September 2011

A Preliminary Packing List

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by Sheryll on September 29, 2011

So, things have hit full throttle in my world. I basically have a month and a half (!!!) before my trip. And my little sister has decided to have a small wedding, where I will be the Maid of Honor, three days before I leave.

Cue epic freak out. (for real. I had a panic attack.)

This whole time, I’ve just been sort of, hanging out. “Oh, I have so much time before I leave, I’ll do it tomorrow.”

Well shit just got real.

I realized that I need to have all of the stuff in my room, packed, and ready to go in about 3.5 weeks. We’re having a small yard sale this weekend to get rid of the last of our stuff before just taking the rest to Goodwill.

And then on the packing side, I realized that I have to buckle down and create a list for myself of exactly what I need to pack. And thanks to my lovely Facebook family, I’ve officially decided I will be getting a backpack. Backpack = a lot less shit than I normally pack. For some reason, traveling with less makes me freak out on the inside. I know I wrote a post earlier about packing less, but I don’t think that whole concept really hit me until 5 minutes ago. The idea of having my whole life on my back is sort of freaking me out. Sigh.

So I’ve decided to make a preliminary packing list here, and hopefully you all can help me out with what I should add and what I should leave out.Without further ado:

Travel Documents:
Passport
Hotel/Apartment Confirmations
Boarding passes/Flight Confirmations
Money/Credit/Debit Cards

Electronics:
Kindle (best thing I’ve ever bought, ever)
Camera + cords  + charger + battery
Laptop + charger
Travel adapter
Cell phone + charger
iPod + charger

Clothes and Accessories (Biggest SIGH of my whole life):
3 pairs of shoes: boots, converse all stars, high heels (most likely my high heeled boots)
1 pair of jeans
1 pair of black skinny pants
2 pairs of tights
2 dressy shirts
2 oversized sweaters
1 cardigan
2 dresses
1 pair of yoga pants
1 workout shirt
1 sports bra
2 (3?) regular bras
7ish pairs of underwear
1 (2?) scarves
5 pairs of socks
2 night shirts
A few pieces of jewelry
This seems like so much and so little at the same time. Oh God.

Toiletries
Lotion
Deodorant
Hair conditioner (I use my hair conditioner as shampoo and shaving cream. WIN!)
Disposable razors
Perfume (or maybe I’ll just buy some in Paris…. yeah… I’ll probably buy some in Paris)
Body Wash
Face Wash + Moisturizer + Toner
Leave in hair conditioner
My Shea Moisture hair smoothie (amaaaazing)
Brush
Hair ties
Makeup (One palatte of neutral eyeshadow, eyeliner, foundation, blush, mascara, 1 lipstick)
Toothpaste + toothbrush
Tampons
Condoms (I will not be conceiving a child on this trip!)
Eye mask
Random pain medication (tylenol, aleve)

Random Shit:
Umbrella
Tweezers + nail clippers
A small towel
Journal
Gloves
First aid kit

Ohhhh goodness. I think this is it? I’m not hiking or anything, so I won’t need hiking stuff. I’m not staying in hostels so I won’t need hostel sheets or anything like that. I don’t use blow dryers, curling irons, or flat irons. I also plan on buying a killer dress for New Years in Paris. (and maybe one for my birthday…)

What would you add? What would you leave out? How in the world am I supposed to wear all of this on my back? Why am I a hot mess right now?!

Actually, don’t answer that last question. :)

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It’s no secret to anyone reading my blog that I’m big into fashion. While most people probably spend the days before their big trips stressing out about travel insurance and vaccinations, I’ve been more worried about what the hell I’m going to wear while I’m visiting Europe. Gotta love it!

Living in Florida for 3 years and in Southern California for another 3 years means I’ve acquired roughly 0% fall/winter clothes. Winter for me means switching from short shorts to jeans, and throwing on a cardigan.

Making this feat more complicated is the fact that I’m planning on taking a smaller bag that what I’m normally used to. Winter clothes + smaller bag = disaster waiting to happen. I’ve been eying all of the latest fall fashion and came up with a few key essentials I plan on bringing with me and can be used for easy layering.

