A Reflection on my Life-Altering Move to London

I am having a terrible time.

There. I said it.

Over the last few weeks, I have descended into a deep depression faster than British cheese rollers sprinting down Cooper’s Hill.

What the Hell am I doing with my life?

I thought this was it. The peak. The pinnacle. All of my life’s work culminating here. I am living in London. I am getting my Ph.D. I am working remotely in marketing. I am single and free to mingle. Shouldn’t I be happy as a freaking clam?

Yeah, I should be. Am I? Not a lick. Not a freaking, syrupy, sopping wet lick. Instead, I have spent most of my days struggling to get out of bed. Crying into my pillow. Going out to nightclubs just to feel alive for a little while only to spend the proceeding three days feeling like the fuzz caught in the lint trap in an industrial dryer — purposeless, unwanted, and prone to combustion if undiscarded.

I have zero motivation. No desire to work on this damn thesis I spent all summer prepping for. I will be accruing more than $100,000 in debt to earn this degree. But what’s the point? I’m nothing special! I feel like everyone here is smarter than I am. More ambitious. More clever. More talented. Funnier. Richer. More outgoing. More accomplished. More sure of themselves. More secure.

I really don’t care much about my work work either. I’m just tweeting, writing blog posts, designing infographics. No one cares. My boss/client says, “Good job,” pays me $50, and then we never talk about those deliverables again. And then we repeat.

I try to focus on reading and writing for my Ph.D., but after a good 30 minutes with a book, my mind starts to wander, and all I think is: I have no original ideas. Everything else has been said. No one really cares about what I have to say on this matter. And I’ll probably say it incorrectly anyway. So what’s the point?

And, ho, ho, ho, hoooooo. Don’t get me STARTED on my love life. Have been verbally assaulted. Sexually assaulted. Lead on, rejected. Ghosted. Lied to. Here I am, wanting nothing more than to give my love to someone worthy of it, and every guy I’ve met has treated me like I’m the lucky one?? What is wrong with this country? And I am not naive. I don’t go for bad boys; I go for nice guys with good jobs and nice hair, but they, too, are idiots. I recently fell in love with a man who I thought was going to restore my faith in the male gender but then, on our second date, he made fun of me for saying, “Thank you so much,” instead of “Thank you very much,” (saying “so much” is sooooo American, gross) and I haven’t heard from him since. What a guy! Maybe if I start treating men like sh*t I’ll have a better chance of finding love. How utterly romantic.

The few things I am grateful for right now are: yoga classes, boxing classes, pearl earrings, the Dateline podcast and getting ready for nights out with Darla. Nights out themselves are hit or miss. And I like my new friends. They’re the silver lining. Ayushi with her spunk and joviality. Debbie with her kindness and patience. Jill with her strong opinions. Nicole with her articulation. Even the other ones in the Ph.D. realm that I haven’t seen in weeks. They’re pretty alright.  But I’m still in a city of 9 million people yet spending 20+ hours of each day alone. Just me and me trusty laptop, which, like me, is falling apart. E-I-E-I-O (both the chorus of “Old MacDonald” and a list of the keys on my laptop that have fallen off).

But what’s the use in all of this. I’m not happy. I’m not learning. I’m not creating. I spent $300 on a brand new, 88-key electric keyboard that I thought was going to change my life and get me right back into music and guess what! I gave it a 2-minute diddle, hated how it both felt and sounded, and now it’s sitting in the corner of my studio flat collecting dust. My camera? Also useless. I have not taken a single interesting photograph since I’ve been here. And even if I did, I would simply post them to my blog or Instagram and then that would be the end of that. I am a content creator and no one cares about content anymore. Unless you are a famous TikToker (which is also a pointless job), being a creator really means nothing these days. Getting a PhD probably means nothing. It doesn’t guarantee a job. No, you have get published and have a bunch of teaching experience on top of having a PhD which you have to pay or get funded to do. But who wants to fund an American girl writing about media trust and podcasting? Boring!

I’ve also been rejected from the two student leadership positions I applied for and likely won’t even get a spot in the teaching course I put in for. I kind of just want to drink wine and die. I am back on anti-depressants and taking both vitamin D and iron supplements because the doctor agrees that there’s something wrong with me. I guess my only redeeming quality right now is my ability to seek help when I’m at my wit’s end. I was literally put on suicide watch after my initial appointment with the doc but then I assured the helpline operator that there was a 2/10 likelihood that I’d hurt myself and she said she was, “Satisfied with my answer,” and that was that.

Oh, and I got my period this morning.

So yeah, all-in-all, maybe I have reached the pinnacle. Of my sanity. And it took moving to London to realize that this peak is pointless. Ha, that’s a good one.


Tales from A Weekend in Liverpool

It’s funny, lately, my trip-planning neurosis has effected smooth sailing on my weekend getaways—but Liverpool, my sweet, sweet Liverpool, was an exception.

My bestie Darla, who is on a three-month grand tour of the U.K., had planted roots in Liverpool for two weeks in October. I made arrangements to visit her for her final weekend there. It was Halloween, and we were giddy with excitement about planning our matching Halloween costumes (just kidding, we were stressed out as most twenty-something are when it comes to throwing together a last-minute Halloween costume that somehow bridges the divide between sexy, functional, thoughtful and cost-efficient). We decided on 1920s Flappers.

I booked the cheapest bus I could find (£7, plus £2 for a reserved seat, plus $1.50 to reserve the seat next to me and have extra space for bags. Not bad Flixbus), and set off on a Thursday afternoon. But my day was already falling apart. I had had a late night out the evening before which include an unsettling kerfuffle with a friend, and I had gotten about three hours of sleep. I had to scramble to get my things together that morning while also finishing a design project for work that took much longer than necessary. I barely made it to the bus stop on time, after being forced to leave dishes in the sink and trash in the bin (probably the most disgusting thing I’ve done in a while). But I did at least make the bus. I handed my suitcase to the driver to tuck in the undercarriage an then went to find my seats—only to find that the seat numbers on the bus didn’t align to the seat numbers on the seat-booking interface. There was a woman in my seats who refused to leave because I couldn’t prove she was in my seats (my tickets said seats 11C & 11D, but the seats were labeled 21C & 21 D), and she nonchalantly told me, “It’s not a big deal, you can just sit wherever.” Mind you every window seat was taken—so I ended up with all my things that were meant to have a set of their own plopped on my lap in an aisle seat. I tried to make the most of the situation and at least get work done—I still had that design job to complete— but alas, the Wi-Fi was not working. I shut my laptop, my eyes, and my mind, and, accepting defeat, went to sleep.

