48 Hours in Sofia

Sofia, Bulgaria deserves to be highlighted as an incredible place to live and visit.  It is beautiful yet affordable, deliciously sweet yet savory, and has an all-around good vibe.  It needs to have songs written about it and be on everyone’s bucket lists.  But to make it kitschy which would take away from the very essence of Bulgaria’s capital, and I’m jealously guarding this place for myself.  Stay away.

 

If you for some reason don’t take my advice, here’s what to do if you have two days in Sofia.

 

Day One

Find a bakery and eat banitsa.  Egg, yogurt, cheese, and butter in between flaky layers of filo dough baked in the oven.  Savory goodness and very traditional.

Banitsa

 

Wander the city.  Sofia is extremely walkable and flat, so walk up to the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and go inside (donation-based entrance fee).  Walk a little further south to the Stefan Stambolov monument (in a park), and ponder getting an axe to the head.  Then walk south down to Vitosha Boulevard, the main commercial street in Sofia.  A little touristy but worth seeing, and worth the view of the Vitosha mountain in the background.

Nevsky Cathedral

 

Grab lunch – find a place where you can have a good shopska salad, which is similar to a Greek salad with less olives and using a different type of cheese.

Shopska Salad

 

Take the free walking tour of Sofia with a company called – you guessed it – Free Sofia Tour.

Walking Tour

 

Eat dinner at Lavanda and don’t skip the dessert.

LaVanda

 

Walk a little further down to Hambara, which is technically an event venue in order to sneak around fire regulations, but is really a candlelit bar.  Order a glass of rakia and a local beer.

 

Hambara

Day Two

Grab baklava for breakfast, order a sandwich to-go and take a cab to the Vitosha Mountain.  Ride the gondola up to a hiking trail, explore the mountain, eat your sandwich at the summit, and then enjoy a hot coffee or cold beer at the lodge on the way down.

Hiking glamour shot

 

Take a nap.  Naps are essential. Bonus points if you have a cat.

Naps are for winners

 

Dinner at Nikolas.

Dinner at Nikolas

 

Find an outdoor table at The Cocktail Bar, order a goblet of strawberry rhubarb Gin and Tonic, soak in the Bulgarian night air, and extend your stay.

Goblet

How to Hail a Ride in Mykonos

My favorite part of travel is how whacky situations always seem to work out and make a great story.  But while you’re in them, in the midst of an internal panic, it seems like you’re stuck with no options and no idea what to do.  But you are forced to figure it out.

There’s simply no other way.  You can’t sit down on your suitcase, stranded, and just stay there.  You have to keep moving, find a solution.  Even if the solution seems insane, you do it because you have to.

Let’s walk through the example of my trip from Athens to Mykonos and dissect everything that went wrong (which was everything), and how it’s one of my favorite memories from my adventures in Greece.

Step One: Get to the ferry.

It’s early in the morning and my travel companions Horacio and Phil and I are on the hunt for a taxi to take us from downtown Athens to the ferry port.  We have a 7am high speed ferry that will get us to Mykonos by 10.  We hail a cab pretty easily, and get on the road.  Should take us about 20 minutes to get there, and we’re leaving 60 minutes before departure.  No problem.

20 minutes pass and we’re still on a highway. I pull out my phone and check Google Maps – we have been driving in the opposite direction of the ferry port.  Turns out the driver thought we said airport.  We turn around and speed the rest of the way there, me watching the clock and feeling a tightness in my chest.  We wait in a line for our tickets (pre-purchased but not printed) and watch the clock and miraculously get on the ferry before it departs.

Step Two: Get off the ferry, attempt to walk to Airbnb.

We disembark the ferry (a party of 6 now, meeting up with Alison, Bryant, and Maggie) and realize there are two ferry ports on Mykonos, and we are at the wrong one.

Step Three: Find a cab.  Or not.

There is a line for cabs, and one cab comes every 2-3 minutes or so.  Group begins to get frustrated.

Step Four: Learn about a Sea Bus that could take us to the other ferry port.

Step Five: Spend 5 minutes not making a decision on whether to stay in the taxi line or get on the Sea Bus.  A few false starts.

Step Six: Choose the Sea Bus.

Step Seven: We watch the Sea Bus pull away from the dock as we walk over.

Step Eight: The next one comes in 20 minutes, we buy tickets and wait.

Step Nine: Take the Sea Bus to the other ferry port.

Step Ten: Use the pin from the Airbnb host to walk to location.

