Unroyal Wedding Fever

In honor of the Royal Wedding today, I thought I would make today’s post all about weddings. But not at all about the Royal Wedding. Honestly, I couldn’t care less about Will and Kate. I have not watched a single special on them, I turn off the Today Show as soon as they go to live coverage in London, and I am honestly kind of resentful that Kate’s engagement ring is the same as the ring I wear on my right hand (only a little bit bigger). I don’t care about the Prince and soon-to-be Princess because they have no impact on my life.

However, weddings have come to take over my life in recent times. But those three weddings are the weddings of people who have a profound influence on my life.

The first of these is taking place in a mere THREE WEEKS and I cannot contain my excitement about it.

Liana & Steve:

Liana and Steve on New Year's 2011.

When I met Liana, I thought I would never see her again. My first day at my job was her last day. Little did I know that she would come to be one of my closest friends. I think the first time I met Steve was at a girls’ night we held at Liana’s, where he was sequestered to the bedroom. As I got to know them more, I realized they are absolutely perfect for one another. They’ve been together basically forever and are finally tying the knot this year. I look at them and I have hope for true love. I was truly honored this week when Liana asked me to go with her to her bridal hair trial. When she introduced me as “one of my best friends in the world,” I couldn’t help but feel my heart surge with love.

Kisses for the Groom!

And as they put the finishing touches on her hair, I started to tear up. She looked like a bride! In the year and a half that I have known them, Liana and Steve have become very integral parts of my life and I really can’t imagine my life without them. So many of my favorite memories from my post-college life include them and I am beyond excited to watch them exchange vowels on May 21, to hopefully not cry too much, and to party the night away in celebration.

Alicia & Josh:

Alicia & Josh at Lake Mead during our Vegas trip last summer.

The second wedding I’m looking forward to isn’t until August, but I am equally as excited for it! Alicia was my supervisor when I first started my job, and it took a while for us to really hit our groove together. But once we did, we’ve never gone back. I think the turning point was once she was no longer my supervisor and at that point she became my friend and my mentor. We’ve come a long way and we have some conversations that I’m not sure either of us would have with other people. She was the main reason I stayed at the job as long as I did, and I will always be grateful for her support and friendship during that time. I think I met her hubby-to-be, Josh, at happy hour once, and it took a few meetings before we really talked, but I’ve finally gotten to know him better. They complement each other very well and can both make me laugh until it hurts. And hey, if Josh let Kristin and I have the run of their house to prepare a surprise goodbye party for Krissy, he can’t be too bad, right?! ;) I look forward to helping Alicia out as her big day approaches and to watching them celebrate their love for one another in August!

Claire & Kyle:

They're sometimes so cute it makes me sick.

Last, but definitely not least, is the wedding of Claire and Kyle. I have known Claire since our freshman year at Elon, and Kyle since our sophomore year. Fact: I was wearing nothing more than a bath towel the day I met Kyle because Claire brought him back to our dorm room to hang out without giving me any notice. The very next day, I walked into my 8 a.m. lit class and was greeted by his smiling face. Five years later, they’re engaged to be married. And yes, I am planning to mention the bath towel in a toast at their wedding (or some wedding festivity).

Claire was not only my roommate for a year, but is also one of my best friends in the world. She has seen me at my best and my worst, and loves me anyway. She really found her match in Kyle, and while Kirsten and I often marvel how she changed from tomboy to girly-girl in the five years we’ve all been friends, we love the person she’s become, and a lot of that is due to Kyle. (Not that we didn’t love her before!)

Oddly, while this wedding is furthest away (June 2012!), it’s the one I’m most obsessed with. I’m making her update me on every detail of the planning. Helping her assess dress options. Basically trying to plan it FOR her. And already trying to figure out how I’m going to keep from sobbing like a baby during the ceremony. Oh, and plotting my goals for the day, including dancing with her father (because her dad is awesome).

When they called on Christmas Eve to announce their engagement, I tossed down the camera I was using to photograph my sister and her husband and child to answer the phone. I squealed and could barely contain my excitement for the three days it would be before I saw her and the ring in person. I have had their wedding date on my Google calendar and a countdown on my Mac dashboard since they set the date (407 days to go!). And I am incredibly impatient for their big day to get here. To see them exchange vows, to see which one of them cries first (my bet’s on Kyle), and to take inevitably ridiculous photos with them.

When your best friend finds her soulmate, you can’t help but be happy for her. Although you will still always take photos that look like this:

This is the first photo I found of the three of us...playing Chubby Bunny on our last night at Elon. We're wiiiiiiiild.

