Adventure Bank

Everyone gets intimidated sometimes, right?

Right.

Especially during travel. After all, it’s a mighty big world out there.

However, once you’ve conquered the fear of getting out there, it will be a great, grand, non-stop adventure….

Right?

Well, that’s what I thought… until I conquered the great big wide world (I mean I went to Spain, but bear with me).

After I got here, I was absolutely ready to go out into the city, meet people, do things, and basically conquer the world. Then, after a few successes (and not a significant amount of failures), I began staying in more.

Honesty, I haven’t been “out” (meaning to a bar) since I’ve been here. No cosmopolitan interactions with fellow expats, pubcrawls into the wee hours of the morning, no posh coffee dates with like-minded souls on a sunny rooftop cafe in the city center.

I also have not traveled outside of Madrid since I arrived, and the Trip, once a grand 3-city European adventure, is now a simple, laid-back jaunt to the coast.

I began to panic.

What was I doing with my life? I’d already been here two months, and my sense of adventure was gone! I felt like I was wasting my time and too scared to go out. I looked around at other expats, both online and in real life. They seemed to have it all together, a vast circle of friends and travel buddies, and there I was, staying in on Friday nights, either writing or binge-watching Outlander (sidenote: my next destination will be Scotland, where I will find a sexy Highlander of my own. But that’s another post).

Basically, I felt like I was a phony. A fake. A mere facade of an intrepid traveller.

See, the type of intimidation I’m referring to is the pressure we feel to be the Real McCoy, as it were. If I wasn’t traveling and exploring at every turn (or at least every other turn… or every every other turn), then I wasn’t actually a “real” adventurer, and I would be ousted to the world as a fake and a source of ridicule for years to come (you know what I mean).

However, as hard as I tried, I simply couldn’t make myself feel bad about it – at least not enough to change anything. The most stunning realization kept me from making any alterations – I was happy.

That alone made me not want to change a damn thing. After a while, I realized that I didn’t have to. So what if I wouldn’t have crazy stories to tell when I returned home – I wasn’t doing it for anyone else’s benefit, I was doing this adventure for me.

When that realization hit me, I realized that I could do it any way I chose. If I wanted to be “up all night”, fine. If I wanted a quiet evening in (or a thousand quiet evenings in) either solo or with my Spanish family, that was OK too. Just as long as I was doing what I wanted.

Now, this is where the post diverges a bit. I considered ending with the paragraph above… perhaps finding a beautiful landscape meme about living your adventure or finding your inner voice. However, there is more to this story.

There is a vast difference between staying in because that’s what you want to do, and staying in because you’re afraid of going out. However, there’s not necessarily anything wrong with staying in because you’re afraid to go out.

Allow me to elaborate in terms that we all are acquainted with – money.

We all need money, right? Pay bills, buy food, book flights, put gas in the car… what have you. So what do we do? We work. We get full-time jobs, part time jobs, freelance work, monetize our blogs. Whatever form it takes, we have to earn money. Typically, after money is earned, it goes into a bank (or under the mattress, but for the purposes of this post, we’ll assume it’s a bank, k?). You’ve gotten your job, you’ve earned your check, and now you have money in the bank. ‘Gratz.

So now you have a set amount of cash. When we need to buy something, our money levels go down. Once we get to a certain point, we start having to be very careful to make sure we don’t overdraw. Or, in our very credit-driven world, we can enter into a vastly terrifying and slippery slope world of plastic. Because who doesn’t like owing more than they have?

Adventuring is much the same. We’ve pumped ourselves up, bought our tickets, and ventured forth into the world. But here’s the thing – we have a set amount of currency in our adventure bank that varies based on experience, personality type, etc. If you find yourself dreading going out, you’ve bottomed out your adventure juice.

When you reach that point, you have two options: you can either take out a loan on your adventure juice, or you can take a step back, a breath, and a break. Have a quiet night in. You don’t have to go out every night, or even every other night. If you want to go to the beach for a week and do nothing but sit on the beach for a week, that is perfectly fine, too.

