// emerald isle travel diary | pt. two //

hello, my friends!

it is hot as heck today. i spent the morning with my friend izzy, and we decided to use the sun to our advantage. so we went outside and burned stuff with a magnifying glass: ants, flowers, leaves, cat hair, our legs. (friCK, it hurt).

anyway! here’s the second — and final — part of my emerald isle travel diary. :) (read the first part here.)

« day four »

another night without much sleep! how fun. it’s turning into a habit.



we went to the pine knolls aquarium this morning. there were some normal stuff, like frogs and otters and freshwater fish. but there were also a few sharks, as well as lion fish, jellyfish, pipefish, and sea horses. the whole thing took us about two hours.

once we had been at the beach house for awhile, my parents went to check out a fishing shop. c and i sat on the porch and he insulted my friends again while i played ukulele. (believe // yellowcard and adam’s song // blink-182 are easy songs.)

i convinced c to go on a walk with me. we went in the opposite direction that i explored last night. it was really humid and hot and kind of gross and the wind kept blowing my hair into my face. but we saw a dog and some pretty beach houses and i picked flowers, so it was alright.

for dinner, we went to a restaurant named port of calls, which was right up against the water of the inland side of emerald isle. it was raining the whole time we ate, but it was rather nice anyway, because i got to watch the waves and the storm clouds and the rain drumming against the windows. the restaurant served seafood, which i’m not too fond of. so i got something called “buried treasure,” which turned out to be an enormous plate of potatoes, covered in cheese and bacon and tomatoes and sour cream. it was pretty good, but there was so much of it.

oh, and while we were eating, i figured out the names of my future pets: the dog will be named turtle, and i’ll have two turtles, who will be called dribble and billie joe armstrong.

my dad went fishing down at the beach after dark. c and i went to watch after our mom told us he had caught sharks. while we were waiting for him to catch something, we got in the water, even though the sea feels like a creature waiting to pounce when it’s nighttime. the water was creamy and warm and i wanted nothing more than to slip under the gentle waves and swim and swim and not come back.

 my dad did catch another shark while we were down there. it was slightly shorter than my forearm and it wriggled a lot and it felt like cold sandpaper.

« day five »

i didn’t sleep much again. what a surprise.

i woke up at eleven because there were noises in the house. the bathroom sink is leaking, so i guess there’s a plumber here to fix it. but he’s being extremely loud and he’s right outside my door.

i’m ready to go home. i feel like i can’t hear my own thoughts out here. i need to hide in my loft bed at home with the soft blankets and the fairy lights and not come out until the summer is over. we’ll leave on sunday morning, so i have to get through three days before i’m home again. that sounds really hard and i want to cry and sleep the rest of this trip away.

a few good songs:

long lost feeling // blink-182

if it means a lot to you // a day to remember

miserable at best // mayday parade

jamie all over // mayday parade

we walked along the pier and watched the fishermen lined up against the railing. people had carved hearts and their names and phone numbers into the wood. you’d think that couples would be able to come up with something more romantic than their initials inside a crudely drawn heart. if i were going to scratch something into a railing, i think it would just be the word lovely. 

we checked out one of the touristy shops by the beach. i don’t remember what it was called. there were tons of t-shirts and swimsuits and beach towels. the only thing i actually liked were the lifeguard tees. but i think it would be weird to wear something like that if you had never been a lifeguard. it sounds like a fun job to have, though. to me, one of the coolest things you can do is save someone, or at least be willing to. i’d like to be a lifeguard someday.


we went to watch spider-man: homecoming at a tiny movie theater called cinema 4. i have always adored spider-man, and the new actor made me like him even more. my mom and brother kept telling me how similar i am to one of the characters, michelle. i’ll take that as a compliment.

