Taryn was here: Seattle, WA

*Note from the writer:

Toward the end of 2018, after a much-needed nervous breakdown, I decided to embark on a nationwide trek across the country. This series will serve as a recollection of the shenanigans I experienced throughout my travels. These are my stories (dun dun *Law & Order chime)

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Dreams of the cliche

I will fully admit that my urge to ‘see the world’ was conceived on a cliche desire to live life. I wanted to fully marinate in my ‘freelance life, nomad fever dream’ idealism come what may. In retrospect, it’s amazing what a shattered sense of self will trick your mind into believing. Also, social media and the perceived ideals of success (Instagram and Pinterest, anyone?) don’t help, but I fully own my hilarious misadventures.

A full three years later, I can say with love and humility, that I was dealing with a great sense of loss and ran away from life in search of something better. The most ironic part? I never found (what I publicly said I wasn’t) that something better. Years later, I found the truth, but I digress. You came here for my adventures in Seattle and I shall not further delay. Anyway, packing up Abbey and myself, we put Eugene, OR. in the rearview mirror and chartered toward Seattle. We made a fun pitstop in Portland, OR for lunch and a walk. There was this fun shop that had a patio for dogs. Abbey and I dined, fueled up, and carried on in our journey.

A month in the Emerald City

We arrived at the Airbnb in the evening. For this leg of the trip, I booked a month-long stay at a garden apartment. It was a really cool spot. The owners, a chill young couple with a sweet kiddo were from Maryland, and the space had some nice Maryland touches. I had arrived in mid-November and they graciously invited me to their Friendsgiving. Since I had no plans, I uncharacteristically accepted the invitation. It was a fun event, which was reinforced by the liquid courage I partook prior to joining the festivities. I don’t have photos of the event (or many meaningful photos of Seattle in general). This trip is definitely a coffee trip of sorts.

Aesthetic of the superficial kind

The place was situated between the Ballard and Fremont neighborhoods. This meant that there was a coffee shop (rather dozens) within a mile radius of any direction. I’m fairly certain that I tried all of them. I was hellbent on living the freelancer life, whatever that meant. To me at the time, it was brooding in coffee shops, carefully creating prose for my clients. I had some fat contracts at the time (hence spending a month in Seattle, it wasn’t cheap!), so your girl was balling. In hindsight, not financially smart, but hey, life was lived. As I write now, looking over the pictures I did take, they are so lame! I’m cringing about sharing these, but hey, I’m committed to being honest. I say that in the kindest regard. The pictures (shown below) chronicle a surface-level experience. However, I did have meaningful interactions a few weeks in.

Making friends and digging nature

After my first 2 weeks, I did end up investing more time in the community. I found a cool Seattle-based freelancer meetup. I met two ladies who I managed to dispense some solid business advice too. It also made me realize for maybe the first time that I actually knew what I was doing. When you’re working alone, it can be hard to gauge your own progress, so it was reassuring to find out that I was doing quite well! I had also met up with another lady who I had met at the Friendsgiving. We went out for Ethiopian food and exchanged pleasant a conversation. Nothing became of those interactions, but at the time, they were much-needed. I even ventured to a local yarn shop and purchased some skeins. Til this day I have not finished a project, but I’m working on that. On the nature front, Woodland Park was literally 1.5 miles away. Abbey and I made a daily habit of going. The first time I went, my first thought was ‘this would be good for hiding bodies’. So naturally, the writer in me decided to make a novel about this (it’s in the works, but boy did my travels help color the characters).

Embracing the spontaneous

My time in Seattle was fun, reflective, and spontaneous of sorts. In fact, several people– including one ridiculously attractive barista– suggested that I head to Missoula MT next. To keep up with the randomness of my travels, I did just that! To wrap this up, as an older, self-professed wiser person, I can look back on my time in Seattle with a smile on my face. Life and travels will never go as planned, but there is beauty in the random adventure. It doesn’t look as folksy and hipster when you’re going through it, but the sands of time eventually dull the sharp corners, allowing you to enjoy the journey. Funnily enough at the time, I swore that I’d end up in Seattle (or Eugene for that matter) permanently. I’m happy to report that this doesn’t end up happening. For one, I desperately need the sun. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my Seattle adventures. If it’s not evident yet, these travel adventures wind up being more about me than the cities/towns I visited. However, I promise, if you stick with me, I do end up having some interesting adventures that will surely make you chuckle. Next week, we’re in Missoula, until then, I hope you indulge in some shenanigans too!

