Ellen Von Unwerth

3 Months ago my little sister and I embarked on a 4 week-long road trip around part of America. It was the culmination of months of planning, daydreaming and excitement. For my sister the road trip was a stop over on the way to her new life in Monaco, France.

I think there is no better way to recharge your batteries than to go on a trip with family, a best friend or similar. It flips everything back up the right way, it’s like a sigh of relief.

My sister is my sigh of relief. Always.

As long as I live, I’ll never forget the sight of her walking through the gates at LAX. I was finally reunited with my favorite person in the world; my Sister-friend.

The trip started in Los Angeles with a rain-soaked drive up the PCH to Morro Bay for our first night. We were both horribly hung over, and I was exhausted from concentrating to stay on the correct side of the road, so we were in bed early (not the stuff of great road trip stories right?) The next day we spent another rain-soaked morning exploring Hearst Castle and being totally amazed by the sheer opulence, it was truly beautiful, and it’s always fun to pretend you are a princess for a morning.

Next stop was San Francisco, a truly gorgeous city with a fun vibe. We spent most of our time eating, drinking, looking at buildings and walking around. I’ll be heading back there sometime soon for sure.

We then flew to Bellingham, Washington for our first ever Christmas with our American family! It was such a special time, and so lovely to spend quality time with our Grandparents, we still talk it about it all the time and it really goes to show how very precious family time is. We also had a rollicking great time with our ‘American brothers’ who are friends from waaaaay back, resulting in a fab night out in Seattle, drinking Sweet Tea shots at Kells bar near Pike Place Markets (if you haven’t been, then go!)

The second part of the trip began with New Year’s eve in Las Vegas. We had sinful amounts of fun, stayed at the MGM and loved it. We ended up hanging out with a couple of Australian guys we met one night, so that was great fun too. We basically spent the whole time drinking, dancing, laughing, gambling, walking around, eating and sleeping. I don’t think there is anything else you can do in Vegas right? The New Year was brought in on the strip underneath Planet Hollywood, it was a magical moment; fireworks, my sister, new friends, a gigantic pink drink, glitter and laughter. We had done it, it was one of those “Holy shit this is really happening moments.” Pure happiness. I knew then that 2011 was going to be a great year, a new start in foreign new places for my sister and I. Needless to say there was toast to ‘being scared shitless but doing it anyway.’

We left Vegas for the Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon. We had just missed a massive snow storm so it was pretty icy and scary to drive on, but with my sister’s encouragement I did it! Sister power will conquer all things, including the elements. The Canyon was phenomenal…and big, yes I know but really, that thing is HUGE! I would recommend making the trip there, it’s totally awe-inspiring. We then had a long 9 hour drive ahead of us to get to Silver City, New Mexico. The road stretched on and on, and I’ve never seen small towns like the ones we came across! I swear, many people in these places had never heard of New Zealand, making my sister and I feel like some kind of rare exotic bird, it was truly hilarious! Silver City was gorgeous, small and just what our poor broken bodies needed after our time in Vegas. We ate organic salads the whole time, didn’t touch a drop of alcohol and had the best time with our family, we spent our last night at a folk concert in a place called Pino Altos at a 100-year-old Opera house. It was so stunning! I want to return and drink Martini’s again! It was a gorgeous time and the city is so quant and charming.

The last part of the trip was a night in Tucson Arizona followed by a night in Phoenix. We screwed up our reservation in Tucson and headed straight to Phoenix, stopping at the Desert museum along the way, that place is so cool, miles and miles of Desert and cool animals, like nothing I’ve seen before! Luckily we took a wrong turn on our way to Phoenix and drove through the Saguaro Cactus forest, now that was a sight!

I won’t mention Phoenix because it was the last night of the trip so it was sad anyways, but it was also a totally miss-able city. In fact, I would say most of Arizona is totally miss-able, I think it’s the type of place where you need to know the locals to get to the cool spots. Or it’s just complete shit.

Back to LA where we had a blast; a day at the Santa Anita races, bike riding at Venice beach (on matching pink bikes no less!) Cocktails, giggling, sightseeing and relaxing by the pool.