Upon arrival at the Liverpool bus station, I sprung awake and quickly grabbed all of my things. Stepping off the bus, I pulled out my phone to book an Uber. I messaged Darla to let her know I would be on my way to our AirBnB and I started looking for places to grab a bite on the way. I hadn’t eaten all day.  I walked down to the Uber pickup point, trying to orient myself in the new surroundings, but, just as I spotted the Uber pulling up, my stomach dropped.

My suitcase. My effing suitcase.

I turned around and booked it back to the bus port where we’d disembarked. The bus was gone, and there was no sign of my bag anywhere. I started to panic. Tears swelled in my eyes. I started choking in my breath. My suitcase — all of my clothes, my makeup, my shoes, my hair products, my vitamins, my books, my Flapper getup — gone! Gone! My Uber was waiting. And I had to get that project to my client ASAP. My head was spinning. I was exhausted and starving. I was spiraling.

I hopped in the Uber and called the Flixbus support line on the way to the AirBnB. I explained the situation through heavy sobs and asked to get in contact with the driver to have him turn around. I was met with an explanation of protocol. I had to fill out a form online describing my lost items and they would track it in their lost and found system. That was the best they could do, and it would take about five days minimum to hear back. And that was that. My poor uber driver tried consoling me and advised me to go back to the station the next morning to see if it was there because he had something similar happen. I thanked him for the advice and he looked at me with pitying eyes as I got out of the car. I was a wreck.

I checked into the AirBnB and met Darla. I was in leggings and a college sweatshirt, with wet hair in a bun and no makeup on. My eyes were swollen and puffy. We had tickets to go to an event that night. But that was obviously not happening. Darling Darla talked me off the edge, ordered us some pizza, and helped me Google what to do while I finally sent the project off to my client. By the grace of God, at least I had my wallet, phone and laptop in the backpack I had been carrying. We resolved to go shopping the next day to get me some clothes to wear and try to salvage what was left of the weekend while also calling every bus company out there to locate my bags.

I slept heavily that night.

Okay, so here’s where things started to pick up. The next day, I blew off work and spent the morning shopping—one of my favorite mood-boosting activities. I bought all new clothes, underwear, socks and shoes. Liverpool has amazing shopping streets and all of my go-to spots for cheap clothes—H&M, Primark, Zara and TK Maxx, were withing a 5-minute walk of each other. I bought new makeup and hair products. I spent more money than I could afford to, but I also needed those things so my hands were tied. I topped things off with a consolation coffee from Starbucks and started to feel better.

Friday night, donned in new clothes and shoes, I went out on a mini bar crawl with Darla. We enjoyed lots of girl talk and banter as we played music and got ready together in our AirBnB. Those moments are the ones that fill my heart when everything else seems to be emptying it. If I was in Harry Potter, my pre-Patronus montage of happy, dementor-Defeating memories would be a film roll of us just laughing and talking about boys and hyping ourselves up before a night out.

We had a great night out, hopping around from the world-famous Cavern Club on Mathew Street to the young and bustling Soho Bar in Concert Square. We danced and danced and finally went home, exhausted. The next day, Darla went off with her Liverpool fling (a boy she’d met the week before) and I spent the day wandering around the city. The Royal Albert Dock was by far my favorite area.

Here’s where I plug in that I really fell in love with Liverpool that day. It’s a fascinating city with beautiful architecture, quirky people, cheap food and drinks, and live music on every corner. It’s totally walkable, easy to navigate, and has a great mix of indie/locally-owned pubs and bars and shops mixed with the familiar franchises and staples. Most importantly, it’s coastal; just a few minute’s walk can get you from the city center to the piers where the sea breeze engulfs you in its wild and unruly.

That night we were at it again, off to another club for an evening of loud music, dark lights, smoke machines and gawdy Halloween costumes. I was particularly enthralled with a man dressed as a doctor who was carrying around a case of spare ear plugs. My kind of fella. I stayed a few hours, eventually ditching Darla, her fling, and my Doc for the comfort of bed. A lazy Sunday followed, complete with more pizza and a trip to the Liverpool Museum. I met the Doc later that night for a few drinks, and enjoyed a quieter night on the town. On Monday, it was back to life, back to reality (a.k.a. work), and then I packed up to go home on Tuesday.

Finally, this is where it all turns around. That Tuesday morning, as I waited at the Liverpool One Bus Station for my coach back to London, the big man upstairs was looking out for me. The bus pulled up to the stop and, to my astonishment, it was captained by the same driver from my Thursday trip! I sheepishly asked him if he remembered a suitcase being left and he said yep! And we could pick it up in Birmingham at the bus headquarters on our way down to London.

I nearly cried all over again.

The nightmare was over.

Now, I can’t return the clothes and makeup I bought in Liverpool because they’ve all been opened and used at least once, so now I have double everything. But I am so relieved to be reunited with my luggage. I looked like an idiot trying to haul a suitcase, a massive Primark shopping bag, a backpack, and a tote bag on the Tube back to my flat, but I did at least make it in one piece and no casualties along the way.

What I learned from this experience is how important it is to slow down, prioritize sleep, and not try to do too much simultaneously. I’ve made a deal with myself to focus more on sleep, set boundaries, and launch into future adventures with a fresh mind rather than a frazzled one. I’m so grateful that the trip turned out to have a happy ending, and most importantly, a banging story to tell. But I hope that next time I’m in Liverpool, things go a bit more smoothly.

A Long Weekend in Mallaig and the Isle of Skye!

The Sligachan Old Bridge on the Isle of Skye.


It’s been nearly eight months since I visited Isle of Skye on a romantic little getaway with my Scottish bae, Kyle, but it’s better late than never to add the trip to the archives. It was an unforgettable trip from start to finish for so many reasons, both good and…testing. But mostly good, given how absolutely magnificent the views were. Scotland, you never disappoint.

Here’s the recap:

Living in Glasgow, close to Glasgow Central Station, our journey began with a 7:30 a.m. departure from the train station. A quick stop for snacks for our 5-hour journey (à la Greggs and Tesco), and then we were settled into our window seats on the West Highland Line. Little did I know then, the train ride of the coast would be the highlight of the entire trip.

