Lessons Learned From Blogging

After reading Margo’s wonderful post about why she blogs it got me thinking about my blog and what it means to me. I started my blog a month after I moved to Iceland as a journal for myself to remember this time in my life and as a place for my family and friends to follow along with my adventures abroad. I really had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started blogging!

A whole new world has now opened up to me and my blog has turned into so much more than just a journal. I have found a community that I can completely relate to on this crazy expat adventure, learned about cultures from all over the world through my blogging friends posts, and gained confidence in knowing that my abroad meltdowns are totally normal and my blogging friends don’t think I am crazy (at least I think so). In addition to all the wonderful connections I have made through my blog writing in my little space has taught me so many things about myself.

I am Creative
I always wanted to be that person that would come up with great ideas, make amazing crafts and tackle DIY projects for fun. My craft skill level though has never been my strongest quality and outside of writing, which I have always loved to do, I would have never considered myself a creative person.

Writing for my blog has challenged me to come up with new post ideas several times each week, create a blog design, and edit my pictures, even adding text over some of them. Reflecting back on this I have realized, I am really creative!

BloggingBlogging at your favorite local cafe is the best way to blog!

Maybe it is the confidence I have gained from blogging but my creativity has pushed into other aspects of my life as well. As one who use to avoid crafts I am now the one pinning craft ideas and actually doing the crafts I pin! From Christmas decorations to creating new recipes and making an awesome birthday basket for H I am starting to finally consider myself a creative person.

Don’t hide from my feelings
When I am feeling homesick or overwhelmed with my surroundings I tend to push the feelings away and not acknowledge them. I am notorious at avoiding how I feel. Before I used to just add on the work shifts or plans with friends, but now that I have so much more free time hiding from my feelings is not as easy.

FamilyWho wouldn’t miss this adorable bunch!

Blogging has really made me face my feelings head on and deal with them instead of running from them. I can’t write about how wonderful things are if I don’t truly feel that way. I have found myself admitting I am homesick or uncomfortable many times when writing a post. This has helped me express these feelings and get them off my chest before it is just too much. So thanks to you all who read those not so happy post and come back with supportive comments!

Being outside of my comfort zone can be incredibly rewarding
When I reflect back on my time in Iceland so far the most memorable moments to me are the ones when I was completely out of my comfort zone. Like all those unsuccessful friend dates I have gone on, uncomfortable events where I am the only non-Icelandic person in the room, or when I interviewed for my current job, being completely out of my comfort zone has brought some amazing things my way.

Iceland, Reykjavik, Sun Voyager, Mt. EsjanI am finally learning to embrace the uncomfortable feeling and just go with it!

I give blogging some credit in helping get me out the door. Once you say your going to do something you have to follow through with it and what better way to be held accountable than to write it in your blog! And you know what, I love getting out there and trying new things and being able to share it with you all! No matter how things work out I know I can come back to my blog and share my failures, embarrassing stories, and exciting experiences with you all and get the support to continue putting myself out there.

Photography is fun!
It used to always be H asking me if I wanted to take a picture and I was the one avoiding the pictures because I didn’t want to deal with the awkward posing and fake smiles. Taking the photo myself, pausing to find the perfect shot, it just wasn’t in the cards for me.

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Now I am the one taking the extra time to get the perfect shot, even creating my own photo shoots for my food! I am constantly asking H to take a picture of me jumping in the air or re-take a photo 10 times because I need the perfect shot for my blog. And you know what I love it! I can’t wait to get a new camera and take my photography further.

Be Present
Instead of just going somewhere and going through the motions I am now making sure I am really present in the moment. I want to remember all the emotions I felt and what I was experiencing so I can truly capture the experience. Coming to this little space of mine to write about what I am experiencing has helped me really reflect on my daily life outside of just the big moments.

Winter in IcelandAs simple winter walk home captured in all its beauty. Enjoy the little things, they are some of the best memories.

Starting my blog 7 months ago at a time when I was going through a major life change is one of the best decisions I have made. The benefits blogging has brought me are priceless and I know they will only continue to grow over time. So to all my bloggers out there, people may think we are a bit crazy but this little community of ours is amazing!

Question of the Day?
What has blogging taught you? Do you consider yourself a creative person?

Linking up with Treasure Tromp and the Grits Blog.

Staycation Confessions

I have now been on summer holiday for a week and half now and I will admit, it have been anything but productive. With only one sunny day so far (the rest have been more like winter weather!) and endless time to finish things I have taken relaxing to a whole new level.

