here and there
“Some days I just feel like I’m surviving, not living! You know what I mean?” One of my favorite customers exclaimed the second I opened the drive thru window of my coffee stand. It took a second for my mind to fully process that and also at the same time broke my heart.. I’ve worked at my coffee stand for about a year now. So as you guessed it, my relationship with customers is on a pretty personal level. This guy in particular, Tim. Bless his heart. He makes my day every damn day and he doesn’t even know it; maybe it’s how we can talk for 30 minutes without knowing that much time has passed already, maybe it’s his dogs and how he’ll literally pull into a parking spot so I can love on them, maybe it’s because he’s as real about life as me. It just makes my day every time I hear that old truck pulling up and his 2 dogs barking. I could write a whole book honestly from all these little things he says to me that really stick with me. One of my favorite things he said to me? “You know, every time I hear the name Niki I think of dreamers! Someone that always chases their dreams” He’s a huge supporter in all that I do, we’ve just gotten pretty close. So that statement really caught me off guard. Sort of a stab in the chest, as my heart started to ache for him. He didn’t talk much about it but the fact he even shared that with me, made me hurt. I couldn’t but think how similiar we all are. He somehow had spoke the words I was feeling too.
The next day I woke up and completely understood that. From the moment I got out of bed to the moment I laid back down, I was just crying off and on. No real reason for it either. But it was a heavy cry and one I just wanted to stop. But some days it just doesn’t, you know? It feels like you try everything to make that feeling go away, the thoughts go away. And nothing shakes it. It just haunts you like a dark shadow..
I want to talk to you guys, just sit here and write. Like old times. It’s honestly been awhile since I’ve just sat here at my desk and wrote with no end goal of a post. I just want to sit here and talk about life..
But it feels so damn hard lately, honestly. I feel so out of words in the best and worst way possible.. I feel like I literally rode a wave so high and I’m crashing down right now. A life high that’s coming down.. I’m just floating back to reality and it fucking sucks. And yeah leave hate in the comments “Welcome to the real word!” OR “Oh you’re in for it!” - I get it. It’s LIFE. And that’s why I’m just writing to write about it. Because deep down I know it doesn’t need to be a really high wave to come all the way down from, where it doesn’t feel right. There’s some sort of balance to find and I just want to so bad. Every night I get sad thinking about how my life was the past couple months.. Bars in Ireland until 4AM, drinking a bottle of champagne under the Eiffel Tower, road tripping Iceland out of a camper van for a week and a half, running through the beaches of Thailand. I just can’t believe I fucking did that. And I’m just back in square one now and back to the same routine. Wake up, breakfast, work, come home and stare at my computer trying to put together my past experiences. It just feels so wild. How fast life flies, sometimes right before you even.
All the good moments go too fast.
April and May.. Traveling to five countries total with my best friend by my side. Perfect, you might say? Hell yeah it was. I planned it for 6 months, not knowing when I hit book on the tickets that it would consume my life -that planning routes, booking dozens of flights, emails and searching for beautiful places would become apart of my nightly routine. When we hit that button of confirm, we really had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. We knew as much as the country’s name and that we had a flight there. Fast forward to the month of April, I could probably tell you everything you need to know about traveling to Thailand. Best places to stay? Got ya covered. Hikes to do? Let me send you a map. How to haggle with tuk tuk drivers? I’ve got you with an audio recording. I spent mostly every night leading up to getting on the plane, nose deep in some sort of book or page on the internet absorbing every bit of information I could get. I’m the biggest planner there is also I love learning. I remember talking with Cierra one night about our video ideas, also going back and forth on what I waned to write about during our travels, how I wanted to provide guides for other people, I wanted to share the realness of travel and all of the feelings. One thing I thought to myself was, “What if I could do this also for work? Really make the most out of my blog?”