As we rolled out of Glasgow, we were greeted with stunning views along the River Clyde and typical green Scottish rolling hills. Kyle was a proper gentleman and allowed me the forward-facing window seat (though he wanted to switch on the way back! Still bitter… 😘) The rows of homes and infrastructure slowly faded away as we worked our way through Helensburgh and Crianlarich, towards Fort William and the mountains (bens) of Glen Coe.

the West Highland Line.
Image via westhighlandline.org.uk

The views were marvelous going through the bens and glens. Humbling and awe-inspiring. We picked up a gaggle of senior-aged tourists in Fort William and were stimulated by their excitement and camera flashes as we rode along the lochs and valleys of West Scotland. And just when I thought it couldn’t get any prettier, we hit Glenfinnan.

I’d been there before on a day trip but never like this. Remember the bridge from Harry Potter? Yeah, well, it’s called the Glenfinnan Viaduct and we rode right on over it. I’m just inserting the video here since, despite having a Master’s in Communication, I lack the vocabulary to describe it.

That life-altering moment (shut up, it was) was only a few hours into the trip. I genuinely did not know, when booking our trains, that this route is one of the top-rated train routes in the world. For us, it was a Thursday morning commute! How very blessed we were.

The entire train ride was spectacular. When a trip starts out that well, you know it’s going to be a great time. And it was, but Kyle and I quickly realized we had different travel styles. For example, I planned out our entire trip in a Google Doc with timestamps to ensure we’d have time to accomplish all of the “must-dos” on our list. I planned busses and ferries in advance and even had Kyle book a few. Having a plan makes me feel so much more relaxed on a trip. So when arrived in Mallaig, I knew exactly what we were to do, where everything was, and how much time we’d spend on each activity (of course I planned in “leisure” time and “Kyle gets to choose what we do today” time. I’m not crazy). But within minutes, our plans were derailed.

It became clear that we were not on the same page when it came to most of the things on the itinerary. And we would only visit each other’s pages briefly for the duration of the trip. For the most part, we were crafting an active flipbook. But, alas, you get the point, so let me not fixate a moment longer on the negatives and rather set my narrative attention on the beautiful things we did do. Thankfully, there were several.

Our hotel room in Mallaig was stunning with a view over the Loch (Loch Nevis, I think? All the lochs seemed to flow into one another) and an outline of the Isle of Eigg in the distance. It was the West Highland Hotel, an absolute gem in the Hebrides. We had agreed to splurge for a loch-view room and the moment we slid the key into the door lock and swung open the door, we knew was well worth it.

We dined that night at the hotel’s Terrace Restaurant, overlooking the loch as the sunset. Kyle had a seafood feast, and I a caesar salad. We settled our differences over dinner and had a nice nightcap drink on the terrace afterward. Mind you, this was during COVID times, so there was a curfew on alcohol, which meant, thankfully, we couldn’t get carried away and have a late night. It was for the better. Stuffed and tired from the day’s journey, we headed to bed.

The next day was the Isle of Skye!!

Friday morning, we took the CalMac Ferry from Mallaig to the Isle of Skye. On arrival, we took a quick jaunt to the exterior of Armadale Castle, Gardens & Museum while waiting for our bus to the next stop. On the way, we took stopped to take photos with the channel we’d just ferried through in the background, and they are some of my favorite photos of the trip. I mean, look at that view!!

I’m a little sad we didn’t have the chance to go into the castle, but it did have an adjoining public bathroom that we used to freshen up and that came in CLUTCH.

Back at the ferry port, we took a bus to the Island’s main city, Portree. Portree is a beautiful little capital city that serves as the hub for all excursions around Skye. On arrival, we walked around briefly, then sat down for a darling little pub lunch in an outdoor, enclosed, private patio (for social distancing) and had some local whisky.

Then we boarded our bus to the Old Man of Storr — “a rocky hill on the Trotternish peninsula,” according to Wikipedia, and a must-see on the Isle. The journey there was another stunning bus ride over the hills and glens of Skye. Finally, we arrived at the foot of the mountain range. Had we moved briskly, we could have made the hike to the top and back, but I was too trigger-happy with my camera and slowed us down (plus Kyle has ridiculously long legs and I couldn’t keep up) — so we ended up making it halfway up the hill and then pausing for a photo shoot before heading back down. Uh…. #NoRegrets.

This hike was the peak of the trip geographically, emotionally, and narratively. After we climbed down, we took the bus back to Portree, then another bus back to the ferry port, then the ferry back to Mallaig, then walked back to our hotel. I think at that point, we were both so busy brimming with the magic of the day and everything we’d seen that we had no energy left for tiffs or disagreements. We were just happy. It was glorious. And luckily Kyle gave me the reigns on navigating the whole day so I was both in my element and my happy place.

Exhausted, we grabbed some pizza and wine that night and feasted in our hotel room while watching the Simpsons on the hotel TV. It was a good day.

The next day, Saturday, was Kyle’s day. He was in charge of the itinerary for the day and we settled on visiting the White Sands of Morar. It was a beautiful white beach, surrounded by cliffs, opening up into a loch that made you feel like you were standing on the edge of the world. After a lazy Sunday brunch at The Tea Garden, we caught a bus to Morar and enjoyed an hour-long walk to get to the beach. The walk there and back was well worth it. The landscape was breathtaking. We settled in for a lazy day of reading and walking around and taking photos. A perfect Sunday.

Feeling spontaneous, we decided to walk all the way home from Morar back to Mallaig, taking more photos along the way. Mostly of Kyle and benches.

For our last night in Mallaig, we indulged in more drinks and small plates on the terrace at the hotel before retiring up to our room to pack up.

Sunday morning, we rose early for one last little hike around Mallaig. Then, on a whim, we signed up for a one-hour wildlife boat tour from the Mallaig harbor operated by Western Isle Cruises. While we waited for our boarding time, we popped into a gift shop and Kyle surprised me with the cutest souvenirs. Finally boarding the boat, the wildlife cruise took us around Lochaber to see seals, dolphins, birds, and various sea creatures. Noticing I was cold, the first mate (IDK what to call her; she was the only person to work on the boat who wasn’t the captain) took Kyle and me into a secret room below deck and gave us shots of whisky. We took them as we looked over the water toward an island of seals splashing about on their rocks. The ordeal was so preciously Scottish. And a great end to the weekend.

After the tour, we picked up our bags headed to the train station, and finally, unwillingly, made our way back to Glasgow.

To reflect on the trip now is to remember all of the fabulous sights we saw, photos we took, and meals we shared. The weekend tested us but did not break us, and for that I’m grateful. Our time on the Isle of Skye itself was entirely too short and it will be one of my first stops on my grand tour of Scotland once I return to the U.K. I will note that Mallaig is often overlooked when travelers set their sights on Skye, but I would highly recommend a day or two there for anyone who is making the journey. Hands down, the highlight of the trip was still the Glenfinnan Viaduct, a.k.a. Harry Potter Bridge. Potter forever.