It was time for My sister to leave for France. My baby sister was leaving to live in a foreign country on her OWN. She had left her boyfriend, her life, her family and was doing it, she made her dream come true. How gutsy is that? I’ve never been more proud and sad at the same time. I had grown accustomed to having her by my side day and night, I felt like I could breathe confidently again, like it was all OK as long as she was there, I’m fine on my own, quite content actually, but there is something so comforting and special about the bond between my sister and myself, I honestly feel like I can be my whole self when she’s there.

So now she’s done it. She’s happy and loving her life in France. She left everything that was known to her and shook the fucking daylights out of her life. She refused to compromise on her happiness so she went for it, ran head first into the unknown and now she’s killing it. She’s smiling, happy, meeting great new people, being her charming gorgeous self and no doubt enchanting more people than I care to imagine.

My darling girl, the trip was so precious, you are so full of life and light that I can’t even articulate it properly.

You are the love of my life.

Big Sis xx

P.S It’s you and me, always.

It had just been one of those shitty weeks. Everything absolutely sucked. YOU know what I’m talking about, you wake up all pissy and sad, and cannot do anything to pull yourself out of the gigantic black hole that you feel half consumed by.

I was struggling the most because I’m supposed to be loving life, I’m traveling and experiencing wonderful things. Unfortunately the reality is when you travel you still have moments of sadness or whatever, because guess what? You are traveling with YOU. You are the exact same person you have always been –  Just because you’re on a different continent doesn’t mean you’re a different person!

When things get this bad for me normally I take stock of what the problem is, give myself a decent pep talk, get some perspective and then rationality comes back and things go back to normal.

Not this time, Oh how I tried! Tried with all my might, but this was a biggie, I think I spent the entire week hanging onto the ledge by my fingernails, hoping to god I would eventually get the strength to pull myself back up.  

Well I did, and the clouds have cleared and I can see past the black dots now.

 Now,  it’s not like I have depression or anything, I’m not medicated, but about once a year this strange depression thing happens, and I think it’s a good thing. It’s a good thing because then I know I’m present and feeling something, keeping myself in check. I refuse to be on autopilot like a lot of people. My biggest fear is to wake up when I’m 35 and realise that I’ve been drifting through this life, showering, eating, working, sleeping and wondering where the fuck the last 10 years went…how awful and sad.

So, I’ve sort of realised that while there are things/people who may disappoint and anger you, let it be a lesson in how you want to live your life/ want your life to look like. Rise above it, feel what you need to feel because that is great, but always try to keep yourself in check, keep challenging and changing, because that is the only way that we really can learn anything at all.

And to my Godmother, on my darkest day, these few sentences saved me:

“Always there will be lows after highs, maybe think of it as a re-grouping bit of resting before the next adventure. If you let it get to you…it will be ten times the problem, and it is life that some people will always behave under the line of accepted behavior. No matter what you do. But let it be their failing and not your worry. I know just how hard this is, and how alone the situation can be. You will be gone to the next city and next bit of life before you know it.” – My Fairy Godmother

Oh! And of course, if your feeling that wretched, TALK to someone about it, it really really really does help. As they say, a problem shared is a problem halved.

Hang in there my darlings

Jecca xx

Somewhere New

August 10, 2010

Hello my Darlings,

I’ve missed you!

How are you? Happy? Loving your life? Kissing someone? Tell me!

Well, I’m finally online, finally I can gather my thoughts a little and actually write something down. I will be writing more soon, but this is just a brief update/check-in!

It’s been a fantastic few weeks, the USA is treating me pretty well thus far – I’ve been staying at a lake with my family in Washington, its beautiful and amazing and I have an outside shower, it’s my favorite thing ever, I’ve always wanted one of those! I shower by Moonlight every night, how cool is that?!

