The 30 List

As I wrote last week, I wanted to post an updated “30 Before 30” list now that I’m 30. A few of the items I didn’t complete have migrated to this new list while others haven’t after my re-evaluation.

If you remember my original 30 Before 30 post, I first read about the idea from Katy Upperman. When she passed her deadline, she changed her list into a “Life List,” which I also loved. I’m terrible at setting down goals or even writing New Year’s Resolutions. So having a Life List is a great way of keeping things I want to do in mind and on track.

But I’m not quite ready to have an open deadline yet. I’m updating my 30 Before 30 list into a 30 Before 35 one. There are definitely a few things I’d like to try or work on in the next 5 years. I figure this will give me some focus and motivation.

And again, I understand some of these items are out of my control or highly dependent on other factors, but I think it’s good to have it out there. Like making a wish.

30list

Without further ado, here’s the list:

  1. Road trip up the Pacific Coast Highway.
  2. Finally read Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.
  3. Go on a writers’ retreat.
  4. Finish book trilogies: Graceling Realm, Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Lynburn Legacy.
  5. Tour the White House.
  6. See a ballet.
  7. Rehaul my closet.
  8. Finish a manuscript.
  9. Learn calligraphy.
  10. Read Jellicoe Road.
  11. Take Loki to the beach.
  12. Make Magic Coffee.
  13. Wander Iceland.
  14. Have Dole Whip in Hawaii.
  15. Get my own place.
  16. Paint a portrait of my dog.
  17. Write a short story & sub it.
  18. Visit The Ripped Bodice.
  19. Sell more poems.
  20. Read Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird.
  21. Develop a consistent workout habit.
  22. See the Winchester Mystery House.
  23. Explore more National Parks.
  24. Prune my bookshelves.
  25. Create a gallery wall.
  26. Attend a geeky convention that isn’t SDCC.
  27. Tour Mount Vernon and Monticello.
  28. Learn to read tarot.
  29. Put together a poetry chapbook.
  30. Go to Disneyworld.

I will be updating the list at the 30 Before 35 tab, and you’ll be able to find my new list-relevant posts under the 30 Before 35 tag.

 

Here’s to many more adventures!

 

What’s on your 30 list for the next 5 years?

Reflecting on 30 Before 30

Today is my 30th birthday, which is weird only in that I still don’t feel like an “adult.” I guess no one really does even when they are. It’s also weird to think I’ve been on this good earth for 3 decades!

Since it’s a Tuesday, I celebrated with friends this past weekend with food and especially desserts, as well as a good dose of book discussion – which is to say, a few of us had some strong words to say about Harry Potter & the Cursed Child.

That said, my 30th birthday also marks the “conclusion” of my 30 Before 30 project.

I say conclusion with quotation marks because I’m obviously not going to stop working towards these goals just because I’m 30 now. But I do want to reflect a little about what I managed to do and how I want to proceed from here.

Here is my list as it stands.

  1. Road trip up the Pacific Coast Highway.
  2. Order a subscription box. (Owlcrate!)
  3. Finally read Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.
  4. Attend San Diego Comic Con.
  5. Attend a music festival. (Coachella x2)
  6. See a Broadway musical on Broadway. (the brilliant Hamilton- off & on Broadway)
  7. Go on a spontaneous vacation. (New Orleans with the ConSquad)
  8. Visit Harry Potter Wizarding World /Harry Potter Studio Tour. (The Los Angeles park)
  9. See something Shakespeare performed in London. (Coriolanus w/ Tom Hiddleston)
  10. Go on a writers’ retreat.
  11. Sell a poem. (Actaeon!)
  12. Vacation with my friends. (East Coast trip! NOLA!)
  13. Attend a book convention. (Does YALLWest count?)
  14. Visit Hamilton Grange (finally!!)
  15. Finish book trilogies: Graceling Realm, Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Lynburn Legacy.
  16. Visit the White House.
  17. Rehaul my closet.
  18. Go to Italy.
  19. Finish a manuscript.
  20. Watch a big game at a sports bar. (The 2014 World Cup)
  21. Learn calligraphy.
  22. Read Jellicoe Road (finally!). (Reading it now.)
  23. Ride a mule down into the Grand Canyon.
  24. Bonfire on the beach. (My 29th Birthday!)
  25. Participate in a podcast. Done (1)done (2), and done (3)! Done (4)!
  26. Have a summer movie marathon. (Star Wars movie marathon)
  27. Visit The Last Bookstore.
  28. Take Loki to the beach.
  29. Visit the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
  30. Make magic coffee.

