Dive Tables may be the bane of my existence.

So for this trip I have been working very hard on getting dive certified. When I first thought about learning to Scuba Dive I thought it would be relatively easy to do and that it wasn’t that complicated. I was so wrong in so many ways.

Learning to dive is like taking a college class. The online course is divided up into 5 sections, each with 150+ pages of learning material. This does not include the controlled indoor and outdoor dives you have to do to practice all of the skills you read and learn about in the online portions. Dive tables are probably one of the most important things to learn because it can help prevent Decompression Sickness, also known as the Bends, as well as make sure you have an awesome diving experience with an adequate amount of time underwater.

When you dive your tank is 21% oxygen and the rest is Nitrogen, as you dive the air in the tank decreases in volume and increases in density causing more nitrogen to enter your body (i think I’m getting this right?) which means Nitrogen builds up in your body as you dive creating bubbles, which is why it’s so important to take safety stops every 5 meters/15 feet. So what is Decompression Sickness? Decompression sickness is a serious medical condition caused by nitrogen bubbles within your blood and body tissues. If the excess nitrogen in your body tissues is too high, when you ascend and surface, the nitrogen may come out of solution faster than your body can eliminate it, forming bubbles. These bubbles are usually in joints, fatty tissues and environmental factors can be huge game changers on how/when/where they form. How do we make sure this doesn’t happen? By taking safety stops to allow the nitrogen to work its way out safely but also by using dive tables to ensure you’re not diving out of a safe depth and time.

Least to say I’ve never been good at math and figuring the table out involves math. If it’s your first dive it’s easy, if you are doing a second dive in a close period to the first dive you have to account for the nitrogen that hasn’t worked its way out of the body yet. The residual Nitrogen is also why you’re not allowed to fly the same day you dive. So I’ve taken this test three times now and just feel like the biggest idiot on the planet for not getting something that seems relatively simple. So for tonight, I gave the test a break and headed over to a friend’s house where there were double chocolate s’mores, a bonfire, great people and a telescope to look at the stars.

Signing off!

-NG.

 

Food and Beer places I MUST go!!!

So one more week and I am off on a grand adventure! I’m so excited!! I was trying to think of places that would be fun to visit while I’m there and then started thinking about beer. And food. And all the fun beer and food I want to try! So here’s my Top 5 Foodie Bucket List of Hong Kong!!!!

  1. Hong Kong Beer Co was recently relaunched by a company that has been in the craft beer business for about 100 years, with experience in the Asia and American craft beer markets, however this brewery is the first of its kind and is the Pioneer of Craft Brewing in Asia but with 6 year-round beers and 2 specialty beers I should be in for a treat.
  2. Little Lab A funky cocktail bar with some crazy mixtures. One of their drinks is called ‘HK Tea Time’ and the recipe is as follows: 12-year Dewar’s, house-made milk tea syrup and evaporated milk, topped with off craft beer and chocolate bitters.
  3. Lion Rock Brewery I liked the name of this one so naturally I had to put it on the list. I have never had a White IPA before and they boast one named Icy Lotus that I am dying to try. White IPA is a stylish newcomer that unites the best of Witbier and American IPA: light malts, strong hops, and aroma aplenty. A fragrant blend of blueberry, orange peel, passion fruit, and lychee.
  4. The Markets! Oh there are so many Markets in Hong Kong, from Ladies Market to Temple Street Night Markets you can find all sorts of goodies, and I plan on doing some shopping as well as hitting up as many street food vendors I can handle. Family members and close friends should expect some strange souvenirs in their mailboxes 😉
  5. Oddies Foodies is a Gelato shop with crazy flavors like curry gelato, swirled with mango jam, roasted peanuts, and coconut macaroon. In March they had one that I could probably die happy trying called PopCone which had salted caramel gelato, caramel popcorn, roasted almonds, burnt vanilla semifreddo, apple compote and dulce de leche. Yummmmmm.

 

One more week and I will be in HK!!!!!!

Nerdy Gypsy

Travel Anxiety?

