Monthly Archives: September 2013

Have you ever felt like you’re not where you’re supposed to be?
Felt like your calling was almost too far away in the distance that you can’t even hear it anymore?
Felt like the purpose that you thought was yours, actually isn’t anymore?

That’s where I’m at right now. My whole life I’ve been told to do, be, achieve. But right now is the first time I’ve actually asked myself what I really want. And I have no idea.

The only thing I know for sure is that I need to explore. I need to expand my horizons, I need to search and find and do something that I haven’t yet done.

At this moment in time, I feel stuck. For the first time in 3 years, I’m not planning a trip. I haven’t picked a location that I’m dipping into. Well, let me rephrase that. I have dozens of locations picked out but no definitive plans set. And I’m lost.

I’m at my best when I’m planning. I’m at my best the morning before an International flight, waiting in the airport for the beastly machine that will take me away. I’m at my best when I take that first step onto new ground, the one where you can literally feel yourself being drawn into something new, something fresh, something exciting.

All I can say right now is that I’m not at my best. And I so wish I was.

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Ireland Playlist

When visiting Ireland last summer, I knew that we would be doing a lot of driving from town to town so I packed my iPod full of songs that carried a similar theme. It was mellow, thought-provoking music that had stories to tell.

Like I’ve previously mentioned in my Belize Playlist post, I carry an iPod Shuffle when I travel because it’s super light, is only $49, and can hold hundreds of songs. Mine in particular is pink but I’m positive that they have multiple colors you can chose from.

When it comes to songs that I will want to listen to, I’m all over the map. So this playlist is a bit eccentric. I tried to stay within a general theme but it got a little skewed. It happens.

I know that “The Parting Glass” by Cara Dillon is an Irish song often sung at local pubs and it’s beautifully recreated every time you hear it. It’s often done in a slow, melodic whisper and there have been times I’ve heard it done in an almost thunderous way, showing jubilation. Regardless, it’s a beautiful song.

So, without further ado, here’s the 30 songs that composed my Ireland Playlist!

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Leavesden Studios: My Ultimate Fangirl Experience

For anyone that knows me, I’m a complete and total Harry Potter nut. Growing up on the books is an understatement. I’ve accredited my childhood to a woman who pushed me to be a better person, who instilled a love of reading and who made me want to be brave in the face of adversity. J.K. Rowling is not only a role model but she has shaped my life, and I’m sure many others just like me. My mom started reading them to me when they were first published and we, as well as my sister, read them fervently, taking in every word and joining Harry through his years at Hogwarts. 550591_10151136072598135_790477209_n

Not only did it bring us closer together as family, but it gave us something to look forward to and was a constant source of happiness for us all.

Last summer while in London, my mom and I knew that Leavesden Studios was opening it’s doors to guests and we literally couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Opened in Spring of 2012, we were one of the first groups to take in the magic of the set. 560606_10151136119418135_937076498_n

It’s set up in the most strategic way possible, you purchase a time that your tour officially starts and you’re shuttled into a movie theatre that documents the series as a whole and how it’s affected the world and culture as we know it and I’m 99% sure that everyone in the room was crying.

Then the screen splits in two and the Great Hall appears behind it. It’s one of those moments where you almost seem to be frozen in awe. So many scenes and so many memories that hold a special place in your heart are right in front of you, tangible and breathable. It’s unreal.

The guide tells you a brief history of the room and shows you around a bit then tells you that it is a self-guided tour and that you’re free to take as long as you want to. AHH. This property is huge and every known artifact used in the making of the movies is there, we had arrived mid-morning and didn’t leave until sundown.

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The sets are arranged so you see the different compartments that go into making such a huge production. The sets are still in place, the rafters and lights are still exactly where they stood during filming and costumes are strategically placed throughout.

It winds and curves and is a delight for all senses. Literally.

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There’s  an outside set where the Knight Bus and the larger than life chess pieces are with a backdrop of the houses you’re so accustomed to seeing. They even sell butterbeer to sip while you’re walking along. If you weren’t all that interested in Harry Potter, it would easily take you at least 2 hours to go through it all but for those who love it, expect to be there all day on cloud nine.

I don’t know if I can even properly put in words what it’s like to be there and to be surrounded by the things you’ve only witnessed on screen. It’s definitely a day I won’t soon forget.