my travel peak with that 6 months in Europe. I  think about that trip on a daily basis and wonder/hope/fantasize about doing it again.

~ I’ve been to New York City, Toronto and did an epic and insane road trip through the Western States in the past year.

~ I’m selling my art at farmers markets and craft shows. Micro business this time, low overhead, low stress and maximum happiness.

~ Speaking of happiness, after a craptastic 2013 I’m HAPPY to report that I feel like I’m starting to understand better just what it IS that makes me happy. And if not happy, at least content.

~ My dog Henry is still alive and kicking. More than kicking actually. He has a new lease on life now that he’s on glucosamine for his bad knees. He’s like a puppy again!

~ I went back to school to study Digital Communications at SFU.

~ I’ve been a published (and paid!) writer for various websites.

~ I’m on Instagram now and am a total addict (after dissing it for months.)

~I discovered my love for teaching. Helping little people (ie. kids) find their creativity and have fun colouring outside the lines is more enriching and hilarious than I ever could have imagined. 

People always ask me what my favorite places were when I was in Europe. There are SO many places that I would revisit in a heartbeat, but two countries stand out in particular for very different reasons.

France and Turkey.

In France I felt like I had come home, or rather that I had been born in the wrong country, because I have zero French blood in me. I’m pretty much as German a girl as you can get (well, other than my 1/4 Ukrainian) but I somehow identified with this country that values food, beauty and simplicity above all else. When I think of France I get caught up in the romance of it all.

Say what you will about the French people, I found them lovely. I stuffed my face with croissants, macarons, fine chocolates and cheese.  I absorbed as much art as my heart could handle. I visited The Louvre, The Orangerie, Musee D’Orsay and the Rodin Museum, amongst others. I walked. Oh how I walked. I gave myself blisters like I’ve never had before. Remember, when I was in Paris it was all so fresh and new as it was still the first couple of weeks of my travels and I was (how do we say?) a tad eager.

Paris was everything I imagined and more. When can I get back there?

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Reflecting on the adventure I was about to embark on from the lovely French apartment I was staying at.

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Notre Dame Cathedral baby!

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Say what you will about the pyramid. It’s cool.

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Feeling French in the adorable town of Dinan.

In Turkey I felt the exact opposite as I did in France. It was by far the most foreign place I’d ever been. It didn’t feel familiar at all. It was stinky, it was hot, it was loud and it was congested with SO many people  and I loved every single thing about it. On my way into Istanbul from the airport I remember looking out the taxi window and seeing the Hagia Sophia for the first time. It was dusk, and the call to prayer suddenly filled my ears. It chilled me to my core, and stirred up something inside me that I’ve never felt before. I felt more alive than I ever have anywhere else in the world.

Somehow the strangeness of it was like a breath of fresh air somehow. I’d been traveling for 5 months at this point and had seen so many cathedrals, art galleries and quaint cobbled streets that suddenly here I was in Istanbul and my senses were completely overwhelmed. I felt more confident by the time I got to Turkey. I felt like a savvy, experienced traveler by this point and possibly took more risks, but got more of a payoff. I met so many interesting people, and got to tick some biggies off my bucket list (Mount Nemrut, hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia, the Pamukkale travertines, Ephesus, and going to a hammam.). Turkey was (in a word) epic.

I can’t wait to see where my life is in another 100 posts. Hopefully somewhere exotic and exciting with a cold drink and a hot man by my side. I’m READY for my next great adventure!

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Wandering the streets of Istanbul.

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Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia.

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Hanging out with the heads on Mount Nemrut at sunrise.

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Sweating my nards off in Pamukkale at the travertines. You know it’s hot when the hot pools feel cooler than the air.

 

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10 Responses to This is my 400th Post.

  1. Katie March 22, 2014 at 11:36 am #

    Yay for you! Congrats on 400 and here’s to 1000 more!

    • Andrea March 24, 2014 at 4:47 pm #

      Thanks Katie!!!! I hope to meet up with you guys )somewhere?) on your travels sometime! That would be epic!

  2. Henry | @fotoeins March 22, 2014 at 9:48 pm #

    Andrea, I love the apparent contrasts between France and Turkey, but somehow, in the end, there’s a certain similarity, whether it’s by “European extent/contact”, or simply by the fact that human beings are everywhere. I’m a huge fan of Europe, particularly Germany, so there’s a certain “pull” that calls me back there a lot. Congratulations on surpassing 400; here’s to more experiences and another 400 (posts) to come!

    • Andrea March 24, 2014 at 4:49 pm #

      Thanks Henry! I agree… the two countries are more similar than different, because in the end people are people. Travel is the best thing to bring your world in closer, isn’t it?

  3. Phyllis Mueller March 23, 2014 at 6:19 am #

    Wow, when you look at it all in print, it’s been a pretty impressive few years. You’ve accomplished a lot, made a lot of changes and stayed pretty cool doing it. Looking forward to what’s down the road Andrea. xo yo mama

    • Andrea March 24, 2014 at 4:50 pm #

      Thanks mama! (Ha ha!) So much of my success is due to my amazing parents, so for that I say a sincere thank you. (:

  4. Michele March 24, 2014 at 10:26 am #

    What Phyllis said. I love this post, Andrea. It’s such a beautiful and vivid portrait of the adventures and experiences you’ve had in the last four years. I’m in awe of the fearless way you’ve been living, seriously in awe. Especially because I know you’re *not* fearless but, dang! Whether you’re ignoring your fear or just pushing through it, it’s AMAZING. You’re amazing! I look forward to following along as you move forward, so please keep blogging. 400 posts! So cool.

    • Andrea March 24, 2014 at 4:51 pm #

      Thanks Michele!!! I am most definitely not fearless, but I CAN say that I’m willing to fell the fear and do it anyways now, whereas in the past I would have hidden myself away instead. You get less payoff if you don’t take the risk, I guess!

  5. Delicious Europe Travels March 27, 2014 at 3:17 pm #

    Congratulations on 400 posts! I’ll be happy if I make it to 100 posts. :) Great photos and i hear Turkey is amazing. It’s somewhere I hope to visit in the next few years.

  6. Elisa November 30, 2014 at 2:57 pm #

    Congratulations on your 400th post!

    And well done on figuring out what makes you happy, that is quite a feat in itself!

    I enjoyed your recounting of these trips very much. I especially loved how you talked about Turkey: it was foreign, it was stinky, and I loved it all :-) Now I really want to visit, just to see if I feel the same!

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