Tag Archives: growing up

How to End a Series

We interrupt this four-month hiatus to bring you a post that has little to do with travel and everything to do with adventure.

Growing up, I had a very hard time separating fact from fiction. Whilst sitting less than two feet away from the TV screen on a Friday night watching Boy Meets World, I would wonder if the cast members were as bored as I was during commercial breaks, waiting for their show to come back on so that they could finish the episode and go home. With all of my worldly experience, I’ve since gathered that this is not the way television shows are made but I still have difficulty distinguishing what’s real from what’s not.

Source, NBC Parks & Rec Tumblr

The series finale of Parks & Recreation was last night.

I became addicted to the show as recently as a year ago when living abroad and running out of things to do while living in a town of only 15,000. I’d tried starting the show several times before but couldn’t get past Leslie Knope’s cringe-worthy, unabashed enthusiasm.

But this time, something clicked. Maybe it was my piso’s lack of insulation and Pawnee’s burning passion for Paunch Burger and Lil’ Sebastian were what would keep me warm. Maybe it was my desire for a taste of something so characteristically American. Whatever it was, I fell in love.

Parks & Recreation has taught me a whole slew of things. It taught me that you can be earnest and enthusiastic and still be realistic (though, admittedly, Leslie Knope’s idea of what was realistic often differed from normal views). It taught me the meaning of feminism. It taught me that the world needs more humans like Leslie Knope, who are passionate and unapologetic and would do anything for her friends.

As if it hadn’t done enough, Parks & Rec taught me one more thing last night. It taught me what it looks like to move on gracefully.

When April looks to Leslie for the advice and the courage to take a chance on everything (the new job, having a kid)? I die. Source, NBC Parks & Rec Tumblr

I had a great year after college. I lived in Spain! I traveled around Europe! I made some of the best friends I never could’ve dreamed of!

And now, I’m two years out of college and I’m having a not-as-great year. I moved out to California. I came back. I tried to find a job. I went back to nannying to pay my bills and I’m still trying to figure out what to do with my life. I keep thinking that, the further away I get from Spain, the less I’ll miss it and the easier it will be to move forward.

The opposite is true. The further I get from my time in Spain, the more pressure I feel to figure things out, the more I want to recreate the happiness that came so easily living on the Costa del Sol.

To me, the ending of Parks & Rec is as poignant and harsh as the ending to my time in Spain. How did they all not fall into a dark hole of depression where all they did was eat Chipotle for every meal and gain twenty pounds? That’s what I did! Isn’t that the only logical response to (what seemed to be) the happiest time of your life ending?

But wait! Happier times lie ahead for one and for all! April and Andy have a kid! Ron becomes a park manager! Leslie runs for governor!

If I was part of the Pawnee Parks & Rec department under Leslie Knope, I would be convinced that nothing would ever be as good as working with her. Her wisdom, her passion, her stubbornness and her shenanigans could never be matched at any job, dream or otherwise, that I would move on to find.

But life goes on. Shows–and teaching contracts, along with temporary residencies–end. And new adventures begin.

So thank you, Parks & Rec, for once again teaching me that moving on is never easy, but there are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind. Or maybe that was C.S. Lewis? Either way, the sentiment (and the adventures that await) are the same.

What was something that you learned from Parks & Rec?

Thanks for the memories! Source, NBC Parks & Rec Tumblr

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How to Adventure in an Accidental Manner

I chose the name Accidental Adventurer for the blog shortly after my college graduation, when the inevitable stream of questions started up.

“So what now?”

“I’m headed to camp to work as a horse wrangler for the summer and in the fall I move to Spain.”

“Have you ever worked with horses before?”


“Do you speak Spanish?”


The next question is easy to guess: how did you get from where you are to where you’re going? And the answer: purely by accident.


The upside to always traveling (besides the fact that you’re always traveling) is that you make friends everywhere. So when I needed a place to stay in Portland for the night, I hit up a friend from Spain who’s from the area who texted her friend who let me crash on their living room floor and wake up to this view.

As a kid, I always knew I wanted to travel, I just figured it’d be a little more planned out: I thought I’d spend months saving and counting down days and then I’d go for maybe a weekend and then come home to my normal life.

I never planned on moving to Spain (as evidenced by the fact that I promptly forgot all of my high school Spanish before I’d even finished with the class). Before I’d landed up in Spain, I’d been in the process of applying for the Peace Corps, planning to be placed in some African country where I could put my years of college French to practice. And then, seemingly by accident and with no planning at all, I was headed to Spain.

A year later, I came back, torn between wanting things to be normal and not knowing what that even looked like. After a month in Texas, for lack of anything better to do, I moved out to California. And four months later, for lack of anywhere better to go, I’m moving back to Texas.

San Francisco says goodbye with a beautiful sunrise over the bay.

San Francisco says goodbye with a beautiful sunrise over the bay.

“But what are you going to do when you get back?”