My Favorite Museums in London

Disclaimer: I wrote this post in 2019. Due to COVID-19, the museums listed below are temporarily closed.

If you’re in love with French culture, you’re a Francophile. So if I’m in love with art museums, I’m an arto-museophile, right? Err, the red squiggle I’m seeing under that word indicates some illegitimacy… but heck, I like it.

I’ve fallen in love with London for many reasons, and no reason is more prominent than my love for its world-class art museums (with FREE admission…all within walking distance of each other).

I was in London for two months and spent roughly eight hours a week exploring one or more museums—usually blowing off something important to do so, like work or a date. I tried to visit during less popular hours to have a more intimate experience with the exhibits, but sometimes had no choice but to do the touristy thing of spending four hours on a Saturday brushing shoulders with strangers to get a glimpse at some obscure Van Gogh.

Through it all, I have nothing but good things to say about each museum. So, for my own sake as well as yours, I’ve recorded impressions of each of them, in order by my favorite, with tips to plan your own trip if you ever make it there.

Note that I wasn’t able to visit some popular museums (National Portrait Gallery, Saatchi Gallery), so this isn’t an exhaustive London art museum list!

Victoria and Albert Museum

Cromwell Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW7 2RL, UK

Image via timeout.com

This beauty was, by far, my favorite. I visited the Victoria and Albert Museum on a rainy, cold Friday night when the patronage was light and galleries uncrowded. I was enthralled by the expanse of the first floor, which boasted a Christian Dior gallery next to a series of rooms housing major artworks from all over the world, from every recorded period. As I moved throughout the museum, I felt like I was travelling though multiple time periods, as each room was decorated ceiling to floor in exhibit-appropriate décor. Parts were reminiscent of the Louvre, but unlike the Louvre, the V&A permanent galleries combined painting and sculpture with furniture, fashion, architecture, photography and other mixed media. The was even a room that doubled as a performance space where musicians could play the instruments of that time period.

The V&A calls itself  “the world’s leading museum of art and design.” I’d run that through a fact checker just to be sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it is, in fact, true statement. The building is huge. Printed in the Museum Map, which lays out FIVE STORIES of exhibits, is the assertion that “the V&A is home to 5,000 years of human ingenuity in art, design and performance.” Those are, like, my favorite things, y’all. I want to keep this post short (ha, what is short), but I could go on for pages about how wonderful my time was inside the V&A. I absolutely cannot WAIT to go back and see more.


FREE + Some Paid Exhibits ($10 -20)


Sunday – Thursday10AM–5:45PM
Friday10AM–10PM (Late night!!)

British Museum

Great Russell St, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3DG, UK

Image via Wikimedia Commons

I’m a little biased when it comes to the British museum; I had a lovely date there and now can’t help but associate the place with that day. I did make a point to go back on my own, though, and explore it without distraction.  Given that my experience was as great the second time as the first, this stunning museum has secured its position at #2 on this list.

The British Museum famously houses some of the world’s greatest treasures, including the Rosetta Stone, Mummy of Katebet, and ancient Samurai armor.  It’s controversial, naturally, because many of these artifacts were acquired during the era of the British Empire, and were essentially stolen from their native lands. But the pro-British Museum argument is that now these artifacts are preserved and on display where people from all over the world can come see them for free.

The museum houses 8 million+ works in its permanent collection alone (here’s a list of special exhibitions) and is one of the worlds biggest museums for that reason. I mean, seriously, if there was one place to go to learn about the entire history of the world as we know it, it would be this bad boy. The only problem for me was that the visit required hours of reading plaques and guidebooks to ascertain context around each artifact, and it was mentally exhausting (at least for someone like me who really wants to dig in and remember all of the information).


FREE + Some Paid Exhibits (~$17)


Sunday – Thursday10AM–5:30PM
Friday10AM–8:30PM (Late Night!!)

Tate Modern

Bankside, London SE1 9TG, UK

Image via modulo.net

I booked a Hotel in London’s South Bank specifically to be a short walk from the Tate Modern. Was it worth it? I guess so. Thing is, I’m not a huge modern art fan, so I’m in two states of mind: 1.) It was an excellent place for modern art if you’re into modern art, but 2.) It’s very modern-arty, so if you’re not emotionally captivated by large floor installations, interactive exhibits, and “Instagrammable” moments, then it might not be for you. But come on, in this day and age, who doesn’t like that trio?

Tate Modern features British and international contemporary and modern art. Across multiple rooms and seven floors, the collection includes works in an array of materials, methods and displays. They depict everything from statements about the human experience to artistic perspectives on current events. It’s probably one of the best modern art galleries in the world. Regardless of my stance on modern art, I am very happy I visited.


FREE + Many Paid Exhibits (~$13)


Sunday – Thursday10AM–6PM
Friday – Saturday10AM–10PM (Late Nights!!)

Tate Britain

Millbank, Westminster, London SW1P 4RG, UK

Image via artfund.org

Ugh, just wonderful. Strangely, the feeling I was missing when I visited the National Gallery, I found in Tate Britain. The museum featured prized works from all of my favorite periods and genres, though, of course, the focal point was British art. The museum boasts famous art pieces from 1500 to today, including showstoppers from Francis Bacon, John Singer Sargent, and my personal joy, William Hogarth’s, “The Painter and his Pug” (1745). I’m not a big Hogarth buff, BTW, I was just floored by an 18th Century painting of a pug. You have to see it.  I also especially loved the William Blake collection held within a somber, dimly-lit room draped in a thick, navy blue velvety wallpaper. I knew Blake was both a poet and painter, but I forgot the about latter. The exhibit was a lovely reminder.

What pained me, however, is that the museum had a Van Gogh exhibit on display at that time but I had to forgo it. Every ounce of me wanted to see it, but I was ramshackled by the $25 entry fee. Alas, my better judgment and skyrocketing credit card bill convinced me to stick with the free stuff. I had an exceptional time regardless.


FREE + Some Paid Exhibits ($10-25)


Monday- Sunday10AM–6PM

National Gallery

Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross, London WC2N 5DN, UK

Image via visitlondon.com

I’ll start this off with a confession: I found the National Gallery forgettable. (Whattt?? Alexis?? Who are you?)  It’s not that I intended to. But I visited about two months ago and I can hardly remember what I saw. What I do remember is that some of the rooms were under construction, so they had to move around paintings and cram some together into smaller rooms that, of course, became highly congested leading to an uncomfortable amount of shoulder-bumping (one of my top perturbations).