Step Eleven: I poorly navigate and get us turned around (remember, we’re carrying luggage as well so every wrong turn is a pain).  Phil takes over and only makes fun of me a little bit.

Step Twelve: We’re wandering around downtown and find the pin, but this doesn’t seem right.  This looks nothing like the pictures and isn’t near the beach as in the website description.  I call the Airbnb Host.

Step Thirteen: No answer.

Step Fourteen: Airbnb host calls back, asks why we don’t have the address.  I explain we are using what was provided, and she says Oh no, that’s where you go to take a taxi to get to the house.  You are nowhere near the house.

Step Fifteen: Walk back to the port in search of taxis (we need 2).

Step Sixteen: There are no taxis at all.  A local mentions there are never many taxis around.

Step Seventeen: Minor panic.  Horacio kindly tells me I’m not a good traveler.  I punch him.

Step Eighteen: See an old man on a scooter with a trailer attached.  Ask if he gives rides.

Step Nineteen: He does.  Also has a friend with a scooter and trailer.  We look at each other, know it’s our only option, and pile in.

Step Twenty: Enjoy the bumpy and reasonably dangerous ride across the island and the views and the breeze, and laugh the whole way.

A Love Letter to My Backpack

Dear Backpack,

I just left you and I miss you.  I dropped you, empty, on the floor, surrounded by what was once inside you: clothes, shoes, plane tickets and restaurant receipts.  I hope you’re not lonely.

I hate to see you empty and deflated in the corner of my room, sometimes doubling as a laundry hamper.  I don’t think that was what you had in mind when I bought you.  When I went to the store three times before choosing you.  You, bright blue, calling to me from across the room.  I looked at a few other packs for show but I knew you were the one.

I think you’re the most yourself when you’re full.  When you’re on my back, in transit.  When I can pack each of your compartments with special items – toothbrush here, electronics in this pocket, passport here.

I think you like to hurt me, hurt my shoulders, pain my back, and even clip parts of my skin when I’m not careful.  But that’s okay, I’m a little rough with you too.  I know I stretch you too thin, pack you too tight, and throw you around as if you don’t matter.

But know that you matter.  Know that you’re keeping me together on long journeys and short, from Morocco to Bulgaria to Greece and our upcoming adventure in Asia.  I’m counting on you to be strong and hold on because I don’t know how I’ll make this trip without you.  You hold everything that matters to me and I can’t and won’t let you leave my side.  See you soon.

Love,

Casey




Questions to Ask Your Traveling Friend

I am fortunate/lucky/brave/bold/wild/crazy enough to have been working remotely and traveling for over three months now.  That in and of itself is a mouthful.  I make things happen to make this work for me every day.  Every day I’m working.

I am blessed with countless friends and family following me along for the ride, and even visiting (Dad’s coming next month!!!).  I’m blogging and sharing on Facebook and posting pictures on Instagram and writing emails and sending texts and enjoying FaceTime phone calls.  As I hit Stop #4 and passed my 100th day of traveling with Remote Year, I realized I still have so much more to say.

I notice sometimes that the conversation with a loved one back home can grind to a halt.  I haven’t seen you face-to-face in months, and our catch-ups may not be very lengthy or deep.  Maybe I’ll tell you about my most recent weekend but we haven’t chatted in six weeks.  Maybe you tell me about your day, but that’s it.  How do you connect on a deeper level?  How do I share the craziness of travel without completely dominating the conversation?  How do I explain what an AMAZING time I’m having without making your life seem dull or ordinary (because I never think that!  Travelers crave routine and home comforts too!).  How do I get you to open up and share with me?

I struggled myself when talking to friends who took side trips to other countries.  How was Stockholm?  It was great!  …… Cool!  …….. Now what do I say?

I started to form a list of questions to help myself and hopefully help all of you who know someone who travels.  It could be a weeklong vacation, or a semester abroad in college, or a permanent life of travel: everyone wants to share.  Here’s what to ask.

  • What was the best food you ate in THIS CITY?
  • What was your favorite moment this week?
  • Tell me about where you stayed.  In a hotel?  Apartment?  With a friend?  Did you like it?
  • Does THIS CITY have a signature drink or food item?  Tell me about it!
  • Tell me one thing that you did and don’t regret.
  • Tell me about the local culture in THIS COUNTRY.  How is it different from back home?
  • What’s the weather like?  Did you pack appropriately?
  • Did you feel like a local or like a tourist while traveling?  Why?
  • Could you ever live there for a long period of time?  Why or why not?
  • Tell me about a time you found peace and quiet.  Where was that?
  • What moment made you feel the most alive?
  • What moment made you wish you were back home?
  • Have you connected with any locals or expats?  Who?
  • Do you recommend me putting that on my bucket list?
  • Do you have pictures you could send me?

