My Books, My Brain, My World

Welcome to my world

I’m not good staying in one spot. If I have a day off with nothing to do, it frustrates me to death if I spent it inside with nothing to show for it. I live for adventures, all the way from exploring new foreign cities to finding a cool coffee shop I never knew existed. When I decided to study abroad, I chose Semester at Sea because you don’t simply stay in one country all summer/semester but rather eight or ten! That’s my kind of study abroad.

I think this stemmed from my love for reading. Growing up, my family had a tradition: almost every Friday night, my parents would take my sister and I out for dinner (usually Tia’s, a Mexican restaurant that has since closed, but gave kids tortilla dough to play with instead of coloring pages–a better alternative if you ask me!) then across the street to Borders Bookstore (now closing as well… how depressing). I loved wandering the maze of bookshelves, trying to decide which story I should delve into next. The few times I couldn’t decide on a book, or even find one that I wanted, I would be so frustrated. I couldn’t stand the idea of leaving a bookstore and NOT finding a book!

To this day, I find comfort in bookstores. While traveling abroad, I would find bookshops in almost every country and feel at home again. I bought my copy of The Great Gatsby from Pisa, Italy and I absolutely love it. I’ve met people who have never read a book for fun in their lives and it baffles me. Never??? I can’t even fathom life without my precious books! Sometimes I just sit in front of my bookcase and stare at them… A new adventure awaits me within each page. I can spend hours sitting on my couch but feel as though I’ve just journeyed to Hogwarts and fought alongside Harry and Hermione or followed Ray Bradbury to the future foretold within the tattoos of a strange fellow. I may be in the waiting room of a doctor’s office but feel as though I’ve been locked inside a room with Jack and his mom or escaped to Neverland with Peter and Tinkerbell. It’s always a new adventure, no matter how many times I read it.

Then there’s my journals. I have a large stack of them of various colors and shapes that I consider some of my most prized possessions. I’ve kept a consistent journal since 9th grade and now can’t image in how I would function without one. I always have something to jot down, mainly because I communicate best through writing. I’ll try to explain something to you and it just comes out as a confused mess. When I write something down, however, suddenly my brain comes out from hiding and pours onto the page.

When I write, I explore the recesses of my mind. It’s an interesting place up there… silly brain. Writing helps me discover what exactly has been going through my head and what thoughts have creeped in there lately. It’s not always pleasant, but it’s always an adventure.

As much as I love exploring lands that don’t exist or my own mind, having actual tangible adventures are my favorite. I rode a camel in Marrakech, Morocco, straddled two continents at once in Istanbul, Turkey, and backpacked my way through Italy for a week. I’ve spent a week living with a local family in central Mexico, playing Pictionary with the two daughters as a way to learn Spanish. I’ve spent 10 hours on a smelly Greyhound bus from Atlanta to Orlando, sitting among men who openly discussed their recent time in prison.

I like adventures. They make for great stories and keep my life from being stagnant. Journey with me as I embark on adventures of all sorts.

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My Brain

Seconds.

What lies ahead? No one knows. We all stare into the abyss of life that we pretend to have figured out. When we lose our way, we look around and only see people with purpose, drive, and confidence. They know what each year, day, second holds.

Until it all changes. I could get up from this chair and know that my next three minutes will be spent in the kitchen, putting the kettle on and selecting my morning tea. I would return to my desk to read a few emails as I wait for the whistle from the stove that will undoubtedly occur in roughly four minutes. When the sound pierces my ears, I will rush to remove the steaming water from the burner, praying my roommates were not awakened by the sound.

But what if those seven minutes occurred differently than I expected? I, being clumsy, could trip as I rise from my chair, breaking a random bone that would result in a hasty ride to the hospital. As I choose my tea, I could receive a call from my mother, delivering unbearable news of some sort, altering my life for an undetermined amount of time. The doorbell could ring, revealing a handsome stranger that would haunt my thoughts for months to come.

What lies ahead? Each second has the potential to shift our reality. Not just for me, for everyone. That businessman rushing to grab a cup of coffee before spending 10 hours at the office. The single mother struggling to survive and provide. The adorable two-year-old, experiencing life for the first time.

No one has life figured out. Those who believe they do are the most foolish of us all.