But visiting the National Gallery was honestly the whole reason I went to London. I’ve been loving my copy of Art: A Visual History by Robert Cumming, which features the most notable artworks and artists in history—and I found that most of the famous pieces I loved that I had yet to see where at the National Gallery in London—of the only major art museums in the world that I have not visited. So I was determined to make a trip to this world-famous museum, only to be disappointed that it didn’t, in my opinion, live up to my expectation. I promise that I will give the museum another try when I am back in London and update this post with new thoughts.


FREE + Few Paid Exhibits ($15-20)


Sunday – Thursday10AM–6PM
Friday10AM–9PM (Late Night!!)

The Photographer’s Gallery

16-18 Ramillies St, Soho, London W1F 7LW, UK

Image via artfund.org

The Photographer’s Gallery had a sign next to exhibit’s entrance that read something along the lines of “Warning: Some content is distressing and may not be appropriate for young audiences.” I think this forecast affected my experience  for I went in with the expectation of being unsettled. And it did not disappoint. The gallery featured temporary exhibits from various artists, mostly journalistic in nature. I saw one collection of landscape images, but, other than that, the collections depicted the human experience, most notably, human suffering. There was an exhibit on international abortion law, on an Iranian genocide and other heavy human rights topics. I actually had to excuse myself to the hallway after seeing a particularly distressing image of a group of men holding their decapitated rivals’ heads on spears. It was too much for me to take in right after breakfast.

So, I totally understand the power of photography in telling stories, memorializing historical events, and influencing public opinion around certain sociopolitical or socioeconomic issues. But I personally prefer imaginative photography—images that have artistic compositions, clever perspectives and unexpected use of light; photos that look like classical paintings. Frankly, I was expecting more of that in the gallery, but that is my own fault for having my blinders on. It was still a thoughtfully crafted gallery, consisting of four floors and 1-3 exhibits per floor, and plenty of written context around each set of works. I would recommend The Photographer’s Gallery for anyone interested in historical black-and-whites and underrepresented historical perspectives.


$5 (Sorry, not free…)


Sunday –11AM–6PM
Thursday10AM–8PM (Late Night!!)
Friday –10AM–6PM

British Library

96 Euston Rd, London NW1 2DB, UK

Image via carnegieuktrust.org.uk

I spent a few days each week working from the British Library. I absolutely loved it. It’s massive, open and clean and has hundreds of work stations and desks (though you can never find an empty seat…). And the building hosts a 5-story, gorgeous book case erected right at its center, visible from every floor. The library was an was an amazing location immerse oneself in knowledge and information… But hay, this post isn’t about where to get work done in London 🙂

The British Library every bit as much a museum as a library, and that why it’s on this list. The national edifice is home to copies of the Magna Carta, the only Beowulf manuscript, two Gutenberg Bibles, and numerous other documents of universal historical significance. In some rooms and hallways there are contemporary art and photography displays. Additionally, visitors can enjoy temporary exhibits with documents and artifacts covering myriad topics, from world religions to historical figures to major media events. Most exhibits are free, but there will always be one or two paid exhibits like this year’s, “Writing: Making Your Mark,” and “Leonardo da Vinci: A Mind in Motion.” 100% worth the visit in my opinion.


FREE + Paid Exhibits (~$15)


Monday –9:30AM–8PM

What are your favorite museums? Have you visited any of the above? Let me know your thoughts!

Pushing Yourself to Do the Hard Stuff (AKA driving in a foreign country)

Many people do difficult things. They raise children, join the army, pass the bar exam, care for sick loved ones and run marathons, to name a few.

Though I’ve always loved a challenge, especially when it comes to school/studying/work/projects, I think I’ve forgotten how important—nay, critical—it is to do the hard stuff. The really hard stuff.

In a way, doing the hard stuff like crying. So many people, myself included, feel ten times better after a big cry. Not only are you letting out years of pent up frustration, anger, and sadness in each sob, but you’re also emptying out your emotions to create space for new, better ones. You start seeking happiness. You smile. Things don’t seem so bad anymore.

You get that same feeling after accomplishing some great feat. Even if you don’t have your scores back yet, you feel relieved finishing your exam. Even if you didn’t get the best time, you finished the race. You struggled, you panted, you panicked, you nearly shat yourself. But you did it. And now, you can smile.

Where am I going with this?

It’s nearly August, right? Seven months of memories have gone by this year. If you know me, you know I chase happiness and am in a constant state of reflection. Recently, I’ve been bored and a bit down and I’ve been trying to figure out what I can do to lift my spirits. I’ve been trying to think back to the moments this year when I felt my happiest to see if I can replicate those feelings here and now. And of the seven months, I can think of one specific time when I felt pure euphoria.

It was the moment I parked my rental car at my hotel in Fort William, Scotland.

You see — (lmao, love that expression) in March, I had booked a tour that would take me from where I was staying in Glasgow via coach bus through the Scottish Highlands and drop off in Edinburgh the next day. I was beyond thrilled for this little trip because it was my mini vacation while I was working remotely, my chance for escape and enjoyment, and a chance to see the countryside.

But two days before the departure, I got a message that the trip was cancelled due to a shortage of attendees. I was super bummed. After thinking about it long and hard and conversing with a friend or two, I decided on a whim to take the situation into my own hands, rent a car, and make the trip myself. Why not?

It all seemed like good and fun, until I got to the rental car place in Glasgow the morning of my escapade. After inspecting my Nissan, the attendant handed me my keys, pointed to the exit, and said, “You’re good to go. Have a great day.”

Then, boom. It hit me.

I was all alone.
In a foreign country.
With a car I’d never driven.
A driver’s seat on the wrong side.
Street signs on the wrong side.
About to drive four hours in a direction I didn’t know.
Through land I didn’t know.
Without anyone on the continent to call if I got stuck.
I had to figure out how to get out of the garage.
And then through the crowd of pedestrians.
Then out of the city.
Then… Oh my gosh.

For the first time in a very long time, I was terrified.

But I had already spent $260 on the rental and booked my hotel in Fort William (my halfway point) that night. And I booked my hostel in Edinburgh the next day. Time and money were of the essence. There was no backing out.

So I did it. I told myself I could do it and drove that car out of the garage. I found my way to the highway after about six wrong turns and a speed well below the limit. I got to the countryside. I made it to see the rolling hills and greenery. (Absolutely breathtaking, btw.)

This photo does NOT do it justice.