That’s not to say don’t try again. Perhaps you want to go out, but you don’t have the reserves to stay out all night. Then just go for an hour. Flamenco show followed by a pub crawl? Go to the Flamenco show, and skip the pub crawl. Build up to what you want to do.

You don’t always have to jump in headfirst. If you spend all of your adventure currency up at once, you may get burnt out and not feel like doing anything at all. Pace yourself so that your money (courage!) lasts your whole trip.

Adventure at your own speed. Adventure in the manner which will be most enjoyable for you. Adventure in a way that will make you the most happy.

That is, after all, what it’s all about, no?

Cheers, Travellers.

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What Happens When…

… you get four Americans (plus me!), two Canadians, and one girl each from France and Australia, and put them with a tour guide from Hungary in the middle of Madrid, Spain??

There is no punch line to this joke. This is an actual happening.

And it happened today.

Here’s the skinny – the route we took was almost step for step what I did on the Eat, Love, and Learn Spanish tour, except with muuuuuch less information and juicy tidbits.

We also got to eat less food, so that was a downside as well.

However, Sylvie, who was our Hungarian tour guide, was great. She was knowledgeable, friendly, and extremely awesome. She took us all out after the tour (even though she had only had three hours of sleep and had another tour in an hour!) and showed us all where to get cheap tapas. She even marked our tour maps with other cool places to visit in the future.

But, the real fun part of the story was our tour-mates.

So, first of all, the group of Americans were all friends before, three of them being school mates at a study abroad program in London (this week being their spring break).

This automatically made them a bit clique-y.

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I DIDN’T REALIZE IT WAS PINK DAY!!

No worries, though. That’s natural, right?

Right. All’s fair

Well, the rest of the tour group tried talking to them, with very little success. One of them even walked away mid-conversation with me.

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this is how i picture the level of success i would have should i attempt a z snap

Whatevs, bruh.

So things are rocking along fine, until this same group of four starts wandering off, ignoring the tour guide, and the rest of the group.

The clincher came at the end, when we were all out for lunch. They arbitrarily adopted several people not in their original group, became besties with them, and decided to go in together on paella to save some money.

That’s cool, right?

Well, here’s the problem.

The only people (very obviously) left out were myself, my friend, and our TOUR GUIDE.

*head meet desk*

Of course it was the Americans to do this.

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arrogance may not be a uniquely American trait, but you do it better than anyone

‘Murica.

Thankfully, our tour guide (and I might say, myself and my friend) were professionals at shaking it off…..

Cuz the haters gonna hate hate hate…

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and this is my actual dancing skill level.

All in all, it was a good day. We had a good time on our tour. What it lacked in information (it was free, after all), it more than made up for in the entertainment value of our guide and the invaluable knowledge of cheap food for future reference!

In other news, I’m finally getting my public transportation card tomorrow!

Yes, I’m a shameful excuse of a traveler for not doing this sooner. Sue me.

Just to clarify: almost everybody I’ve met in Spain has been delightful (yes, even the ‘Muricans), so this post is honestly just to poke a little fun at four peeps who missed out on a great afternoon with three fabulous ladies.

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does this really need words?

Cheers, Travellers.

Top Ten Reasons Why I’m Going to Enjoy Purgatory

Misha Misha Misha

To start with….

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1. It isn’t actually a hell-fire purification process.

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What's this trickery?

What is this trickery?

Misha

2. What it is is a two-day Supernatural extravaganza

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3. … in Germany.

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4. The above page can be translated into English*

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*with the exception of the checkout page. Color me confused.

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but how do i give you my money?

Misha

Will someone please explain to me why country names translate into other languages?? Shouldn’t we just all call them by the proper names?

Misha mISHA MisshaaaAaaa

5. The multilingual staff will help you through the confusing checkout process!

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Workin’ it.

Misha

But wait… the only economical way to get there is Friday evening, and I work on Friday evenings… whatever shall I do.

