Feeling Stuck

Well it’s June, and since I’ve been in the habit of only writing once a month, I think it’s that time again!

Nobody likes feeling stuck. Whether it’s stuck in a bad relationship, dead-end job, or gum stuck to your shoe, being stuck is the worst.

That’s how I felt for a majority of last year; stuck.

I didn’t want to live where I was living, but saw no other choice. I didn’t want to be in the relationship I was in, but was waiting for a change. When I moved here, I felt that lighter, less trapped. It was a chance to start over on all levels.

Unfortunately, I became stuck in a job that I didn’t love. I felt my creativity and intelligence being stifled, leaving me restless and unfulfilled. Like many other people my age, I’m still don’t have a set career in mind. I know I love writing and working with other people, which comes in many different jobs, but I can’t think of the perfect fit.

That’s also how I feel with living in general. I love where I currently am and enjoy every minute of it, but that restlessness looms over my shoulder. Part of me wants to be established in this still relatively new city and make a life for myself, while the other part wants to ditch the normalcy and return to the life of a nomad.

This will be the first summer that I’m working a ‘real job.’ I won’t get to trapeze around a foreign country unsure of my next move. It’s crazy that while I was freelance writing, I spent so much time fretting over the (non-existent) judgement I might get for not working a typical, 9-5 job, while saving for my dream home/wedding/future children’s college funds/pony.

In reality, that was perfect for me! I had the flexibility to work from quite literally wherever in the world I wanted. I was writing, which I love to do–ya know except for the scut work that I had to start with.

I’m glad that I had that experience and one in a more conventional setting because it’s starting to help guide me in some sort of direction. Even if I don’t know exactly what I want in a career, I know that I crave the flexibility that a desk job can’t provide. I want to write, to move, to meet people, and to stack up too many deadlines for myself; I want to be in control.

It’s easy to get caught up in the articles and lists that tell you how to live your life and what you need to do to achieve happiness. Some people are really passionate about quotes and base their dreams, lifestyles, and actions around them. I know that it’s bad when I start looking to quotes for advice and here’s one that really pisses me off.

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It all starts with a soothing background. The fog rising up from the lake just permeates a smug wisdom.

Unhappy with your job? Quit!

Well that’s nice, but what about this thing called money, security?? Do you know how long it takes to get a new job, especially when you’re fresh outta college!!

Move?

Hey, uh landlord? I’m trying to follow my heart and this shitty quote online, so can you cut me out of my lease real quick? THX! Oh wait, where am I gonna move with my imaginary money from my non-existent job?

Let go of a miserable relationship?

Yeah okay, I can’t argue this one, but you get my point.

I know that ultimately personal happiness is one of the most important achievements, but people can’t be a freakin’ ray of sunshine all the time. It just doesn’t happen. Also, it’s not always realistic to do exactly what will make you happy. Sometimes you have to feel stuck for a little while before

That said, I don’t think you should waste years of your life on anything that’s not making you super fucking pumped to do everyday. Even if your job or whatever is not perfect, perhaps it allows you the chance to write poetry, practice for your weekend band, or train for a marathon. Feel stuck, get unstuck, and stop reading terrible quotes that won’t make a lick of difference in your life.

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Habits I Lost When Moving to California

It blows my mind that I’ve been in California for almost six months. This is the longest I’ve been in once place since I was in school. It’s also astonishing that I have yet to get sick of San Diego or brunch. So. Much. Brunch.

Since this is the longest I’ve also been in the US in a few years, I’m not sure if my habits have changed in regards to what I did in New York or while abroad. My life was significantly different from each place I lived. For example, I was eating the traditional five times a day in Spain whereas I eat five times a day in America, but it’s not traditional….unless obesity is that ingrained in our culture at this point…

ANYHOW, life is definitely different here. It’s more relaxed and honestly feels like an extension of college. I’m sure it doesn’t help that I live with two women my age (one who WAS my college roommate) in a city with multiple colleges and East Coast transplants, but I am not complaining.

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It’s actually what I find so refreshing about being here. I’m never bored and there’s always something to do. While this holds true to New York City as well, I found it to be too city for my liking to the point of being overwhelming. I like the mixture of big city and beach neighborhoods.

Checking the weather

I’m thinking sunny with a chance of partly sun? Okay, so I do check the wear, but it doesn’t really impact what I’m wearing. I mostly look to see if it’ll be sunny enough to lay out and read or not, and usually it is.

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I do find it strange that while I would normally expect a scorching May and June in New York, the weather here isn’t very consistent during that time, hence being introduced to “May Gray” and “June Gloom.” But honeslty, I’m fine with just a month or two of this weather since I experienced it every day in England.

