CREATING VS. CONSUMING

I woke up feeling not completely myself. An unidentifiable tension that grew over the course of the morning, consuming my mind without logic or direction.

I thought about what had changed in my life. The biggest being a complete removal of comfort and routine. I forfeited those luxuries when I quit my job and moved out of New York to travel the world. Yet the daily struggle of balance never goes away. Typically, vacation temporarily transports us to chaotic and spontaneous moments fueled by exploration and fun. It provides a reset button so we can continue on living our lives with purpose and intent when we return. But when vacation transforms into life, it takes a concerted effort to establish normalcy or make any kind of forward progress.

It's the balance between creating and consuming. Our time spent consuming allows us unwind, expand our perspective, and ultimately to get back to creating. But recently my life seemed to be centered around consuming - delicious food, gripping novels, enchanting scenery, and the endless lure of social media. In the first few weeks of travel, there were massive amounts of time and energy spent without replacing what I was taking in. I needed to cook, to run, to write, to think, to produce. 

By noon, I had sat spinning on the idea I needed to do more. Be more. In whatever capacity that was. I couldn't remain idle any longer and went outside to run. I made it two minutes before stopping, needing to temporarily explode and let the emotions run from my body like water, tears flowing down my face. I couldn't find myself in this new and temporary life we had created. I felt lost and disconnected from everyone, mostly myself. 

I appreciate Todd's strength during these moments of weakness. Sometimes confused, but always calm he gives me the space I need to be my whole self. Whether silent or with carefully chosen words he calms my soul, dries my eyes and realigns my mind. All without judgement. He stands closer than ever so I never lose my sense of security or self confidence when everything else feels displaced.

Together we discussed the minor perils that come with removing balance and routine from our lives. And how to overcome it. Creating short and long-term goals, allotting time to pursue them, and ultimately holding each other accountable. 

That day we finished our run with purpose and filled our home with flowers from the nearby market. We took time to write and bring clarity to our contemplations. We adventured to the nearby town to watch the sunset. Made love and stayed up late talking about how to continue our travels with a renewed focus on balance. To be constantly creating as much, or more than we consume. 

SLOWING DOWN IN THE FRENCH RIVIERA

Its 10:00PM and we just wrapped up a dessert of fresh raspberries from the local market. Dinner had been just as simple - a homemade salad prepared with seasonal vegetables. Washing dishes in our tiny kitchen, I could see through the living room and out the open windows into the lush green garden that separates our us from the busy boulevard.

Perched atop the hillside, you can immediately tell the building housing our temporary apartment use to be a hotel. The entryway opens up to a grand staircase with ornate detailing on the back of each step. The hallways are long with identical doors gating the no longer identical rooms. Many are open in hopes of a cool breeze, so I peer in as I walk by. Curious about the lives on the other side. It is the individuality that gives the building life, which would otherwise appear abandoned. All the furniture has been removed from the common areas and there is not a thing left hanging on the wall, but the grandeour of what it was, or might have been, still seems to resonates.

It’s been an oasis after being in a state of constant movement, staying only 2 to 3 nights in each destination. But here, in the French Riviera, we weren’t on a timeline. We could wake up slow and head to the market, which feels familiar now. I shout to Todd to grab more olive oil while I vacillate between nectarines or strawberries for our morning parfait. We might go on a run or grab a long lunch before walking the short distance to the beach. We prefer the rocky shores in late afternoon, when the crowds have started to disperse and the sun is high enough to read our books, but low enough to not burn our skin. After a bottle of rose and a nap there is still enough time to jump in the car and drive to Antibes to watch the sunset. 

Everything is slow and effortless here. Families gather at the local beaches near the point, picnic baskets in hand and children in tow. The road wraps along the coast, zigzagging by extravagant homes and landscapes. When we finally arrive at our destination, the sun is still suspended above the mountains. Watching it sink reluctantly makes me question if it does really fall faster back home. Or do I just move so fast everything else around me becomes a blur? In both time and memory.

REFLECTING WHILE TRAVELING

It’s now been 15 days into our 110 day trip. More than 10% done, which feels surreal on both ends of the spectrum. That it’s already been 15 days, and we still have 95 to go. Continuing on to the French Riviera last week solidified the feeling this isn’t a vacation, quite oppositely it is life for the next several months.

People keep asking me where we live and I want to say New York, but that isn’t true anymore. We don’t live on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, but we also don’t yet live in LA either. We live right here in this moment. Which is beautiful and strangely bittersweet at the same time.

When I left San Francisco to travel and then move across the country, it was an overdue transition. The city breaking me down slowly each day I overstayed my welcome. But I wasn’t done with New York. And I know New York wasn’t done with me.

Our last night in town we sat at dinner in the West Village. A cozy Italian spot with more empty bottles than glasses on the table. Old friends and new interlaced around us, forming the most abstract and illusory family. Our love for each other and this city never grew stagnant. Always in constant motion, growing and transforming as boldly as the seasons do there. It’s the thing I miss the most right now and the reason I still respond with “New York”, anytime anyone asks where we are visiting from.

I find comfort in the fact that leaving early means the city will always remain elusive in my mind. A perfect home and a place I yearn to return one day.

IMG_0098.JPG