I’ve been in full relax mode:

  • I have a nap everyday
  • Waterski every morning
  • Smile
  • Talk with my family
  • Cook with my Grandma
  • Smile
  • Take walks
  • Try not to be scared of the cougars that apparently live in the Forest across the road
  • Learn to drive the family boat (I can now officially pull a waterskier!)
  • Learning to drive on the other side of the road – turns out it’s not as hard as I originally thought!
  • Catching up with old dude friends, friends who surprise you by picking you up on a sailboat on your third day of vacation, introduce to totally awesome people, make you smile and look after you. These kinds of experiences are completely blowing my mind.
  • Walking home after being out at the bars and watching the sunrise over Seattle while laughing with people I just met a few hours earlier, but who I adore already.
  • Getting serious mileage and attention out of my accent
  • Kissing really gorgeous, strapping, tall, kind and lovely dudes who are so sweet and tickle your back until you fall asleep.

More to come on the last point I made there…giggle…swoon

Love Jecc xx

I was having a rough couple of days:

  • I was stressing about moving away
  • Feeling depressed and overwhelmed about moving away when I should have been excited
  • I had a fight with a good friend and now he won’t return my calls
  • My little Brother (who I adore unconditionally) flaked on me and wasn’t coming home to say goodbye to me, Like any 19-year-old male he chose to stay away and party with his buddies. I was absolutely crushed. Crushed!

And then my little brother he walked through the front door last night.

And he made my day/year.

I clung to him and cried like a baby, I was so happy, overwhelmed, and shocked that my family had managed to pull a fast one on me!

Family will save your life and make it all better.

I love you so much

Jecc xx

Random Thoughts…

March 15, 2010

Due to extremely long hours at work I’ve neglected my poor Blog, and all of you too, sorry!

Here are some stray thoughts that I’ve been stewing for awhile now.

  • Moving home totally rules, but leave before you get too comfortable.
  • Read books
  • Be aware of the world around you/form an opinion
  • Your parents are human beings too
  • Friends and family will dissapoint and annoy you at some stage, get over it, not everyone thinks the same way you do. Sucks huh!
  • Pay your parking tickets
  • It’s OK to disagree
  • Having great girlfriends is amazing
  • Drinking Vodka is the best
  • Laughing until your stomach hurts is pure bliss
  • Good guy friends are SO cool/make you feel special.
  • Eating in bed is super naughty but a nice treat
  • You always feel better after a good cry
  • Learn to have faith in yourself and your decisions
  • Sometimes shit happens, what are you gonna do?
  • It would be so sweet if Rob Pattinson was my Boyfriend
  • Skins is probably the best TV show ever
  • Saturday mornings are the best part of the week
  • Make plans, have something to look forward to!
  • Friends will leave you to go travelling overseas, but that’s OK, at least you are on the same planet, imagine if they went to Mars or something?!!
  • The Killers are probably the best band ever
  • Flirting is beyond fun!!
  • White sheets are the best, except when you own an evil black cat
  • Smile like you mean it
  • Walk in bare feet on the grass
  • A little humility goes a very long way
  • In times of stress, hang in there and look forward to that pivitol moment when you realise that you WILL pull this off
  • Swimming is SO fun
  • People can be total fuckwits, DON’T be one of them
  • IF you were rowing across the River Styx, you should totally look like this:

by Julie Williams

Hope you are all well and happy!

Jecc xx

Oh, Home On The Range

February 1, 2010

Sorry for my lack of blog action last few weeks, my life has changed quite drastically and I have only just now been able to sit down and gather my thoughts properly!

About 5 days ago I moved home, Yes, that’s right folks, I’ve come back to the nest, and let me tell you, my darling Mother is THRILLED (watch this space for some epic battles though, she is a gorgeous woman, but you know how it goes with Mother’s and Daughters). 

It was time for me to come home and get my life back to basics, regroup, pause, and look skyward.

As scared as I was to leave my wonderful and amazing friends in Wellington (as well as great food and coffee and shops being open on a Sunday) I have just realised that I am actually OK about my decision to move back here. I struggled with this decision for a long time – leaving my job in PR, leaving friends, leaving the place I called home for 8 years – it was all just too much, my entire life has changed in the past 4 months, but thank God it has because I needed a shake up – I was fast asleep at the wheel and heading towards a very boring place! Yikes, how scary is that?!!

So now I’m home, and catching up with friends, hanging out in the sun, spending time with my family, debating politics with my Dad and drinking far too much red wine, its blissful and idyllic. Sure, its early days yet and I might crave the bright lights, but I can always go back.