 

 

 

I Like to Like Things

Last month I told a fellow Remote Year colleague how excited I was about traveling to Sofia, Bulgaria.  She asked Why did I feel that way?  Any particular reason?

My response?  “I have no idea.  But why the heck wouldn’t I like it?!”

I don’t need to have a reason to like something — sometimes I just assume I will.  My positive disposition takes over – us Carr-Joneses ‘like to like things,’ as my sister Tori put it.

I wrote a blog post before I left for this trip about how I may not tell you about all the sad and sucky parts of this journey.  Partly because those don’t make for good storytelling and partly because I don’t dwell on that stuff, I move forward.  This gets a lot of crap on other blogs – tell it how it is, be raw, be real bullshit.  I am being real.  I haven’t had any freakouts yet.  I’m not homesick (what is home to me anyway?).  I miss my friends and family sometimes but am staying fairly connected via video chats and email.  I don’t get overwhelmed by their absence because I made a decision before I left: I will miss birthdays and weddings and holidays and babies.  I will deal with it, because the tradeoff is moving to a new country every month.   Which is, by the way, freaking incredible.

 

You might be asking yourself, Why is Casey so gosh-darn happy in her blogs?  It can’t be reality.

It is reality – for me.  Not for everyone here, but for me, I am loving it.   This can get me in trouble if I try to force people to feel the same way (working on this one).

 

I’m happy with the big events and I’m happy with the day-to-day routine —- the otherwise normal mediocrity except for the fact that I’m doing all of these things in a new, exciting place.  I spent this past weekend doing work and laundry and buying groceries and shopping for a new white shirt (red wine be damned) and getting an iced cappuccino from Dunkin Donuts and none of that is remarkable except I did it all in Sofia, Bulgaria and I HAVEN’T HAD DUNKIN IN THREE MONTHS AND IT WAS HEAVEN.  And I’m not trying to write a blog about my boring commonplace weekend (except I just did?).

 

I like to like things.  I seek them out.  I go into adventures thinking I already like what I’m about to do.  No, I’ve never done a yoga retreat in Bulgaria BUT I’M SURE I WILL LOVE IT.  Thailand sounds great, I SHOULD GO THERE.  Do I like hiking?  SURE!  LET’S GIVE IT A GO! Do I want to go on a pub crawl?  Well that one should be obvious.

I liked Morocco, and it’s okay to like a place and still be happy to leave it.  I may have not liked getting a bit sick from the water, and maybe it was dirty and hot sometimes and maybe we ate the same food over and over but I still liked it.  I liked my apartment and I liked our coworking space and I liked the medina and the argan oil and the fresh fruit and I liked how much my group bonded by adjusting to a totally new culture.  And I really like Sofia!  In a completely different way.

This particular stop on our itinerary was a dark horse.  It was a place I would never have visited had I not joined Remote Year.  I had no clue what to expect, and as per usual I did a minimal amount of research before arriving.  So I leave the airport and drop my bags in my apartment and start to walk.  As we wander around town to get our bearings and enjoy our first traditional Bulgarian meal, the golden light hit the green and gold domes on the Nevsky cathedral and WHAM – my original theory  “I will like Sofia” came to be.  It may be a self-fulfilling prophecy but I’ll take it either way.

I like to like things.  And I especially like to like things that involve a nice Bulgarian beer.

 

 

 



Sometimes I like working in a cubical

Confession time: Sometimes I really like working in a cubical.

 

Silly huh?  I break free from the confines of a structured corporate job, have the ability to work from a variety of different places every month, and yet: cube.

In the two and a half months I’ve been traveling with Remote Year, I’ve worked from a dorm room, several cafes, my living room, an airplane, a terrace, a rooftop, the beach, a park, a Gothic castle, and three different coworking spaces.  And yet, in my current coworking space called 7AY, I have chosen a cubical over the long communal tables of the first floor or the highly coveted couches and cushions underneath a berber tent on the roof.

 

I’ll give you that it’s a nice cubical.  Not 3 solid walls blocking all light.  I picked one by a window.  It’s clean.

