Back To Real Life

Well, I am back in LA, back at work, down from the glorious cloud that I lived on for 2.5 weeks as I trounced around Europe. I’ve technically been back for 4 days, but only now has my body and mind recovered and started to settle back into the saddle of work and everyday life.

I don’t want you or me to get bogged down with recounting every part of my trip with my mom, so suffice it to say that this trip was most definitely the most unbelievable vacation I’ve ever been on. Here are a few highlights:

Countries & Cities I Visited:
UK – London, Spain – Barcelona, Valencia, Palma de Mallorca, France – Marseille, Saint Tropez, Monaco – Monte Carlo, Italy – Portofino, Florence, Amalfi, Sorrento, Rome

Portofino, Italy from Brown Castle

Favorite new place: Portofino! I had a perfect moment there, sitting by the little port drinking wine and soaking in the sun. The castle on the hill was worth the hike and the view was incredible.

Biggest Disappointment: Saint Tropez. It may have been the rainy weather that day but I just didn’t get it – snotty people and everything was way overpriced.

Best Discovery: An amazing hidden English book store in Palma de Mallorca run by a delightful British man I wanted to put in my pocket. Inside, it looked like what I imagine Flourish and Botts did in the Harry Potter series. There were books, old and new (mostly old) piled to the ceiling in 4 levels of small rooms packed with shelf after shelf of pages and treasures. The smell of the place alone nearly brought me to tears. I bought a 100-year-old book on Spanish Literature, resisting the urge to buy a copy of Don Quixote that was even older for 30 euros. My mom had to literally drag me out.

2nd Best Discovery: A setting on my camera called “Magic” which I can use to take pictures with the incredibly enhanced and vibrant colors. It took amazing photos, like the one above of the Duomo of Florence I snapped at the Piazzale Michelangelo.

Biggest Regret: Getting so drunk in a bar in Amalfi with some of the cruise ship crew that I apparently missed a really nice sunset. Luckily I did make it back to the boat in time though!

Mom and Me in MONTE CARLO

Biggest Surprise: My mom and I got along wonderfully! And she totally put up with me dragging her around to an endless amount of churches, museums and monuments while going on and on about history and art. We spent some amazing quality time together that I’ll never forget.

Biggest Revelation: It was my second time visiting Rome, and I decided that it has surpassed London as my favorite city in the world. I decided I want to live there at some point in my life, if only for a few months. The mixture of history, art, and low-key lifestyle is unrivaled, at least anywhere I’ve ever been, and I feel like I could never finish exploring the city.
The Best Part: I didn’t think about work or relationship worries the entire trip for the most part, which for me hasn’t really happened for about 3 and a half years. It was amazing and completely unexpected, and it helped me gain the clarity I need to tackle this next year of work, both in my job and with my writing goals. I feel amazingly refreshed and ready to put in the effort it will take to get where I want to be this time next year.

I hope this high never goes away, though I have a feeling it will probably start to fade shortly – I’m about to check my bank account for the first time since I left! Yikes…

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