Category Archives: travel

London Bound (Or, The Excitement of Something Big Ahead)

london

So, in 2 days I’m being flown to London for my next trip as a travel writer. I’m so excited and curious about this diverse and sprawling metropolis. London rivals New York City on the global cities index, being the only two Alpha ++ cities on the planet. A mixture of international traffic, economic fervor, and arts & culture keep these cities on top of the world.

But London will be different than New York…

New York streets look like this:

new york 1

 

Whereas London looks like this:

london12

 

Two cities, built very differently. One built up, the other built out.

 

BUT ASIDE FROM ALL THAT…

The main reason for this post is the feeling I have right now. I fully believe that travel has an incredible healing power. Travel can reset your mind, restart your body, and reenergize what’s been lost.

Isn’t it Elsa herself who says, “It’s funny how some distance, makes every thing seem small…” 

Travel is the ultimate cure for whatever ails you… although, perhaps it’s always advisable to see a doctor if something is seriously wrong.

takeoff

 

But does anything compare to the takeoff of an airplane?  Or the anticipation before a trip?

Even if there’s no ocean where I’m going to, before I travel I can always seem to smell the saltwater. Sun seems to radiate from somewhere. Everything shimmers with starbursts and sunbeams. I absolutely love the feeling I get before a trip!

It’s a depression smashing, anxiety exploding, shot of pure positivity.

 

Also… as is tradition on this blog, if there’s ever a city that gets destroyed in a movie, I have to show it.

londonlondon2

 

Does that not inspire you to hop on a plane?????

Come on people, Adventure awaits! 

 

~ The Dark Horse

Never give up, and never proofread! Unless you’re getting paid…. then proofread, proofread, proofread!)

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Visiting Home After Being Gone a While

ohio

So, I’m back in Ohio right now visiting home, and it’s been very pleasant. The memories of how people treated me here are finally fading away as I get older, and I have to admit…I think that now that I finally feel successful…whatever anyone here thinks of me no longer matters.

For example- If someone here wants to hate me for being gay, well… I get paid to travel the world and write stories about it… Tell me Mr. white trash Ohioan, what do you do? Now that I’m happy and now that I feel worthwhile, ignorant trash suddenly seems like nothing more than, well, ignorant trash.

 

Dolly Parton has a song called Home (a very good song in fact)

 

And so much of it makes sense now. There really is no place like home. For better or for worse, there is only town where you grow up (unless you move). But for most of us, there’s only one town where you experience grade school and high school, and all the crap that comes along with it. And whether your experience sucked like mine, or was great like the some prom queen, it leaves a mark inside of you that shapes who you are.

There’s always something powerful about coming back. For me, it’s two-fold. Part of it makes me remember why I ran so far away. This town just isn’t me. It never was. I always wanted the world, I wanted to devote my life to a passion. And that just isn’t how most Ohioans feel. But at the same time, I also appreciate the things here that I can’t have in Manhattan. I love all the tree-lined streets, the quiet nights, the fireflies, the large nearby parks with wandering riverbeds and deers and foxes and squirrels and frogs. I love nature. And that love of nature is a big part of what spurred my love of travel. Coming home is always nice because it refuels my natural side. The side I lose in New York.

In a few weeks I take my next trip for work. I’m off to London!

london

 

I’m very excited! But London is big and sprawling and crowded. It’s the opposite of my hometown (and that will partly make me love it) But, it’s also encouraging me to suck up as much Ohio as I can right now.

I’m going to walk the family dog, ride my bike, sleep with my windows open, and embrace everything Ohio is. Everything I left behind.  Everything I hate. And Everything I still love.

 

~ The Dark Horse

(This was… 60% proofread?)

 

 

 

TRAVEL>>> There Really is Nothing Better

mig

Next month I’m being flown to Mexico to write an article.  This is going to be the first time I’ve been paid to do travel writing. It feels like a complete dream come true!

I honestly don’t have words – what is there to stay that could possibly capture how accomplished I feel?  Growing up, watching the Travel Channel, dreaming of escaping my hometown in Ohio… and now, I somehow have one of those jobs that everyone going up told me wasn’t real.

I’m from trash-bucket Ohio. Once manufacturing died, so did my hometown. The mentality of my hometown isn’t “Work hard, you’ll go places!” Instead it’s, “The world will eat you alive! Ohio isn’t that bad! Do you know what your chances are of actually being successful? You’re just going to wind up back here with your tail between your legs!”