 

So I have to conclude that the stigma against working a ‘desk job’ isn’t about the desk itself.

So what is it?  What makes a ‘desk job’ a desk job?  Plenty of jobs physically have a desk.  CEOs have a desk but I don’t think they’d ever refer to their work as a desk job.  Teachers have desks, though they rarely sit at them.  So it must imply something else.  A ‘desk job’ seems to symbolizes grunt work, isolation, and a lack of independence, but I don’t think that’s necessarily true.  We should rename them to be Jobs-that-are-physically-performed-while-sitting-at-a-desk-but-have-nothing-to-do-with-said-desk.

I admit that, unlike some of the other Remotes, it wouldn’t kill me to go back and work an office job again after this.  The act of ‘going to the office’ isn’t what bothers me.  A commute doesn’t bother me.  Waking up early doesn’t bother me.  Repetitive conversations with coworkers about weekend plans don’t bother me .  Actually I really like those conversations.  The community of colleagues and interaction with others is what draws me to a job – me working in isolation on my couch would never work out.

I hear people say they hate all desk jobs.  Do you?  Do you really?  Have you tried them all?  What’s with the generalization?  The desk job isn’t about the desk.  It’s about THE JOB.  It’s about the tasks you perform; it’s about independence or collaboration or both.  It’s about getting satisfaction and pride from your work.  It’s about your boss and your coworkers and your work/life balance and feeling appreciated and respected and treated as a professional.  That’s what you’re looking for, that’s what you should prioritize, and that’s how you find a job you love.

What drew me to this remote lifestyle – and what would bother me about going back to an office job – isn’t the ‘lack of desk’ remote-ness of it all.  Apart from the travel, I joined Remote Year for the push to find professional freedom — the opportunity to be my own boss, set my own hours, and directly impact my own income.  And not just the ‘opportunity’ do to so – I am forcing myself to be successful only because I have no other option.  Make it work, or go home.  Get in or get out.  If I want to stay with RY I have to hustle.  This week I launched my own business in addition to working on several other projects.  It’s a resume review business with a service-minded approach: for every resume I review for a fee, I will turn around and provide the same service to a military vet for free.  This idea has been floating around in my head for THREE YEARS.  I created the website a year ago, and still it just sat.  Sat and sat and sat and made me feel guilty every day for not having the time (MAKING THE TIME) to roll it out.  And now, I’ve launched it.  Now the hustle really begins.

Just because I’m not tied to a desk doesn’t mean I don’t play by the rules.  I work, sometimes on weekends, sometimes from a desk, and sometimes doing work I don’t particularly feel inspired to do at the moment.  But my boss is a hardass, and she says I better get moving.  I’d tell her to go jump in a lake, but then I’d have a back and forth conversation with myself and for everyone’s sake it’s best to avoid that.

Tomorrow I might go with the floor cushions, but in the end I have work to do and it doesn’t matter if it gets done on a floor or a desk or in the middle of the Sahara.

Today, I chose a cube.

 

 

***With 7 years of Human Resources recruiting experience, I’ve launched http://www.JumpStartResume.com in order to provide professional resume review services while at the same time giving back to those who’ve served our country.

Get Inside my Head: Moroccan Edition

I decided to let you be privy to some of the thoughts bouncing around my head this week.  No psychoanalysis please.

-Is the customs line really that long?
-Hey I’m in Morocco.
-Hey I’m in AFRICA.
-I bless the rains down in Aaaaafricaaaaaa (I BLESS THE RAINS)
-Who could possibly be ringing my doorbell at 1:30am?
-I need to just launch my new business already. Stop procrastinating.
-Woah this coworking space is crazy awesome.
-Did I just say ‘Si’ instead of ‘Oui’? That was stupid.
-What if I set up a Berber tent in my next apartment? I don’t think it would match my current IKEA furniture.  I should get some new furniture.
-If I could eat 12 plums a day, I would.
-Mental note: look up what happens if you have more than the recommended serving of plums.
-Do I want a glass of wine? Yes. But it’s Monday and you’re in Morocco and that’s not a thing. Plus you should really cut back on wine until we’re in Argentina.  Hmm that’s not realistic. Wait until happy hour on Thursday.  Good plan, way to go Case.
-IT’S THURSDAY AND THIS ROOFTOP BAR IS NOT A BAR.
-Is this cab driver going to … yep he is. Okay where’s that seatbelt?
-Does that little fuzzy kitty look hungry? He does. Let’s feed him.  Don’t pet him though. Fleas.
-I can buy flea killer.  He’s so FUZZY!
-Did you know you’re in Morocco? Cuz ya are.
-Do I want to do a camel ride out of Fez or Marrakesh?
-How many side trips out of Rabat am I doing this month?  How many is too much? How many is not enough?
-Do I really need to watch all of the Remotes snapchat stories? This is getting ridiculous.
-Do I love it here?
-I love it here.
IMG_3657

THE PLUMS!

