Vacation Throwback: Summer of ’18 in CA

*Cue Roaring 20’s and Old Fashioned by Panic! at the Disco in the background, on repeat* (meaning at least listen to the songs once, PLZ, then just listen to the rest of the album…yes I¬†may be too much of a fan)

DISCLAIMER: All photos are mine, even the header.

This was the vacation I needed, and in the same note of I wanted it, I didn’t know I NEEDED so badly. I truly grew so much, learned so much, and explored so much, I can only hope to get some of it across through some of my social media posts, my pictures, and through posts like this.

I had 2 weeks, with flights, that was fairly busy, out in CA. I shared right before, my planning of it, go check it out! This is my aftermath vomit post. Yes, it took too long, sorry guys. Mind my last post on some reasoning (I know, no excuses! I hate it…I just was still recovering and couldn’t deal for some reason(s)…but here I am, getting back on the vibe).

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The first major thing I got to do, which was the reasoning for the whole vacation out to California anyway, was Yosemite. I enjoyed the time up, with, and back down, with my mom and her parents. It was 4 total days, 2 full days in the park, the last day in the middle of the park, and down the Sierra Nevada mountains.

The travel through the park, and down the Sierra Nevada’s, I’m so grateful I had the intuition and confidence to say what I would think would create some great memories and photography shots, to my grandpa (who asked me personally about how we should make our way back down to where they live).

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Yosemite couldn’t have been any more enjoyable on my end, especially as a first time visitor, with experienced visitors. When my grandma told me that my grandpa fell in love with waterfalls from their first visit at Yosemite, I can truly see why. Seeing it for myself, and seeing my grandpa, in his mid 80’s be in his element, I see it.

For some backstory: my grandpa and my dad are both photography nerds. Keep in mind, it’s my mom’s dad here, so it’s not a dad and son thing here. My late grandfather is very an “in the moment” guy, and I’ve appreciated that the more I’ve aged (which took a toll on me during this trip…the “in the moment” that Ekhart Tolle shares, especially in his book of “The Power of Now”, which has shaped me more than anything, since I read it).

I can see myself in all of them, and most so I felt that during this trip. This was my first “fun” trip since before my late grandfather passed. I had a memorable time when visiting him prior to his passing, but knowing that he was going to die is a different trip. If you’ve lost someone close, and had a weekend even with them, prior to their passing, I’m sure you know the similar feeling of what I experienced.

Since my grandfather’s passing, I’ve grown so much as a person, and even more so in the last 2 years, because I know that’s what he’d want (outside of getting over his passing). Going to Yosemite refreshed my love of nature, especially around water (lakes, waterfalls, rivers, storms), as well as photography, and being in the moment.

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Pretty much three weeks later, I’m still in shock of what I saw, and the fact that it’s now behind me. Let alone the fact that I still get mesmerized by my raw pictures that I got. I hated nearly all the pictures I was in, but the pictures I got were beyond anything.

They truly didn’t need editing. I went through about 400 pictures, and I didn’t want to edit the ones I kept. It took me forever to just “man up” and realize that I knew I didn’t have to (and didn’t want to) edit my pictures from Yosemite.

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Past Yosemite, it was some down time, a lunch with my mom, a family dinner, then to VidCon and Disneyland on my last day. This is where I grew the most. I noticed how far I had come at that point, as a person, as well as an adult. A lot can happen from 18 to 23.

Some unfortunate things happened on some plans for VidCon, and it turned into a long solo weekend. The universe knew better than I did. I broke down one night even, but I needed to experience a breakdown totally alone to become stronger.

I knew that even during the breakdown. I’m a better person from that, and because of the whole experience of the solo “weekend” if you want to call it that.

I was reminded of my strength as a person, of the fact that I’m capable of doing things on my own, and that nothing is ever as bad as what your mind tells you it is (via whatever chemical imbalances you may have, whether too much or too little of something). Something I was taught in mentor/leadership camp, I was reminded of recently: You and your body can endure so much more than you think. It’s convincing your mind of it that’s the issue.

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Vidcon was nice but isn’t worth the hype. I can’t speak for what it was (this was the first year under a new company), and although it was super interesting and neat to attend, the hype isn’t there. Which to me, makes sense. Social media and people in general hype things up so much it’s not even funny.

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VidCon made the *big* channels I tune into more personified, which is what I think is the original point of why VidCon was created. It’s sad that we need a conference to personify people that talk into a camera. But in the same way, YouTube creators are doing something the mainstream actors and news anchors aren’t: truly interacting with those who have made them who they are.

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My last big thing on this vacation was Disneyland. This was originally my only solo thing during this trip. The day there was what I needed to spark the kid in me again. I indulged in the fast pass system, and since I went alone, I only had to worry about what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it, and it was a great experience doing something like that alone. I talked with some pretty cool people while in the ride lines, and had a blast.