Soon I will be on my trip to the beautiful Croatia where my days will be filled with much more exciting things but for now I am enjoying these cozy days inside. So today I am linking up with Kathy to confess my lazy staycation habits so far.

I confess, most days I haven’t been waking up until after 10. As someone who hardly ever sleeps past 8 (including the weekends) I am amazed at how late I have been sleeping in. I have yet to set an alarm though so the sleeping in shall continue.

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I confess, my outfits have consisted of sweatpants, gym clothes, then back to sweatpants. When it is rainy like crazy and you have no where to be why wear anything else?

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I confess, I binge watched the entire two seasons of Nashville my first two days of vacation. My only regret, now I have no more Nashville to watch until September!

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I confess, during my vacation I had planned on getting lots of blog work done and finishing up several draft posts for those times when I have writers block. This has yet to happen.

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I confess, I really need to be studying my NASM material to prepare for my exam this Fall, but every time I open my book to read this seems to happen.

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I confess, the only time we have left the house before 10 am this past week was to head out and get grocery’s (priorities of course). My grumpy mood about the earl morning adventure in the stormy weather was quickly forgotten when this adorable guy was sitting outside the store by our bikes.

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I confess, this post has taken me all day to write because I keep getting distracted and forget that I am writing a post. Better late than never to post right?

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I confess, it doesn’t feel like I am about to leave for an awesome trip. I already know when H and I arrive at the airport it is going to sink in we are leaving and some happy dances will occur.

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And this would basically be my dream dancing partners, you never know who you will bump into at the airport in Iceland:)

And I am finally hitting publish on this post, 10 hours later but who is counting! Happy Wednesday everyone, I am off to write a to do list, but one that I actually need to do, my suitcases aren’t going to pack themselves!

Question of the Day?
Do you prefer to be lazy on your days off or really productive? What TV shows are you binge watching, I need another obsession?

Vodka and Soda

One Last Italian Adventure

Two summers ago H and I spent two weeks traveling all over Italy before heading off to the gorgeous beaches in Greece. Before we headed to Greece we ended our Italian adventure with a quick stop to the beautiful city of Naples.

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We arrived in Naples late in the afternoon and spent our first day wandering around the busy little streets, which I will admit overwhelmed me a bit.

NaplesClothing lines above your head, someone selling something everywhere you look, children playing soccer in the street and motorbikes weaving their way through the chaos, it was a fascinating sight to see!

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As I was walking around in awe of what was going on around me H discovered a bakery where we tried a Sfogliatelle, an Italian pastry that is absolutely delicious.

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Feeling a bit exhausted from all the chaos happening around us we took our delicious Sfogliatelle and headed towards the harbor area for some exploring.

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So many beautiful views in this area, I wouldn’t mind strolling around there everyday.

By this point we were ready to find some dinner and headed off to find a pizzeria that had been recommended to us by a waiter in Milan. Lucky for us we had a handy map the nice waiter drew for us to lead the way.

NaplesIt took us a bit but we finally stumbled upon the pizzeria that will forever be remember as the best pizza I have ever ate!

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Completely stuffed H and I strolled through the same small streets that where full of life during the day, but at night they were quiet and beautiful glowing in the city lights.

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The following morning we decided to take a boat to the island of Capri, as was recommended to us by our BFF the waiter in Milan. We spent the day relaxing on the beach and taking a boat trip around the island where we saw some of the most beautiful blue water.

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Capri lived up to its hype, such a gorgeous place I highly recommend visiting Capri if you ever have the chance.

Our time in Naples was too short for us to explore everything we wanted to. One day I will have to go back and spend more time in this lovely city.

Question of the Day?

What is the best thing you ever ate when traveling? Have you been to Naples?

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Welcome to Travel Tuesday!

Travel Tuesday

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For this week’s Travel Tuesday our theme is What is your Travel Style? Link up with us and share a post about anything related to your travel style. This could be how the way you travel has changed over time, how you prefer to travel or anything you feel is relevant. I am looking forward to reading what everyone has to share!

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Each week Bonnie, Sammy, Van and I will select one post each from all the linked up posts the week before that we enjoyed especially. Please make sure to head over to their blogs to see who they picked!

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This week I am spotlighting Jamie from Gunters Abroad post about her and her husbands travel style. Jamie breaks down their travel style with plenty of tips all of us travelers can use. Head over and say hi!

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Ready to link up!