Of course, the Scottish weather held up to its reputation and it was pouring on and off the entire trip. And get this— I even had to stop and fill up with petrol. That honestly made me more nervous than driving on the left! How do gas pumps work in a foreign country?

I was literally shaking the entire journey. My hands, trembling, were glued to the steering wheel. I was leaning forward and driving slow like a Grandma (sorry, Grandma). My eyes were peeled.

Nevertheless, she persisted.

By the time I got to my hotel a few hours later, I was physically exhausted. Stress, anxiety, and terror do that to the body, you know.

But seconds after pulling into the parking lot, I smiled. Really smiled.

Then I laughed. Then I squealed. Then I teared up. Then I laughed again. Another squeal.

I F*CKING DID IT!!!!!! (Again, sorry, Grandma.)

And that was the happiest I’ve felt all year. That utter bliss carried me through the next few weeks, with nothing but pure jubilation emanating from my body. The world was perfect. I was in love with it.

Okay, okay, so I know driving in a foreign country does not come close to the great challenges people face all the time. It wasn’t climbing Everest or being launched into space. Or getting my MBA (now that’s scary).

But it taught me an invaluable lesson. I’m happiest when I’m working really, really freaking hard, bitch-slapping my comfort zone, shaking in my boots, and just doing the damn thing.

And maybe I’ve been so bored lately because I’ve done so many things that I find few tasks daunting anymore. Work is challenging, but it’s not driving-in-a-foreign-country hard. Zumba is challenging, but it’s not racing-against-the-clock-to-find-a-gas-station-in-the-middle-of-nowhere hard.

So if you’re reading this—or if I’m just talking to myself here—challenge yourself MORE. Go do the hard stuff. The really hard stuff.

It is utterly, completely, unequivocally worth it.

A 2019 Revelation: yet another post where I announce I’ve “realized” something and vow to make a change

When I started this blog it was meant to document my findings as I did research for upcoming trips. And then, once I went on those trips, it became a way to chronicle and memorialize the adventures I went on every day that I was abroad.

So, when I left last year to start traveling full-time, I expected my blogging to continue. Naturally.

Well, a year of travel went by, I only posted one post.

And I’ve been beating myself up about it all year. I kept telling myself that the reason I wasn’t writing was that I was too busy living and having fun, and that’s justifiable since it was my mission and fuel all along.

But today, January 9, 2019, I’ve had a revelation (and a sh*t-ton of coffee).

I wasn’t avoiding blogging because I was “too busy.”

It was because I didn’t feel like I was on a little “adventure” anymore. My trips didn’t have a start and end where I could sum up my itinerary and post about what a great time I had.

My journey was ongoing. And, as a marketing professional, I’m married to the construct of brand consistency. So anything I would have written would have risked diverting from the brand.

Plus, I started the year with a comfortable income, so I didn’t feel “broke” anymore. Another brand diversion.

So I let myself become unmotivated. I didn’t feel like I had anything exciting or relevant to share, so I, myself, became unexcitable and irrelevant. And motivation is EVERYTHING when you’re working on a side project with no one holding you accountable but yourself. This blog is supposed to be a fun l’il journaling exercise anyway, not a chore. I ain’t getting paid for this ish.

But part of my revelation was that this has all been total BS and I have a ton to share!

I mean, look at what I’m doing. I’m 25 and I have no home. I sold everything and moved to a foreign country for a year. I work 100% online in a professional career. I live out of a CARRY-ON suitcase. I lived in hostels for a year. I managed to get in the best shape of my life while on what many would say was a “vacation.” I studied and practiced opera virtually. I’ve been treated for a mental health disorder in a foreign country. I’ve had both a serious relationship and a few casual flings while on the road. And I’ve broken through my self-critical, introspective, antisocial bubble to make numerous lifelong friends in a matter of weeks.

So while I’m may not have come out of this year with a “10 Free Things To Do in Brisbane” or “49 Hours in Melbourne: How to See it All” post, this l’il mama still has plenty of advice to give.

So, help me, dear readers. All 15 of you who have actually made it down this far in my musings. Is there anything, in particular, you’d like to know?

I have some free time and a really nice MacBook so let’s get this flowing….Comment box below. Right. There.



What I’ve been doing in Australia for the past 5 months

I want to say sorry for not updating y’all sooner, but I’m working on not saying sorry as much. Let’s just say, I’ve been busy!

I’m currently laying in my bed in my 6-person hostel room (mixed, so ladies and fellahs) in Cairns, the main tourist city near the Great Barrier Reef in the northern coast of Queensland, Australia. It’s raining outside, and somehow my body, adamant in acclimating to the Australian atmosphere, is freezing in 65-degree weather. But hey, what can ya do.

So, now, kids, let me fill you in on what Alexis has been doing for the past five months. Shall I start from the beginning? (Yes, Lexi, that’s the obvious choice!) Okay, then, we’ll go in chronological order.


I arrived on January 20, 2018, beyond excited to meet my friend Sasha and begin my Australian adventure.  She selflessly picked me up from the airport, took me to her place in Brunswick, a suburb of Melbourne to where she had recently transplanted, and gave me about two hours to freshen up before hitting the town — at 3 p.m. We ventured into the city center, celebrating my arrival with cocktail after cocktail, meeting up with more friends, and dancing into the night. My first night was both a blur and the best possible welcome to any city a nomad could receive. I slept about 18 hours the next day.

Espresso Martinis in Melbourne
Espresso martinis were welcomed after my 30-hour flight.

My first full week in Melbourne was more stressful than I had hoped it would be. I didn’t want to burden Sasha with hosting me for more than a week, so I quickly jumped on the housing boards to find long-term accommodation and house shares. Meanwhile, I was finally adjusting to working remotely and balancing a transatlantic work schedule, which was more difficult than I had envisioned.

During this week, I settled into the domestic life, joining Sasha’s gym with her and adopting a healthy, structured routine. Simultaneously, I fell in love with the little Brunswick suburb. With time running out to find an apartment of my own, I booked into a nearby hostel — literally down the block from Sasha’s — to have a place to lay my head during the continued search.


I moved into the Victoria Hotel, at 380 Victoria St. in Brunswick, Victoria, on February 1st. Sasha and I had visited the bar, located underneath the hostel at ground level, the night prior so I could get my grounding, and I knew I’d like it there.

Victoria Hotel Brunswick
My home for nearly five months. Courtesy of victoriahotelbrunswick.com

At first, I was soooooo intimidated. Here I had gone from living with one person in our own apartment for more than a year to sharing a room with three strangers in a hostel of 30 international people. How the hell did I fit in? Do I just go up to people and introduce myself? Do they even care? How does one even make conversation? What was my name again?