Taryn does the work

It’s amazing what you can do when you commit to doing it. That pertains to life, work, relationship, and everything in between. As I continue to work on myself, how I understand the world and people around me, I am pleased to find that progress is possible!

The illusion of control

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about life, it’s that control is a futile pursuit. It’s just not possible, and that’s ok. Looking back, I can see how I’ve tried to control my environment, the people around me, my work, etc., etc., etc. In fact, I banked my well-being on my ability to control the external things around me. Guess what? That makes for a miserable and erratic life. Now, rather than trying to control the things that I cannot, I focus on managing my resources more effectively.

Being responsible for me

These days, I’m focused on taking care of myself, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically, and so on. This also means being kinder to myself. If you’ve spent time with God, you know that He loves you no matter what state you’re in. I’ve worked on (and am continuing to work on) loving myself in that same regard. Conversely, I find that the more grace that I extend myself, I’m able to extend it to others as well.

Enjoying the process

In life, there is no destination, just continued progress. So instead of obsessing over getting to the ‘finish line’, I’m learning to enjoy the process. As I continue my progression, staying present in each moment, I see the beauty that life has to offer. This doesn’t mean that I don’t get frustrated or see the errors and flaws of the world. No, it just means that I appreciate the positive aspects more than I disdain the negative ones.

Reflection in a photograph

A fun aside, I printed and framed my travels all over the walls of my apartment in Las Vegas. In the mornings, I’d sit on my couch with my coffee, and Abbey laying at my feet looking at all of the places we had gone. Like a time machine, each photograph brought me back to the very moment. Remembering those moments and the colorful array of emotional experiences intertwined within them taught me that there is hope even in the darkest times and that God was with me (and still is) especially in the confusing moments that I could not yet process.

The next destination

If you tuned in last week, I finally started sharing my travels that first began in late 2018. Last week was Eugene, OR. This week is Seattle, WA. So be on the lookout tomorrow, as I share my experience in the land of the coffee bean. I spent a month there, soaking up various experiences and people. As I relive these experiences by sharing them with you all, I am filled with gratitude that I was able to embark on these adventures. With that said, I hope you have a wonderful week!

Taryn unpacks her bags

Metaphorically speaking. My actual bags are still a beleaguered work in progress.

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I swear this post isn’t the pilot to my new “Taryn’s Anatomy” series, I’ve just had a lot of time to focus on me– for better and for worse.

A major part of why I decided to abandon ship from the real world was because I have the propensity of focusing on the lives of others rather than my own. Fortunately for me, I enjoyed a few tragically hilarious situations (which I will be sharing in my upcoming podcast!!) that forced me to change course. The beauty of traveling on my own is that I get to focus entirely on myself. The curse of traveling alone is that I get to focus entirely on myself. It’s certainly a red pill/blue pill situation.

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Silence is LOUD

Traveling alone is awesome, especially if you don’t have to worry about your basic needs. It’s just me, my dog, my adventures, and my thoughts. Thoughts can be exceptionally loud when you’re unable to hide from them.

 

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Starting out, it was rough. There were no external situations or people that I could blend into. There were a lot of painful moments/feelings that I wanted to drown out with alcohol. Eventually, I got tired of the morning after, trying to piece together the night before, and dreading to find out if I had sent embarrassing messages to people. That and I got tired of digestive tragedies that occurred after (alcohol sh*ts are a real thing, yo).   So I’ve ditched the booze, for good and got comfortable with the uncomfortable.

 

Enjoy the Silence

Contrary to my early diagnosis, silence can be a beautiful thing. During these reflective moments, I’ve discovered some false truths and beliefs that I had to let go. I also learned that no choice is still a choice and being intentional is important. Most importantly, I learned that you don’t have to accept the status quo or the way of the world. Beating to your own drum is best.

It’s easy to hold on to your worst moments, your shame, your guilt, and build a construct around them. But, if you’re willing to let those things go, there is freedom and possibility on the other side. I’m not saying I’m the poster child for emotional wellness (that would be scary for the world, ha). I am, however, learning to appreciate the good while chucking the bad. Slowly but surely, I am lightening the load, leaving the unnecessary luggage behind. So on that note, I’m going to go walk Abbey. But I will leave you with this lovely little number. Cheers!