Like they say, misery loves company. 

mex1

 

And let me make this very clear —–> If you’re the kind of person who enjoys coming home from work everyday and sitting in your Lay-Z-Boy to watch Real Housewives….THAT IS TOTALLY OK! I have nothing against you! The problems arise because most people who live their lives like are also the types to who hate the idea of others doing something else. That hatred is the problem. 

help

It almost seems like they are trying to keep others down. Like they don’t want to watch others do more with their life. That is what I hate. You should never have to be surrounded by people who clearly don’t want to see you succeed.

Mex2

 

Ah, but bitches, let me tell you….

Once you escape that cycle, life can get good. It can take a while, and it can be hard (well, it will be hard, unfortunately) After years upon years of having people shit on you, change doesn’t come overnight. The journey to happiness is surely an uphill battle.

 

But it’s totally worth it.

Trust me.

IT IS TOTALLY WORTH IT.

 

mex4

 

Ah Mexico… on someone else’s dime.  Me, writing the night away.

Oh , god it’s almost orgasmic…

mex5

 

 

I may be pushing 30…but I’m finally starting to feel like my life is starting. My life is 1/3 over…and just beginning. But, better late than never, right?

Plus, I remember Steve Carell has that line in Little Miss Sunshine, where he says something like, “Your struggles are what end up making you good writer.”

So hopefully I have lucrative writing career ahead!

Hi ho!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ho

 

 

I’m Getting Paid to go to Mexico!

mex

So, major, major things are happening! 

I moved to NYC recently to start interning, and since moving here, everything is just booming! One of my internships is at a travel magazine. In February I started blogging for them, which turned into writing articles for the website, and I helped edit the last issue, which means my name got printed in the magazine’s Masthead…That’s right, my name…..IN PRINTIN A MAGAZINE! (Can I officially start referring to myself as writer now?  Have I “made it” ? )

And now, I’m working on my first feature article to get published in the print magazine, AND I just found out I’m taking what’s called a press trip to Mexico.

I never knew what a press trip was.

I never knew how much money could be spent by companies. It’s literally mind-boggling.  As someone who has spent my entire life bored out of my mind working in restaurants and retail, working 9 hour days only to have a 30 minute break, just to make 8 dollars an hour…. It’s seriously fucking crazy. Our magazine is sent gifts ALL THE TIME by places and companies wanting us to write about them.

And a press trip is where a tourism company, hotel, or airline, PAYS REPORTERS TO TRAVEL THERE in exchange for having an article written about it.

mex1

So….

I get to travel.

AND GET PAID. 

Is this even real life?

 

People around the world, listen to me. Hard work actually does pay off. I spent so many years thinking I’d be bored and miserable forever. Thinking I wasn’t good enough for a job I loved. Thinking I wasn’t smart enough to make my dreams come true.

I didn’t start grad school until I was 27. I won’t walk and receive my diploma from Harvard until I’m 30.

And up until I got back in school, my life was a raging shitshow (as any of you will know if you’ve been reading my blog before then)

I was a late bloomer. Depression, loneliness, anxiety, self-doubt, and self-hatred controlled my life since I was 10 years old.

…since my life went to hell.

mex4

But you know what, I didn’t give up.  And if any of you out there feel like you’re the outcast, or feel hated, or even if you hate yourself – It can get better. 

Hope is real. And hope can get you through.

And I know it’s hard. I fully understand that believing in yourself, when all you hear your entire life is how shitty you are, is basically fucking impossible. It takes so much strength. So much hardship. So much perseverance.

But it’s so worth it.

You deserve happiness. You deserve success. You deserve it all.

 

So the next time some bitch comes along and tries to put you down, rock some hardcore Miranda Priestly realness…

mex5

 

And remember…

mex7

You’re better than them.  You always were.

 

Travel on my friends,

The Dark Horse

 

(This was written out of passion, not logic! So, no, this wasn’t proofread)

Dispatches From The Far North

nwt

 

Have I ever mentioned that after college I ran away into the woods?

 

LA had worn me down and beaten me to the ground. I was so depressed I could barely stand up most of the time. And then that’s when I discovered American Transcendentalism, and the ideals of running away and escaping capitalist society.

I took Thoreau for his word and ran away.  And now that I’m older and read Thoreau more clearly, I’m pretty fuckin annoyed… because he never actually ran away. He lived on a lake only a few miles from town. He literally would walk home and eat with his family and shit… what a twat.

I on the other hand, during my period of total infatuation with his ideas, really did run away into the middle of nowhere. Where there were no roads. No phones. No sewage systems…

I went to the Northwest Territories, a little north of the Great Slave Lake.

There, I lived in a “cabin” which was really just a plywood box that was covered in arctic tarp. Recently, I found the pictures I took of inside my cabin.

