TRAVEL DIARY: North Carolina

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WANDERLUST

What is it about going somewhere new that just makes you feel alive? Today, at about 2 P.M. I decided to take a trip by myself. I have always been about last minute decisions, but I feel like lately, I have been in a rut. Going somewhere new opens up your mind in so many ways. It makes you dream, look at the future, and find yourself a little better.

Although 2016 was a great year, I feel like I lost myself in the idea of wanting to stay in the same town forever. I have never been that person. Someone who just wants to settle in one place. Maybe part of growing up is settling down, but I am not ready for it.

I have lived in Savannah for almost two years, that already broke my rule of moving every six months. In 2015, I moved from California to North Carolina, to Savannah all in a span of less than 5 months. Yes, you read that right. I love to travel, I love to move, I love change. Period.

My heart always earns to see new places. I guess maybe I’m always searching for the next adventure, or searching for something that will fill a void. Wanderlust. I think that’s the perfect word I would describe myself. J.R.R. Tolkien said it perfectly, “Not All Who Wander Are Lost.” My whole life people have told me that I am running away from something and maybe that’s how they see it. I see it as being someone who wants to explore every bit this world has to offer. You can’t do that by being in the same place your whole life. It’s okay to be someone who doesn’t want to travel, but traveling in my book is the only thing besides love that truly makes me feel alive.

I hope that in 2017, you find yourself by doing whatever it is that makes you happy. Maybe dreams you have been putting aside, find time. Life gets busy, I get it but there’s nothing better than accomplishing your dreams and pursuing  your passions.

xo

Y.M.

New Year Inspirations

I hope everyone had a great break over Christmas!

I traveled to California with my fiancé (Jordan) to visit my family for a week. It was a much needed time to relax, spend some quality time with my parents, but also think about the upcoming New Year! Whoa! Where did 2016 go? A lot happened last year. I got ENGAGED, we moved into a new apartment, got a Boxer puppy, started planning a wedding, and it’s been a year filled with amazing memories, there were hardships, new friendships, and here we are!

To end this year, I wanted to share our California Travel Diary with all of you, but also let you guys know some exciting changes will be coming in 2017. I have been inspired to redesign my blog name, some changes to the posts, as well as fun new Youtube videos and blog videos that will be up weekly. I don’t like resolutions, but I love the fresh start a new year brings. It’s a chance to start over and really get inspired to pursue your dreams, dreams you may have held off or just didn’t make time for. This year, I want to make time. Make time for my dreams and make time for things that make me happy.

What are you excited for in the New Year!?

See you guys in 2017 with a new name, new design, I know you guys will love it!

xo

Yelena Marie

CALIFORNIA TRAVEL DIARY

Travel Inspirations

Hey Loves!

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and spent it with your families. I flew to California to surprise my Mom and she was absolutely thrilled! I am so grateful for the opportunities to travel. What are you thankful for?

Speaking of travel, I thought today I would write about some new changes I was planning while on my long flight across the country. I don’t know about you, but when it comes to change of scenery or going somewhere besides my everyday life, I get excited and motivated. I am huge on change, which is why I was inspired to blog today. Along with new and exciting Youtube videos, I am also ready to change up the blogs a bit. Well…not so much change as I want to blog MORE! I know, a lot of us like to say this and don’t actually follow through, but I am determined.

I love the fact that traveling makes you feel more inspired. Inspired to have a fresh start (which explains why I redecorated my whole apartment as soon as I came back). It also gives you more of an insight of what you (I) want in the future. I think it’s so easy to fall into routine, we are all busy…work, school, come home, dinner, cleaning, etc. Whatever it is you do everyday, I have no clue. I know for me, it’s easy to fall into a routine then get stressed because I try to force myself out of it.

My biggest thing for the rest of this year and going into 2017 is to get more inspired. Travel more. Write more. Create more.

What do YOU do to get inspired? I’d love to know:)

xo

Yelena Marie

Traveling Happiness

Hey Everyone,

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

My boyfriend and I went to California for the holiday to spend it with my family and it was our first experience traveling together. He’s also never been to California, so it was a few firsts for him.

Traveling has always made me happy, minus the uncomfortably-long plane rides and sick people coughing all over you. I love the excitement of being far away from home, not knowing anyone, and seeing places I’ve never been. Since I am used to traveling alone, it was incredible experiencing this trip with someone I love.

The four days spent in California were amazing and extremely eye opening for both of us. I lived in California for two years but not living there anymore, made me appreciate it ten times greater. I never thought how much the mountains would lift up my mood until I was looking at them again after long 9 months of being in the flat lands of the East Coast.

We woke up every morning before my family was up and went exploring and driving around the quiet towns. It was peaceful and refreshing.

The thing about traveling I love the most is the feel of the unknown. It isn’t just your everyday is the same day routine, it’s usually an adventure which only ends when you leave and go back to your everyday grind.

Traveling with my boyfriend taught me that it’s better to experience new places with him by my side. We get to learn new things together and see things through the same lens.

 

Xo

SimplYelena

P.S. Here are some pictures of our California adventures! 🙂

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The Importance of Moving Away From Home

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Growing up, I counted the days until I would turn 18 and move out. I wanted it so bad I printed out pictures to put on my wall of inspirations such as: the apartment I wanted, the car I wanted, and where I wanted to live (always somewhere warm, of course). I didn’t really have an idea of how I was going to do it, I just knew I wanted to be far away.