 

 

Hello, Old Girl

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Life has been strange and beautiful, and though I’m going to do my best to describe it to you, I don’t know how well my world will translate onto the page, but I’ll give it a go.

As I wrote last week, transitioning back into Vegas, seeing my dad off to Germany, ramping up new work plans, it’s been in intense emotional roller coaster– one of which I’m proud to say I’m riding to the best of my ability.

I’m in a period of loss, so to speak, losing my dad in proximity, and a few other things I cannot discuss yet, it’s strangely drudged up the residue of my first major loss– the death of my Grandma. Though it’s been about 9 nine years since she passed, it’s a loss that has left (or at least I thought) a gaping hole within me.

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My grandmother was magical. My childhood was full of wonder, imagination, and excitement of which she facilitated by encouraging my storytelling, love for books, and card games. Seriously, I was 2 when she taught me how to read. I’ve been reading books like a crackhead in need of a fix ever since. She saw something within me and helped unleash the madness that is Taryn into this world.

Brenda was the quirkiest/kookiest woman I’ve ever known. She laughed at odd things, remembered important dates at odd times, and when I was little, I thought she was nutty. “Crazy like a fox!”, she’d say when I told her I thought she was nuts.

At 27, turns out that I too laugh at odd things, remember important dates at odd times, and am a little nutty. I think I’m beginning to get the hang of this crazy like a fox thing.

Around 16 — I can’t remember exactly– I had this strange feeling to spend more time with my grandma. I can’t explain why, but I felt the need to spend more time with her and to say “I love you”. So each Saturday, I’d stop by her house with a DVD and we’d watch a movie.

We both shared an appreciation for good looking men, and Troy had just come about. “Brad Pitt and those legs,” she’d exclaim. I’m sure I nodded in agreement. The dude had some great legs. On that note, I need to rewatch that film, ha.

This went on for a few weeks, and sometime shortly after, she suffered a stroke on the bus she rode from work. When I first heard about it, it was hard to put into emotion because I was still removed from it. It wasn’t until seeing her in the hospital, in an altered state from the crazy lady that I adored, to a sickly being staring down mortality, that I began to shut down.

I couldn’t bear the pain of seeing my hero reduced to a mere mortal, barely hanging onto life. Though initially she was improving, it was about a year or so later that she passed, right after my first horrifically shitty year of college and some massive changes within my family. Needless to say, 2008 can go to hell for all I care.

As my sister told me the news of my grandma’s passing, I cried for a few seconds, and then I went into an emotional coma of sorts. I’ve always been terrible with feelings but this took the cake. I buried my feelings– deep into an abyss with plans to never really use them again. My world went gray, as the person who first introduced me to the vivid colors of the world was no longer with me. If I’m being frank, I thought the best parts of me died with her.

A semi kind of life

As time went on, I trudged through life, having some decent moments, but never truly allowing myself to experience joy or peace. Granted it doesn’t help that I’m an existential weirdo, lol. Anyway, it’s funny how caring for others will help you eventually learn how to care for yourself, and I’ve got an army of niece and nephews and a not-so-obedient dog to blame for that.

Over the years, I’ve dedicated a significant amount of time in helping bring up my niece and nephews. Changing diapers, potty training, school graduations, awards ceremonies– it’s been a blast. Though there are 7 of them, I can spot their unique identities, what makes them tick, and how to reach each of them on their terms. Looking back, that’s exactly what my grandmother did for me and my siblings/cousins.

So fast forward to yesterday, after spending the day watching a set of 1 year old twins, a 2 and 4 year old, memories of the craziest lady I’ve ever known came flooding back to me. It was odd, as I was walking my dog late last night (90 degrees at 10pm, yay Vegas), I began to think about what she’d say to me about how I’m “doing life”. I knew she’d never want me to live in the self-imposed prison I’ve created.

In that moment, as I was walking Abbey in the suburban streets of Vegas, I spontaneously combusted into hysterical bouts of crying. Man, was it ugly– but also peaceful, freeing, and about freaking time. On a side note, I’m so glad no one else was out, because I’m sure I looked like a mess. Even Abbey kept giving me “wtf” looks from time to time. I wasn’t crying out of sadness or grief per se, but they were tears of joy because someone who I’d hadn’t seen in many years had returned to my life — me.