Sarcasm

YOU THOUGHT. I will never lose this. I’m not sure if it’s an East Coast, or more specifically a New York thing, but everyone I know from home speaks heavily with sarcasm. It hasn’t been as well received out here and is considered borderline rude by most people, who I consider soft.

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Me as a dog

I definitely have toned it down in some scenarios, especially when the sarcasm isn’t detected and I feel bad for people who actually think I’m an incoming freshman here in California for orientation.

Side note: I started talking with coworkers about sarcasm, which led to slang, accents, and the like, so I made them take this quiz to see where their personal dialect places them on the map.

Breakfast

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To me breakfast is like my coworkers, Monday through Friday we’re friends, but on the weekends, I don’t know you. Call me basic, but brunch is my bestie. While I do wake up early enough for breakast, it’s more acceptable to pop champagne bottles in the afternoon. Also, the food is delicious and no one else wakes up at 7 am on Saturday and Sunday like a complete psychopath (me).

Wearing pants

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This might go along with the weather, but I never wear pants or closed toe shoes unless I’m running. Pants will always be my greatest enemy, especially jeans, so even if there is a slight breeze down by the Pacific, I will always opt for a dress or skirt.

Sunday Scaries

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They’ve now extended to Monday. This city is big on day drinking, which I only really experienced during Spring time in college. Now, it’s more normal than hitting the town at night. You can also do both and it’s not frowned upon, but encouraged.

In Albany, I used to refer to it as ‘scumbag Sunday’ where you marinate in last night’s make up and house down McDonald’s fries with sweet and sour sauce to recover for practice the following day. Now, it hits on Monday in the first hour of work where I chow down on ramen and take intermittent naps on the bench in the bathroom, while trying to look presentable.

Transportation

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Bottom-line: I’m an avid Birder.

Even though I own a car and fresh pair of blades, I Uber like I am Beyoncé….if Beyoncé ever Ubered, which I’m sure she doesn’t. Aside from being home in Ithaca, which you could still always take a bus, this is the first place I’ve lived where you can’t bike, walk, or easily take public transportation somewhere. Albany, Spain, England, and NYC were all pretty easy to get around. San Diego is so expansive that it’s a necessity.

Winter

BUHBYE!

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Cooking

I ALWAYS used to cook in school and even after. While Ithaca and NYC are great places for take out, I still mantained some balance. That balance has gone out the window since I arrived. I don’t even think about cooking on the weekends unless it involves heating up the prior meal’s take out.

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Also, my diet heavily relies on Mexican food. Tamales for breakfast, tacos for lunch, oh, and uh for dinner? Yeah, I’ll have the tacos please. I would say I have a problem, but I’ve never met a taco I didn’t like.

 

No New Friends

And I’m back by popular demand! (Okay, all of two people asking me why I haven’t blogged in a while, but thanks for the encouragement!)

My life in California is simple and simply fun all the time. Aside from that whole 7-3:30 grind that is, but at least I’m out early enough for the beach! And if you follow me on Instagram, you already know how annoying I am with posting my frequent trips there.

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So since my last stop in here, I’ve had quite a few friends come visit and more on the way. Pretty much every visit has involved a long night out dancing followed by a boozy brunch stuffed to start the cycle over. Can’t fix what isn’t broken amiright??

I’m going to take the easy way out and do a recap of their visits.

Nick

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Okay, okay this was way back in February, buuuuuut still counts. Being an athlete was definitely one of the best things about college solely because I met a bunch of amazing people, who I am still friends with today.  Also, they come visit me even on the opposite coast!

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Babies!

Nick (Hi Nick!) was in the pole/vault multi fam and a hardcore lawnguylander (Long Islander). He came out to visit Kelsey and ML last year for a work conference and this time around I was fortunate enough to see him.

Aside from Kelsey falling…or me tripping her…and just an all around good weekend, the most memorable moment was when I was introduced to BIRDS with Nick. More will come on that later.

Celia

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Que tal? As you might remember, Celia and I met a couple of years back while we were both au pairing in Mataró. As she likes to point out despite us both being Americans, we’ve never hung out in our own country! We initially met in Spain and spent a blissful summer frolicking in the Mediterranean, while eating too many tapas.

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The next time we reconnected was in Italy where she visited me and my other au pair family. Again, we soaked up some sun and this time ate way too much pasta. Honestly, whether it’s pasta or tapas it’s never enough for me.

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Finallllllly, she came to visit me in San Diego. The visit was short, but sweet. Even though I managed to kill her in the first night. I do hope she’ll return…maybe with a stronger liver :P.