Whenever I’m feeling down, writing and art has always saved me. And so, being up there was no different.  Armed with nothing but sidewalk chalk (why was there sidewalk chalk? I have no idea…) Anyways, armed with sidewalk chalk and bare plywood walls, I got to work.

Here are a few of my derelict masterpieces:

 

cabin1

Here, with CHERRY BOOM, I needed color, and I need fun. I went for a retro-Pac Man thing because it was exciting.  It was something that made me feel like I wasn’t completely lost from society. A memento that there was a world full of video games, ice tea, and mattresses that I could return to at some point.

 

 

cabin2

This was my manifesto to the world. I wrote this, and then read this to myself every night before going to sleep. It was a way for me to tell myself that I’m not done. I went to the woods to find myself, but the woods wouldn’t be my final resting place.

 

 

cabin3

My absolute favorite.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written these words in my journal, or said this under my breath as I’m about to take on a challenging day. The albatross has always been my spirit animal. They’re so large, so misunderstood, and so solitary, that it’s hard to imagine how they survive. But, against the odds, and against the elements, these birds flourish, even though they can spend months over the open ocean without ever even seeing land. They’re stronger than you’d ever believe. And so, I look to the albatross, flying high, for inspiration.

 

Eye to the sky!

 

~ The Dark Horse

New York, I Have Arrived!

nyc

 

Somehow. Someway….

It happened.

I’ve finally arrived.

I’m in the land of Joan Didion, Robert De Nero, and Anna Wintour.

And It’s so insanely exciting and cool and terrifying and thrilling and wonderful and stressful.

I mean, people, listen to me, I am currently writing in a cafe in Manhattan, surrounded by brownstones with iron fire escapes, and the sounds of honking and all the rest of those very New Yorkish things.

nyc1

 

And obviously that sensory overload is good and bad. Sensory overload can lead to anxiety. And I’ll be honest, I’m getting a tad of it.

It seems like too much has gone right. I mean, who lands a good job in New York, finds an amazing apartment at a great price in a wonderful neighborhood, has good roommates, and…. is actually happy?

Does anyone else out there feel like happiness is one of those things that other people get, but the we don’t?

It’s like I’m waiting for the floor to drop at any moment.

Like, maybe this job will fall through. Or the owner of the apartment will sell, and I’ll have to move….or worse, what if I can’t find a place afterwards? And then I have to leave because the stress has caused me to have a mental breakdown and lose my job? It seems like I’m so used to pain and misery that I no longer have the ability to even believe that a good life exists.

It seems that whenever something good starts to happen, a hurricane alarm goes off deep within me. Some old sailor starts screaming, “Batten down the hatches!” I start to brace for the bad to begin again.

perfectstorm

AND YOU KNOW WHAT?

THAT FUCKING SUCKS AND IS UNFAIR.

 

And you know what else? I’m really fucking over it. Done. (Or for all you eighteen-year-olds out there, I’m #done).

 

It isn’t fair that I have to live a life convinced that I don’t deserve good things. Or think that I’ll never be happy.

Fuck that. 

And Fuck all the people out there who have conditioned me to be this way. 

Fuck all the kids from my grade school who called me faggot.

Fuck all the kids in high school who spat on me, and who told me they’d beat me up if they ever saw me in the bathroom.

Fuck the teachers who stood and did nothing.

But double fuck the teachers who made comments themselves. I’m looking at you freshman year health teacher who told me I’ll die of AIDS simply for being gay.

And also to my old German teacher who was openly homophobic. 

Not to mention EVERY SINGLE religion teacher I ever had, who told me I would go to hell. 

Fuck my old boss at Aeropostale who made fun of me for having depression and anxiety. Im sorry that you’re a grown 37-year-old woman who’s life has amounted to working in a bumfuck mall in a cornfield in Ohio selling cheap clothing to little girls that fall apart after a month. 

Fuck everyone in Ohio who discouraged me from dreaming big. Who told me the world would eat me alive. Who told me I’d never be good enough. Who told me I was stupid. Who told me I was ugly. 

FUCK ALL OF YOU. 

CUZ GUESS WHAT MOTHERFUCKERS, 

I live in Manhattan now. And I just got a job in television. And I’m finishing up my Master’s where I’m putting together a book full of my essays. 

So, here’s my cock. suck it.

nyc2

Werk.

 

I’m ready to embrace a life of meaning. A life where maybe I can even help change other people’s lives. A life where I’m happy and fulfilled. And I’m done even remembering what a bunch of boondock Ohioans tried telling me about life.

~ The Dark Horse