Guess my life is over.

Clearly there is no solution to this problem

Misha

6. You ask for Friday off, dumbell-monkey-brain. Ask and ye shall receive (long live the King… who is, in this case, my boss and host Papa).

Yay! Life is complete again!

Yay! Life is complete again!

Misha

7. It will be a great opportunity to get to know fellow Winchesters and bond over our mutual love of Misha Supernatural.

all the bonding

all the bonding

Misha

8. Misha Collins will be in attendance.

You're kidding me... right?

You’re kidding me… right?

Misha

9. Also… I get a photograph with Misha.

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10. Goofball, GISHWHES, glorious Misha…

This. All of this.

This. All of this.

Misha

11. Miiiiiiiiiishaaaaaaaaaaaa

suave, silly, and sexy... i am die.

suave, silly, and sexy… i am die.

Misha

So, there you have it. The top ten (+1) reasons why I’m going to enjoy Purgatory.

Misha

For a bit more substance: my itinerary (because this is, after all, a Misha travel blog).

Friday, June 5th – fly from Madrid to Cologne, Germany.
train from Cologne to Dusseldorf

Saturday, June 6th – Purgatory. All day. From the time Misha arrives the doors open til Misha leaves the doors close.

Sunday, June 7th – train back to Cologne
fly home to Madrid

This is a seriously short, turnaround trip. But it will be so worth it.

This will be my second international comic con. The first being Alleycon 2014, in Gwangju, South Korea (which is still in desperate need of a blog post. Which will be forthcoming shortly. I cosplayed. And there are pictures).

If you’re going too, let me know! We can meet up and enjoy the con together 🙂

See you there.

See you there, travellers.

Livin’ la Vida Loca

So I’ve been hinting at a great happening that was to happen this weekend.

Well, folks, it happened.

Despite being sick nearly all week (and most of the weekend, blech) I managed to still do it.

This weekend, I experienced the craziest, fun-filled, celebrity meetin’ weekend of all time (except for that time I met Stan Lee… yeah, you can be totes jealous).

To start off with, I met possibly THE MOST recognizable face of the decade.

A lot of people say she’s cold, but I didn’t find her so at all:

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u guys wont believ wot just happened!!!!!!! omg!!!

She was soooo gracious and sweet, even letting me take a selfie with her. #bestcelebrity #number1fan

Ahem.

So I found a life-size Elsa mannequin in Carrefour (Spanish version of Walmart/Sam’s Club). I had to do something with that.

Movin’ on.

The weekend event was as follows: I had the house to myself. My host parents had a work event, the kids were at a friends house, and everyone else had plans that took them away; That left me in a big house for an entire weekend with a ton of free time… and kitchen space….

…and I knew exactly what to do with it.

My gosh, you guys… the food.

I started off wanting to make lasagna… then I realized after I’d already begun THIS:
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… that I had no cottage cheese or lasagna noodles.

So I switched my game up a bit. I found a Latin American food section (!!!) at Carrefour, and purchased two cans of red beans and black beans for…. TACO SOUP.

Only to realize when I got home that my host family buys cans with the pop-top lids for a reason…

There is no can opener in this house.

Well… shucks.

So what ended up happening was a two-dish split between….

Goulash!

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and….

Shepherd’s Pie!20150228_145437

Both were insanely delish.

But WAIT! There’s more.

What would a good girls-day-in be without dessert?? What is the world coming to.

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As I sat there taking pictures of this beautiful sight, longingly wishing I could partake, but held back by many years of conditioning (dark glares and hand swats), I had an epiphany.

I’m an adult.

I’m home alone.

I can eat that cookie dough if I dern well please!!!

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#idowhatiwant #loveyoumom

So I did.

The rest of the deliciously yummy cookie dough went into the oven.

It came out looking like this.

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I may have gained ten pounds in one day, people.