HERE IS HOW IT WORKS:
1. SHARE a post about travel! From road trips to trips abroad and from past travels to dream vacations. You can write about travel tips and tricks, favorite places to stay, or anything in between! Just make it about traveling somewhere!
2. GRAB the lovely button. If you run into trouble, just make sure to mention Bonnie in a link!
3. LINKUP goes live every Tuesday at 0800 GMT.

TIPS:
1. Please only one linked up post per blogger. Save other posts for future linkups!
2. The last Tuesday of every month will be a themed prompt if you want to join in!
3. HOP around and meet new travel loving bloggers! Check back to visit some of the newer travel posts!



Kicking the Homesick Blues to the Curb

Homesickness.

The sneaky thing that is never far away when you don’t live close to home. Lately I have been feeling quite homesick, I blame it on the non-existent summer we are having here in Iceland. Especially when I see pictures of everyone back home enjoying the sunshine, it makes it quite hard to not wish I was back there.

Skyping with my sisters over the weekend, (who were about to head off to float the river, one of my favorite summertime activities) it was all I could do to not break down crying. Why is it that when you are growing up all you want is to just leave your hometown, but once you do you realize how amazing it was growing up there?

I grew up in a really small town (population size 5,000 small) and dreamed of the day I would leave my town and travel the world. Here I am doing just that, so why do I find myself aching for the comforts of home so much?

This is not meant to be a negative Nancy type of post, this is real life feelings that I know come with the territory of living abroad. I am not one to let things knock me down for long though and when I am feeling down I have a few tricks I turn to that usually help put a smile back on my face.

Tips to Attempt to Beat the Homesick Blues

1. Plan a day full of tourist activities in our area. This is on the agenda for me tomorrow, I think a visit to Hallgrímskirkja Church for some of my favorite views of Reykjavik is needed. And if your visiting Reykjavik ever I highly recommend a visit to Hallgrímskirkja Church!

Hallgrímskirkja Church
2. Do one of your favorite hobbies. When I am feeling homesick writing down my feelings helps me get my thoughts out, and sometimes it turns into a blog post :) Other times I try out a new recipe or read a good book. Turning to one of the hobbies that I enjoy comforts me and helps push those sad homesick feelings away.

3. Do an exercise that you enjoy. For me, going out for a run along the sea reminds me of how beautiful Reykjavik is and it gives me a chance to clear my mind. Those post work out endorphins help as well.

Iceland, Esjan, ReykjavikMy favorite running path comes with a view that is pretty incredible.

4. Talk to someone who makes your laugh. We all have that person that no matter how down we are feeling can put a smile back on our face. A conversation with my best friend back home always cheers me up and makes home feel like it isn’t that far away.

5. Pamper yourself. Taking a hot bath, enjoying my favorite treat or even a nap, treating myself to something a little extra helps cheer me up. I think a spa day at the Blue Lagoon sounds like the perfect way to treat myself, don’t you? :)

Blue Lagoon, Iceland
6. Make plans with someone in your new area. A lot of times my homesickness hits me when I am feeling lonely. Making plans with my new friends reminds me that I have met some wonderful people here and am not alone.

7. Cry. Maybe not the most helpful advice, but sometimes I just have to cry it out and move on.

8.Watch one of your favorite shows. Watching one of my favorite shows, like Parks and Recreation, takes my minds off things and is always good for a laugh.

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9. Tell those close to you how you feel. I often feel like my friends and family back home forget about me a bit. I know this isn’t the case but since they have my blog to keep them in the loop they feel like they know what is going on with me, but I have no idea what is going on back at home. Letting my family know how much it means to me when they take the time to call or email me always results in us talking more which makes me feel less homesick, a win win.

10. Remember why you moved there. Sometimes it won’t be easy but you moved to this new place for a reason. Whether it is a new job, significant other, or school it was something important enough for you to leave your comfort zone and start a life someplace new. Reminding myself of how happy I am to finally be living in the same place as H and the awesome job I have helps put those homesick blues to rest a bit.

If all else fails look at pictures of puppies, Azora’s face always cheers me up:)

Azora PoolIf only life abroad was glamorous trips, delicious new foods and non-stop fun like the movies make it seem. Sadly this is not the case but reminding myself of this amazing journey I am on and getting myself out of my funk helps me feel better.

We all have our own things that work to cheer us up, I hope some of these tips that I use help you if your ever feeling homesick.

Question of the Day?
How do you deal with homesickness? And tricks that work for you?