There are a few items I’m currently working on (I’m reading Jellicoe Road now), and there are a few things I’m looking forward to repeating (Hamilton, again – all day every day). I think overall, I didn’t do too shabby in the past year, though I really could’ve planned my reading schedule better to get the reading goals in.

I’m most pleased by No. 11; I was able to sell a poem. That goal was one that wasn’t in my control, and I still can’t believe it happened – and that it happened with my first poem out. Way to set a high bar! Beyond that, working towards that has pushed me to submit more and to write more – and I’m pleased to be doing that.

Next week, I will be posting a new/updated list as a 30 before 35. I hope this might inspire you to make your own list or to set a few goals of your own. Thanks for joining me on this journey!

How Nerds Travel (Pt 2): Express Yourself

I can’t believe it’s been 3 months since my last post, and I apologize for the long hiatus. While Marlon (Nerdcoolture) & I have taken a break from writing “nerd travel” blog posts to do actual nerd traveling, you can always find us posting about how we stay geeky on our adventures. I mean, in my case, it’s sort of the point of this blog!

That said, now seems an appropriate time to share this entry I started a while ago since it’s summer  – when many people go vacationing – and because San Diego Comic Con is coming up next week! What better time to travel in fantastic nerd style?

Last time, I talked about accessorizing to geek up your travel wardrobe in case you don’t have clothes appropriate for the destination or weather. I’d like to expand a little more on this topic because accessories are easily my favorite way to express my fandom loves and I don’t only mean outfit accessories.

RECOGNIZABLE LUGGAGE

Novelty suitcases are a simple and casual way to express yourself. You don’t even have to think about it because you’re going to need something to put your gear in anyway. Why not let it reflect what you love?

One of the best fandom things my sister has purchased is her R2-D2 carry-on luggage (from ThinkGeek). During our recent trips, the Sister has received so many compliments on it because it’s instantly recognizable as the scrappiest astromech in the galaxy! People get a kick out of seeing R2, and it brightens up some of the most stressful parts of traveling – rushing around the airport, station, etc. In that moment, we all get to share in a bit of joy thanks to a simple expression of nerdiness.

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[Photo/ @catherine]

But if novelty suitcases aren’t your thing, you can accessorize your luggage with clever tags, straps,  and stickers. There are so many cool designs and decals to choose from, you could transform a plain black case into your own fandom masterpiece.

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If artist Nilah Magruder gets her adorable Hamilton luggage straps in stock, I am so getting one.

Not to mention, if you check your bags, it’ll be a lot easier to identify your geeked out pieces at baggage claim among the sea of basic black and gray ones.

GEEKCHIC HANDBAGS

Aside from your luggage, you’re likely to have some kind of shoulder bag or even fanny pack on your travels. Here’s another accessory you can use to be nerdy. You can go with the obvious like Loungefly’s line of Disney and Star Wars purses or you can be more subtle by accessorizing regular handbags. Tie a geeky scarf or handkerchief to your purse strap. Clip on purse keychains featuring charms or badges from your favorite book or TV show. Braid ribbon in your Hogwarts House colors along the handles.

For something a bit more gender-neutral, messenger bags and handbags that aren’t obviously themed can be decorated in much the same way – with pins and patches and key chains.