Not gone, just sleeping

Maybe this is my roundabout way of accepting the loss of a loved one, but it’s nice to be able to resurface from a long slumber. Much to my initial belief, I didn’t leave, I’m not broken, I just came back from playing an unintentionally long game of hide and seek. That’s at least what I’m telling myself, anyway.

I can’t help but to think and smile because though my grandmother is not with me, I’ll always have her. I find her in the things that I do, how I behave, how I think, my work ethic– I find her in me. So as it turns out, I was never gone or broken– just hiding underneath the layers of time.

Today I say hello, Taryn. Glad to have you back, we have a lot of catching up to do.

RIP Darwin

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Back in February, I was involved in a car accident in which Darwin, my car, didn’t make it. As I was driving from Long Beach to Monterey, a dude rear-ended me, spilling my newly purchased iced Macchiato all over my car. Even better, Abbey was in the car with me. Now, being involved in a car accident with my dog in the car, happens to be one of my biggest fears, so as the car impacted mine, my first thought was for the safety of Abbey.

Fortunately, she was fine, just a little spazzed out. I was fine for the most part too. Just stressed out about the logistics of the situation. The accident occurred in LA during the evening and I didn’t have any friends who were in the vicinity that could pick me up. Incidentally, I had to call a potential client turned family friend to explain my situation. I was so fortunate that she came out, picked me up as my car was being towed away and allowed me to spend the night at her house.

All in all, it wasn’t a bad accident to have. My insurance company (Progressive), was awesome at taking care of everything. Coincidentally, the guy who hit me was also insured by Progressive and it was clearly his fault, so the matter was resolved within a week. Even though I received a decent amount for my car, I was sad that my little 2010 Toyota Corolla was soon to be no more. It was my first car and I planned on keeping it until it couldn’t run anymore. But, plans change, I guess.

If I’m being honest, it wasn’t just about losing my vehicle, there were a lot of memories entangled in that car. From road trips, moving to different states, going to and graduating schools, that car had seen a lot. So, because I wasn’t able to say “goodbye” to Darwin, this is my way of doing so. I’m thankful that it kept me and Abbey safe, and for all of the adventures it helped me facilitate. Darwin will be missed.

I’m not a teenager anymore

Earlier today, I stumbled across an album that meant a great deal to me circa 2005. Upon playing it, I transcended time and was shot back to the days where I was around 15/16. Continue reading “I’m not a teenager anymore”

When is Regret OK?

“No Regrets”

It’s a term we swing around so loosely, but, does one actually live their lives without any regrets?

This morning I was finally unpacking (I moved, more on that later), and I had Pandora blaring my “A Tribe Called Quest” station (90s Hip Hop or bust!). Bobbing my head while organizing my life, things were going swell. That is, until 93 til’ infinity started playing, and all hell broke loose. On a side note, if you don’t know who Souls of Mischief are, you must go to youtube and search the above mentioned song, it’s legit.

Anywho, the first time I had ever heard that song was about 3-4 years ago when I was attending university in Flagstaff, AZ. I worked at the Student Tech Center on campus and had bosses who had great tastes in music. One day, Trey, my supervisor and I were going on and on about 90s hip hop and he happened to play 93 til’ infinity and I absolutely fell in love with the song. In fact, those years I really developed a stronger love for the genre which I still have to this day.

So where does the regret come to play? Well, when I first started going to NAU, I HATED it. It was a massive culture shock. Trapped in the mountains with a bunch of hippy dippy nature people, I was so out of my element. You see, I am somewhat of an escape artist. One of the perks of living in Southern California is that if you get bored of your scenery, you can escape to somewhere new within a 2 hour radius. In Flagstaff, that was not the case. Tack on a passive aggressive roommate who only communicated by post it notes, my “home life” resembled the Cold War/ Cuban Missile Crisis.

