Personal

2017 Summary Part 1

AKA the hardest, most emotional year of my 24 years. When I envisioned the end of this year, I would have never guessed I would be where I am now. Lately I’ve caught myself laughing and saying, “thank God it’s almost over!” Sometimes I feel as if I am actually willing this year to finish faster. I replay the rough moments in my head not as a way to torture myself but as a way to reflect on what I am most proud of: that not only did I make it to the end of this year, but that my heart is intact and my spirit is alive. I am once again so cheerily hopeful about the future.

If you know me or have read some of my posts before then you know this is a big deal to me. I spent the first half of the year fighting to keep alive something that had no chance of recovery. The other chunk of time I spent in denial, feeding this toxicity as if an addiction. Then some other stuff happened like having to move out of my house and then breaking my wrist. Point is, emotionally this year was challenging. Mentally…it was devastating. Well, almost devastating. Because what I am trying to explain is that yes, this has been the hardest year of my life, but 1) I survived it and 2) in reality, a breakup (although as serious as thinking it was the “one”), being kicked out, and breaking a bone were my 2017 hardships. And I am lucky to say that. So if I’m being truthful, yes, this year sucked, but no, it wasn’t nearly as hard in retrospect as I truly thought it was while going through these things. At the time, everything was compromised: my body, my spirit, my health. So I have to ask myself: am I healthy right now as I type this? Yes. Am I whole right now as I type this? Yes. And am I constantly healing, even now as I type this? You’re darn sure I am.

So in a nutshell, it took me 12 months and a few days to finally realize and accept that not only did I survive this year, but I flourished. I am flourishing. I am stronger than ever before and that means all the crummy times in 2017 were somehow…worth it. So worth it.

So what have I learned this year? Well here are just a few things:

1) Date someone kind. Someone who remains kind over time. Someone with a kind heart. When they are no longer kind, leave. You deserve someone kind.

2) Never underestimate how important a good friend, a kickass, empowering movie, and venting are for the soul. (when I told Analeise about everything she took me to see Wonder Woman and it was the best thing for me)

3) As much as relationships are incredible, don’t lose yourself in them. Those goals you want to attain need to come first or you will always think, “what if?” The right person will help build you up and help you reach those goals. They need to be your number one fan, too.

4) When all else fails, get some perspective. For me it was snorkeling with manta rays in Tulum and hiking up mountains in Peru. You will see there is a world outside of heartache.

5) A support system will help move mountains. Trust in the process, trust in the Universe and that it knows what It’s doing, and trust in those around you. Don’t lose that trust that makes you kind.

6) Cry and scream if you need to, but never ever ever lose your faith, whatever it may be. This is all happening for a reason. (I truly believe this)

7) Move on when it’s time. Forgive, not for them, but for yourself, because you need it. Because it is what’s right.

8) One day, without even realizing it, you will be free again.

And you will care for someone again. And they will be kind. And you will once again be kind.

What I consider a really hell-ish year was made so much better because of people like my parents and sisters, Analeise, Edmar, Charlie, Kris, Laura, Sarah, Bubba, Brianda and everyone who let me vent, traveled with me, or just cheered my well-being on.

Like I said, a support system will move mountains and in 2017 it helped me move on from my biggest one.

Until next time, friends

(Which will be a lot happier of a post because it’s about my 2017 travels! Yay)

-Mary Anna

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Travel

Malaysia!

Hello, all!

As I am preparing for my backpacking trip that officially begins tonight (!!!!), I decided to finally post the photos from my surprising layover in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia! Another stamp in the passport (two more pages until its full!)! This layover left me with renewed invigoration, refocused determination to explore this world further, and a whole ton of money photos on my IPhone.

The crew and I, of course, visited the Batu Caves. The world’s tallest statue of Murugan was phenomenal to witness on the journey up the stairs (which honestly winded me) to the entrance of the caves. However, honestly, the interior was a bit disappointing as there was quite  a bit of construction going on. I understand all about making a tourist destination more tourist-friendly (and profit-making), but I am concerned about the impact it will all have on the limestone and bats that live among it. I suppose, as with many things, time will tell.

Continue reading

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Personal, Travel

Relearning How to Live: Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

A calm, artistic haven that put me on a new, old path.

I wrote on Instagram that this wasn’t just another trip away from work for me. I could have written this right after arriving home from Tulum, but for me, it was necessary to reflect on the entirety of the adventure instead of just choosing select moments to highlight.

Before booking this trip with my dear roommate Analeise, my relationship fell apart. It was a very, very frustrating, confusing time (as many breakups are). How can you go from planning a life with someone one second to suddenly being forced to reinvent yourself as a single person? That was the overall problem I discovered about myself in Tulum.

I spent roughly a year and a half of working for my relationship. Commuting back and forth to Tampa, fighting to communicate through different, always changing, time zones, and learning how to be flexible with not only my flying schedule but his military one. It was worth it. Until it wasn’t anymore (it still was for me though). My point of all this is, there was my problem. I claimed to know who I was while bending myself over backwards being a partner for someone that needed much more than I could provide that I believe I lost myself in the process. I wasn’t enjoying the process of travel like I used to. I craved stability because I was in love with someone stable. Don’t get me wrong, I do know I love being a partner to someone. I like being the supportive, loving girlfriend and best friend. Do I love it more than I do a wandering life? Do I have to choose one or the other? (I’m writing something on these questions specifically right now.) Tulum introduced (and reintroduced) me to the path that will help me discover the answers I was and am searching for.