I love the idea of huge sweaters, paired with skinny jeans or leggings. Throw on a belt for some texture, and Voila! Perfection!

I’m crying over those Alexander McQueen chained trim leather ankle boots. With a price tag of $1,995, it looks like I’ll be crying for a very, very long time.

Ombre wool scarf + a sultry perfume = classic. I also wish that backpack came in a HUGE size. It’s exactly what I want! And how adorable is that necklace? Check out my Facebook page for details!

49 days.

{ 12 comments }

56 Days and Counting

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by Sheryll on September 20, 2011

Tonight, Johnny and I took a late night picnic dinner over to a grassy area close to LAX. It’s a special place for us, and not just because there’s an In n Out right next to it. It’s a place where we always admired the planes landing and taking off, wondering who the people were on those planes and what awesome, cool places they were going.

Back when I first moved to LA, Johnny and I were dead broke. I mean, eating 99 cent value meals all the time, getting creative with ramen noodles, barely having gas to get to interviews, broke. We struggled together, but our love for each other endured and in the end, we both ended up overcoming all of the craziness. During that time, we’d always go to our special place by LAX, cuddling together under a blanket and daydreaming of the day we’d get to be on one of those planes ourselves.

Tonight, as we gawked at a huge JetBlue plane touching down, it hit me.

We’re really doing this. We’re actually going to be on one of those planes.

All of the shitty jobs, the tears, the balled fists of frustration, the times I didn’t even think I could get myself out of bed: It’s all brought me to this place in my life.

Until this point, I knew that we were going on a trip of a lifetime, but I didn’t really know we were going on this trip. I’ve just been sort of going through the motions: buying the tickets, figuring out what apartments to stay in, our itinerary. But I haven’t really allowed myself the delicious realization that this is actually really and truly happening. I’m going to places I’ve only dreamed about going. I saved up the money on my own. I made the leap and left my job. I started doing what made me happy.

There are a few odds and ends that still need to be tied up. Buying a bag would be a start. But I just put a camera on hold today. And I bought my winter coat. I still have to get rid of about 80% more of my things, find a place for Jack and figure out where to put the car. But all in all, I am freaking ready to leave. November 15 can’t come fast enough.

As I sit on the couch of my 2 bedroom apartment I share with 4 other people and a dog, I can’t help but realize just how amazing life is. A year ago, I was sitting in a windowless office, miserably unhappy and not entirely sure what to do about it. But everything in life happens for a reason. If my job wasn’t making me unhappy, I probably would’ve never seen a therapist, who then had me write down my passions, which turned into looking into travel blogs, which turned into starting my own blog, and then finding enough courage to buy a one way ticket out of the country. I have no doubt in my mind that the darkness that was in my life a year ago was only leading the way to the path I’m on now. And it makes me so much more appreciative of all the awesome things life is giving me. I may not know what the hell I want to do in the future, but right now, I’m going to relish in the fact that I’m living my dream. It really doesn’t get any better than that.

56 days.

{ 24 comments }

Packing Epiphany: Maybe Less is More?

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by Sheryll on September 12, 2011

I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

I pack like an asshole. An over packing asshole.

Seriously. My idea of packing for a trip consists of me throwing my cutest clothes and shoes into a bag, somehow thinking that it’s all going to work out when I get there. It never does.

If I’m only going away for a weekend, I want to bring enough clothes for a whole week. You know, “options”. Yeah, all those “options” are usually always terrible.

I end up getting to my destination with a bunch of clothes that don’t go together, things I don’t want to wear, or things that are too hot/cold for the occasion. I have shoes that aren’t meant for walking, or not dressy enough shoes for going out. Then I end up pissed because I don’t have anything to wear. Poor Johnny is the one who has to deal with my outbursts in the morning as we get ready.

Paris Hilton clearly didn't get the memo.