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Being the persnickety person that I am, within the first few months, I already started planning my escape. I knew that I only had to be there for 2 years, I decided to keep myself at an emotional distance from others. You can’t miss anything/anyone you don’t know, right? Well after the first 6 months, things did get better. I started making friends, going out, and creating a pseudo-life, with everything still, at an arm’s length away. Hell, even my graduation was a “wham bam thank you ma’am” spectacle. I literally walked, bought chipotle, then dusted out of town with my family. My parents were pretty incredulous at my indifference and lack of emotion at this point. Seriously, I left Flagstaff a half hour after my graduation with the intention of never going back again (sidenote: I’ve been back a handful of times now).

So, what am I getting at here? Well, you know those pseudo-friends/life I was telling you about? It turns out they may have meant more to me than I initially realized. When 93 til’ infinity started playing through my speakers, I’ll be honest, I didn’t remember the title of the song or the artist. I just remembered how it made me feel. 3 years of buried feelings just started pouring out. I felt of blend of nostalgia, pain, regret, sadness, and a tinge of happiness shoot through me all at once, and rather intensely I might add. How could a song, that I vaguely remember bring back so much unresolved feelings? Music is strange in that way I suppose.

In spite of my first crappy few months away at school, I really did enjoy my time there. The people at the STC were my friends, dare I say my family. Spending my weekends at school trading music jams with my colleagues are some of my best memories ever. I fooled myself into thinking that I could just cut out that part of my life and soldier on, but that’s not the way life works. In short, I regret how I handled things. I regret that I didn’t invest more emotionally. I regret that I didn’t really say goodbye or feel the loss of leaving Flagstaff. I feel regret.

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Obviously I can’t turn back the hands of time, however, I can learn from my mistakes. I struggle at letting people into my little bubble, but I have made strides of improvement. There is a bigger feeling fulfillment when I legitimately connect with others. It’s scary with the vulnerability that I am allowing, but it’s a better feeling than listening to a song that rips you to a time of unresolved feelings.

I can’t change the past, but I can change how I react in my future. My goal is to really connect and enjoy moments when they happen as they are. When you spend your time looking for the next adventure, you could be downplaying something beautiful that is happening right in front of you.

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TBT to When My Dad Almost Put Me in a Mental Institution

Lounging in boy shorts has been a pastime of mine for some time now. For those of you who’ve been reading this blog, it’s no secret that pants and I have made a “conscientious uncoupling”.  As it turns out, my lack of enthusiasm for pants could be considered a genetic trait, if you will.

Rewind 8 years ago, (8 years?!!) to my senior year in high school, my life was good. Being the overachiever that I was, my last semester allowed me to take only 4 classes since I had already acquired 8 units of college courses through playing in several university orchestras and some math classes at the local JC (I got shit done back then). Since my plate was full, I opted to just go home everyday at lunch, hit the gym, take a nap (I discovered the gloriousness of naps),  and then go my rehearsals at UC Riverside in the evening. As I said, life was swell. I had a taste for independence and managed to pseudo-achieve it at 17 (or so I thought). My schedule rocked and I could not have been happier. That is, until one day, my dad had gotten sick and stayed home.

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Due to my modified schedule, and the fact that both my parents had careers, I was free to roam at home by myself most days. Kobe and I would have our afternoon nap post-gym and I went about the rest of my tasks for the day. One fine spring’s day, I came home as I would any other day, I came home to one of the most awkward situations since Robin Thicke’s pathetic attempt to get his wife back (yes, it was

I unlocked the door, and went through the kitchen only to find my dear ol’ Dad in the kitchen making a sandwich, naked as the day he was born. To add insult to injury, this dude was on the phone talking business! Our eyes met and he looked like a child getting caught trying to sneak some cookies from the jar. I’ll never forget the look on his face as long as I’ll live. Now fortunately for me, the good Lord intervened and saw to it that the cutting board had been pulled out so I would not be scarred for life.

After a quick nano-second, I roared,Dad!!! What the hell are you doing?!!!” Not even missing a beat, he replied, “I’m making a sandwich, what are you doing home?” (He was/is terrible with remembering details and schedules). I then reminded him that I only went to school for 4 periods and went on to say how creepy it is to make sandwiches in the nude while talking on the phone. To make matters even worse, the bay windows were open shining heaps of light.

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After the brief weird encounter, I grumbled off, got ready for the gym, and went about the rest of my day. To this day, my dad and I laugh about it, and thank God that the cutting board had been where it was, otherwise I would not be the girl behind this laptop you read about today. Had that event taken the unfortunate turn that it could’ve, I have no doubt that I would be in a room with padded walls, unable to cope with the real world. Welp, I guess my love of no pants had to come from somewhere. Who else has had an unfortunate encounter with a family member?

