blogging break, travel blog

It’s been a while…

Well, hello!  It’s been far too long; a year, almost to the date.  In the meantime, I have been having quite the adventure without even leaving Chicago.  I will try to break it down to the best of my ability, but some things I will have to be a little vague on out of respect for the people involved.

Last year started out rocky to say the least.  I moved out of a bad situation into a beautiful gem of a studio in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.  I can’t say enough good things about my lovely little, sunshine-filled apartment.  It truly felt like a safe harbor after all I had gone through to get to it: the break-up, the fighting, the searching for apartments in the freezing cold Chicago winter, the dividing of all the possessions whilst packing up everything I own, etc.  From there, the year was a series of ups and downs, like it is for everyone.  I dated a little, traveled a little, did a lot of puzzles, and very little writing.  I think I was trying to let myself heal up a bit and gain some confidence back.  To help with this, I started going to therapy more regularly.  And it did help!  In fact, by Fall 2018, I felt like I didn’t have much left to say to my therapist and planned on calling it quits.  Unfortunately, it didn’t shake out that way.

Soon after my last post, which was in October of last year, I received some pretty devastating news regarding a member of my immediate family.  The news, a diagnosis, came after a minor hospital stay, so it wasn’t a complete surprise.  But it knocked the breath out of me all the same.  I was in my apartment with my newly minted boyfriend when I received the call.  I felt numb for the duration of the phone call, and when it was over, I slid to the floor and turned into a puddle of tears and snot.  The boyfriend (we’ll keep him out of this for now) was perfect for the whole ordeal.  He made me dinner, picked up some wine, wrapped a blanket around me and let me cry as much as I needed.  And I needed to cry a lot.

Since then, it’s been a real rollercoaster ride of doctor’s appointments, good news, set-backs, and eventually surgery.  Thankfully, it seems like we’re all going to be okay for now.  Though for a little bit there, it seemed like nothing would be okay ever again.  To say that it’s difficult to stand by and watch as your most important people are hurting is a vast understatement.  In the thick of it, I felt like a shell of myself.  I didn’t want to talk to anyone or do much outside of going to work every day.  That’s not to say that I didn’t have some good times in the first half of the year, I certainly did, but looking back at that time now, I feel like I was living in a fog. 

blogging break, travel blog

It’s very difficult to deal with an ongoing illness in your family because it’s not a singular event.  I think people expect you to be sad and move through it and make peace with it.  But it’s not a stand-alone thing, it’s ongoing, and there’s constant updates.  Sometimes I felt really uncomfortable bringing it up with people because I felt like I was being whiny or weak.  It took a long time to be okay with saying “hey I need to talk through this real quick”. 

So, on that note, I guess I just needed to talk through this real quick. And give a reason for my absence, whether it was noticed or not.  I do feel, after this very shaky year, that I’m back on solid ground again.  I still have days where I feel very anxious and a little lost, but I don’t know many people who don’t have those days. 

blogging break, travel blog

I plan on continuing this little travel blog of mine, and I have some new content planned for the near future.  Thank you for sticking with me.

The End of An Era - Saying Goodbye to The Peninsula, RebeccaWanderlusting

The End of An Era

Saying Goodbye to The Peninsula

I started working at The Peninsula Hotel when I was just twenty-one years old. I had just moved in with a (now ex) boyfriend, was going out quite frequently and knew nothing about the hospitality industry that I hadn’t learned in my one hospitality class I took in college. I was young and naïve and thought I already knew everything. But within the first few months of working at the hotel, I saw that I really did not know much. I’ve gained so much experience working in the three departments I was a part of during my time at the hotel.

The End of An Era, Saying Goodbye to The Peninsula, RebeccaWanderlusting

Working at a five star, luxury property was so far removed from a life that I was used to, and it opened my eyes to a whole new level of wealth and living I hadn’t ever experienced. Staying at the properties here in Chicago and in New York has, I’m sure, spoiled me for life as far as travel accommodations are concerned. Not having a TV in the bathtub is now a deal-breaker (just kidding… kind of).

The End of An Era, Saying Goodbye to The Peninsula, RebeccaWanderlusting

I was afforded many opportunities to learn at the hotel, my favorite being the trip to Shanghai to cross-train at our hotel there. I loved every minute of that trip, and came back with so many great ideas of how to improve not only my work but also myself (a gift that travel always gives). Learning not only how to work in a hotel, but how a hotel runs has been an amazing asset for my career and for booking my own travel and writing about it for this blog.
Personally, during my time at the hotel I made friends, lost friends, dated co-workers and then broke up with coworkers. I loved my job and hated my job, and had hit some of my highest and lowest points while I worked there. It really was a crazy ride. I hope I will take the good away with me and leave the bad.

The End of An Era, Saying Goodbye to The Peninsula, RebeccaWanderlusting
Over the past five and a half years at the Peninsula I have been through so much and learned so much, and did a lot of growing up. When I first started there, I didn’t know what I wanted out of life or what possibilities there could be for me. I didn’t ever think of my future further than my next days off, and now it’s all I think about. I am so thankful for my time at this hotel overall, but I am also so ready to move forward. Taking this new opportunity was not an easy decision, but I’m very excited for the things to come. It’s the start of a new chapter, a fresh start, and I couldn’t be happier.

A Note on Solo Trips, RebeccaWanderlusting

A Note on Solo Trips

I love taking solo trips.  I think they are great for the spirit and can lead to adventures that maybe would not have been possible when traveling in a group.  That being said, I have personally experienced a slight downside to solo travel.  There’s a certain guilt that can arise when you travel alone that starts when something doesn’t go exactly how you planned and continues on through each misstep or change in itinerary.

When I took my solo trip to Iceland and Copenhagen last year, I had a fantastic time.  I came back knowing that I did everything I could and saw what I wanted to see and enjoyed myself.  However, while I was actually on the trip, there were definitely moments of self-doubt and moments where I  questioned my choices.

A Note on Solo Trips, RebeccaWanderlusting

While I was in Iceland, there was a night when I was just wandering around, people watching.  A gentleman I passed in the street, who was clearly intoxicated, lunged at me and grabbed my arm, mumbling in Icelandic.  I cursed at him and speed walked away, heading straight back to my hotel.  This cut my evening plans short and sent me into a tailspin of questioning what I was even doing and why I was there.  I started the next day in a funk, but eventually pulled myself out of it, though the doubt hung over me for the rest of the trip.

Once I got to Copenhagen, even though I was in an amazing city, there were times when I just wanted to fill my time to make it go faster.  I was a little homesick and I missed Mike, and I felt guilty for those feelings.  Shouldn’t I be having the best time?  Was I less independent because I missed the familiar?

A Note on Solo Trips, RebeccaWanderlusting

What helped me most, funnily enough, was reading Bill Bryson’s “Neither Here Nor There” about his own solo travels through Europe.  Mr. Bryson’s hilarious accounts of his hits and misses on his trip made me laugh and comforted me, especially as I read them while at a restaurant alone.  I found solace in the fact that many other people have had low moments when they travel solo, and that not everything can be the highlight reel it might appear.

That’s the purpose of this little note.  If you have taken a solo trip and felt guilty for any downtime or for any moment spent homesick or any night in, you’re in good company.  Solo trips are great because you can do whatever the hell you want and no one is there to judge you, so don’t judge yourself.

A Note on Solo Trips, RebeccaWanderlusting

Have you ever felt this way on solo trips?  How did you cope?