« day six »

would you believe me if i told you that i actually got enough sleep last night? yeah, i didn’t think so. nights are hard, my friends.

old microwaved pancakes are good for breakfast. i bet that when i move out, i could make one batch of pancakes and live off of it for a week.

my mom took my brother and me back to the aquarium. there were two trails there that led to the sound, and we hiked one of them. it wasn’t very long, only 1.2 miles. but there were so many awful mosquitoes. don’t even think about hiking here without lots of bug spray. it would have been a disappointing outing if it weren’t for the crabs. they were all along the marshy parts, with their holes beside the trail and claws littering the ground. and there were huge clusters of them on the sandy area of the sound.

we stopped by a little shop called homer’s point on the way home to pick up seafood for dinner. we still have some frozen food at the beach house, and i can have that instead of scallops.

my dad and i both really want to go home. we managed to convince my mom to let us leave a day early. :D so we’ll be going home sometime tomorrow (saturday) instead of sunday.

pro tip: don’t listen to three green day albums right before going to bed. you will be too hyped to sleep and you’ll want to run through the streets at night and kiss pretty people and overthrow the government and rule the world.

there was an insane storm tonight, and i was awake until four, drawing and watching the lightning. it lit up the sky more than the fireworks i’d seen a few nights ago a in the beach. and it wasn’t like there was one strike every few minutes. this was a constant light show. some of the lightning was red and it slithered from cloud to cloud. the strange part was that it wasn’t raining here at all.

« day seven »

i got up before noon today (i deserve an award, honestly) and packed all my stuff up. we left at 10:30. i’m in the car now and i have a feeling that this will be a very boring six hours. it’s rather hard to draw or write in a car, so that leaves me with reading to pass the time. this would be more bearable if i had music.

i had a dream that i kissed your lips, and it felt so true. then i woke up as a nervous wreck and i fell for you. (fell for you // green day)

apparently we’ve already been driving for an hour? it doesn’t feel like it. maybe this won’t be as awful as i anticipated. (i’ll probably look back at this in five hours and start laughing, and then i’ll cry.)

i thought we were getting close, but we actually have about three and a half hours to go. sigh. i would write down some of my thoughts, but the only thing in my head right now is basket case // green day on repeat.

x

SOMETIMES MY MIND PLAYS TRICKS ON ME. IT ALL KEEPS ADDING UP. I THINK I’M CRACKING UP. AM I PARANOID? OR AM I JUST STONED?

we stopped for lunch, and lo and behold, there was a chick-fil-a. sadly, we didn’t get a free milkshake like last time, but it was still pretty good.

make sure you stay hydrated, kids. if you want some water, but you think it’s too much work to get up and find a drink, DO IT ANYWAY. if not, i will come to your house and lick you all over, and believe me, no one wants that. just looking out for your health, my loves. :)

the last time i remember driving through the mountains for a long time was in february, when i went away for the weekend with n. there was a girl in the van who got really sick after just a couple of minutes. i’m glad that no one in my family gets very carsick. i never know what to do when someone is feeling ill. reason #74925390 why i would be a bad parent.

 

my brother is snoring next to me. it sounds like when you have a cold and your nose is all clogged up. you guys can laugh at this picture of him, since you seem to enjoy dumb things.

we should be getting close to home, but i don’t think i recognize anything. maybe that’s because pockets of trees and golden fields crisscrossed with fences are everywhere here.

wait. apparently we’re on the road that goes right by the high school. i’m so confused. how can i not remember any of this? not being able to trust your own memory is a scary feeling, because what if the best ones, the ones you fall back on to escape when things are too hard — what if the version you’re clinging to isn’t how it really happened?

i don’t know where i am and i’m wondering if my most important memories are lies, but there are flowers along the road, so everything will be ok.

scratchy rock music playing on the radio is kind of comforting.

COWS.

my favorite things about my hometown are the wildflowers that grow in the median, and the christian music stations that remind me of my brother’s old friend, and the rundown stores along the highway that are owned by the locals, where time stops moving and all you can think about is the too-cold air conditioning and the smell of cigarettes and the moisture on the cooler doors and the colored specks in the tiles and the taste of freezer burn on the ice cream.

i know where we are now. we just got out of the state park that’s filled with waterfalls and trees with faerie houses in them. i’m still confused as to why i saw the road sign that’s supposed to be next to the high school. maybe there are two roads named that in this state (unlikely)? maybe i can’t trust my memory. i don’t know.

my mom said we would home at 5:17, but it’s 5:19 and we’re not there. lying to your family. what a monstrous thing to do. (also, i’m about to run out of battery, help.)

