Bliss Pics 2015

Here are some of my favorite photos from 2015. The photos were taken in Marfa, TX, Panama City, FL, and Edinburgh, Scotland.

Julia In Edinburgh

Today is my last full day in Edinburgh, Scotland. I have mixed emotions. I am sad, but grateful and happy that I came here and stayed here. I’ve never felt like a tourist here. Although, what else could I call myself, certainly in the beginning? I never wanted to visit the place. I wanted to live here.

From this experience, I've come to realize things. I couldn’t say this before. Maybe I couldn’t even see it, but I know this now: This was a bold and badass experiment.

I came to Edinburgh knowing no one or really nothing about the city (there’s a castle). Just shy of three months, I constructed a life here. I made friends and learned neighborhoods that I’ll miss, and frequented a pub where the owner would fill a pint of my favorite lager with a nod.

This is an experiment that I need to repeat in other places. Where? You know I don’t know yet. But I leave Edinburgh with a strong desire to return, much sooner than “maybe one day."

I have no grand plans for this last day, other than having writing this at my favorite bakery, walking through Old Town and City Center one more time, and having a pint at the local pub. A proper end to having lived here.


Julia in Edinburgh

Goodbye Portobello

Sunrise from the kitchen

Sunrise from the kitchen

View from the bed

View from the bed

Today is my last day at the beach, Portobello. I've been here for five and a half mostly bright sunny weeks, watching puppies and toddlers gambol by with their adult humans, bikers, joggers, swimmers braving the North Sea (as a reference point: it's colder than Barton Springs by at least 10 degrees), and the tide rise and fall.

I'm sad to leave the beach, but I'm staying in Edinburgh until just before Thanksgiving. I love it here. I'm moving to the Leith area, closer to the City Center, and returning this beach flat to my host, who's been staying with friends while I enjoyed a few more weeks in his home. He's a really nice man.

Things I'll miss: the sound of the waves, the view from the table at the window where I spent much of my time, the fish and chips, the Espy which I finally ventured into when Elisa visited, familiar faces.

I'm looking forward to the rest of my stay and seeing how the location change will affect what I do daily. Probably no walks on the beach, but I'll walk somewhere else, discover something new, be grateful I'm here.

The North Sea

The North Sea

Light from my bedroom

Light from my bedroom

The light

The light

Getting Here

Traveling to the future is time consuming, although relatively easy. It didn’t require me to dematerialize or enter a space time continuum. There was driving, then waiting, then flying, then waiting, then flying again, then a relatively short cab ride. If seems like it was almost as much waiting as traveling. I left Ft. Pierce, Florida, my hometown at 4:00pm and I got to the flat at about 17:30 local time (look at me! I’m British!).

My first faux pas as an American traveling abroad was trying to exchange dollars for pounds at the Dublin airport. The nice lady informed me that I should wait until I got to the UK to do that so I wouldn’t get charged a double fee, because she’d have to exchange the dollars into to Euros, and then into pounds. “Aren’t we in the UK?” I inquired.

“No,” she said with a hint of fierceness in her voice (I think, I couldn’t really tell because of the accent), she declared. “We are not in the UK. This is Ireland.”

Ireland, I'm doing it for you.

Ireland, I'm doing it for you.

“Oh. Ok,” I said. I was sleep deprived, brain addled, I was still confused and not yet embarrassed. Also, I am American. About 10 minutes later, sitting, trying to connect to the airport’s wifi, I threw my head back and said out loud “European Union” like it was the answer to a trivia question. I had a 5 hour layover in the Dublin airport, so I waited until that nice lady went on break and exchanged a few dollars for the Euros I needed to buy lunch.

As penance, I ordered the Full Irish Breakfast: bacon and sausage, black and white puddings, potato and wheat toasts, and eggs. Apparently this is a thing. I’m not sure why the redundancy in each category is needed, but I tasted everything. The only thing I’d never heard of was the white pudding. I know black pudding is a blood sausage. I have no idea what’s in white pudding. And I’m not looking it up.

After another flight, I landed in Edinburgh, Scotland which is indeed a part of the UK (really, they just voted on it). I had expected it to be cold and rainy, but as I exited the airport I had to shed my wool sweater and dig out my shades from my bag. My cab driver took vacations roadtripping in the US. She'd been to Orlando and Vegas, Austin and even to Abilene, TX to see a band. That must have been a really good band.


She dropped me off at the flat right on the beach. I had no idea Edinburgh had a beach, but there it is right outside my window. In fact, I hadn’t realized it until I booked this place less than 10 days ago. I'd waited until the last minute and was in a panic looking for a place to stay in Edinburgh. Then I saw this place with its beach views.

Sometimes procrastination is good.

The Plan*

What’s The Plan?

Ha! Ok, you can start laughing now. “The Plan” has changed three times. Four times, if you count The Plan before I started the blog. The Plan this year is a work in progress.

Initially, I planned to do an Eat Pray Love: sell everything and go live in different places for 3-4 months each. Paris was always at the top of the list. Then it because an epic road trip on the west coast, then a short story road trip, but I cancelled that. Or maybe it’s just postponed?

Now I might road trip to my family reunion in Panama City, Florida. Stop in New Orleans, where I’d sworn never to visit in the summer again. Or I may fly to Panama City. I don’t know.

Ahhh... Paris. I don't think I'm going there.

Ahhh... Paris. I don't think I'm going there.

My lease it up August 20, and now The Plan is back to: sell everything and move some place for 3-4 months. Move where you ask? Move to… wait for it… Scotland!

No, I don’t know where that came from either. What happened to Paris? I’ve been dreaming of living in Paris for months! But now? Not so much.

I could give you logical reasons why I’m now looking at Scotland: it’s a smaller city (I don’t love huge cities; that’s why I came to Austin from Brooklyn); it’s cheaper than Paris, and definitely cheaper than London; Scotland is English-speaking, although I’ve heard from some that this point may be debatable.

All of these things are true (apparently, I haven’t made any actual plans yet), but the real reason is that Scotland popped into my head and I’m just going to go with it. Notice I keep saying Scotland. Scotland isn’t a city, like Paris or London. It’s a whole country. So like, Edinborgh? Edinburg? Edinburough? Ok. I’ll have to learn to spell it.

Know anyone in Scotland?

*subject to change