KWOW

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Again, super thankful for track leading me to one of my other good friends, Katie. She was also my roommate at UAlbany too. Check out the baby faces.

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The perfect storm was formed when my most Irish friend came to visit me on St. Patrick’s Day, subsequently causing chaos all around. Katie combined with her brother, who is also a San Diego resident led the way in Irish jigging and reminded me why Fireball hurts the soul.

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Her fiancée Phil also came, which is pretty significant since it’s one of the last times I will see them both before they get married this fall! Aside from the St. Patty’s festivities we spent a Sunday exploring Coronado, including The Del and the Cabrillo Monument in Point Loma.

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Oh look, it’s me, Nick, and Katie heading to Penn State back in the day.

Kyle & Brandon

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So uh, when are you guys moving here? Kyle and I go way back to the Trumansburg middle school and terrible hair days. He had feathered hair, I had bangs. Not a good look. We became friends in high school over trivial pursuit and street hockey, which we’ve traded in for traveling and stuffing our faces.

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His old roommate from college Brandon also came along on the trip, providing sick CONTENT, a lost wallet, and a solid gag reflex. Throw me, Kelsey, and ML, into the mix and you have a solid crew with 607 roots.

 

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This past weekend was full of sunshine finally showed the Cali weather’s true colors. Of course we took advantage of this by playing scrabble and listening to Seth Feldman in our front yard. Kyle managed to fit in skydiving that morning as well. Casual.

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Somehow we survived a night in downtown and managed to make our brunch reservations (see a pattern yet?). Once bottomless mimosas were over, we (minus ML who took a nice nap) burned off our energy playing spike ball and soccer on the beach.

30739975_10155470906105980_3859885786065272832_nThis ball kept on rolling until it was the next morning and somehow both of them managed to make their flights assumingely reeking of alcohol, but in one piece.

Also, here’s our signature pic from the past three summers in Rome, Paris, and now San Diego.

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Now, who is next?

 

 

 

 

 

Can I Kick it?

Okay, so contrary to my New Years Resolution and constant promises of being a consistent blogger, I dropped off the face of the Earth again for two months. To be fair, I completely uprooted my life…again….moved across the ocean, and then country to California! So that left little time to blog.

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But that’s right, I am now a resident of sunny San Diego, California. In my last post, I’d just landed here for a short visit seeking some girl time after ending a relationship. I was so happy being reunited with my friends–and the sun because I’m still a firm hater of British weather….and England– that I wondered how I stayed away for so long. Well, that visit turned into a new car, new job, new house, and new life! The perks of being a gypsy.

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I’ve had many friends, family members, and even random people ask and comment on my impulsive life decisions. Mainly, they ask: How?????? How do you change your life so drastically? How do you make these choices?

If you know me, then you know I’m the most indecisive person on the planet. I can’t pick what I want to eat or which bracelet I should buy while hiking in Italy (Cough, Celia) to save my life. I go back and forth, and ultimately whatever decision I do end up making, I still fret over.

Everyone likes to be comfortable. That comfort shouldn’t be a trap. Yes, having money and lots of things is nice, but it’s not everything. You can’t let the security of a job, a town you’ve always lived in, the pretty furniture you have, or even the baggage of a boyfriend keep you from breaking out and doing what you want.

Go live your life for you. It might blow up in your face and suck or it might be the most incredible experiences of your life. Either way, you’ll live and figure it out because that’s life. It’s messy, sad, crazy, fun, confusing, and every other word in the dictionary. But you ALWAYS figure it out and get through it.

Like moving to England last year, I just went with what felt right. Well, that ultimately did blow up in my face (see it happens), but it was still an experience worth having! Without living in that shitty city or having my heartbroken by some knucklehead, I would’ve never climbed a Swiss Alp, kayaked around the gorgeous Cinque Terre, or stuffed my face with tapas again in Barcelona. I would’ve never met the sweetest Scottish gal, reunited with my Catalan family and friends, or lived in Italy.

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Sometimes you just have to go with what feels right in the moment. And in the moment, SD feels right to me.

 

More Bounce in California

I’m on the move again! I kissed my Floridian family goodbye, and headed West for the first time in my life. Two of my friends live in sunny San Diego, and have graciously been hosting me and showing me around their beautiful city!

It was so nice reuniting. Kelsey was my former roommate in college, and I hadn’t seen her in a year and a half…that’s a long time to go without seeing one of your best friends. We lived together for two of the craziest and best years of my life so far.

