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.

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Woah Woah Woah, WOAH!

January 15, 2011

I’m here, I’m here!

Good god, it’s nearly been a month and it’s a NEW year!

Things are in the works…hence my lack of presence here, I’ve also been on a massive road trip with my sister and have had sinful amounts of fun, stories are on the way!

It’s 2011 and despite the fact that it’s an ODD number, I think I can feel the magic already, can YOU?

Love Jecca xx

Stuck, Or Something.

October 29, 2010

This quote absolutely describes where my mind has been these last few weeks, I almost wept when I saw that someone else could articulate the way I’ve been feeling:

“I don’t think I’m tangible to myself. I mean, I think one thing today, and I think another thing tomorrow. I change during the course of a day. I wake up and I’m one person, and when I go to sleep I know for certain I’m somebody else. I don’t know who I am most of the time. It doesn’t even matter to me.”

— Bob Dylan

 

Like and Love

October 22, 2010

Tim Walker (of course!)

  • It is 100% OK to Google a word before you communicate on Facebook, spelling errors are VERY embarrassing
  • Don’t give a compliment unless you mean it, people know when your being fake!
  • If you ever act like an entitled little bastard, I’ll find you, and I’ll hurt you. For serious
  • If you continue to bend over backwards for everybody else, you WILL forget how to stand up straight
  • You can make things as simple or as complicated as you like, try not to over think, obsess, or procrastinate – just get on with it!
  • Getting lost is the best way to discover new and amazing places
  • Keep up on your life admin; reply to emails, write letters and organise your photos, otherwise it’s just going to be a huge diabolical mess.
  • It’s OK to exaggerate, it normally makes for a better story, especially if your life is suuuuper boring
  • Dudes who work on boats are gorgeous by default
  • Find someone to marry whose last name is Darling or Doll, imagine if that was your last name! Happiness, 1950’s style!
  • Sometimes you need to talk to strangers. 99% of the time nothing bad will happen, just learn to read the situation
  • You are awfully cruel if someone confesses their Like/Love for you and you don’t let them know where they stand.
  • When friends from home come to visit you overseas, your gonna have a riot of a time!

Jecca xx

So I had been thinking about Mr. Swooney a lot. I had seen him recently and he made my stomach go all wriggly, to be honest I was surprised! I’m trying to stay free and unattached. My travel plans change rapidly and I’m all over the place, so I try to keep things simple. 

But honestly, if I meet the right guy, I could easily change my plans.  

So for the first time in my life I took a shot, leapt off the edge, went for it, took the plunge, put myself out there. And all of those bold and brave things.

I sent him a cute and witty message, it was to the point and no pressure. I basically said I thought he was a great guy and I liked hanging out with him, that I was interested and bla bla bla.

It’s been 2 weeks and I haven’t heard a thing.

Not a peep, Zip, Nien, Nada, Nothing.

Now, I do know he is painfully shy, so could this be it? Could my casual message still have freaked him out? Sent him packing never to be seen again? Is he now living in a shack in Timbuktu, hiding under the covers drinking whiskey? Who knows?! Maybe I never will.

And here is the worst part, the part ALL of you can relate to, I have INSTANTLY gone to the place of ‘he think’s I’m fat and ugly.’ My self-worth has plummeted. Instant self blame.

But I’m fighting this horrid natural inclination with everything I have. I just have to let it be, not over analyse and just trust that there is a reason why this didn’t work out (it better be a fucking good one)

I’m not going to be set back by this, I still have faith in Love/Lust/One night stands.

It was actually kinda cool putting myself out there, try it, I DARE you.

Better to know than be left wondering!

Jecc xx

Don’t Be A Stranger

October 1, 2010

Hello my darlings!

God, it’s been far too long, and I have so much to tell you.

Unfortunately, this is just a quick check-in to let you know I am here and I am alive. Because I been traveling about the countryside I haven’t had the time (or the facilities for that matter) to actually sit and write.

New posts are on the way/In the making!

Your long-lost Jecc xx

One of the brilliant things about being single and traveling is the people you meet, and the opinions they have on your life and your choice travel.

You get people who:

  • Are jealous (mostly young married dudes)
  • Think you are nuts “You really only have only ONE suitcase?”
  • Simply cannot understand why you would travel with no planned return ticket
  • Think you are brilliant/want to join you
  • Think you are a lazy bum who doesn’t know how to work and the purpose of traveling is to shirk any form of hard work/responsibility

And it’s even more amazing that they think you give a shit about what they have to say (well I do because I am a sicko people pleaser).