However, as much time as I spent in the kitchen cooking food, glorious foooood…. there were a mountain of dishes and just STUFF to be cleaned up.

And there was nobody but me to do it.

mess in the kitchen

What have I done…

So, after many long and arduous hours of cleanup, I was finally done.

The counters were clean…

Dishes were all washed… some dried and put away.

And I was exhausted.

I decided to reward myself with a Pinterest recipe.

The ingredients were as follows:

20150228_150003The end result? Glorious.

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This, dear travellers, is a Dirty Doctor Pepper.

1 oz Malibu or Bacardi Coconut Rum
1 12 oz can Dr. Pepper
1/2 lime
1 dash of cream or half and half

Regrettably, I only had the one Dr. Pepper, so I simply had straight Coke for the rest of the evening.

Along with my CHEESE POPCORN.

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I’ve fallen under a mountain of cheesy goodness! HALP!

I also managed to Skype with various family members for a grand total of….

*drum roll*

Eight hours.

Yes, I was exhausted by the end of it. I could barely talk anymore.

But it was the perfect recharge I needed.

And now I feel ready to go forth back out into the wide world of Madrid and make some new adventures outside of the house!

Until next time, travellers!

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Cheers.

The Final Frontier

The world of cinema lost a great and talented man today.

Leonard Nimoy, 83, was a versatile and talented actor, active Jew, and a personal favorite of the sci-fi world.

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My personal attachment, the same as for many others, was for his portrayal of Mr. Spock.

Mr. Spock was one of my heroes – intelligent, brave, unequivocally logical, and handsome.

He represented a niche of people with whom I strongly identified as an adolescent – the intelligent outsider. Those who do not “human” in the same way as other people, and find it hard to relate. The character once said, “I have a human half and an alien half at war with each other… I survive because my intelligence wins”.

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That quote fairly well summed up my adolescence. I was a geeky girl (an anomaly in itself), a homeschooler, freakishly tall, and more scholastically inclined than my peers. I even (*gasp*) liked math.

This character was a hero because he triumphed over bigotry by overcoming social conformity (he joined Starfleet instead of the traditional Vulcan Academy), accepting his differences, and creating meaningful, lasting relationships with those he differed from.

Even his dark, bearded alter-ego was able to overcome hatred with logic.

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Mr. Spock epitomized the possibility of harmony despite differences. Logic triumphing over hatred and bigotry. Tolerance, and hope for the future.

He was one of my childhood heroes.

Heroes are not supposed to die, dammit.

Unfortunately, they do; and with more frequency than those less worthy.

I didn’t think that the passing of someone I never met could affect me so much. How could it? I didn’t even know him.

In a way, though, I did. I knew him as Mr. Spock, the life he gave to the character for so many years. His active voice and presence in the Jewish community. The continued support of the franchise, and the charisma he lent to the re-imagining of the series. He had been a constant companion in my imagination for the last 22 years.

I remember watching Star Trek as a little girl of three years old – myself, my sister, grandpa, and father would all pile up on the couch, eat “black cookies” (aka oreos) and watch Star Trek ToS. They were happy times.

Now I live in a different hemisphere from my father, and an even further distance away from my sister. I never see my grandfather anymore. Star Trek is one of the ways I still connect with them. Those memories keep me close, and I treasure them.

So when I say that I feel like a little piece of me vanished when I heard the news of Leonard Nimoy’s passing, it is the absolute truth. I felt as though the air had been sucked out of my lungs; I couldn’t believe it. I lost a vital piece of my childhood heart. His contribution to the world of cinema and television helped shape my childhood, my tastes, and myself.

It is with great sorrow we say goodbye.

Goodbye, Mr. Spock.

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Live long and prosper, travellers.

Something is Brewin’…

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Something is coming this weekend. It will be grand, epic, and timeless.

Imagine the subtle hint of chocolate on the air… mixed with the sight of ruggedly handsome men… combined with an indulgent amount of fine wines…

There will be an overload of pictures, I assure you.

Get ready, travellers.