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I made this whirlwind decision just a couple of days before my Friday flight. It’s a good thing I never actually unpacked my suitcase in Florida because it saved me a lot of hassle. Since the Ft. Lauderdale Airport is so close, I kinda sorta took my time in getting there, which resulted in me missing my flight to San Diego. Yikes!

Thankfully, I was able to re-book for a flight just an hour later to Long Beach, and since Kelsey and Mary Lynn are such wonderful friends, then even drove all the way there to pick me up!

We spent Saturday enjoying the sun and some drinks in Pacific Beach. Unfortunately, we didn’t get any pictures except for this…

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Sunday was spent nursing our headaches with some relaxation and of course, brunch. We went to this breakfast brunch spot called Snooze. If you’re in San Diego or any of their other locations, then I would highly recommend going. It’s bomb. There were so many delicious savory and sweet options, that I wanted to eat it all.

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Snooze does have an order option for us indecisive folk, so I was able to get half an order of a classic eggs Benedict AND  the I like you E’Lote Benedict, which had corn quinoa cakes topped with Cotija cheese, roasted corn salsa, and lots of other goodness.

In fact, I’m already looking forward to going there again this weekend…and it’s only Tuesday. The rest of the day was spent lounging and then we headed to Coronado Beach for my first Cali sunset and first time dipping my toes in the freezing Pacific!

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Since Monday was a holiday, Kelsey and I spent the day running around the city. We had lunch at Mendocino Farms. I opted for the taco salad, which was completely vegan with plant-based chorizo and a mouth watering creamy cashew ranch dressing. Can you tell my palette is a fan of California yet?

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We spent the sunny afternoon doing the classic Torrey Pines hike, which provided some great views of the Pacific Ocean, but was PACKED with other hikers, who also took advantage of MLK day.

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After the hike, Kelsey showed me around La Jolla. Side note: I took Spanish and lived in Spain, but still made the mistake of calling this place La Jawla…whoops. It’s La Hoy-ya. Ya, know, no J’s in the Spanish language. But I’m sure you guys already knew that. Anyhow, my favorite part of the day had to be going down to the smelly park and seeing all of the sunbathing seals.

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I had David Attenborough’s voice (Go watch Blue Planet 2 NOW!)  narrating the entire scene. Most of the seals were snoozing, but I did witness a little scuffle in the water and SO MANY babies–some who were even nursing from their moms. I was over the moon.

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So far, I’ve really enjoyed my time in San Diego, and I look forward to exploring more of this energetic city! Let me know if any of you have suggestions to check out!

 

New Year, New Blogger Me (Maybe)

For those of you who still check in here from time to time, welcome to the New Year!

This year has gone by in a whirlwind of new countries, experiences, and most importantly….food! Mostly I tried to successfully navigate life as an adult my first year out of school without any major crisis.

As most people entering 2018 (How weird), I’m using the beginning of this year as a fresh slate. I don’t have specific resolution per say, but I do have some goals that I’d like to achieve in the near future.

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So here we go with a short, but hopefully attainable list of goals:

1. I’m still doing freelance writing, so one of my main focuses is somehow branding my name and services in the form of an official website to attract more clients. Once I pick a name and site, I’ll post more about it here.

****So if you’re reading this and need any type of writing, editing, marketing done–basically anything related to words–let me know!*****

2. I need to kick myself in the pants and keep doing personal writing too whether it be on this blog or the silly stories I sent my friends. Instead of writing, I get lazy and head to my kindle when I should be creating my own stories!

3. But really I should keep writing on my blog and try to do more meaningful pieces and less cutesy stuff. It’s amazing to look back on some of these posts and I’d like to keep that going to reflect on in the future.

4. Take some sort of photography class, so I can stop putting my camera on the auto-setting and somewhat know what I’m doing.

5. Travel, duh! I’d like to visit some more of Europe, Southeast Asia, Mexico and Australia this year. Also, if I could make it to San Diego, Zurich, and Spain to see my friends that would be fabulous too.

6. Hit my reading goal on my GoodReads account. This year I fell a little bit short at only 50 out of my 70 desired books, so hopefully I can get 70 in this year.

7. Be more decisive. This isn’t a tangible goal, but it’s definitely something that I need to work on. If you know me, then you know that I stress over even some of the most simple decisions–including Netflix, what to eat, wear. I’d like to stop stressing over these minor choices and make more firm decisions when it comes to larger ones.

8. I can’t believe that I’ve finally joined the people who put working out on their New Year’s resolution list, but here I am. While I did still run, lift, and bike this year with some occasional work out classes mixed in, I’ve definitely fallen from my athletic D1 track days.

I’m starting with a 16 week program (week one done yayyyy) and seeing where that takes me. Working out in college was more fun and social, but as an adult it’s downright boring.