Playing third wheel on an exciting exotic vacation...aka in my bedroom.

Kyle, Kirsten, me and Claire at the homecoming tailgate our senior year. Let's recreate this at the wedding, k?

Well, at least we got one normal one in there. :)

So, while I will not be watching the Royal Wedding today, I will probably be thinking about at least one of these weddings in some capacity. OK, maybe that “probably” a “definitely.” Because I’ve got wedding fever, and probably will for the next 407 days straight.

(PS – while this posted at 5 a.m., no, I did not wake up to watch anything wedding related. Such is the beauty of scheduling posts on WordPress.)

This is Why…

I just finished reading my “Best of Lonely Planet Travel Writing” book. And as I finished the last story, I wiped the tears from my eyes and had to concentrate on my breathing. And I remembered… this is why. This is why I want to do this.

Because through travel writing, you can take people on journeys with you. While reading that book, I was on the beach on Ascension Island with the writer watching a lunar eclipse and turtles laying their eggs. I was with another writer in Casablanca looking for an old friend and making new ones along the way. I was with yet another writer and his wife, settling into their new lives in Slovenia, completely different from what they expected, but OK at the same time.

As that last writer, Chris Colin, wrote:

“This is the essence of travel, or at least travel taken to completion: it’s not the change of scenery or the new way of preparing lamb – it’s you. You are lost to yourself, you don’t know who will emerge from the pit.”

And that…that is why. Why I want to travel. Why I want to write about my travels. Why I took the plunge and I’m taking the steps. That’s why. Not to see pretty places or get passport stamps. Not to avoid being tied down and to escape “the real world.” No, it’s none of that. It’s to get lost in the journey, to have life-changing experiences, to see the real real world, to find myself in a whole new way with each trip and each experience, never knowing what part of me is going to be awakened.

THAT is why.

Letting Inspiration Find You

I’ve been uninspired the past week or so. Unmotivated really. Finding no real meaning or purpose in my writing, just kind of sputtering along.

My work with the company I’ve been contracting for slowed down at the end of the week before last and I hadn’t heard anything back. My work for my travel writing course was completely suffering: no where near my best effort or my most passionate, but I just couldn’t get into it. And the feedback reflected it. And, as you know, I’ve been sucking at keeping up with the blog.

It’s just hard to write when you’re not feeling inspired by anything. What am I supposed to say? “Woke up. Went to the gym. Ate. Watched ‘Sex and the City.’ Job searched.” Because that’s pretty much my days when I don’t have writing assignments.

The only thing I was putting effort into and feeling good about and enjoying was my writing for the Go! Girl Guides. (My second post went up today!) And I am loving the community this website has and the rush I get from working with these girls. If only I could find the passion and energy for everything else that I’m getting from that.

So I decided Tuesday night during my class’s chat session that I was really, really going to put a lot of effort into the next assignment. I started brainstorming on Wednesday. But everything I came up with was lackluster or had already been covered recently or just wouldn’t pan out. I hit a wall again.

My solution to that was to at least be productive in some other way – with a GGG post. I drafted two of those in less than an hour. Can you tell where my motivation really is right now?

Then as I got on Facebook, my news feed was full of people talking about the new jobs they just got. Meanwhile, I have heard nothing about the jobs I’ve applied for. I was sliding…

Then at 4 p.m., I had my weekly chat with my liaison at the company in Arizona. We talked about the work I had completed for them already, and then moved on to what I really wanted: NEW ASSIGNMENTS. And actually, a new client as well. A client that I think I’m really, really going to enjoy working with.

After she told me about it and gave me some background material to read, there it was. BOOM. Inspiration. Finally.

Without giving too much away, one of the people I am going to be interviewing for this new client is wheelchair-bound thanks to a spinal cord injury when she was 16. At the age of 31, she has done so much in her life and overcome every obstacle with such fierce determination. As I read the bio she sent me over and over again, I got goosebumps every time. If she can overcome that and go after her dreams and be ridiculously involved in a million different things, all for the good of others… why can’t I?

I can. And I will. And I’m going to figure it out, eventually. In the meantime, I’m going to keep a little bit of perspective thanks to my newfound friend and try to stay motivated and inspired every day.

Sometimes all we need is a little divine intervention, a little inspiration and a whole lot of perspective. If you go searching for the inspiration, sometimes you can’t find it. But when you really need it, it seems that you just need to let inspiration find you.

And then we realize… We can do whatever we set our minds to. We just need to figure out our ways to do it.