I NEED TO GO TO THE BAAATHROOOOM, BUT IT’S A MUUUSICAAAAL.

hello, post office! hello, town hall! hello, housing development! hello, bumblebee car! hello, my hill! hello, my house! hello, my kitten!

xo

loren

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// emerald isle travel diary | pt. one //

hello, my friends. i have just returned from vacation in emerald isle, nc. :) i did a travel diary, of course. they help me remember what i did and how i felt, and if i don’t write it down, it will start to fade from my memory in a matter of days.

i was there for nearly a week, and if i put all the days in one post, it would be 3k+ words long. i don’t want to do that to you, so i’ve split it up into two parts. enjoy reading about the first three days of my trip.

« day one »

i have this bad habit of waiting until the last minute to begin packing for a trip. i usually start an hour before we go, maybe less if it’s a weekend trip. but this time, i actually started the night before we left. *appluause* granted, i finished packing a few minutes before we needed to leave, but it’s still improvement, i guess?

it was a six hour drive, stuck in our tiny car with three other people. bags were piled on the half-sized seat between me and my brother, and crammed onto the shelf below the back window. we didn’t have much room, is what i’m trying to say. to entertain myself, i read the tail of emily windsnap by liz kessler, played mario kart 7 with my brother (we’ll be calling him c), strummed on the ukulele at odd moments just to annoy him, stared at all the very interesting trees and rows of corn out the window, etc. we stopped twice, i think, one for food (it was supposed to be fast food, but it really truly was not) and one for gas.

i realized we were getting close when i started seeing all the pine trees with the really tall, bare trunks. the trees we have at home are mostly maples and oaks, and the pines don’t look like the ones in north carolina.

^^ the view from the bridge to the island.

the drive down here was really boring!! let’s leave it at that.

i love all the palm trees and pastel houses that you find at the beach, and i was hoping that ours would be a pretty color. but, no, it’s this weird teal color with sort of orange-y wood on the deck. it’s not awful to look at, but the pastel beach houses are so much lovelier. at least we’re really close to the ocean. there’s only one row of houses between us and the beach, and i can listen to the waves while i’m falling asleep.

after we dragged all our bags inside and claimed rooms (i called the one with the light blue walls and a balcony that faces the ocean, but my parents overruled me, so i got the tiniest one, with a very green bedspread), i convinced my mom and brother to go to the beach with me for awhile. my mom has been freaking out about the riptides here, so she didn’t let us swim out very far. that outing will be remembered as “loren and c drink saltwater for twenty minutes,” or “the sea hates loren’s bikini.”

once we came back and showered, we played “sorry” (spoiler alert: i won) and watched doctor who. originally, we were going to play something called “green eggs and ham,” based on the dr. seuss book, but apparently you needed to play with an adult, and both parents refused.

we basically had skittles and peanut butter m&ms for dinner. i unpacked and went to bed right after that, because i thought i would be tired, but my brain hates me and would not shut up. thanks, brain. :) i wrote poetry and listened to music until nearly two in the morning.

« day two »

guess who slept in until after ten and felt absolutely dead?? me!! i eventually got up and showered and went to the grocery store with my dad. i only volunteer to get groceries when i’m on vacation, because my mom always makes my dad do the shopping and it’s pretty easy to convince him to get unhealthy stuff. we got lemon bread, cinnamon rolls, mini donuts, three bottles of soda, ice cream, two kinds of ice cream sandwiches, two packages of cookie dough, pizzas and french fries and onion rings and other stuff my mom would not have gotten.

observation: time doesn’t exist in grocery stores.

we went to the beach after lunch. c and i swallowed lots of saltwater, got some of it in our eyes, insulted each other’s friends, and tried to ride the waves without bodyboards or surfboards. he was complaining about how pale he is, so i gestured at myself (i practically glow) and shouted, “the beacons are lit! gondor calls for aid!” he thought it was hilarious and accidentally got some of the water in his mouth while he was laughing.

we’ve been chilling back in our beach house for a few hours. c let me play a game called fantasy life on his ds, and i’ve been force feeding him my music while he plays breath of the wild. i made a playlist of some songs with summer vibes, and i’ll try to post that soon.

we have a vacation traditon where my dad buys refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough and makes it for us every night, so we can eat them while we watch a movie. we watched the lake house, this weird romance with a wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey mailbox.

