On Sherlock Holmes

I will write about Europe. I promise. The trip was, in fact, quite amazing. My only complaint is that the whole affair was entirely too affable. There was no significant obstacles to overcome or challenges to be met with creativity and force. Vienna was beautiful. Venice was elegant and delicious. Torino and the surrounding area of Asti provided breathtaking views for an unforgettable wedding. Everyone was happy. Weather was lovely except for one Monday afternoon when the sky poured rain; a couple of wet socks never hurt anyone. I have yet to test Boyfriend Billy’s true traveling abilities because everything went so darn swimmingly.

So on to my newest obsession: Sherlock Holmes. My love affair with the man, the myth, and the legend began with the BBC television show “Sherlock” of which many of you are aware. If you haven’t seen any of the episodes, I recommend you stop reading this blog immediately and watch it. Each episode is long, about 1.5 hours, more like a small movie than a regular television show. The stories follow Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson through the most amazing adventures, all based off existing stories written by the famous Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Series 4 will be out in January 2017 and Benedict Cumberbach has admitted that this will be the last season.I have deduced that my most recent obsession is for more than Cumberbach’s piercing blue eyes and steely resolve (and magic skills). I’m drawn to Sherlock’s genius sleuthing skills and impassioned compulsion to seek the truth for no more but the sheer thrill of the unanswered question. I love the relationship between Holmes and Watson. Both characters contains essential elements that the other lacks. Together they make up a most perfect pair who I would willingly follow on countless more adventures through the dark and mysterious streets on London. Were all of us as lucky to find such a true friend…

IMG_5031.jpgAbout a week ago, I wandered into The Strand on my lunch break. There is something I find calming about walking up and down shelves of books. I never know when a new title or wellworn classic  will unlock new ideas inside my dusty head. As fate would have it, I stumbled across The Greatest Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, on sale no less. I knew I had to have it. It’s been my trusty and heavy travel companion ever since. It feels fitting that I found the book at The Strand, a bookstore that shares its name with the monthly magazine that first published the adventures Sherlock Holmes back in 1891.

“As the weeks went by, my interest in him and my curiosity as to his aims in life gradually deepened and increased. His very person and appearance were such as to strike the attention of the most casual observer. In height he was rather over six feet, and so excessively lean that he seemed to be considerably taller. His eyes were sharp and piecing, save during those intervals of torpor to which I have alluded; and his chin, too, had the prominence and squareness which mark the man of determination.” A Study in Scarlet, page 8.

Now that’s my kind of man.

I can’t help but imagine a world where all mysteries could be solved by sheer observation; all the answers we seek are around us, if only we had the time and the knowledge to look. I believe that, at times, we all act as amateur Sherlock Holmes, attempting to play the role in our own lives. We attempt to piece together the past in order to understand and interpret the events in our present and future. Indeed, some puzzles are easier to solve than others and often we lack the necessary evidence to complete the picture. At these moments, we long for a crystal ball or a looking glass to make the most complex darkness appear as clear as day.

I know I, as well as Dr. John Watson, can learn a thing or two from the great master himself. 

“You don’t seem to give much thought to the matter in hand,” I said at last, interrupting Holmes’s musical disquisition.

“No data yet,” he answered. “It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgement.”

Have a great week everyone.

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30 is the new…what?

Meg Jay says 30 is not the new 20

I listened to this podcast while at work, crunching through e-mails and writing new client messaging. Jay’s voice floated through my earphones and froze my fingers poised over the keyboard. 30 is not the new 20, she said. And according to her, it’s time we stop acting like it. 

Millennials, born from 1981 to 1997, appear to have all the time in the world. We’re casually dating through unanswered texts, missed connections and fears of being single the rest of our lives. Apparently, we’re also marrying later although my Facebook feed of engagement rings and wedding photos say otherwise. We’re at jobs we like well enough, that pay well enough, while holding out hope that our rose-colored careers will eventually appear. At the age of 23, 27 and 30, we’re kicking the metaphorical can down the road in the (false) belief that the road is endless. 