One particular conversation I had with a girl went like this:

Stupid girl: So, you are traveling?

Me: Yes

SG: Why?

Me: Because you gotta travel right? See the world, experience different cultures and places, be a bit scared in the world and learn to rely on only yourself! I Mean, imagine living in GREECE or, like, CROATIA, How cool would that be?! Living out of one suitcase and limiting the ‘stuff’ in your life and traveling wherever you like!

SG: OMG! You only have ONE suitcase? How do you manage that? How many pairs of heels do you have?

Me: I know, and believe me, I’m not normally the type of person to do this kind of stuff, but I was ready for a change and this is a fun challenge, it’s so nice not have loads of shit to haul about with you, life is very simple, and I have one fantastic pair of heels!

SG: I don’t know how you do it! Don’t you get lonely and miss your friends and family? Don’t you get sick of wearing the same stuff over and over again? Isn’t it tiring moving from place to place?

Me: Excuse me for a sec, I’m just going to go into the woods and shoot myself, I appreciate you highlighting all of the potential pitfalls of my journey, good-luck to your new marriage, tell your new husband thanks for pinching my ass!

People can be terrible Jerks can’t they?! This type of conversation had the potential to send me diving under my duvet and never coming back out, but I am slowly learning that I am made of tougher stuff than all that! Because it’s really only out of challenge and starting over that we learn and grow.

Don’t let other people sway what YOU want!

Jecc xx

I’m sitting in my Grandparents sunroom, watching the water, sipping coffee and letting thoughts drift in and out of my mind, letting them run and see where they end up.  I watch the ebb and flow of the water and let my mind mimic that. Sometimes this ends badly and I end up questioning everything and drive myself completely mad/end up crying, but sometimes it’s pleasant, relaxing and interesting!

I haven’t been into town for a about a week now, no internet, no car, just me, my thoughts and many many blackberries for me to pick. Often I go for a meandering walk down to the abandoned train tracks that sit out over the water. I sit and watch the fish jump and eat Blackberries I’ve picked on my way there. I sit for hours, just being still and trying to soak in as much as I can, trying to enjoy the moment that I am in, not worry about tomorrow, or next year, just enjoy what’s in front of me right now, because in the end, isn’t that really all you have?

Before I left to go on my travels I kept thinking, “I’ll be happy once I get to America, I’ll be happy once I get to France” and so on. I didn’t realise quite how unhealthy this was until I had an interesting conversation with a good friend. He had observed another friend of ours who was miserable in his life, miserable about every aspect, and just yearning for the day that he could go away on his travels. In his mind he was only going to be happy once his travels had begun. My friend put it simply and said, “how the fuck does he know that being in London is going to make him happy? Shouldn’t we all be making the best of what is right here in front of us?”

Aha!

Total lightbulb moment!

So my darlings, make the most of now, you may have future plans to look forward to, but remember to enjoy now, life is short, time is speeding up, like, really speeding up.

Perhaps we should be wearing protective goggles?

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

My darlings,

This will be my last post for a while, I’m not sure when I will next have the internet! I Hope soon though.

Don’t know where I will be or what I will be doing…oh em gee!

Ah! Can’t believe this is all happening, it’s so exciting!

Barely slept a wink last night, here are a few thoughts that passed through my head…

  • Be well
  • Have fun
  • Laugh until it hurts so much
  • Take risks
  • Jump right in
  • Hold on
  • Quit smoking – I did! It smells so bad!
  • Be open to whatever may happen
  • Kiss your Boyfriend/Girlfriend
  • Travel
  • Look in the Mirror, really look
  • Appreciate just how amazing your friends are, do you know how lucky you are to have people like that in your life?! VERY lucky!
  • Keep your passport safe, apparently identity theft is RIFE!
  • If your don’t have a passport then get one, right now! How are you supposed to come and visit me if you don’t have one?
  • Eclipse was OK, Rob is still a total baberoo!
  • Remember Me is the crappiest movie I’ve seen in ages. 9/11? Really? You just had to go there didn’t you? For fucks sake, what a BORE!
  • I’m not saying 9/11 was a bore, I’m saying the movie was! Jeeez relax!
  • Smile
  • Love yourself, you’re actually pretty damn cool/babe-ish!

Until next time…

Jecc xx