My favorite feeling in the world is right before the airplane takes off. The entire plane tightens up as it prepares to jet forward towards the speed of 567 MPH (or .85 Mach.) I always imagined the plane to be cat-like, sitting back on its haunches before taking off to anywhere you want to go. The first time I boarded an airplane I was 7 years old and off to Disneyland with my family, I was in first grade and was even allowed to skip a little school for the trip. Since then I have flown countless times and I’d like to think I don’t get too bad anxiety when I travel. A pretty standard level of ‘Oh god what do I want to wear while I’m there?’ and ‘Holy god, does this make me look ridiculous?’ was to be expected, I think I just fear that it’s not real, it is my first major international trip and what I’ve been dreaming of my entire life.

Recently the biggest challenge has been trying to figure out the most effective way of packing. Am I really going to be doing that much shopping there? Does it make sense to pack a wardrobe? I’ve vetoed taking any toiletries except for my make up and tooth-brush, as far as I can tell it makes much much more sense to pick those things up there. How many pairs of shoes do you think I’ll need?

You’re probably wondering where I am off to this time, and I cannot wait to tell you, but first you’re gonna have to guess. Some fun facts about where I am going:

  1. It boasts one of the world’s highest per-capita concentrations of cafes and restaurants at one restaurant for every 600 people.
  2. It consumes triple the world average of tea at a total of 9.8 million kilograms annual. This equates to an average of 1.4 kilograms of tea per person in ____ ____ per year. The world’s most expensive tea available in ____ ____ is Iron Buddha at USD2576.92 per kilogram.
  3. It was one of the stops in French writer Jules Verne’s “Around the World in 80 Days” published in 1873.
  4. It is actually composed of more than 200 islands.
  5. It ended New York’s 11-year reign as the home of the world’s most expensive district for retailers as luxury-brand companies like Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci, Chanel, Aigner, Christian Dior and Marc Jacobs competed for space to set up flagship stores selling their goods to mainland Chinese tourists. In 2012, the average annual rents at Causeway Bay was USD338.87 per square foot.

Have you figured it out yet? This isn’t my only stop in South East Asia, while visiting I will also be making a stop into Thailand to go diving off of Kata Beach. I am hoping to swim with sharks while I am down there, as I love the teethy dudes to pieces. Sharks may be one of the coolest animals in current times. I will be bringing an underwater camera for these adventures, I cannot wait to post the pictures ^_^

Anyway, I suppose I better do the adult thing and look nice for work.

回头见!

Huítóu jiàn!

Sarah



A Grand Adventure

Ahhh this past year has been tough. I left my relationship, moved back to Vermont and most recently moved to Boston, Mass. Sometimes I worry that my life is a little too Eat, Pray, Love but then I remember that … Continue reading

The Anniversary

So I never really know what to call the day I left Vermont and never looked back. Lately I feel like this event in my life should have a name and the other night, as I stood naked in the … Continue reading

You Asked It! Moving, Women’s Rights and Rape Culture.

Trigger Warning: Discusses Rape, Harassment, Assault, Controversial Issues, and very intimate details about my life. If you are not comfortable reading this, then please continue to the next article. For kids under 16 parents should be advised.

“What first prompted you to move and why you’re so passionate about women’s rights and rape culture” 

So the person who asked me this is a personal friend of mine who I met while we were working at a less than reputable place in Louisville, KY. When we first met I had only been in Kentucky for a couple of weeks, we clicked instantly and she became one of my closest friends which is part of why this article is being posted. This post continues below the break.


I have always known that Vermont was not the place for me, when I was a little kid I attempted to run away several times but in child-like innocence I would pack too much and not be able to carry it, pack the wrong things or get about half a mile away before I would get hungry/tired/scared of the dark and would head home promptly to my nice warm bed. In that bed I would dream of far away places, magical and enchanting like New York City, and as we drove past open fields I would day dream about galloping full speed across the Scottish highlands. I was constantly reading books about every other culture that I could find, when I was five or six I was obsessed with Ancient Egyptians and read every single book I could get my little fingers on and understand. I had a high reading level to say the least.