Hell if I know. But, like the time that my aunt and I went through the usual post-grad script and I explained my plans and she asked me the follow-up questions and then snorted and said, “So how are you going to do this?” (this being ride horses and speak Spanish), and I said, “I don’t know, I’ll figure it out I guess,” I guess I’m just gonna figure out what happens next.

I never planned these adventures, not the way I imagined as a kid when I thought I would have more than a few months or weeks to process my spur-of-the-moment decision (“I want to go to Montana.” “I’m moving to Spain.” “I’d like to be a horse wrangler.” “I need to quit my job.”) but they happened and, despite the outcome, good or bad, I’ve got to figure it out.


The road north.

One of the good things that has come out of my sudden decision to depart from California was my equally sudden and equally emphatic decision to spend a week in the north before I relocate to the South. Moments are I realized, “I have to quit my job,” I realized, “I’m going to go to Seattle.”

So here I am, on the floor of my college friend Caraline’s room, day 1 of a week long adventure that is entirely accidental. And in a week, a drive back to Texas. And then a week after that, a move to Dallas. And then a week later or maybe two or maybe ten, another plan and another adventure.


See you in Seattle!

If you’d like to follow along with the adventure in progress, be sure to check out the old Insta, lapetitemadelyne, or any of my other forms of social media, links to which can be found on the Contact page.

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Grow Up

I need to accept the permanence of my situation: I am living abroad. I am alive in another country different from the one that I was born in, where they speak another language that is not my own, where I pay for things in amounts of money based on a conversion rate I’m not sure I fully understand. I have an apartment and a washing machine and this evening I looked in my fridge, found some things, and COOKED DINNER BECAUSE I AM A GROWN WOMAN AND THESE ARE THE THINGS YOU DO (still trying to wrap my head around it) (also, it was delicious).

I keep finding these articles–25 Things Every Woman Needs to Know, 20 Things Every Twentysomething Should Know How to Do, 10 Trips to Take in Your 20s, 28.5 Outfits You Will Want But Can Never Afford Because You Decided to Spend All of Your As of Yet Unreceived Paycheck on a New Year’s Trip to Paris (oh that last one is just me? Well, can’t say I’m complaining except whenever I start to think about how I will pay rent in November)–almost entirely by accident. As I start to think about it, maybe it is less coincidental than previously assumed since most of my friends are in the same postgrad, twentysomething boat.

But wait! I’m in Spain! I’m on a semi-permanent, 9 month, work-type vacation! Surely I can’t be facing the same listless ennui that faces any postgrad after they’re forced to encounter the real world?

And my situation is different, I agree, but in the end, I’m still just a kid trying to figure out what it means to grow up.


Who needs isolation and a writing schedule in a tiny mountain town when you can have city views like this?


How to decorate like a poor person: utilize things you already have since you only brought one suitcase with you to Spain and even that was still overweight.

I went to Almeria last Friday to apply for my residency while I’m here in Spain. I don’t know where I thought they were sending me to (some special rainbow filled place akin to a college admissions office because in my head I’m still 18?) but I was surprised when I arrived at the equivalent of an immigration office. And when I say equivalent I mean that it was the immigration office.

It is possible that I might have PTSD from the disastrous experience (mostly my own fault) I had when applying for my visa. I was a nervous wreck waiting to be called back because I knew with 87% certainty I was going to be yelled at in Spanish. When my fingerprints were taken, forms were stamped, and I was wished a nice day, I almost cried. And then, like the girl that I am, I found a cab to my friends’ apartment where we changed for the beach. It was a beautiful day and I wanted to scream “I AM AN ADULT. I AM AN (ALMOST) LEGAL IMMIGRANT. I CAN DO THINGS.” at the top of my lungs but I didn’t because of all of the reasons I just listed.

It’s not an internship or a step in the direction of the career I want to one day finance my borderline alcoholism and rampant book buying problem but it is me, growing up.





This isn’t vacation. This is real life and sometimes it is really hard, like when I get lost in my own town (with only 17,000 people HOW/WHY does this keep happening?) or when I get on the wrong bus and then panic and get off at the wrong stop in maybe the wrong city (it was the right city, everything else was wrong) or when a student asks me to explain why America has so many school shootings, and that’s when I remember: this is my life and this is really happening.

I came on this trip moved to Spain for a lot of reasons. I came to write, I came to teach, I came to travel, I came to learn Spanish, I came to grow up. I don’t know what you (or I) were thinking–that somehow life could be put on pause and I might be exempt from the pop quiz on How to Pay Your Bills and Cook Your Food At Home Because If You Eat Out One More Time Dammit You Won’t Have Enough Money to Afford a Roof–but it ain’t true, even if you change continents.


Things for Which I Feel Equal Parts Regret and Pride: eating the last piece of pizza, going for a run, Montana, agreeing to get on this ride.


Don’t Ever Ride Something Called Caballo Loco Even if Children Are Already On It (akapoordecisions.jpg)


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