lifebeyondexaggeration

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

Raki for My Friends August 10, 2018

Filed under: Tales of Travel — meganorussell @ 11:30 am
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There are times in life when you have to push through in order to find something amazing.

The husband and I had a push through moment the night after our amazing hike of the Samaria Gorge.

We were hot. We were tired. We were in pain. We were dirty as hell. And we were hungry.

We got back to Chania, the nice little city where we were staying about an hour from the gorge.

It was like nine at night by then. As we limped our way back toward the hotel, we searched for food. Some restaurants were too nice for us to go in as filthy as we were. Some didn’t have any food allergy-ridden me could actually eat. The grocery store had no pre-made food to be found. It was rough.

I wanted to go to the old town, but it was a long walk away and we were so dirty.

We finally found a mom and pop place that didn’t have any food left, but they had some advice: just head toward old town and you’ll find something to eat.

It was one of those moments in travel when you have to choose between a Cliff Bar and Sleep or good food and fatigue.

We headed toward old town. That part of Chania is surrounded by an old stone wall, so we had to cut back to go over to loop down. It was a whole thing. We made it to old town, and the first thing we saw was a restaurant in the middle of the street.

Restaurant in Old Town

The owner came up to us with a menu (completely ignoring the massive amount of trail dust we were covered in). He told us there would be live music and that we should have some of his homemade raki.

—If you’ve never had raki, it’s like a less burning version of vodka—

We said we loved raki, so we’d have a look around and come back.

He blinked at us like we were crazy and said, “You like raki? Two shots of raki for my friends!” (more…)

 

Left Unsaid August 7, 2018

Fellow bloggers,

Do you ever start to write a blog and then erase it because you know about twelve people will be utterly certain you’re writing about them even though you’re not?
This is going to be one of those.

I get that everyone deals with stress in different ways. We all have coping mechanisms and twitches. Some people read, some run, some drink way too much wine, some people pretend nothing bad is happening.

But here’s the thing: acknowledging that your life isn’t perfect doesn’t make you a “negative person.” I will never understand people who think that acknowledging they chipped a tooth should be frowned upon by society because it isn’t cheerful, meme-based conversation.

Isn’t human communication supposed to be more than cat pictures?

I’m not saying that we should all spend every conversation fighting the good fight for human rights and equality, but if you only tell people the good things that are happening in your life, does anyone actually know who you are as a human? (more…)

 

The Meteora March July 17, 2018

Filed under: Tales of Travel — meganorussell @ 11:30 am
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I love climbing things. There’s something about using your own two legs to hike up something that makes you feel accomplished and insubstantial all at the same time.

When we were in Greece not so very long ago, we decided to visit the beautiful monasteries of Meteora—

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—positioned on spires of stone. Monks moved up onto the rocks for seclusion. Some even going so far as to build themselves homes in the sides of rocks.

Of course the world being what it is, seclusion has been replaced by tourism, but the monasteries are amazing and well worth the visit.

The trick is you have to climb to most of them. And not like a flight or two of stairs. Like a lot, a LOT, of stairs.

Theoretically, you’re supposed to be able to hike between all of the monasteries and visit them in one day…we didn’t do that. (more…)

 

The Secret of Life (Rated PG-13) July 10, 2018

Gather round and listen to my words of wisdom on how to succeed and find joy in life.

Don’t be a dick.

Really that’s what it boils down to.

People need help? Don’t be a dick, lend a hand.

Person is having a terrible day? Don’t be a dick, see if you can cheer them up.

You having a bad day? Don’t take it out on other people, that counts as being a dick.

See other people having a good time and not hurting anyone? Don’t be a dick, leave them alone.

It’s really simple: look at a situation, see which course of action makes you a dick, pick something else to do with your time.

Now, everyone is human. Believe me, I get it. We all slip up and pull a dick move at some point in our lives.

But you know what? You can do something truly non-dickish and apologize for being a dick and work really hard on not being a dick again.

It’s like magic.

Or the Golden rule.

Don’t be a dick to others, because it sucks when people are a dick to you.

So in those moments when the waitress is busy, when traffic is bad, when you feel like you should possess world domination but your place is as a lowly minion: don’t be a dick.

(We could toss in things about spreading love, working hard, and living your life so you’ll be missed when you’re gone, but let’s not get complicated here.)

Bottom line: Don’t be a dick.

 

Confusing the Driver June 29, 2018

Filed under: Tales of Travel — meganorussell @ 11:30 am
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Let me start off by saying I love my husband. He is a sweet, smart, wonderful, law-abiding man.

But there are times when the letter of the law differs from the law of the land. Prime example: The rules of the road in Greece.

While we were in Greece on our grand adventure, we rented a car for a few days. There isn’t a great public transit system outside of Athens, so it was the best way to get up to Delphi and Meteora. We registered my husband as our only driver and, GPS in hand, headed north.

First weird thing about driving in Greece, the GPS warns you when there are traffic cameras coming up. It goes deep deep, don’t speed dude. You might actually get caught right here. Not literally those words, but you get the picture. How is it legal for a GPS to warn you about speed traps? Is not getting warned about speed traps just a thing in the U.S.?

So we were driving north, getting warned about traffic cameras, even though my husband was barely speeding. Like American five miles over means you’re doing okay speeding. But all the other cars were racing past us. Zooming past the alleged traffic camera without a care.

The three passengers in the car tried to convince him to follow local custom and just drive in time with the other cars on the road. The husband was worried we’d get a bill for thousands of dollars in speeding tickets and there would be a Grecian warrant issued for his arrest.

So we plodded along, getting passed by literally every car we met. (more…)

 

Post Bus Life June 26, 2018

Filed under: Hi-Ho the Glamorous Life — meganorussell @ 11:30 am
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I’ve been off the road and back from my adventure for almost three weeks.

That’s a really long time to be sleeping in the same bed, which is a really weird thing to say. I’m getting back into the swing of life with Oz 5000 open and life moving forward on the literary front. But I have noticed a few things that are super weird since getting off the bus.

Food. Fridges are a miraculous thing! You can put so much food in them, and when you come back the next day, you still have food! It’s amazing.

Also fantastic: having a washer and dryer in your house. I can have clean underwear whenever I want! What a thrill! (more…)

 

A Mass of Mint June 19, 2018

Filed under: I Meant Well — meganorussell @ 11:30 am
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I’m not the most domestic person. It’s not a part of my personality or skill set.

But last summer I decided, as I was living at home for the first time in a very long time, that I wanted to grow mint.

  • By all online accounts, mint is so easy to grow it’s nearly impossible to kill. Sounds great!
  • Mint can be used in food and drink. Easy and edible, I like it.
  • They sell mint plants for super cheap at the garden store. Budget-friendly is great.

By all measures, mint and I had just become soul mates. The husband and I went out and bought one tiny mint plant. I put it in the garden, fed it organic fertilizer, and waited a few days before picking off a few leaves. The fresh mint was delicious! Tossed into an icy cold beverage, a few leaves created minty perfection.

But my plant was so small and helpless, if I kept pulling off its leaves, soon the little baby mint would be naked and die.

So I went back to the plant store and bought two more mint plants, carefully placing them next to the first and giving them plenty of that high-end, organic fertilizer. (more…)