9. Find a new hobby/activity. While I think reading and writing are both enjoyable and mentally stimulating activities, I spend so much of my time sitting, and sitting at a computer. I want to ditch the screen whenever possible and find a hobby that will have my moving around, but not necessarily to the gym. Any suggestions? Surfing, painting, dancing?

 

 

 

Chello Chester

Over the weekend, I hopped coasts and spent some time in Wales and the Northwest of England. Though I saw some of the Welsh coastlines and picked up the language, well one-word “ARAF” or “SLOW,” I was mostly in Chester, England.

Chester is a lively city near the Welsh border and surrounded by walls. Apparently, it was a Roman fortress, which can be seen through its sandstone walls and excavated Roman amphitheater. I thought it was the perfect place to spend a rainy, then sunny, then rainy/windy, then sunny again Saturday afternoon. English weather, am I right?

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If you find yourself in Chester for the day, then I highly suggest some of the activities on my list.

Eating

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Not actually open, but it was funny to see this on my walk. 

Start your morning with a proper breakfast. I dined at two local cafes and had great experiences at both. Marmalade serves up typical English breakfasts but also has a fantastic hot chocolate list. My favorite meal was at Hanky Panky Pancakes. Along with a fabulous name, this establishment also has mouth-watering pancakes. You can choose sweet, savory, and even alcoholic pancakes. Since I am horribly indecisive, I took a solid 10 minutes to create my combo, which turned out to be not super impressive.

For my savory pancake, I had spicy chorizo with goat cheese and a thick balsamic drizzle on top. Now I know what you’re thinking, savory pancakes? Gross. But these aren’t your typical pancake. They are very thin made with a simple mixture, so you don’t feel overly stuffed at the end.

I also chose a sweet pancake because I am a firm believer in dessert and treatin’ yo self. Anyhow, I’d never heard of strove day or pancake day aside from the American one where IHOP gives your a free pancake. On strove day the typical pancake is more like a thin crepe with sugar sprinkled on top and lemon. Since I’d never had one before, I decided to go for it, and add a healthy stack of cream on top.

Bottom-line, go to Hanky Panky for a meal you won’t regret. Until you try on clothes in Zara 15 minutes later with a bloated belly. I digress….

Breakfast pretty much filled me up both days, but Kurtis met me early on Saturday so that we could have lunch together. Our chosen spot was called The Burger Shed. Now I’m not huge on burgers, but my oh my did they have a delicious spread. They have burger, hotdogs, and milkshakes galore to choose from. I had a bacon and bleu cheese burger complete with poutine and an oreo milkshake. YUM! Some of the food such as the meat and cheese is locally sourced from other Chester stores, so it’s not just a dumpy burger place like McDonald’s.

Otherwise, there are plenty of little cafes to choose from and pubs with English food, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Shopping

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If you are into shopping, then you’ve pretty much nailed it with Chester. There are a variety of shops and mini-malls all within walking distance. I spent a lot of time in Zara, TkMaxx (like TjMaxx lolol), and H&M, but there are a million more to choose from. You can buy anything from artisanal cheese to hiking boots without leaving the area. Do yourself, but maybe not your bank account, a favor and snag some new clothes.

What else is there?

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While eating and shopping are some of my favorite pastimes, there are many other activities in Chester. I walked part of the city walls, which took a good amount and got my FitBit steps up. The walk includes the ancient Roman amphitheater, the River Dee, the Chester Castle and University, and some excellent sites of the city. You could spend all day roaming about and even getting lost in a nearby town.

The Storyhouse

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This was probably my favorite find. The Storyhouse is a massive library, cafe, theater, and cinema all combined into one beautiful building. I spent some time browsing and reading in the library, which has an unusual setup. It feels more like you’ve stumbled into a cafe surrounded by books than an actual library. I didn’t even notice it was a library until I saw the stickers on the book’s spines. When it was too chilly for me to stay outside/ I didn’t feel like walking anymore, I saw a show at their cinema. The cinema is just one screen and only holds a 100 people, but it was the perfect place to cozy up and watch Monster’s Inc. on a Sunday afternoon.

Exhibits

Apparently, Chester puts on a number of exhibits as well, which can be seen in the Art Centre. Unfortunately, I missed the latest one by a few days, but they came highly suggested. There’s also the Grosvenor Museum, the Chester Cathedral, and a falconry to explore.

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If you’re in the area, then Chester is definitely worth a visit. For the more adventurous, the 870-mile Wales Coast walking path begins in Chester. It’s also a short 40-minute train ride to Liverpool so that you can hop from one city to the next.