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NERDY KNICKKNACKS

Speaking of keychains, your actual keychain is an unobtrusive place to be geeky and functional. I have a Lego Loki in my purse at all times because he holds my keys. Depending on what it is, it can doubly function as a photo prop.

There are also lots of choices when it comes to wallets, business card holders, and phone cases. I also like cute passport holders. One of my favorites is this one that looks like a Penguin Classics cover of the book On the Road, which I gifted to my sister for her birthday one year. Hers has been on quite a few adventures.

Of course, I’m rarely without pen and paper. There’s almost always a notebook in my bag, and while I’m a fan of the plain Moleskine, you can definitely find fancier journals for documenting your latest treks. Get a notebook that shows off your passion or decorate a plain one. The one I’m currently using features Tolkein’s illustration of Smaug!

The point of all this is that you can take your nerd love with you without having it be part of your wardrobe. Maybe you’re on a business trip and that Batman hoodie just isn’t going to cut it for the dress code, but you can still rep that love with a luggage tag or a business card holder elegantly etched with the Batman emblem. For me, having even a small reminder of the things I enjoy is comforting.

Travel can be stressful and there is always some element of the unknown to it. Having something familiar with you can be the confidence boost you need or a piece of solace in the whirlwind of being on the move. It’s like having a bit of the Light of Eärendil to light your way through the dark.

These are some non-outfit-based ways I keep my fandoms in my life when I’m on the roam. Next time, I’ll share what things I try to always fit on to my packing list.

 

Q4U: What different ways do you express your geekery when you travel? Got any traveling goods recommendations for me?

Well-Met

For this Flashback Friday, I thought I’d share a poem I wrote in February for a monthly challenge using a photo or artwork as prompt. Since the challenge is over now and I wasn’t sure what to do with the poem, I thought I’d share it here. Plus, it’s National Poetry Month! Let’s celebrate!

The poem is also a throwback because it’s about winter and riffs on some of the feelings I had when I was in New York City in February 2015. Fountains were frozen, and there was snow on the ground but no clouds in the sky. I was wearing pants under my pants and regretting my lack of gloves, but I felt invigorated and content.

Well-Met

I love winter in the city
when everything is crisp and drawn in clean lines,
muted to neutral colors or classic
black and white –
timeless
like a photograph.
Something I can grasp
with my hands.

The sky descends to the earth,
gentle as a flurry, soft as first snow,
meeting at the horizon
in a lover’s kiss
like we did
all those winters ago.

I can’t remember when it was with precision,
only that it felt frozen and perfect
mirror-clear,
a framed moment under glass,
a promise
like a breath held.

met

P.S. For a look into my poetry process and other fun things, my friend Amparo has interviewed me here: STAYING AWESOME INTERVIEW SERIES: ALICE.

If you enjoyed this poem, consider leaving me a tip!

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

*Thanks to Alz, Eva, and Tracey for their comments on this poem.
**Photos taken by Catherine.

Supplement:
(Music) Kiss Me Slowly | Parachute

Concord & The Revolution

On this day, April 19, 1775, two skirmishes occurred between the British Redcoats and colonial militia in Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts. These events together are seen as the opening “battles” of the American Revolution. The confrontation that happened in Concord, in particular, would later be known as “the shot heard ’round the world,” a phrase coined by American poet and writer – and Concord native – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

And in October 2015, I visited the place where it happened with the Sister during the last leg of my U.S. History vacation. Yes, I requested and planned a vacation with my friends around seeing Revolutionary History sites, and you’ll be hearing more about that in time on this blog. Concord wasn’t originally on my itinerary and is not a place I thought I’d see given that it’s a small town and a bit out of the way from Boston, but when my friend Tracey* offered her hospitality at nearby Lowell (another historical town – an old mill town, in fact) and a ride to Concord, I couldn’t say no. She knew to tempt me with Revolutionary and literary history (and apple cider donuts).

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