When I finally did turn eighteen and moved away to college across the country from my parents, I was homesick. I cried in my dorm for months because it was the loneliest time of my life. I had to face struggles on my own, I had to pay my own bills, and I didn’t have the comfort of my parents to lean back on whenever I was having a bad day. Sure, I could call them, but there is a big difference.

After one semester of college, I moved to California to live with my family. I knew that I wasn’t yet ready to live without them. I did everything with them on weekends and after about four months, I was ready to move out again. Sure, having your family so close is the best thing in the world, but it doesn’t do you any favors in terms of growing up and becoming completely independent.

Forward to today, I am living across the country from my family. I am on the East Coast and they are all the way in California. There are days when I want nothing but to drive five minutes and see them, or to go get our ritual Starbucks on Friday mornings with my Mom, but that’s not possible anymore with the distance between us. I miss them more than anything, but living this far away has taught me major life lessons I wouldn’t be able to learn living under the same roof as them.

I’ve learned how to manage my own finances without my parent’s say when it comes to buying furniture, new clothes, or anything that I want. I have had relationships without their inputs on the men and got to decide completely on my own who it is I really see myself with in the long run. There is no pressures of my family pushing me to do the “right thing” because I get to choose what the “right thing” is from now on. When I travel or go somewhere new without my parents, I grow more because I get to experience life from my own eyes and my own opinions.

I love my family more than anything in this world and I know that I will be living close to them someday again, but for now, being in my early twenties, living far away from home to truly find myself has been a life-changing experience I would have never gotten living at home. In order to find out who you are and what it is you want out of life, you must be alone for a while. I used to ask myself what I wanted to do with my life and I would go back-and-fourth about what that was, living alone made me realize the answer to that question. You see the world completely different when you see it from your eyes only. That’s not selfish, that’s necessary.

I think it’s extremely important for young people to understand that family will always be there, you have to go into the world and live your own life. You have to find yourself and create your own happiness. My family makes me happy, but knowing that I am independent and making my own future, is the best feeling in the world.

xo

SimplYelena

Today is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life

Today is my first day of Senior Year of College! I can’t believe it. It has been a crazy long journey to get where I am today. After taking ten months off school to move to L.A. and following my dreams of acting, I decided that path wasn’t for me. Then moving back home to live with my parents and going back to school. After that semester, I decided to take another eight months off and follow my heart to the East Coast. Now, I am more motivated than ever to finally graduate and get my Communications degree.

What made me take so many breaks from school, is my passion to travel and move somewhere new. I took many risks and have learned more than I ever would in a classroom. I have learned that I don’t ever want to work a 9-5 job and living paycheck to paycheck, working for a horrible boss who takes advantage of my good worth ethic. I learned that I don’t want to live in a crappy studio apartment with no furniture in it. I learned that no one takes you seriously when you don’t have a college degree. I learned that the only person I should ever rely on is myself. I learned that sponsoring a child makes me so incredibly happy, and I want to do that forever. I learned that the most poor people in the world in Ethiopia, are some of the nicest and happiest people in the world. I learned that mission trips are life changing because it changed mine.

I learned that I don’t want to live a life that’s “Mediocre.” I don’t want to follow the path that everyone thinks I should follow: Get a college degree, get a 9-5 job, get married, have kids, pay bills……..no thank you. It’s okay if that’s your life, it’s just not the only life I envision for myself.

I want an extraordinary life. I want to push the limits and go against the plans everyone else (but me) thinks I should follow. I want to make a difference in the world. Whether it’s giving back, writing books (in the process), I want to travel the world, I want to never stop pushing myself to Grow. When you stop growing, you stop living. I have had over ten jobs in my life and have worked since I was eleven, and I quit every single one. Not because I was lazy and didn’t want to work, but because there was no opportunity for growth.

“Today is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life” is something my Dad has always told me. He has been the biggest supporter of my writing, my school, and traveling. He has taught me that hard work and dedication is what takes you far in life, he is right.

The world is a big place and there are endless opportunities. Go chase them. Even if you follow a different path than what you originally had for yourself, or the plan your family may have had for you…do it. You will grow emotionally and that journey will lead you where you are supposed to be. I took time off to soul search and to find out what I truly wanted out of life. That adventure lead me back to today, starting my first day back in college. I don’t know where life will take me, all I know is that today is the first day of the rest of my life…and I am right where I am supposed to be.

Don’t be afraid to take risks.

Don’t be afraid to change your road path.

Don’t be afraid to be Different.

Don’t be afraid to Travel.

Don’t be afraid to quit when you are no longer growing.

xo

SimplYelena

(Pictures of my Adventures when I took time off from school)

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(Los Angeles, CA)

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(Burbank, CA)

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(San Jose, CA)

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(Santa Cruz, CA)

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(Wilmington, NC)

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(Santa Cruz, CA)

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(Hitata Ginet school, Ethiopia)

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(Met a donkey for the first time in Ethiopia)

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(Paying it Forward)

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(San Francisco)

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(Moved from Cali to North Carolina)

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(Moved to Savannah, Georgia)