School did not make me living in Vermont any easier, I was not in the ‘in crowd.’ A lot of people say that small towns are safer, better and more respectable than big cities and in my experience that is just not the case. Cabot is a beautiful town, but it wasn’t safe for me and getting out of Cabot became my goal in forth grade. What really sealed the deal was when I was 13.

A few things happened when I was 13 that really effected my life, there were some family issues on both sides that left me feeling very angry and very alone. The adults in my life were not how I needed them to be and it was a lot. Depression runs in my family pretty deep, I certainly wasn’t new to the concept at 13 and it got pretty destructive. I made some bad choices, burned some bridges and pushed as many people away as I possibly could. As the adults in my life were doing their thing I fell into a less than stellar crowd and made a less than stellar ‘friend’ who later raped me. Being 13 was absolute hell. He told the group of friends what happened as if I were into it and of course, small town, news travels, questions got asked and guys started to get a little more aggressive in their advances. After all I wasn’t a virgin anymore. Not only that but when I went to the Vice Principle of the school she did nothing. She didn’t report it. I disappeared from my head for three years and shut everything down. I had also caught on to cutting, something I hadn’t even thought about until the nurse had to come to each of our classes and talk to us about it because it was becoming an epidemic across the US.

In the time that I dissociated I made some really amazing friends that brought me back to being me, even when I was the biggest jerk to them sometimes. When I finally came back to my own head and actually started to be able to remember my day to day activity I was 16 years old… It had been three years of what? What do you even call the space that you are in when you’re dissociated? For those who don’t know the feeling of dissociation it’s like a vacuum pulling yourself out of your body and sometimes you watch “yourself” and sometimes you don’t. Imagine watching your body from the back seat of a car but it’s NOT you and you know it. That’s kind of what dissociation feels like.

I was unreasonably hard to deal with, especially because during all of this time I was still being sexually abused my my peers. I hated physical contact, when people would touch me it would make me nauseous to the point where I would get dizzy. The word sex turned my stomach and even putting in a tampon was too much, the thought of hands down there made me so incredibly sick to my stomach. It still does sometimes, I have never been able to have a healthy sexual relationship with myself because of this.

It took me a really long time to get out of these cycles of finding unhealthy or abusive relationships, at least that’s what it felt like. I always found myself in a dangerous or fucked up situation. I stopped trusting myself. I miscarried when I was 19, in my mind that was my fault, I hated myself. I destroyed friendships that mattered the world to me. I went back to the one person holding me back over and over again because it was all that I deserved and I was scared of something better. This mentality ended up with me in the hospital the first time for my anxiety, the second time was because I overdosed on my newly prescribed anti-depressants. It was really really brutal and I really really needed help.

There had been so many times in my life that things could have changed if someone had stepped in and stood up for me when I was a teen. If I had even let them step in. The things I went through left physical scars on my body, self inflicted and otherwise that will probably never fade. People accepted what I went through, accused me of lying, asked me what I did to provoke it, told me and reminded me it was my fault over and over and over again. And that was all in a small town in the USA. Where we don’t have gangs or massive drug violence. I wasn’t stood up for when I needed someone to stand up for me, partially because the adults in my life really did have really difficult things to deal with on their own. I understood that. I want to change that.

When I think back about all of these things I want to change all of that history and give my teen self the information of what was happening, what rape actually was and how to get help after it happens, how to deal with depression and anxiety. I wish I hadn’t felt so alone and I wish I had the resources on hand to be able to change it. Then I think about my future and if I ever have children of my own, the information they will need to survive and how I can provide the best life for them I can and I look at our current social situation and I get worried. Rape Culture is so prominent and Women’s Rights are getting punched at daily. I still am scared walking down the street alone at night and I am a well equipped 23-year-old woman, what about my future 17-year-old daughter when she sneaks out of the house one night to go hang out with what’s his face? Will she have everything she needs to feel and be safe? Will she be prepared if something happens?