When I studied abroad in London, I brought 2 huge suitcases. One for shoes (seriously…what the hell was I thinking?), and one for clothes. What ended up happening is that a huge stash of clothes made it to the dreaded “bottom drawer”. You know the one… the one that the clothes you don’t want to wear end up. All of my Florida clothes basically had NO place in London, and I soon felt like a giant walking tourist sign. So I went to Primark and Top Shop and slowly,¬† acquired a new, smaller, made me more comfortable walking in London, wardrobe. And when I came back to the States, I had to leave most of my original clothes and donate them to charity.

After that major gaffe, I still managed to never really learn how to pack. Sad times.

But now, I’m all grown up and I’ve had an epiphany. Maybe packing less is more?

I’ve been looking into getting a new bag for the trip, and all the ones I really like are insanely smaller than I’m used to (aka GIANT freaking suitcase). But maybe. . . just maybe, I can pack. . . less. Well, basically I’m forced to with the checked luggage costs and 20kg (44lbs) limit through most of the airlines we’re flying.

I know all of my LA clothes won’t be suited for Europe. So maybe I’ll just bring things I know I won’t be able to find in Europe: pants for girls with big butts, my favorite tweed blazer and some dresses. Then I’ll just buy the rest when I get there. A few sweaters, blouses, leggings…basics. I know I’m going to end up going shopping anyways, so I might as well bring less and just add as I go.

And this time, for some reason, I just can’t imagine myself lugging a giant suitcase through cobblestone streets and up 6 flights of stairs. I don’t want to deal with doing laundry for 6 hours a day. I just want less.

I’m also pretty sure this is this first time in history I’ve ever said that about packing. Mark it down in your calenders! History has been made.

image courtesy flickr, Shangai Daddy

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Last night, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

Fear. That skanky ho Fear.

Fear reared its ugly head and wouldn’t let go. I had a major, MAJOR freakout.

It all began as I was researching for our trip. What museums to go to, where to eat, what to do on my birthday…the normal things I think about everyday. Slowly, but surely, the doubts, fears and frustrations about everything just crept up on me.

“Will I have enough money for all of this?”

“What am I going to do when I get back?”

“What about my career?”

“Seriously Sheryll…what are you doing with your life?”

And then I just lost it. I cried. And cried. And cried. Until my body shook, my eyes burned and I tired myself out. Laying in bed with Johnny by my side, I cried myself to sleep.

Fear has a way of crippling even the most stable person. Until last night, I thought I had it all together.

I know traveling is my dream, my passion. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for the past 3 years. It’s the trip of a lifetime. But in the back of my mind it feels like I should be doing more. Doing…something.

I’ve been unemployed for 3 months now (not counting the month I worked at the diner). And coming from the overachiever Sagittarius in me, I feel like I should have accomplished something (work related) by now. Some semblance of a career path. This is the longest time I’ve ever been unemployed. And while it was wonderful for the first month, I’ve been itching to get my hands into something else. I’ll be 25 this year and I still haven’t the slightest clue as to what the hell I want to do with my life.

And maybe some part of me is afraid of all this because it’s completely new to me. My whole life has always been laid for me. I’ve always known what my next move will be. Bullet points. Steps 1, 2. and 3. And charting into this completely unknown territory is like jumping into a pitch black ocean without a life jacket. But I guess it’s up to me to sink or swim.

And I have to swim.

This much I know: I know I want to travel. I know I somehow want to be able to earn money and travel at the same time. But I can’t shake this feeling in the back of my mind that I need some sort of “backup plan”. Go back to school? Intern? Write? Teach? Is this my intuition? Or is it fear telling me that I can’t succeed?

Breaking free of my comfort zone. That’s what needs to happen. To push myself beyond the limits of what I “think” I am capable of. There have been plenty of missed opportunities just because I haven’t thought I was good enough. Or that this blog isn’t good enough. But now that I really think about it…It’s just that skanky ho Fear telling me these things. I’m afraid to succeed. Afraid to see what happens if I really put in my full potential. Why? I guess because in the end, following your dreams is scary shit. Especially when you have no idea what you’re doing.

I really need to learn to let go and go with the flow.

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