i sat on the floor for awhile after the movie finished and played the ukulele. i can play a few songs:

northern downpour // panic! at the disco

can’t help falling in love // twenty one pilots (cover)

march to the sea // twenty one pilots

stomach tied in knots // sleeping with sirens

house of gold // twenty one pilots

« day three »


i didn’t sleep well last night, either. i was awake until after 3 a.m, so i started reading all the bright places by jennifer niven, and listened to the atlas album by sleeping at last.

we went to play mini golf right after i woke up, at a place called lost treasure golf & raceway. it was really humid and kind of awful. i won, but only by one point, i believe.

i think the universe is tired of my existence, so it sent me on this trip to try and annihilate me.

i sat outside on the railing for a long time and played the ukulele. there was a lovely breeze, and i looked at the sea and pastel houses while i played whichever songs felt right. i would have liked to sit there forever and slip away into the music, not thinking about anything except for where to put my fingers next.

this is the dinner that my father and i made possible, having braved one of an introvert’s greatest fears: crowded public places. truly, we are the heroes of this family.

once i finished eating, i grabbed the camera and stole out of the house. i walked on the beach for a bit, then set off down the road and took in all the colors and plants and lights and music and laughter. i was gone for close to an hour, and it was quite serene. there were hints of orange and pink in the sky, it was warm without being suffocating, and i got to walk and walk and almost slip out of reality for a bit. all i had to do was keep breathing and thinking and moving forward and it was the most relaxed i’ve been in a very long time. and i got an idea for a story, which is exciting in itself, but even more so when you understand that i haven’t touched any of my stories since last autumn. it felt like the creative part of my mind, the i have so so so much to say about everything part, dug itself out from under the sand while i was out there in the twilight.


oh, yeah, so it’s independence day. i’m going to play fourth of july // fall out boy on repeat until it’s stuck in my family’s heads forever.

there were lots of fireworks going off on the beach. c and i watched them from the balcony for awhile, and then we headed to the ocean to get a better view. i tried to get pictures of the fireworks, and i think a few turned out ok.

i took a lot of pictures on this trip — like, a lot. i’m trying to sprinkle them into the travel diary, but there are going to be lots that don’t fit anywhere. so you can expect a photo dump soon. :)

also. 650 followers. i had 600 at the beginning of june, so that means fifty lovely humans found my blog and decided to stay in just a month. that blows my mind. thanks, kiddos. love you.

xo

loren

// pennsylvania travel diary //

hello, friends! yesterday, i got back from a three day adventure in pennsylvania with my mum. this post is sort of a guide to anyone who might want to visit that area of pennsylvania (chadds ford/brandywine river valley), and my thoughts during the trip.

(i took lots of pictures, but since this post is long enough already, i’ll be sharing them later.)

« day one » 

i woke up at seven, and we didn’t leave our house till nine thirty. i did some last minute packing (aka raiding my desk for art supplies), grabbed a muffin for breakfast, and called shotgun.

my grandparents let us borrow their car, since ours is, well, a bit of a disaster (who else can relate to a car? my life is a mess, haha.). it was kind of weird riding in a different car, but i did have a lot more leg space than usual, which was rad.

during the four hour ride, i entertained myself by talking about donuts, watching my mom jam to old songs on the radio, singing blink-182 to myself, reading the hollow boy by jonathan stroud, and taking cliche travel pictures. every time we entered a new state, i would inform my mom that one of my internet friends lived there. i wish i could have met some of you guys, but our schedule didn’t really allow for that.

when we were are about ten minutes from our hotel, my mom took a detour, and we ended up at a place called baldwin’s book barn. from the outside, it looked like it belonged in the shire. the inside was a five-story maze of used books and dusty shelves. i found battle of the labyrinth by rick riordan, and my mom was kind enough to get it for me. :)

after that, we headed up to the brandywine river hotel. our room was pretty so-so: two full beds, a tiny bathroom, a mini fridge, and an old tv with nothing good to watch. however, there was an elevator (those things are fricken rad), and the hotel served tea at four thirty. there was a rather impressive collection of tea bags to choose from, but i got hot chocolate instead. a plate of cookies was also available.

once we finished our drinks, my mom and i walked around a tiny cluster of shops beside the hotel. they were all closed because it was sunday, but the flowers planted all around were fun to photograph.


for dinner, we went to a place called mod pizza. it’s basically subway, but with pizza instead of sandwiches. you could get as many toppings as you wanted, and you didn’t have to pay extra.

so now it’s after ten and we’re back at the hotel. i’m wearing these really soft lounge shorts i just got, listening to the all-american rejects, and drawing a rose i saw today. i got to text N, and he was freaking out about the new season of sherlock. i’ve only seen the first two episodes of that show . . . oops? i’m pretty sure N is going to disown me as his friend for that.