We coin excuses. When asked why we don’t leave our jobs or leave our jobs too often, when we’ll go to school or graduate, when we’ll get married, buy a house, have a child, settle down, the answers are:

Next year. When I’m 30. When I’m older. When I’ve saved. When I find the perfect person. When I’m 35.

I wonder about my generation. I wonder if I’m part of the statistic or an outlier at the end of the bell curve. In some ways, I think Millennials are caught with this gnawing question: Is there something better? 

We’re the generation of increased opportunity and decreased satisfaction. There are so many people who we could choose as our marriage partner, companies who could pay more or treat us better, places with a higher quality of life, weather and quantity of Whole Foods. I fear we will become the generation of the Fisherman’s Wife. 

Blue Ridge Labs, now a program of Robin Hood, has a unique fellowship program where intelligent, tech-savvy individuals collaborate together to help solve poverty-induced problems in New York City. I went to the final presentation for this year’s participants and was blown away by the creativity, focus and drive of people not much older than myself. Millennials. Their apps include lending circles for college students, tenant surveys to combat absent landlords, and a website to quickly text all group participants in a surrounding area. For these fellowship-ers, their “30 is the new 40” mentality is anything but their peers’ ennui.

So there’s hope. And perhaps the way the rest of us can get out of our “30 is the new 20” slump, is to stop thinking exclusively about our own happiness and start asking how we can make a positive difference in the world. Right now. 

Group Rocks

Kate’s 8: Steps for Planning a Travel Adventure

Here is a list of tips I learned while planning my trip. Nothing groundbreaking but definitely important things to keep in mind. While these fortune cookies of advice are focused on travel aboard, they could apply to anyone ready to travel somewhere new. 

Thinking or wishing about your own trip somewhere abroad? Consider the following (in order):

Kate’s 8: Steps for Planning a Travel Adventure

  1. Make a list. Where do you want to go? How many countries/cities do you want to explore? Start big but know when to pare down. Think about distance, budget and timeline before committing to any set plan.
  2. Ask friends for advice. Chances are at least one of your friends or friend of friends have been to the destination you’re dying to visit. Fellow travelers love giving tips and recommendations so don’t be afraid to ask. Cast a wide net to seek out help…or ask them to come along!
  3. Research necessary logistics. This is super important. Research the places you are going and make sure you have all the necessary visas, vaccinations and a valid passport. Contracting a deadly disease or deportation shouldn’t be at the top of your bucket list. 
  4. Purchase the ticket and tell everyone you know. There is something incredibly final about clicking “pay” and receiving that Ticket Confirmation in your Inbox. When I first started planning, I had countless people asking me when I was leaving, where I was going, and when I was coming back. I needed to have some answers, both for them and for myself. You WILL be held accountable by your friends and family. Buy the ticket and don’t look back. 
  5. Start shopping early. Researching the right backpack and  hiking sandals takes time. Don’t get stuck with equipment or shoe apparel you’re not happy with or get forced into expedited shipping so your Osprey 55 L Farpoint will show up three days before you leave. For your procrastinators, Amazon Prime is a godsend. 
  6. Save, save, save. This might be the trickiest part. You will need to make some changes in order to accumulate the money, time and willpower to go. I recommend keeping a piggy bank or personal travel fund that you pay into every week. Made your lunch instead of going out? Add $5.00 to the money jar. Chose a smaller apartment to save on rent? Add $50 each month. Investing incrementally is a great way to save money while focusing on the larger goal instead of the daily sacrifices. 
  7. Give yourself a buffer window. Whether you’re taking time off of work, traveling after school or quitting your job, it’s important to have some time to prepare and reflect before jet setting on your incredible adventure. Set aside some buffer time (if you can afford it) before leaving for your trip. I gave myself almost a month between the time I left my job and left the country. Double checking the packing list and getting a couple nights of zzz’s will make you more alert and ready to go!
  8. Don’t wait. There will be no “right time” for you to go on a trip. Life is a series of somethings or someones you won’t want to leave behind. Truth is that those people, those careers, and those responsibilities will all be there when you get back. Don’t underestimate the incredible opportunity to see the world and fulfill your wanderlust. Chances are, you won’t regret anything but the trip not taken. 