. Emailing multiple hotels that fit my aesthetic and also sounded like something worth sharing and waiting for a response back.. was nail biting. It was such a waiting period, for weeks. When I got a response back from the first hotel, my heart jumped out of my chest as I screamed out loud. It was without a doubt the most successful feeling I’ve ever had and I can vividly remember it. Sure, I worked with a few clothing companies prior to this so what’s different? It was the fact that honestly most of those partnerships besides two or three were because of my boyfriends at the time and just needing a model. The emails I was getting back, they were for me. ME. And to be on MY BLOG. It was a surreal feeling and still is honestly. Knowing that I got to provide you guys with places to stay if you ever to decide to travel there, how I got to meet some of the sweetest people of my life that now feel like family and also the fact I did it by myself. It was the most humbling feeling in the world and still is. I honestly never will forget our third night in Krabi.. Cierra and I sitting on our bed in the hotel, that look she gave me.. The way her short little sentence made me cry like never before. The “You did it, buddy”. A short scene in my life I honestly never will forget. Thailand was a huge time of my life mostly for that reason. Also because it was the closest I’ve probably ever felt to Cierra. We’ve known each other for 14 years, “holy shit” I know right? But traveling with your bestfriend? My god. There’s nothing like it. We’ve been lucky enough to do everything with one another. Live together when we were younger, go to each other’s family gatherings, partying in high school, hiking in the backcountry, road trips to surrounding states. I’d say we’ve been lucky enough to do a lot. But hopping on a flight to a different country with your best friend? It’s something else. I’ll never be able to even go into enough detail that will make you understand it. But it was just a period of my life that I honestly wish I could buy a DVD to, from somewhere. Just a season of life I want to rewatch over and over to remember all the feelings and places and to never forget. It was without a doubt, the best time of my life.
After we booked tickets to Thailand in September of 2018 we had no idea Iceland would be an option for us. Not even on the radar at all. In fact, we didn’t even have plans to take two months off. It just sort of happened that way, things fell into place. I had sent emails out to potential companies, just seeing honestly if I would hear back. This year honestly is when I have really started to get confident with my work. So I just said to myself, “Why not?”. Maybe I was going through a rut in my life too and just wanted to see if something could help give me a sign to a path in life. When I got a response back from the camper van in Iceland, I cried. It was such an incredible moment. It was the first period of my life I’ve truly ever felt proud of myself. First the Thailand hotels and then Iceland.. I don’t talk about it much but that’s one thing that comes with my depression is a lot of negative thoughts and insecurity. The voices in my head. I’m constantly trying to better myself and grow, but with that, sometimes comes the hard steps of getting there. Especially when you’re really not feeling like yourself.. So that feeling, that night. I just can’t even describe it. I felt the biggest wave of feelings come crash over me. The excitement of knowing I was going to Iceland, the worries of if I’d have enough money, being scared of not knowing if I was going to quit my job or not. It was an emotional roller coaster just from reading “Yes, we’d love to work with you!” - it changed me and my life..
I honestly never told my boss at the time what my plans were. Not that Thailand was going to be 3 weeks and that I was planning to take the whole next month off as well. It was nerve wracking trying to figure out a way to step down from manager or deciding to just quit. At one point I even said that I just would cancel all my trips. I started to talk myself out of it, started to get in my head again. I felt bad asking Cierra to come with and for her to leave her job. I felt bad for leaving my manager. But then I got fired. And it just felt like the biggest weight was lifted off my shoulders. Everything started to fall into place. Cierra was able to talk to her boss that encouraged her to go. I found an amazing coffee stand to work at, where my new boss is THE BEST and hired me knowing I would leave for travels a couple months later. Cierra and I both started to work like crazy to save as much as we could before we left.. Those final days were the most nerve wracking days of my life. Packing everything I know into a backpack, to live out of for almost a month at a time. I had no idea how to. Scared to spend more money than we thought. Also worrying that Cierra and I would hate each other by the end of Thailand. It was this scary time of change. Change of my whole life. I remember hugging my dad at the airport and him just saying “You’re really going to fall in love” - it gave me goosebumps. Knowing I’d fall in love with a lot of things and I did. Myself, moments like never before, the freedom of living out of a backpack, partying until 4AM with new friends, and life. I just fell in love, really in love. With life.
I came home between Thailand and Iceland for, four days. Seriously enough time for me to do laundry, say hi to family, work one shift at work and then get on another plane. It was wild - something I’ve dreamt about honestly. I’ve always wanted to jump on one flight to another, there’s something about always being on the go that brings me happiness. I love that feeling of knowing you’re not ever wasting a day or even second of life. And Iceland.. Well, it drained my bank account. But even then I’d look over at Cierra every night we were living in the van and say “I’d spend every penny to do it again”. It was all a dream.. that feels like is slipping away too quick sometimes. Soon I won’t remember all the inside jokes we had during our travels. Won’t remember the roads traveled on. Won’t remember the people we met. Soon I won’t remember the best times of my life.
