Rainy Day in Brighton

Rainy Day in Brighton

I am [sadly] back from my 10-day Europe birthday trip, but I could not wait to get a new blog post up for you guys! This time around, I am not going to write a blog post about London as I have done that quite a few times on this blog, but a vlog will be coming in the very near future! However, one of the five days we had in London was spent on a day trip to the coastal town of Brighton. In typical U.K. fashion, it was gray and rainy in this town called Brighton, but–as always–we didn’t let it stop us.

After an emergency layer-shopping trip because we were underdressed (hence the gray long-sleeve), we headed to Nando’s for lunch and down to the beach before the rain hit.

Though the town does not have much to offer besides the main shopping center, the rocky beach, and the Brighton Pier, it’s a cheap and quick option for a day trip out of London. Seriously, the train ride was only an hour and it was $28 per person roundtrip!

As with most places in the world, I am sure it is a lot more lively in the peak summer season or when football (read: soccer) is on. Though I do not see myself visiting again, I would still highly recommend as a day trip option if only to explore more of the U.K.!

What are some other quick day trips in and out of London y’all recommend? Manchester is definitely in the books, but I’m curious to know more. Let me know in the comments!

xx, AE

25 & Feelin’ Alive

Ever since I can remember, I have always been excited to be 25. I didn’t have any feelings about 18 and even 21 didn’t feel significantly different. But something about 25 always felt complete. Now that I am 25, I can feel a difference, but I also know this change has been developing over the first four months of the year.

These days, my priority is learning to be unapologetically myself. Though I continue to freak out about little things, I am trying to develop it as a habit. I am undoing a decade’s worth of ‘performing’ for others. I somehow convinced myself that if I act how I think others want me to act (read: agreeable), people will like me, but that has never proven to be true. Instead, I was left with empty relationships wondering why they were not reciprocated and instead focusing on what I could do to convince them they need me in their life. This led to many, many mistakes and countless heartbreaks. Why should I convince someone they need me? How does it benefit me to beg someone to keep me in their life? It sounds like common sense, but once you get stuck in a pattern, it’s hard to pull yourself out. Now, I can see more clearly.

When I was picking a senior quote in high school, I settled on a different quote than my first choice by Judy Garland; I should have followed my gut because my first choice is now more resonant than ever:
Always be a first-rate version of yourself instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.”

I like to think this quote burrowed itself in my subconscious because I knew there would come a time when I needed to be reminded of it: that time is now. I must admit that sometimes I catch myself wondering which part of my personality is really mine or, instead, long-term adaptations of people who have come and gone throughout my life. The important thing, however, is to focus on the person I am now and the person I aspire to be.

I know 25–and life after–is not going to be smooth-sailing, but I am looking forward to the new challenges in this next quarter of life. I am excited for bigger changes and pushing myself out of my comfort zone as I start to love and accept myself for who I am. I have wasted the bulk of my 25 years on Earth hiding, both literally and figuratively. But now is the time to have courage and live in my own skin.

I have absolutely no idea what happens next or why I even expect that something will happen. All I know is that if 24 marked the year of letting go, 25 marks the year of new beginnings. Or better known as, “The Year of Alexa.”

xx, AE

Why You Deserve Time Off

This isn’t completely travel-related, but for some, it might be.

Like many other Americans, I am a hoarder of my accrued time off. It is a combination of a million “just in case” mental scenarios as well as a general environment that we cultivate here in the States that taking time off for anything that isn’t an emergency or family-related is equivalent to laziness. The only time you get a ‘social’ pass is for that one-week, all-inclusive beach trip you planned eight to 10 months in advance where you will likely still find yourself working remotely.

Why do we restrict ourselves from utilizing our time off? Correction: why do we restrict ourselves from utilizing time off that we worked for and is paid? And when we do use time off, why don’t we fully enjoy it? I understand I am in an ideal position where my only responsibility at the moment is myself; I don’t have to worry about having a safety stash based on kids’ schedules, an elderly member of my family that depends on me for care, or even getting sick (*knock on wood*). But it is also no secret that I struggle with a mental illness and I have to face the fact that I might need a day here and there to just re-stabilize.

The idea for this post came to me because I am currently saving my time off for a long birthday trip I am taking to Europe at the end of May. With the exception of two pre-planned days, I have not taken time off, or been on a plane, since this past October. Working in operations, I didn’t get the holidays off so it has been nonstop for me for the last six months. I finally took a trip this weekend to break the fly-atus for which I did not have to use any time off, but even waiting for this weekend to arrive has shown me that maybe it is time to start investing in time off at home.

Like many other people, I feel not only lazy, but also guilty to be sitting at home while others are working. I also get that feeling around mid-afternoon where I think to myself, “You’re wasting a whole day.” How can that be if my intention for that day was to relax and reset my mind? Naturally, I then take myself into a downward spiral of how I could have saved this time for a trip I have always wanted to go on, but this is why I used the term ‘invest’ in time off. It is going to take more than putting my physical self in a different space–I have to remind myself that I worked for these days, I am entitled to these days, and understand that I will ultimately be a better person to others in my social and professional settings because of it. No matter how much sleep you get or what you do when you get home from work, everyone experiences burnout from the rotating demands of everyday life.

Think about it: what benefit do you get from hoarding your time for one week (or a little more) of vacation when you have to work the other 51 weeks of the year? That’s a long time to go without a break! I have explained many times on this blog that my work schedule is not a traditional schedule. So while I would love to just take a day every month to tack onto my weekend to go on a trip, the people I like to travel with have to bend to their own struggle with time off to coordinate with me. This is partly why I have been trying to find new things to do here in Dallas, but also why I need to find solace in the silence of not having anywhere to be or anyone to talk to.

Travel will always be my preferred way to regroup, so I understand more than anyone that saving up your time to go on a vacation is a higher priority than one day’s rest on the couch. But the point is that if you ever feel you do need that one day’s rest or just a mental escape from the monotony of the daily routine, you should indulge and not feel guilty for it. Hopefully nobody reading this is as close to the edge of burnout as I am currently and can instead pick and plan a day to take care of themselves in whatever way they see fit. Remember: you worked for it, you are entitled to it, and you will ultimately be a better person to others when you take a break every now and then for yourself.

xx, AE

Pop-Up in Fair Park

Pop-Up in Fair Park

Last week, Ilse and I visited Dallas’ latest pop-up exhibition here in Dallas, Rainbow Vomit!! Similar to Sweet Tooth Hotel, we had a timed slot to explore and get as many pictures as humanly possible. There wasn’t really a theme, but it was surprisingly more subtle than the title of the exhibition might suggest.

Given that we arrived about 15 minutes late after traffic, parking, and filling out the waiver at the beginning, we only had 45 minutes to explore so we opted to just take pictures on my phone instead of breaking out the ol’ DSLR (apologies in advance for the quality).

I still preferred the leisurely atmosphere of Psychedelic Robot, but this exhibition was way more relaxed than Sweet Tooth Hotel. It wasn’t very crowded on the Thursday evening we went and the space isn’t big so we did not feel rushed at all. However, if you go on a weekend, I can imagine it can be a madhouse and you will essentially be saying “excuse me” every 15 seconds. So keep that in mind when buying tickets!

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