« day two »

i had to figure out how to use the shower today. it was a very loud, aggressive shower, and i felt like it was screaming at me.

breakfast was served in the same room as tea. there was cereal, oatmeal, fruit, coffee, a waffle maker, a case of assorted bread-y things, etc.

today’s plan was to visit the brandywine river museum of art, which is mostly the paintings of three generations of artists from the wyeth family: n. c., andrew, and jamie wyeth. admission was $15 for adults, and $6 for students and children. i enjoyed the first few exhibits, but by the time we reached the main attraction (andrew wyeth’s paintings), i was getting a little bored. he painted a lot of plants. i probably would have liked it more if i was interested in watercolor.

then my mom dragged me on a tour of the artist’s home/studio. we took a shuttle from the museum to a little white house tucked into the trees. a woman led us around the house for an hour, going into much more detail then was necessary. photography was allowed, but there wasn’t anything that was interesting enough for me to photograph.

after resting at the hotel, we walked around the tiny shopping center again. it’s called chadds ford village and barn shops. there was an art gallery, a cosmetics shop, a salon, a yoga place, and a florist — which was the only store open.

my mom’s best friend from middle school lives nearby, and we met up with her in delaware for dinner. the restaurant we went to is called anthony’s coal fired pizza, and they serve italian food, as well as salad and chicken wings. i got a calzone, which is something i’ve never tried before. it’s like an inside out pizza, kind of. even though i got the small, it was still super huge, and we have lots of leftovers.

now we’re just chilling in our room playing card games. my mom taught me how to play speed, i showed her how to play slap jack, and i thought about when my brother’s friends made me play fifty-two card pickup.

the weather hasn’t been that great while we’ve been here. yesterday was cold and windy, and it rained today. hopefully tomorrow will be nicer, since we’re planning on going to a huge garden. that’s why i came on this trip. i just really love flowers.

« day three »

sleeping in this hotel isn’t easy for me. i woke up at one and three before i got up at seven. the beds are quite comfortable, though. it’s like you’re wrapped in a heavy cloud.

we packed up our stuff and made our way down to breakfast. some of the trays were empty already, the food taken by the other guests. i had a waffle and piece of lemon bread.

after we ate, we took all our bags from our room and stuffed them into the car. then we set out for our destination: longwood gardens. it took longer then it should have to get there, because construction work made the cars slow to a crawl. when we got there, we purchased our tickets to the garden — $23 for my mom, and $12 for me. you could rent wheelchairs, electric scooters, and strollers.

we entered the garden, armed with only a map to help us navigate over one thousand acres. staff were scattered over the grounds, and they gave us directions and suggested places to visit.


we stopped at a cafe on the property called beer garden. i got a german braided pretzel for $6, which came with ranch, spicy mustard, and beer cheese dip.

we were there for over four hours. and we didn’t see everything. it was just so huge, with tons of gardens to walk about in, and i was too tired to see everything. but we did visit the meadow garden (not much blooming this time of year), the italian water garden (huge fountains), two tree houses (large, really pretty tree houses could be found across the property), the flower garden walk, the conservatory, etc.

the conservatory was absolutely breathtaking. it was probably amusing for my mom to watch me get so excited about plants. there were twenty rooms filled with plants from all over the world. there were bonsai trees, orchids, cacti, bananas, jungle plants, and tons of things i had never seen before.

we left the garden after exploring the conservatory and began the drive back home. goodbye, pennsylvania! you have bad roads and weather, but you’re very green and pretty.

we’ve been in the car for about three and a half hours. it’s been rather uneventful so far. (i’m not bored, exactly. it’s hard to be bored on a trip. i like long car rides, because i can feel the bumps in the road and watch the scenery and have lots of time to think.) i tried reading, i tried sleeping, my legs hurt, etc. i got to talk to N for a few minutes while we were at a rest stop. (he likes the band pierce the veil.) so now i’m writing this while we look for a chick-fil-a. i want a milkshake. those things are heavenly.

