While my vacations are few-and-far-between, they’re certainly much-anticipated. I just came back from California with Alyssa via Expedia.ca, and I’m feeling like a brand new person.
Like any time I spend away from home, the past week was mostly spent reflecting, reminiscing, and projecting grand plans for the immediate future. Travelling is my version of self-care; I need it to recharge and regain perspective. I’ve never viewed vacations as an excuse to “escape” anything. Rather, they’re just an opportunity for me to carry out my normal life in new and exciting locations (and as you’ll read, also gently uncover the girl I once was, lol).
Like anyone who has only lived in one place, I often feel like my everyday life in Toronto is incredibly insular. I appreciate routine, but I crave excitement via new experiences more than I crave comfort, because my comfort zone is where stagnancy isn’t. I used to see this as a weakness, but I’ve grown to accept it. Being scared to commit to one version of yourself doesn’t mean you forget your past iterations.
As soon as I hit my twenties, “the unknown” became liberating – much to the dismay of my parents lol. I came to realize that breaking routine has the potential to make you smarter and better and more fearless. It’s survival of the fittest, and since I’m not very fit in other aspects of my life, exercising my capacity for new experiences has always seemed like the most plausible option.
I first got “my foot in the door” nearly 8 years ago by taking a copious amount of pictures of myself and my outfits and posting them on the Internet. While I had a good run (and I now boast a really “entertaining” picture archive), I stopped about a year ago when I decided I was tired of labels and being able to self-identify so easily. In fact, my pseudo-“departure” from fashion blogging had nothing to do with a dislike for it – rather, I stopped because it was so natural and I liked it so much!
These days, while I’m generally pretty adverse to having a lens on me under a “blog” context, I am still happy that people continue to regard me as a fashion blogger, and will still accept projects that require me to “identify” as such. I like the idea of being *multi-faceted* *lol*, because not closing the door to the rapidly-evolving world of fashion blogging still gives me the opportunity to swap out my sweatsuits for dresses and skirts, and face the camera without getting sweaty palms.
Who knew the only thing I needed was a gentle nudge, a 5 hour flight to sunny California, and my Edmontonian-BFF to get me out of my sweatpants and revisit my 1-2-3 blog poses?
In comparison to Toronto, California is beautiful. I will never get over the draw of casual palm trees and clear blue skies; the staggering feeling of desert heat; the prospect of driving past the Salton Sea on your to the wonder that is Salvation Mountain. The lustre of travel is kind of infectious – it made me want to take pictures again, and it made me want to look nice so I could have these pictures as a memory of my #youth. The entire experience was also heightened because I got to go through the motions with an old friend/fellow blogger/talented photographer.
Funnily enough, I first met Alyssa when I was avidly trying to make it as a fashion blogger (and building the Kastor & Pollux brand as such). She’s seen me through so many different versions of myself – content, complacent, over-worked, heartbroken – and as I sat in the passenger seat of an obnoxiously bright blue Nissan Altima (as one of my recent fling’s dedicated-to-me mix blared via USB cable), I thought about all of this – alongside forthcoming dinner plans – and how grateful I am to have found such genuine friendships via fashion blogging.
Much like I accredit Neopets.com to everything in my professional life, I accredit fashion blogging to nearly everything else. Being in front of the camera taught me how to be confident, self-aware, and unashamed. Editing pictures taught me what my good angles were (lol). The huge community aspect connected me with some of my closest friends (^ case in point). While it’s not an activity that I participate in as much as I used to, my trip to California definitely reminded me how big a part of my life it was, and how even nearly a decade later, still feels just as natural as it did at the very beginning.
Thanks Expedia for giving me the opportunity to self-actualize, get a tan, rent a car, stay in two beautiful hotels instead of someone’s couch, and see unfamiliar places in new ways with one of my best friends. Now here’s a roundup of fashion-y photos (taken by aforementioned BFF, Alyssa Lau).