Connecting with a New Country

I’ve been in Portugal for about 6 days now and while I settled into my accommodations immediately, it’s taken me a while to get a feel for the country itself.

Remote Year has us in student housing – aka a dorm community – which I am right at home with.  It’s bringing back lots of memories from Bucknell University, my alma mater.  My current room may contain less textbooks and cheap vodka than my 2005 freshman dorm, but it’s just as cozy, minimalistic, and private.  We have shared kitchens on each floor and a big kitchen, common area, and rooftop terrace on the 6th floor.  Being an extrovert, I gain energy from being around other people so I am particularly loving this set-up.

But Lisbon itself had me a little … wonky.  It’s not in-your-face beautiful like Valencia, but still has an allure and charm. We’re living and working north of the city center/downtown which has a bit more flavor, but it’s only a 20 minute trudge up and down hills to get there.  (I’m being sarcastic – walking is the way to go!  Work those glutes.)  I’ve had plenty of fun moments so far this week — watching the Euro 2016 win in a crowded plaza was incredible — but a lot of them had more to do with my RY family and less with our new home.  Minus the grandma at a local restaurant dancing around with a potted plant on her head.  That was all Portugal.

Anyway, I missed out on the Remote Year city orientation (attending a sweet wedding) which may explain a bit of my Lisbon acclimation difficulty, or maybe that’s just an excuse.  I spent most of my first weekend in Portugal sleeping (wake up at noon, get food, back to sleep)  or working random hours, and started to become a little worried that (A) I was sick, or (B) that I’d never find routine here.  Happily, I ended up with option (C) give yourself a break and adjust in your own way, Casey.

So that’s what I did.

I spent yesterday afternoon on the back of a scooter, winding around Sintra, driving past castles and along the coast with some adventurous friends.  Wind whipping, bright sun, crashing waves, accidental horn honks, and wet labyrinth tunnels got me appreciative of just being there.  No pressure to see every landmark, climb every castle or summit, or to eat in every restaurant or find the best cafe.  I’m not here as a tourist, after all.  I’m here to be a part of the local culture, to live and work and go out and see exactly what I want to see, nothing more and nothing less.

My To-Dos for the month:

  • Take a surf lesson (my high school short board skills are definitely gone)
  • Eat my weight in Pasteis de Nata, an egg custard pastry
  • Head to Porto this weekend
  • Spend more time downtown
  • Find lightweight pants for Morocco (next stop)

 

Repacking the Suitcase

I went home at the start of July for a bomb wedding and had the opportunity to evaluate the possessions that will stay with me for the rest of my Remote Year journey – unless of course I lose it, break it, or share it.

What I Have Not Used So Far:

  • Sweater
  • Jackets
  • Cold weather clothing of any kind
  • Wedge heels (only wore twice)

What I Rely On:

  • Black maxi dress
  • All of my other shoes
  • Shorts
  • Jeans
  • Patterned tops

My theory in packing was to rely on neutral colors and styles for tops and bottoms.  This, as a theory, makes sense.  I’m wearing the same clothes every other week, so no need to stand out.  However, in practice this does not make me feel cute, attractive, stylish, or fun.  So I’ve swapped my gray, black, and white tops for things with a bit more flair to make me feel GOOD about what I’m wearing.  Because that’s what dressing is all about – to make you feel like a rockstar.

Plus, everyone on this trip is wearing the same clothes over and over.  It’s a non-judgemental group here with Remote Year Magellan, so there is absolutely no reason to be self-conscious about wearing my Oh My God Becky tank top every two weeks.

So, I went through every item in my suitcase (clothes, electronics, tchotchkes) and made hard and fast decisions while holding them a la “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” (a great read by the way, if you’re into that sort of thing).  Other items I ditched included my iPad which I never used, the wedge heels, and my hair dryer, curling iron, and straightener.  For those last three, I realized I was wearing my hair wavy every day which is (1) easy, (2) quick, and (3) comfortable — it’s dang hot in a lot of the places I’m going and blasting my face with heat is about the last thing I want to do.  And I reasoned that if I were to ever want to do my hair differently, I have friends who share.