i get such a weird feeling when i’m traveling, because i realize that every little town i pass through is someone’s home. they know who all their neighbors are and they can walk to the grocery store with their eyes closed. they have memories attached to everything there. but i’ll never know those people or the story about that crooked tree on the hill. i’m just a traveler, and their hometown means nothing to me.

and now, we take a break from deep thoughts with loren and return to the commentary.

guess who has two milkshakes! it’s me. no, i won’t share with you. the woman at chick-fil-a gave us our milkshake, and when i tasted it, it was vanilla instead of chocolate, and it looked a lot bigger than a small. she hurried back to us with another drink and apologized for giving us the wrong order. we got to keep the vanilla one, though, so my mom is drinking that.

since i forgot to give my mom a new straw, she’s using one with my delicious saliva on it. my dumb brain started singing “tastes like you, only sweeter.” (from thnks fr th mmrs by fall out boy.) I’M CRYING, I HATE MY SENSE OF HUMOR. SOMEONE HELP ME, I’M SUCH BAND TRASH.

songs that have been stuck in my head on this trip:

san diego // blink-182

i’m just a kid // simple plan

vanilla twilight // owl city

move along // the all-american rejects

bang bang // green day

i wanna // the all-american rejects

i’ve done three drawings while up here. i guess boring hotels are good for creativity. (i never thought i would call a hotel boring, but that one was.) my drawings were inspired by the first three songs on that list. i’ll post pictures of them once i’ve done a few more.

every time my mom says the word “lane,” i start singing lane boy by twenty one pilots. she probably hates me. we almost missed our exit because of my performance. have i mentioned that i’m band trash?

it’s raining and we’re listening to old rock songs on the radio. this would be even better if i had a friend here. i wish N was with me.

observations:

• pennsylvania has lots of enormous rhododendrons.

• my town looks pretty in the rain.

• our radio stations aren’t that great.

• realizing that you’re getting close to home feels like being put on a leash.

• i’ll be impossible to take on dinner dates.

• people don’t like the idea of someone not wanting kids.

• passing my best friend’s house make me feel laughing-at-two-a.m.-at-a-sleepover happy.

• i spent the whole trip thinking this is fun, but i want it to be over. 

xo

loren

// wanderlust //

i think everyone went through that phase as a kid where they wanted to run away. maybe you packed a bag and made it to the end of the road before you turned around. but the ones who don’t grow out of that — those are the kids with wanderlust. the ones who dream of traveling: breathing new air and touching new ground and seeing new faces.

someday, i am going to leave this suffocating town and see the world, either by myself or with one of my best friends (who we will be calling N for now). so here’s a list of a few places i’m going to visit.

Image result for greece tumblr

x

greece. i’m not sure why, but i’ve always loved greece. the food, the history, the myths, and the beautiful sights in general fascinate me. i was allowed to pick a language to study in school, and i chose koine greek — a little dumb, considering no one speaks it anymore. but it’s rather fun to say that i know a dead language.

x

new zealand. ok, i have to admit that the main reason i want to go there is so i can visit the shire. i’m so short and chubby, people would probably think i actually belong there (i’ve been called a hobbit by several people. yeah, my friends are nice). my copy of the hobbit has been read so many times that the pages are falling out. :)

Desert View Watchtower, Grand Canyon

x

the grand canyon. the colors remind me of N. and it’s kind of like a huge scar on the earth, which strikes me as pretty cool.

Rowena

x

oregon. i blame gravity falls for this one, honestly. i’ll definitely try to find the bill cipher statue. apparently, there are lots of forests in oregon, and i freaking love forests. they’re somehow peaceful and creepy at the same time.

 green house

x

thailand. sadly, i don’t know much about thailand, but it’s so beautiful and i want to try the food.

808sunkissed: “Cromwells ☀️🌊 ”

x

hawaii. i want to see volcanoes and palm trees and try malasadas! going there by myself sounds a bit sad for some reason, so i hope N is cool with going to hawaii with me. i’m going to make him wear a bunch of those pretty plumeria flowers in his hair. just a warning.

Odda, Norway

x

norway. my feelings about norway: !!!!!!!!

 when i say i want to go everywhere, i mean it. if it exists, i want to explore that place. someday.

xo

loren