But my social anxiety was subverted by a few glasses of wine, and by the end of the first night I had met a slew of people out on the hostel balcony and stayed up until 3 a.m. enjoying my new company.

The next day I gave up my search for an apartment.

In a matter of weeks, I blossomed from thinking I would never be able to make friends again to being fully betwixt in the hostel’s social climate. I did it. I was 100% Lexi, the best and happiest version of myself. All was good.

An afternoon in the park with my hostel mates. No, that wasn’t my beer.

I should mention here as well that during this time, I met a boy.  Well, not really a boy — a nearly 30-year-old British dude who I hit it off with. I’ll fast forward through the details, but let’s say it kicked off a whirlwind affair (just in time for Valentine’s Day) that was neither expected nor warranted — but God works in mysterious ways, amirite? We had two weeks together in the hostel before he was off to New Zealand for a few weeks, and we made plans to rendezvous in Queensland upon his return to Aus.


The final weeks of February and the first week of March were marked by partying, dancing, flirting, more dancing, eating, working out, and not getting nearly enough work done. I fell in love with the people at the hostel, and I was delightedly content being wrapped up in the juvenile hostel drama while also being able to step away to spend time with Sasha and her friends.

It was hard to say goodbye, even temporarily, but I jetted off to Brisbane on March 10th to visit my friend Alex for her birthday and then meet with Rob, the old Brit, a week later in the Gold Coast.

Brisbane was a blast. Though I was working during the days, I spent the evening and weekends with Alex and her mom and boyfriend. I went to a Rugby game, walked around the local market, went out dancing, walked her dog, and celebrated Alex’s birthday at a quirky arcade bar.

Then, I was off to the Gold Coast to meet Rob for his birthday. We spent the first few days celebrating his 30th while also attending his skate competition. Yeah, like professional skateboarding, y’all. It was all new to me. Then, we went back to Brisbane together where we spent our days getting work done in the library and the evenings exploring the bars and restaurants of the humid, industrial, culturally ambiguous city.

Following Brisbane, we headed up to the Sunshine Coast where we stayed a few days in Mooloolaba and visited with Rob’s friend to see the beautiful town of Noosa. Then slowly, we worked our way back down to Brisbane, then back to the Gold Coast, then flew back to Melbourne on Easter Sunday, March 30th.

Side note: Think that spending this much time with one person is a little overwhelming? Well, it gets better.


Upon arrival back to our hostel in Brunswick, we were offered not just a private room at the hostel, but a fully furnished studio apartment for the same price as the dorms. Hesitant at first to move in together, we accepted the offer on a trial basis and settled into our new home.

We quickly grew to like our little abode and agreed to stay there for a few weeks. Away from the bustle of the hostel but still close enough to be involved on our time, April for me was a period of creative productivity. I worked on my music, homed my photography skills, caught up on my freelance work, and did some writing.

Rob was granted some time off from his job toward the end of April, and we took that opportunity to go on a road trip to the Great Ocean Road and Grampians National Park. I’ll share a separate post on those at some point, but I’ll say that the views were utterly spectacular and I cannot wait to go back.

The trip was a testing one for us, but also a bonding opportunity, and we navigated our budding relationship much like the winding road before us: with extreme caution for most of it and careless acceleration for the rest.

I’ll reluctantly mention that in the midst of this, a conflict in my social circle turned a blissful period into an uncertain one, which I share only because it’s a part of this story and it lays the groundwork for some of the movement I’ve made since.


Early in May, Rob and I made a second trip to the Great Ocean Road, visiting and photographing the sights we missed the first time. It was cold now, finally entering winter, and clouds began taking over the blue skies.

Following our trip, the rest of the month was filled with more creative production (we released a music video for a song I wrote and he produced!), long walks in the winter rain, Netflix and wine and homecooked dinners. Yet again I found myself enthralled in this domestic lifestyle amid my international adventure.

At this time, the hostel was getting quieter and quieter as the long-term guests began traveling to warmer lands or finding work and settling into local house shares. Between the domiciliary lifestyle, the interpersonal conflict that lead to isolation, and a withering social scene at the hostel, I started to feel those same horrible feelings of loneliness that had plagued me in LA and whispered awful things in my head.

It was time for a change.

On the 31st of May, Rob got a call back from a company where he had applied for a factory job. On our working holiday visas, we’re required to do 88 days of “regional” work to qualify for a second-year extension. He was offered the job, which was in the middle of nowhere, about eight hours outside of Melbourne, and started in a week.

Knowing I wasn’t going with him, I spent some time that night doing some research and then booked a one-way flight to Cairns.


The first five days of June were filled with scrambling to pack up our apartment, sort out our belongings, and say goodbye to our friends at the hostel. Rob was off to work as a potato sorter for three months in a barren town of 1,400, while I was off to start a new chapter in a tropical paradise. It would be an adventure for both of us.

I arrived in Cairns on June 5.  After a day of falling in love with the weather, the shore and the people, I decided to stay and find work here to fulfill my own 88-day requirement. A dozen applications and a few good interviews later, I was offered a job on the photography staff at the Cairns Aquarium.

Staff Photo
A shot of my beautiful new family, the aquarium photography staff.

And thus, here I am now. I’ve been with the aquarium staff for two weeks now, loving every second of it. I’m staying at a new hostel, and while it offers a more vivacious social scene, it’s less homely, and I have been too busy now with work to really get invested in the people. We’ll see how this story plays out, but regardless of my actual dwelling spot, it looks like I’ll be in Cairns for the next few months. More music, photos, and stories to come hopefully.


So just like that, it’s been five crazy, character-building, life-altering months in this land they call Down Under.

My roommates have turned off the lights now which means it’s time for bed, so I’ll end here for the night

I want to say more on this reflection, but honestly, it’s all happening so quickly I don’t think I’ve really had time to process how drastically life has changed since I hopped on that plane five months ago. I just know that everything happens for a reason and I’m on the path I’m meant to be on. I’ll reflect later.


On my escape to Paris (and beyond)

One day, I’ll go back and finish the posts from Germany. One day, I’ll finish the posts from Sweden. And then, eventually, I’ll go into full detail about the reasons behind my sudden departure and escape to a new life.

For now, I’ll leave it at this: I was unhappy, and now I’m on the road to recovery. In what seemed a few short days, I sold and donated my belongings back in LA, transitioned to working online, and bought a few one-way tickets. The first ticket was to home in Maryland, where I desperately needed the love from my family whom I had not seen in a year and friends whom I had not seen in more than a year.  Step one complete: feel a sense of belonging.