Be brave. Trust yourself. See something new. 

Sacred Rim, WY
Sacred Rim, WY

The Question Every Traveler, Millennial, and Retiree Is Asking

I spent last weekend on the Jersey Shore with three wonderful people, a final trip before my European excursion. Each day was filled with good food, naps on the beach and pure relaxation. On Saturday evening, I left my clothes on the sand and waded into the ocean alone. I ventured deep into the blackness until the warm salty water covered my arms and neck. Up above, starlight shone through holes cut in the construction paper sky and covered the world in a soft glow. I looked east—I’ll be crossing you soon, dear Atlantic Ocean— and out over the incoming tide. Here, in this liquid wonderland, the future felt limitless.

Many of my peers are struggling to make sense of their seemingly limitless future, a time  I affectionately call the Two Year Itch.  It’s been two years since college graduation and the collective plunge into the outside world. The newlywed phase of increased freedom and responsibility has been replaced with a less positive feeling. These young talented minds, taught to speak in tweets and think like CEOs, are currently  treading water wondering why the perfect job, career path or soul mate hasn’t floated by. Many are quitting/changing their jobs, moving to new cities or pursuing medical, law or graduate school. Some are married, more are in relationships and most are divided as to whether “being single” is the best or worst part of their young adult lives. I watch my friends and former classmates lift their heads above the water and gaze back toward shore, internally questioning their initial sense of direction and motivation. Under the dark blue sky, we ask ourselves the same question.

Where should I go from here?Map

This is not a question unique to the Millennial generation in 2014. This is a question for all of us: for every passionate activist, retired employee, single parent and widowed spouse. This question spurs doubt in our choices and fear of the unknown. We question our decisions or refuse to make them at all. Cracking the binding of a blank passport, we have no plane ticket, no itinerary and no planned destination. Time is of the essence and we have everywhere and nowhere to go.

Let’s take one step back and focus on the why. Why are we going? Where do we hope the going is going to get us? Sara Horowitz, founder of Freelancers Union, defines the “what” as meaningful independence:

“the ability to pursue your passions and your dreams, secure in the knowledge that

you’re connected to people, groups, and institutions that have your back.”

To me, this goal rings true. I must identify my passions and dreams so I may pursue them. I must surround myself with the people who can make these ideas happen in a supportive environment. The ocean is vast and the stars are bright.

Katelyn’s Five (of many) Goals and Dreams:

  • Backpack through Europe.
  • Live in New York City.
  • Carve writing into my daily routine.
  • Visit Hawaii. 
  • Work at a company with motivated and inspirational people.

Now make your list. Are the jobs, people and activities in your life working toward meaningful independence? If not, it might be time to make a change. Until then, just keep swimming.

A Life Guide to Packing Light

A Life Guide to Packing Light

Pack light.

Have a plan—and keep it flexible.

Carry only the essentials.

 

Do not accept unmarked baggage from others.

Do not have others carry your baggage for you.

Know when to leave those belongings behind.

 

If items become too plentiful, give them away.

Accept gifts in return.

 

Heavy hearts and containers of regret

exceeding 3.4 oz

must be checked.

 

Bubble wrap your best relationships.

Handle with care.

 

Do not fear the unknown.

 

Tread lightly and if you must carry a big stick,

make it a walking stick.

Leave it at the trailhead for the next pair of dusty boots.

 

You will be neither the first nor the last.

 

And please, send postcards.

Mount defiance NY (Lake Champlain)
Mount defiance NY (Lake Champlain)