Breaking the Habit

I’m sick of the tension, sick of the hunger
Sick of you acting like I owe you this
Find another place to feed your greed
While I find a place to rest

I’m about to board a plane to Spain and this trip could not have come at a more pivotal point in my life.

I’m tired of being tired.

I say this to my friends – a lot.

Life has always been overwhelming but it feels like the past 6 months, the Universe keeps giving me the middle finger.

At least it feels like that.

The truth is, I want to get on this plane and as I cross the ocean, I want to start letting go.

I want to let go:

The constant disappointment I feel in people after giving them a second, third, eighth chance to let me down.

The grief.

The “what ifs” that have been holding me back for years.

The resentment.

The anger.

The doubt.

I want to let go so that I can finally start healing.

I’ve been looking forward to this trip for weeks but I also almost cancelled it the other day when all I wanted to do was scream. When all I could do was cry.

I’m going to let the Spanish air envelop me and I’m going to start to heal.

I’ll be surrounded by loved ones, friends I trust with my life, and opportunities to make new friends.

My support system here at home has been helping me keep my head (barely) above water and I am forever grateful to them.

I’m going to write. A lot.

I’m going to drink wine and eat cheese and watch sunsets (and probably sunrises).

I’ll be back with a lighter heart.

If I come back. (I kid. Kind of.)

I’ll probably be posting on SnapChat (BerrakDC) and Instagram (BerrakBiz) the most. 

Making Peace with Being Settled

Sometime last year, I seriously contemplated the idea of selling all of my possessions (except for my books, of course), and truly embracing the nomad life.

The wanderlust was strong, and I was feeling antsy.

My life was going to be an adventure, with Seattle being my home base.

When I had to put Dot down last year, I wasn’t going to get another cat. I wouldn’t take on the responsibility of another pet.

I was going to be spontaneous – ready to get away at a moment’s notice.

There would be no need for me to settle down. I didn’t want to put down roots, even as I was finally building solid friendships with people I could actually trust to stay in my life.

Then heartbreak happened.

I felt like a failure as a friend. As a woman. As a partner. As a business owner.

Over and over again.

So, I kept driving. I embraced the road. All I needed was Roxanne, the clothes on my back, my laptop, my camera, and McLovin. Nobody else.

I didn’t want to settle.

But then… Read more Making Peace with Being Settled

A Seaside Getaway

What happens when two writers decided to have a weekend getaway and their first real bonding experience as friends?

Not as much writing as you would think.

When Jessica and I planned this little getaway, life was kind of kicking both of our butts. We’ve been working a ton, she’s got a toddler, and me – well, I’m a hot mess. We promised that this would be a relaxing weekend full of laughter, bonding, drinking, and sleep. Lots of sleep.

What I didn’t expect is just how much we’d bond, and how she would just bring out the ridiculously silly side of me. As one of the first friends I made in Seattle (thanks Twitter), and as a fellow writer, Jess holds a special place in my heart. I was a little worried because we’d never spent 1:1 time that lasted more than our Restaurant Week dinners.

“What if she hates me? What if I’m annoying? OMG WHAT IF WE RUN OUT OF THINGS TO TALK ABOUT? WHAT IF I TALK TOO MUCH? OH MY GOD” Read more A Seaside Getaway

‘Cause I’m a hopeless wanderer

2 years ago, I wrote this post on the biggest lesson I’ve learned about being a grown-up. In the post, I talked about how being on the road is what helps me feels centered when I’m losing control and the chaos of my life takes over my calm. When Laura sent us the prompt about what kind of traveler I turn into, that post was the first thing that popped in my head. Then I started to really think about the question. See, I’m kind of the odd man out in my family. I dream too big, I care too much and I just can’t quite fit in. I’m also the memory keeper. From Turkey to DC to Seattle, I’ve kept all of the pictures for my family. I don’t mean just of my lifetime. I have my dad’s high school diploma, my mom’s pictures from when she was a teenager and black & white pictures of relatives I can’t name because they passed away years before my parents even met.

When I unpacked my suitcase from my east coast trip last week, I noticed that one of the zippered compartments of my suitcase was a little bulky. I couldn’t remember packing anything in there but I unzipped it to find a stack of letters from when I was 9, before we moved to the US. My best childhood friend and I sent each other letters when my family and I moved to a different city in Turkey. The wave of nostalgia that hit me was too great to handle, but it got me thinking about what life looks like for me on the road.

I’ve been doing a lot more traveling in the last few years. I do take a lot of pictures but I also experience the moment. Whether it’s my first time going to a new place or it’s somewhere I’ve been countless times, every experience is a new opportunity for me to notice different nuances of that particular location. Even if nothing in the landscape has changed, there is always something different.

Because I’m different.

Every time.

So I explore. I observe. I take it all in. I take pictures when I can but I also try to experience the moment, not through the lens of my camera but my own two eyes. I smile at strangers. I take deep breaths. I take out my headphones and listen to the moment instead of my music.

I turn into a tourist. Even in a city where I spent a majority of my life, if I’m in the mood, I become a tourist.

*Playing tourist in front of the White House*

I wander.

The thing is, I’m a hopeless romantic and by extension, I’m a hopeless wanderer.

And I travel to remember – who I was, who I am, and who I am going to become as I continue on my journey.

I don’t call myself an aspiring digital nomad for shits and giggles. I want to wander into as many corners of the world as possible in my lifetime – observing, experiencing, and when appropriate, being a tourist.


Inspired by this prompt from LauraSome people travel to relax; some travel to remember. Some reinvent themselves into entirely new people when they travel. What kind of traveler do you turn into and what does life look like for you on the road?

Bucket List: Cross-Country Road Trip

In 2011, I traveled a lot more than I had before, seeing parts of the U.S. I hadn’t yet seen, and falling in love with travel more and more (minus the part where I got stranded at airports for hours at end).

In 2012, I intend to continue this tradition of travel since I’m now fully location-independent, both work and school wise since UMUC stopped requiring proctored exams (YAY!).

I’m kicking off this year with a trip to Ann Arbor, MI at the end of this month for a birthday weekend of one of my dearest friends. I’ve never been to Michigan so I’m super excited, though I’m not sure if I’ll do a lot of exploring this time around.

At the end of May, I’m going back to NY for a weekend trip (or possibly a week) because I can never get enough of New York. (And then back to NY in August for BlogHer ’12. I’m still looking for a roomie!)

But the biggest trip of this year?

That’ll happen in June/July.  I was planning on taking a cross-country road trip this summer, ending in Seattle for a camping trip with my best friend and her family.  Nicole, who has become one of my best friends in DC (we get a little lost if we don’t see each other once a week), jumped in and said she’d join me.

“Really?”  I asked, because these things get thrown out, plans get made in the middle of mimosa-filled brunches and they never actually happen.

“Really,” she said, whipping out her phone so we could take a look at the calendar and plan when she can take time off from work.

So, I’m 90% sure this is happening. We’re planning on taking the southern route, making a couple of stops in Texas, Cali and everything in between, ending up in Seattle.

So, 2012 will be the year I go on my first cross-country road trip.  It will also likely be the year I drive back to DC by myself since Nicole will have to fly back for work.

This is huge and it couldn’t have happened at a better time in my life. It’s that kind of year when I need to take a step back, get away and really take the time to figure out the direction of my path.

Who knows? Maybe 2013 will be the year I start traveling around the world more.

PS: Don’t forget there’s a giveaway happening on my blog right now! Details are here.