Then, I was off to Paris, the first leg of my multi-city pit stop on my way to Australia where I had applied for a working holiday visa months prior.  My pit stop includes Paris, Salzburg and Madrid, with maybe a few excursions tied in. Turns out that the cost of a one-way ticket from D.C. to Melbourne this time of year ($900) was roughly the same as a trip from D.C. to Paris ($250) and Madrid to Melbourne ($700). Of course, making this 2,000-mile detour includes the additional costs of lodging, intercity transport, food, activities, etc., but in my pursuit of happiness, the chance to spend alone time in some of my favorite cities is worth any cost.

Chaos erupted at the Anthony house on Jan. 8 when I got an email from WOW Air, the budget airline I had elected as my vehicle into this new passage, that my flight that took off in three hours was canceled. A storm in Iceland (the layover city and WOW Air’s central hub)  was the culprit. My parents remained calm while I threw a fit, deranged from the lack of sleep I had gotten over the last few days, and went into panic mode. I called the airline to get on the next flight out and was told there were no flights till Saturday. It was Monday.

I’ll cut out the details of my mini-crisis here and say that with the help of my vastly under-appreciated angel of a mother, I found and booked a new flight to Paris on a different airline out of a different airport. It left only 4 hours after my original flight and arrived in Paris 8 hours later. But at least I would arrive the same day and not forfeit my Airbnb. The catch: it cost $900.

I forked it over willingly, hopeful that my travel insurance would cover it. But the initial blow to the wallet was not a great way to start a tightly budgeted trip.

We rushed to the airport in the freezing rain (not cold rain, I mean real ice crystals falling from the sky), and soon enough I was seated in my window seat I had specially selected as a treat to myself: 25A. It was my favorite number and favorite letter all wrapped in one delicious windowed package.

As we took off, I made friends with the 20-something, friendly-looking girl on the aisle seat (the seat between us being empty, thank heavens), and was alarmed by our coincidence. She had also been on the same WOW Air flight to Paris from the other airport and rerouted to this flight. She was even traveling alone on a two-week trip through Europe. And she went to my school. Like, universe, C’mon!

Whereas I typically go out of my way to avoid speaking to anyone on a flight, I was somehow ecstatic to have someone to talk to and commiserate with about our delayed trips. We had a good time goofing off on the plane and made plans to catch up in Paris once we arrived. I’ve always sought solitude in the notion that everything happens for a reason, and this was one prime example of divine intervention at play. If I had been on the WOW flight, I probably wouldn’t have talked to anyone as usual, despite us all making the voyage from the same point A to the same point B. And I wouldn’t have met a companion to explore Paris with. I only wish this happy circumstance hadn’t cost a small fortune.

I also want to note here that I ironically watched the movie Paris Can Wait on the flight. It felt clever.

We arrived in Paris on time, and my friend and I parted ways after exchanging contact info. It was dark out when I caught my bus to my Airbnb, and watched the rain fall on the highway out of my window as we approached the city’s center.

When I made my first steps on the wet sidewalk in Paris, I felt an instant surge of energy, a healing force, like a squirt of Neosporin on a fresh booboo. I was here. After months of dreaming, yearning, contemplating and hoping, I was finally on the first brick of the long yellow brick road ahead. I felt warm, though Paris was wet and cold. I felt awake, though I had gotten little sleep on the plane. I felt full, though I had spent months feeling empty.  This is where I’m meant to be, I thought.

After a few failed attempts at navigating, I finally arrived at my Airbnb. I was renting a private room on the top floor of a small, very French, flat a few hundred meters from L’Opera. The host was delightful, the room was quaint but charming, and I was very pleased. But I couldn’t get too comfortable just yet. Despite the late hour, I knew I had one item on the agenda that had to be conquered before the day was gone.  I donned a few more layers and an umbrella and set out of the Eiffel Tower.

If you’ve been keeping up with my travels, you may remember my tales from my last time in Paris. If not, I’ll fill you in: it was a 2-day trip as part of a large group tour and due to some unfortunate circumstances we were not able to see the Eiffel Tower. But it turned out I would have missed the tower anyway because I spent the entire second day vomiting (and sometime diarrhea-ing) around the city, namely on (not in) the Louvre.

I was determined to improve round two.

I didn’t take my AirBnB host’s advice to take the bus to the tower because I wanted to stretch my legs after 11 hours of awkward airplane seat yoga. And I’m glad I did. As I strode down the Parisian alleyways, I stumbled upon street after street lined with dangling Christmas lights. Set upon the backdrop of, in my opinion, the most beautifully architected residential buildings in the world, the scene was utter magic. I giggled gleefully as I walked through this winter wonderland, watching the lights dance in the reflections off the wet pavement. I didn’t know where I was or what the buildings and monuments were that I passed by but it didn’t matter. Everything was beautiful.

I logged about 15,000 steps on my step-tracker on my walk to the Tower. I walked along the Seine once I got close enough to it and let the glimpse of the top of the tower that peeked in and out behind building be my guiding light. I thought I was nearly there when I turned a corner and wham, as if walking in on someone right after a shower, there I stood before it in its naked, natural glory.

The Eiffel Tower was everything I had hoped it would be. Though the grounds around it were blocked off for what looked like the remnants of some enormous market or festival, I was still able to walk right under the underbelly and gaze up along the spiraling metal vines and hatches, all the way to the top. In the midnight fog, the tower illuminated the sky like a torch. In the next few minutes, I walked around and through it, finally trekking away far enough to snap a few photos of the monument in its entirety.

In my walk to the Tower, I had given heed to the devil in my head that was predicting something would happen to prevent me from seeing the Tower once again. Maybe it would be closed off for some construction reasons. Or worse, perhaps something would happen to me on my walk, which, to be fair, was an astute prediction as I, a young tourist woman, walked alone at night in a city I hardly knew.  I am a firm believer in Murphy’s Law because I live it, experiencing disappointment after disappointment when I have my heart set on some grand outcome. It has led me to expect the worse, only to be surprised when plans work out.

But this night in Paris was even better than I had imagined. It was not a disappointment but an improvement, ten steps in the right directions when I had sought only one. Once again I was full, more full than I was in my first few steps in the city, and I felt like life was on the up and up.

I hope it was a forecast of what was to come not only in my next few days in Paris but in all of my travels ahead. Things work out.

I was genuinely excited for the first time in a very long time.