The Perks of Snail Mail

It’s no secret that I love writing. There’s something about putting words on paper that is just the bee’s knees for me. While writing is a great love of mine, getting a handwritten letter in the mail is equally just as awesome.

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Melissa, best friend of 13 years (that long already?!) and I rarely ever talk to each other these days. She’s off in Santa Barbara playing housewife and mom while I’m in Vegas causing all kinds of shenanigans. One of the best things about our friendship is that though we don’t talk very often, we always pick up where we left off and it works. I suppose when you’ve known someone for more than half of your life, you understand each other incredibly well. Anywho, since we both are terrible at communicating on a regular basis, we decided to start sending snail mail.

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Melissa and I many many moons (6 years) ago.

I LOVE getting letters in the mail. It’s right up there with birthday presents! Sadly in this day and age, getting snail mail that aren’t bills doesn’t happen enough in my opinion. I received my first letter from her yesterday and I was such a happy camper! Maybe it’s just me, but ready a tangible letter is much more inclusive and more awesome than in an electronic format.

What I’m like when getting the mail, lol.

Writing snail mail has so many intrinsic values to it. You can connect with someone who is far away from you. You have a reason to skip to the mailbox (I totally got caught by my neighbors but I didn’t care). Plus it takes away the static and distraction that electronics provides and allows you to communicate with your fellow people. Really, I could go on and on about why writing and receiving letters is the best thing, like ever.

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To the mailbox!

So now that I’ve shared my love of getting mail, I’m off to write my letter and send one her way. Since I’m in the penpal spirit, I may look into sending letters to different countries! Does anyone else love snail mail as much as me? Let me know! Until then, happy Tuesday! 🙂

So, yeah, I’m Pretty Awesome

I tend to downplay my awesomeness. I.E. when someone pays me a compliment, I tend to brush it off. More often than not because I usually don’t have the confidence to admit, that “hey, I might be talented”. It’s hard accepting compliments without feeling that A: you aren’t deserving of them, and B: you don’t want to appear cocky. I’ve also realized that I’m not the only one. Why is it, that most people (particularly of the XX variety) don’t take in positive affirmations well? I’m baffled by this. It’s like I’m automatically ready to dismiss anything nice that anyone says about me. It’s kind of sad really. So in my ever-growing quest for self acceptance, I’m challenging myself to take a compliment and accept it. No strings attached, no negative self-talk, just the appreciation that someone else likes whatever it is that I’ve done.

In unrelated news, I’ve been trucking along on my Bum Chronicles. I had the very distinct pleasure of seeing Bonobo in concert. If you’ve never listened to him I have attached a YouTube video of my favorite song of his (I love all of them, but I can’t post everything now can I?). It was at a newer venue in Las Vegas called The Brooklyn Bowl. If you’re ever in these parts, I definitely recommend that you check it out. It’s Brooklyn inspired decor plus the fact that you can eat, drink, bowl, and catch an amazing live act in one place makes it incredibly unique and super awesome to boot. Though it’s technically on the Strip, it’s far enough removed that most tourists aren’t even aware of it, which is nice for locals. But anywho, I digress. I absolutely LOVED the concert, just seeing all different types of people being moved by miraculous sounds is just something words cannot capture. The closest word I think that could describe the mood is: Harmony. I think that leaders of all countries should just attend a concert and get swept up in the vibe. Maybe we’d all get along better. Nothing like a good ol’ concert high. Well, there were people toking it up, but that’s unrelated to what I’m talking about, lol. IMG_10271IMG_10181IMG_1165

 

Also, my ventures to RedRock have been so amazing and great. I’m kind of a nature enthusiast now. Who would’ve thought? Getting out there in the open is so incredibly relaxing. It’s like my soul is being reborn every time I go. Fortunately there’s like 18 different trails, so I’ve been diversifying it up each time. I wish this weather would stay like this forever! So to some this up, learning to take a compliment, going to more shows, and getting outside more often than not are my main takeaways as of late. There’s so much to do and see, I want to take in all of it! I’m putting a bunch of photos of my shenanigans. Compliments are welcomed ;-).

 

 

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