On Adventuring

I am not an adventurous person. Oh, yes, I will try new foods or new teas, or even put snails on my face. But when it comes to venturing outside my own house or neighborhood? Not so adventurous. My anxiety spiked when I took a new job that required a one-hour commute into the city rather than a 15-minute drive in my nice, familiar suburb. And the other thing I don’t often is travel.

Now, to be fair, until recently I’ve worked in a field where people at my level don’t get paid enough to travel much on their own dime and where it’s typical to only take time off to visit family once or twice a year. But there are plenty of people who find opportunities to go to international meetings. My ex-husband found himself invited to at least one international meetingĀ per year and I did take the opportunity to travel with him when we were together. And it was a nice easing into the idea of travel because he took care of all the arrangements, but I was still left with eight or nine hours to fill by myself in a strange city where I may or may not speak the language well.

But even then, I tended to stick with European destinations for international travel. It’s my comfort zone. I speak fluent French and the other romance languages come pretty easily to me. And I’ve never really planned an international trip myself.

So this year, my new year’s resolution was to travel somewhere outside the country. And it seemed like it was going to be deferred, until Boyfriend and I decided that our vacation after his graduation didn’t have to be to a comfortable place we’d been before. So I started looking into planning a trip to Montreal — not exactly exotic, but it requires passports and may even put some of my rusty French into use. And it’s placing a toe outside my comfort zone.

Which is a first step.

Because I’ve decided that next year, I want to take a trip entirely outside my comfort zone. I’ve decided to visit Japan.

To that end, I’ve spent the last week learning hiragana and katakana, and even started a kanji study program, as well as lessons in speaking Japanese. I had forgotten how much I love learning new languages (I briefly studied Latin, German, and Romanian in the past, as well as picking up some Italian for a couple trips there). It feels like exercise for my brain. And I’ve been learning about the customs and culture, from the perspective of a visitor. It’s an exciting plan, and I hope to realize it next year. It will certainly be a bigger step in getting me out of my shell.

A Weekend at Mother’s, plus Skin Care to Go

This weekend, my mother had surgery, and so Boyfriend and I went over to help her while she recovered. I arrived late Friday morning, where I could work remotely for the rest of the day, while Boyfriend arrived that evening after a day at work. Mum got home shortly before noon and was instructed to lie flat and not get up except to use the toilet, so I did a bit of waiting on her. I got her water and made her a milkshake and helped her with her medication.

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We stayed the night Friday and then on Saturday morning decided to stay one more night to make sure she was doing alright. Part of packing for the weekend was packing up a version of my new skin care routine to hold me over for a night or two. I was able to put together a travel skin care kit from samples and deluxe samples I’ve gotten in packages, plus a sample kit from Trilogy I bought recently.

Trilogy Natural Skincare is a natural brand from New Zealand that has a Rosehip range, based upon rosehip oil as an ingredient. I found this sample kit on sale at Whole Foods just after the holidays for half price. It has a sample of the cream cleanser, Vital Moisturizing Cream, and Rosehip Antioxidant+ oil. And the whole thing comes in a little bag that’s great for non-air travel. I tried out the products for a day or two to make sure they didn’t cause immediate breakouts, and then put them away for travel.

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To create my skin care to go kit, I added in a deluxe sample of cleansing oil, glycolic-lactic acid mask, and serums. Then, I popped in some little single-use samples of facial sunscreen and foundation or skin tint. The brands mostly don’t matter, although I’ve recently bought the full-size of the BareMinerals serum because I love it. It’s not a full version of my skin care routine, but it works for a day or two. And anywhere I travel will provide me washcloths. I think the only thing I would add is a mini acid toner instead of the exfoliating mask because I can’t use that two days in a row. I know Pixi makes a travel size Glow Tonic.

I just pop all of this into the adorable little bag from Trilogy to go on a car or train trip. I would have to transfer it to a plastic zip-top bag for air travel, but that’s not so much of a bother. This is just for a couple of days’ travel. I’ll have to start working on a kit for longer, as I have to travel for work over the summer.

A Short Break

As mentioned in my last post, I spent the week before last struggling with an illness. Just when I thought I was feeling better, and even had made it back to work, it hit me again. I only recovered in time to fulfill my duties as a bridesmaid in my best friend’s wedding that weekend. But from there, I practically got straight onto a plane to go on a trip for work.

So, worn from illness and the stress of a long day at the wedding, I immediately stressed my poor body further with travel, and then with the rigors of a conference, which often involves late nights and more to drink than I generally have. Of course, I’d used up any buffer of posts during my illness and did not have my computer or camera with me to post while I was away (which is a shame, as I encountered some beautiful pastries!).

But, I managed to keep myself up, perform my nightly skin care ritual, and swipe on my red lipstick at the conference. I found that my favorite wrap-front dresses were a godsend for traveling. I managed to travel in vintage-inspired style and made it home safely. So now I’m back, and I have some work to do getting myself fully healthy and rested and stress-free again. I hope all of you had a lovely week last week!