Because apparently, you can always go home, wherever the Hell that may be.

Merry Christmas!

December 23, 2009

My darlings!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

Dance, be merry, spend time with friends, family and lovers.

Listen to the Pogues and Snoopy’s Christmas Carol!

Make up with people you have fallen out with –  it’s Christmas, there’s never been a better time.

Don’t think about work.

Drink too much, eat moderately, have deep and meaningful’s with your Dad, Mum, Cousin, Uncle, Aunt, Grandmother, Grandfather, Sister, Brother, whoever will listen! Do it!

And most importantly, Be safe.

Love Jecca xx

Our Time is Running Out

November 20, 2009

I’ve been pondering death and the prospect of dying quite a bit lately.

It’s a very strange moment when you realise your own mortality. How is that we go through life without really thinking about it, or at the very least, fixating on it? It’s a pretty big fucking deal!

I was 16 when it first dawned on me that I was actually going to die. It was a strange thing to realise, I wasn’t scared or anything, just baffled that I hadn’t realised it sooner, how could it have taken me so long to pay attention to this detail of my (after) life when it’s one of the only certainties in life?!

 

 

The prospect of death bothers me most when I think of my loved ones, on the rare occasions when I fight/get mad at someone I always try to make things right straight away, imagine if they died and I had said something hurtful to them?! That’s one of my worst nightmares! I also keep all of my voicemails from friends and family, that way, if they die then I will always be able to hear their voices.

Sorry if this post has depressed you, it wasn’t my intention – I’m being philosophical rather than morbid, and I’m really wondering if anyone thinks about death like I do? Am I just a sicko? Or a realist?

What are your thoughts on death, dying and taxes?

xx

Cry, Baby

October 28, 2009

I hadn’t cried for 5 days. 5 whole days without crying, Progress? Yes P-lease!

tears

The unfortunate thing is that in order to not cry, I have to either A) stay super busy or B) watch TV and allow my mind be pointed in another direction (My mind wanders too easily with books, which sucks because I LOVE reading)

Here a few pointers for avoiding the crying (and just generally moving on)
1. Don’t listen to the music you used to listen to together, let yourself feel better before you do that. I haven’t been able to listen to the Killers or Death Cab, and I won’t be listening to them for a LONG time.

2. Get obsessed with a new TV show/Movie/Book, make sure it has a really hot boy/girl in it, at least you will have someone else to think about/daydream about – because lets be realistic, it is always so nice to have somebody to think about, even if they are a Vampire…oh yes, I went there.

3. Get into a new band/start listening to different music – get yourself out of your ‘music rut.’ I recently went and saw (500) Days of Summer and am obsessed with the soundtrack (The Temper Trap, squeal!) believe me, it is SO nice not to have memories of him/her attached to the music. And as silly as this may sound, you will have something all of your own – new memories.

4. Don’t over eat.

5. Stay surrounded by great friends, let yourself talk about it. I would not have survived if it wasn’t for the daily texts, phone calls  and emails asking simply “how are you today?” It means the world, possibly more.

6. Avoid too much alcohol (Well, so they say. I prefer to not listen this advice)

7. If you are having trouble sleeping, chamomile tea is helpful and so are sleeping pills, because realistically, you probably still need to work and function as a normal human being – this can’t be done without sleep.

8. Look after yourself – within 2 days of my breakup I had cut off my hair, had a massage and a facial.  I looked great (even If I barely remember getting my hair cut and then freaking out afterwards…Vodka for Breakfast is a BAD idea) But I love my hair now.

9. Lean on your family. My family helped more than they will know, thanks for the hugs and sleeping pills Mum, thanks for the words of advice Dad, Buzz, you did so well for an 18 year old, thanks for letting me soak you shoulder in tears.  Chloe, you know already, but you are my sunshine.

10. Don’t say anything you will regret, no one likes the crazy ex, everyone loves the calm and mature ex – and this makes him/her look like an even bigger asshole, because you look so per-fect. Note: this will probably only work if he/she fucked it up, not you!