So that’s why I write..
The past two weeks or so I’ve been going down this long hallway of thoughts. Where each thought has a door that opens another door then another and so on. It just keeps going. The trail of thoughts. And I was wondering why I even write at all. Why I even share my life. But then I went back and read posts from last year, when I first really started my blog. Moments that I almost had forgotten. I got all teary eyed. It sounded like a story, an adventure I’ve been longing to go on but already had. It just sort of hit me again, that little inspiration but also that little “THIS IS WHY I WRITE”. Because moments become so much apart of us. Hell, they create us. And I always get scared I won’t remember them. I mean how could I really? Remember all the little moments that make me cry and touch my heart. OR all the places I’ve been I feel I’ve left my soul at. So that’s why I fill all the pages in my journals, I write here so all my thoughts are together, why I take photos, the reason I have no space on two hard drives due to vlogs. Because I never want to forget. I just want to look back when I’m old at this little piece of the internet I have, this little piece of my world. And to read all my stories I wrote, all the moments I lived - to think to myself, “Wow I was really alive then, wasn’t I?”
It got me excited. For the next adventure while reading about previous ones.. Deciding what to plot next. It’s exciting when you have a clean fresh slate, nothing on your calendar for the month. And a whole world of new beginnings. So I walked into work a couple weeks ago and said to my boss “I need 10 days off - I’m going on a solo road trip”
I was tired of surviving. Not living.
Is this like my new yearly tradition? A solo roadtrip? Maybe? Probably?
My dads literal reaction when I told him I was leaving at the end of August was “Oh Boy, not this again”
I kind of had that same thought though. Like “Okay Niki, what are we getting into this time?” Again I’m sort of scared and nervous. But hey - that just means I’m LIVING! Last year I really had the realization that life doesn’t stop for anybody and sometimes the path you want to walk in life means you have to do it alone. Life just doesn’t wait for you. Sometimes it even happens right before you within a blink of an eye. It was sort of a bittersweet moment last year when I hit the road; no passenger in the seat next to me, nobody to scream old songs with and days where I went without hearing my own voice since I had nobody to talk to. It was hard to come to terms with that I was alone, but it was also harder to sit back and not go to Colorado and all the other states I went. I just sort of had this realization that I can’t wait for anybody else to get the time off or save the money with me. And if it meant going alone, I had to. So here we are again; eyes deep into Google Maps and Pinterest planning this years solo trip. I’ve been more excited though this time around. Ever since I got back from all of the big travels I feel like I haven’t really had a sigh of relief, like a calm down period. I jumped back into work, hiking and seeing friends the day after I got back. I just feel I haven’t had any time for me. The good quality time with myself. So 10 days, just the road and I with a few pinpoints on a map that can really take me anywhere. I’m ready.
There’s just something about traveling to a new state on a new road with sights I’ve never seen or heard of before that brings me the ultimate content. Every time I cross a state line I think to myself “You know, I really love it here”. Even if all I’ve seen is the road right in front of me and I’m passing by the welcome sign. I just love being somewhere new, with nothing but possibilities. When I’m standing on the border between here and there, it’s as though anything can happen or any wish can come true. I can be anybody I want to be for a day - and then when I’m tired of it I move on to something new. That’s why I love being on the road by myself and that’s why crossing new state lines maybe my favorite places in the world. Neither here or there, but the possibility of anywhere and everywhere.
Time is non existent when you have the freedom of going wherever the road takes you.. and even if there was, it feels like it slows down.
So here I am again, chasing that feeling. 10 days just the road and I. Mostly with Arizona in mind but we’ll see what really happens.
Not here or there, but anywhere.
Thank you guys for being Lost in a Dream with me
With lots of love always,
Also side note: What are you guys wanting to hear about in my next couple posts about my roadtrip?
Solo female travel, roadtrip hacks, how to plan the ultimate itinerary, my favorite spots I visited, helpful apps. I have for my road trips, what to pack.
Let me know below in the comments - I can’t wait to share 10 days of being on the road.