I went on about 12-15 rides, ate some dole whip to cool down, and even went up and down the Tarzan tree house, for nostalgic reasons. I had a perfect day there, and even got my first set of ears! I have them hanging on my wall now.

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This trip reminded me of who I am, and how strong I’ve become in myself, especially over the last handful of years. I am so grateful for this experience, and am so glad of the memories.

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Holy Week 2018

As we go into the last week in meditation over Easter, and the 40 days that Jesus allegedly spent in the desert, there is so much to be grateful for. This last near month has not been what I exactly wanted it to become, but it showed me and forced me to do things that I truly needed, and made me focus and do things that did need to be done.

I reflected more. I conquered more. I started new things, and added some fresh things to my life. I was more aware. I became more appreciative (even though I didn’t write my gratitudes every day like I should have).

What has been your Lenten time this year been like? Even if you don’t believe or practice in lent (I really didn’t take the traditional approach to it, as I’m not a believer myself), I feel like taking the good practices and ideas, and implementing it into your own spiritual practices.

I love the idea of crystals, and even how they look. I enjoy yoga, and doing tarot readings. Meditation is key, especially when my anxiety is up, or I’m stressed (like waiting for my dentist appointment, my stomach is in knots).

During this year’s Lenten season, I’ve used it to explore how others believe and practice, and have it guide me further into what path I want to go down, each and every day. It’s not too hard on me, as I’m not going through a spiritual crisis, but I am using it to deepen my experience in life, as well as meet new people, and learn their journey.

My dad and I were talking last week, about the need for community, and how it’s different for everyone. Introverts and extroverts like different crowds and energies. Even comparing two introverts or two extroverts is interesting.

Balancing your need for certain people (what they can provide, how energetic or peaceful they are, etc), and yourself is a spiritual journey, I feel. Think about it: do you feel more uplifted, refreshed around some people, even after a coffee?

We need that community gathering, no matter how it’s conducted. If you’re not religious, general parties are a great time for it, over football, or dinner. There’s gangs for a reason, other than just to get drugs or whatever else.

So over this week, leading up to a Jew hanging on a cross, meditate on that. Be grateful we live here and now, and where it takes more than hearsay to convict someone, and that we have the technology to handle most of it. Meditate on what it was like to see public hanging, shaming, and all the rest.

Done is Better than Perfect

Insert some backstory: I’ve been following Aileen Xu for just about 2 years now. I learned of her work on YouTube from a friend I met on Twitter. Sadly, I don’t talk with her anymore, just of natural fall out over time. Aileen’s brand/Channel is Lavendaire. You can check out her work on YouTube, here on her website, and her podcast (which is on break right now) on SoundCloud (her podcast is also on Apple Podcast and Google Music’s podcast section).

Aileen created a workbook for both 2017 and 2018, out of all of the journaling prompts, creative worksheets, and broadly used other tactics, that she uses, to help her followers (including myself), create our best year yet, and in return, become artists of life. And that’s what she called her reflection-based workbooks- the Artist of Life Workbook. It’s similar to what Bullet Journals do, where there’s open for interpretation on what the monthly pages have, but it’s goal-oriented, and already is printed for you, like a planner.

Throughout the year, I’ll share more of what it’s like, so stick around for that!

Any who, Aileen’s latest video¬†reminded me of staying consistent, as a creator of content, and that “Done is better than perfect”, something that she said last year during one of the mastermind conversation-like reviews that we have each month, that stuck with me since then. I don’t know if she’s said it before, but it really hit me then, and I haven’t forgotten that.

Over my last 20 months or so of making conscious decisions on self love, self criticism of anything I create, whether it be writing (journaling, poems, or “what would be” blogs), my photography, or whatever else, Aileen has been one of my top go-to for inspiration, and being nicer to myself.

I wanted to share this with you (her, let alone her video, and my thoughts, for transparency sake, during this part of my journey). I hope that this blog helps me grow, as much as it helps all of those who come through and read here.

I also want to share one of my favorite ways to learn: Skillshare. I read and listen to podcasts a LOT, and love learning on my own accord. During my social media detoxes especially, never mind when I want to actually learn, I go to Skillshare. I know everyone and their brother recommends it, but that’s because it’s SO WORTH IT. Do you really see ads for it? (Now you will, because YOU DON’T HAVE IT haha).

Take my code, for 2 months for $1, and explore even just one class on something that you’re even mildly interested in. As someone who hasn’t gone into higher education (as in college, outside of dual enroll classes in high school), this is such a handy way to even get ahead for those in college, let alone in the workforce already, regardless of education.