Months of constant, honestly sickening worry, anxiety, and fear washed away as I said, “¡Si, vamos!” to a tan man holding a sign for a snorkel excursion after lunch on the beach after biking to the Mayan ruins after sleeping in a bungalow with a big net and no air conditioning (hello, glamping!). The moment I jumped in I was greeted by the most beautiful sea turtle I could have ever imagined (and my first to see free out in the ocean)! The universe listened to my prayer! It was showing me what I needed to see- what I needed to hear. This is where you are supposed to be. In the water, snorkel suctioned onto my face, I witnessed sting rays circling below me. I laughed wildly with our guide that would push me, pull me, grunt and squeal as he pointed to another magnificent creature and to another and another.

That was my reintroduction into this path I am currently living. Whatever the universe brings, be it a new destination, a new love, a new passion, Tulum brought me the joy of embracing it.

“¡Si, vamos!” DCIM100GOPROG0351371.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So now the highlights: Continue reading

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Writing

Writings I’ve Never Posted 

Howdy all!

Another view from up above. Despite my neighbors bare feet in my peripheral, I feel more connected to the Heavens today. Maybe it’s an omen of something beautiful that is about to occur. Maybe it’s because I have spent a lot of time thinking about the Universe and trying to truly understand it. Maybe it is due to major life changes that have occurred, with and without my decision. All I know is that today is the first day in a long time that I am particularly hopeful. I just wanted to share that with you.

As well as I am finally confident enough to share with you some writings I’ve had in my notes for a very long time. Obviously being in the sky makes me feel a certain way.

How does it make you feel? Let me know!

-Mary A.

***

I watch a transparent, hazy sheet of thin clouds slowly cover itself over the sleeping town below. They can’t see us, as we are momentarily masked by the darkness of night and solitude. Suddenly our divider is lifted just enough, the evening sky hazy but able to form a contact. I wonder if anyone is looking up, laying perfectly still in silence, on a trampoline in the front yard as I did growing up, watching the stars shift and the sky change as the universe and its people collide. I see the entire town, lit up brilliantly, lights shimmering here and there, from the window of a 747. They can see us again, if only they look up at our blinking wings of souls and living, breathing beings. We are simultaneously moving, always connected, with the sky and its people below.

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Where the stars guide me

I am minuscule and important as I look out to the stars from 30,000 ft in the air. If I focus I can almost see the enormity of the galaxy. I can picture every ball of gas burning brightly as they make this one whole, brilliant moment. The light lit towns below me are partially covered in a thin veil of clouds. I can almost feel the mist on my skin. And in the areas where it is a deep darkness and I question how below this metal tube in the sky it really is, I can sense the solitude and fulfillment of being covered by the mass of question and of life.

I am both minuscule and important in this world. I feel it all so strongly as the night sky moves with me. As the North Star guided the explorers, I am directed past lively cities, sleepy towns, and everything in between. I am just a small girl but up here, I am everything the stars and galaxies want me to be.

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I was watching the scarlet sun burn its way over the horizon, turning the distant sky layers of peach and gold over the ivory shimmering water. I couldn’t help but think to myself that in this world, if ever it came to dust, if all mankind had stolen life from another and the earth was barren of civilization as we knew it, the dust would settle and the horizon would still burn strongly and brilliantly, fiercely making its way towards a new day and a new dawn. We just wouldn’t be around to see it, but we know, it would still be beautiful.

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Travel

Year 23

Howdy, all!

Another year of my life has come and gone and I am officially 24 years and one day old. As difficult as these past couple of months have been, the overall year has been an amazing one. My second year of being an international flight attendant, I checked off several bucket list items, and I am closer to realizing what I want to do in my life. 24 will be the year of personal growth, career maturity, and creative direction. I am committed to putting my health first, to continue writing, and to remember why I started traveling in the first place. So below is my list of some year 23 highlights. As monumental as these moments are, there were many more that were not photographed: reunited family hugs, cozy days with Luca, and uplifting afternoons with dear friends to name a few (plus an awesome cat cafe in Tokyo). And as with every year of life that I am fortunate enough to have, I remember my sweet Grandma, who I was lucky to share a birthday with. She would have been 84 years and one day old and I won’t ever stop missing her.img_5109

Cheers to another year of breathing in life and soaking in sunshine. To growth. To living courageously and wholeheartedly always. Continue reading

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Travel

Capri, Italy 

 


Finally an Italy layover! After almost two years of being an international flight attendant, I finally got to experience a Naples layover. I only have a couple of “work” bucket list items to check off and visiting the island of Capri was definitely number one!

Josh, Sarah Bob, and I woke up early to catch the hour long ferry to Capri. There we had one mission, to get a private boat and tour around the island. This proved easy enough and in no time we were boarded up and introduced to our guide, Marco, the 22-year-old from Sorrento. I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing as we set off on our tour. It felt like I was living in a movie- how could this be my life? Continue reading

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Compilations, Travel

Recent Travel Compilation 

Y’all, I cannot fully express how fulfilling this work trip has been. In one short week I have gotten the chance to explore more of the world and I couldn’t be happier right now. Work last month was full of 28 very, very long days and I was extremely exhausted by the time I got home. So, I am so pleasantly surprised that this trip has been so lovely and full of excitement! Between having an amazing crew to wonderful new layover cities, I am 1000% satisfied with my travel/work life right now. (Until I get the next travel itch, of course!) So below are photos of my four main layover destinations of this past work-action. Enjoy! Continue reading

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