 
Side note: I’ve used both my spork AND my headlamp in Portugal. I’ll call that a win.

 

Pile of items left behind. Why did I think I would use a resistance band?!

 

 

A Wedding and FOMO

Feeling a whole lotta crazy as I sit here at the airport.  And not just because I’m traveling from Philly to DC to London to Lisbon.

I attended my cousin Caitlin’s wedding to her German man Derek this weekend and I don’t think I’ve ever been to a wedding where every single person was on the dance floor by the second song.  As my uncle put it “This family really needed a wedding.”   From the sick dance moves performed by my 16 year old cousin Mitch, to the ridiculous garter toss, to the moment when my cousins Ryan and Tyler walked their very proud Mama Suzanne down the aisle, to the series where all grandsons twirled my Nana around like she was a ballerina, it was a blast all around.

As Maid of Honor and a self-proclaimed badass, I gave a toast to the newlyweds.  And because I am so proud of Cait and Derek and the way they shared their love with me, I wanted to share my speech with you. 

Welcome!  My name is Casey Carr-Jones and I am Maid of Honor and cousin of the bride.  On behalf of Caitlin and Derek, I’d like to thank you for attending this amazing celebration of their marriage!

I’ve known Caitlin since she was born, and in between the matching outfits and last minute sleepovers, we were fast and close friends.  A lot of my favorite memories with Caitlin are our time spent down the Jersey Shore in Stone Harbor, which is a place where Nana and Grandad have been taking our Moms since they were little.  The building where our families live is about a block away from the local fire department, which as you can imagine is quite busy during the summer with all the fireworks and barbeques.  Anytime someone called in to report a fire, the fire whistle sounded and the entire fleet of firetrucks would whizz off to attend to the fire (in many times would be a false alarm).  

Now little Caitlin had an obsession with anything loud and obnoxious, and she quickly fell in love with the fire station.  Anytime the fire whistle went off, Caitlin would run to the corner, watch the fire trucks head out, and she would chase them to try and spy on the fire.  It doesn’t matter if it was 10am and we had just gotten to the beach, or 5pm during dinner, or even in the middle of the night.  If the whistle went off, she was running.

A lot of her other girl cousins started to join her on these sprints, myself included.  We would run to the fire (or non-fire), spy for a few minutes, and walk back.  It was on these walks that Caitlin and I would share details about the goings-on in our lives.  It was on one of these walks that Caitlin started talking to me about this guy named Derek.  Now, I had heard Derek’s name for several years because they were in the same friend circle, but this time it was a little different, more serious.  A big crush.  And then later that summer, the day they both left to attend separate colleges in fact, they started to date.

I, the well-meaning older cousin, tried to give Caitlin advice.  Don’t do it!  I said.  Definitely don’t go to college with a boyfriend.  It’ll never work out.

Now I ate my words continually during the course of your relationship and I have to say how happy I am that you two fought through a long distance relationship and have grown so much as a couple.

Caitlin, you are my best friend, my confidante and sidekick.  You are so patient, positive, silly, and go-with-the-flow.  You make it so easy to be your friend and you never have a bad word to say about anyone, except maybe Ryan or Tyler.  I am so thrilled that you met Derek and that you decided to spend the rest of your lives together.  Derek, you are so protective and sweet to Caitlin, and it’s almost unbearable how generous the both of you are to others and to eachother.

I know that when Caitlin gets up to do something spontaneous like chasing a fire truck, Derek is the kind of guy who will lace up his sneakers.  And if either of their sirens goes off in a time of need, I know the other will come running.
So I’d like to propose a toast: to Derek and Caitlin, to firetrucks and forever.

And now, airport FOMO has set in.  I mean REALLY set in.  Luckily, I was very busy with weddingness and a Stone Harbor, NJ vacation with my uber-awesome family so I hardly had time to keep up with emails and messages from my fellow Remote Year squad, but now I realize that everyone’s had one extra week.  One more week to bond. One more week to learn about each other. To explore Lisbon.  To take sweet Instagram photos with #nofilter.  I would never have missed this week for the world, but it’s still scary to rejoin a group that I only recently met.  I just hope that I can fit in as well as I *think* I did in Valencia.  Here goes nothing!