I do not want this future for my daughters or anyone else’s daughters. I want them to love themselves fully and without regret and have the resources to do so even when things go wrong. I don’t want them to be embarrassed to wear bikinis, or feel in danger wearing a short skirt on a hot day. I want them to be able to dance and laugh fully and often. And if I want all of these things than I need to be the one to change how women and their rights are viewed every single day. I model with my scars because they are a part of me, just like my piercings and tattoos. I write on here about all of my adventures because I fought like hell and goddamn it I deserve it. I will be damned if I let them win. I fight for Women’s Rights because we deserve them, we are human. We deserve to love ourselves unconditionally and to have the ability to take care of our bodies. I fight against Rape Culture because I have an amazing little sister who I love who is 14 now and if something were to ever happen I would want  someone to stand up for her. I want her to have those resources she will hopefully never need.

I hope this answered your question, K ❤

-NerdyGypsy

NOTE: PLEASE if you ever feel like harming yourself call the National Suicide Hotline, open 24/7! There is help and you are not alone, we care and we are here for you! Phone calls are anonymous or personal as you want them to be:

National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

IF YOU HAVE BEEN SEXUALLY ABUSED: There is help a phone call away, 24/7 through the National Sexual Assault Hotline. Please talk to someone, you are not alone ❤ Just like the Suicide Hotline all phone calls are anonymous or as personal as you want them to be:

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE

https://www.rainn.org/get-help/national-sexual-assault-hotline

You Asked It: ‘What got you into blogging?’

Note: So when people ask me about what I do and why or how I got into ToTTN or AngelicaDemone I always like to respond, I am going to start calling the blogs I respond to these questions in You Asked It. 


 

What got me into blogging? I honestly have no idea. I think it started somewhere when I was in middle school and just starting to realize what the internet had to offer for me. I actually started out on Blogger with your usual dark and moody teenager mind set, I wrote crazy amounts of poetry that when I now look back on I cringe due to the lack of grammar or spelling and at that age all I wanted to be was a famous writer. Amelia Atwater-Rhodes was hands down my writing idol, after all she wrote her first novel when she was 13-years-old and my 14-year-old-self would have died to be able to do that. 

So I started blogging furiously, I wrote poems, short stories, I had chapters for novels that didn’t exist with no timeline to be found. I couldn’t ever finish a novel because I have a terribly hard time ending things, I never want the adventure to stop and it always feels wrong to put an end to it. Even when I write blogs now it can be hard to stop and not just continue onto the next story in the timeline.

Least to say my teenage self only really had a few followers, after all my blog was more like an online diary where I could freely express my feelings which was something that was hard for me to do with friends or at home. When I was 13 I went through some fairly traumatic experiences that have haunted me to this day and writing has been one of the only things keeping me sane sometimes and my teen years were so much about that.

As I got older I stopped blogging and just started keeping journals that I would hide all over the place, I’d have three or four journals going at once and kept in various places to keep all of my ideas and thoughts organized. Most of them haven’t survived over the years for various reasons, mainly being they can be a lot to travel with and many of them became digital with laptops being more common among the rest of the population class and less with the business class. Scroll forward a few years and you’ll find me on my way to Louisville, Kentucky and contemplating novels again.

I had the idea that I wanted to document my travels but I also wanted to write an apocalyptic novel based on the idea of the US being taken over by a foreign country and what that would look like. To do this I would have to keep close detail to the places I had gone and visited, the restaurants and local mindset so I could really capture the cities I would be writing about. After all if you’ve never been to Louisville you really won’t know where 2nd street is, will you.

Fast forward to when I moved to California with my boyfriend, Brian, and started to talk to people about all of the adventures I have gone on. It was easy enough with friends and family posting about neat things on facebook but I found strangers and friends of the family being curious about the adventures that I never really thought of talking about, let alone writing about. So last October I started Tales of the Traveling Nerd, my most successful blog thus far. It has seriously been one of my favorite things to do, I love to tell my stories of my adventures or talk about the favorite beers that I’ve gotten the pleasure of trying. 

Traveling has been my passion forever. I’ve always loved adventure, getting lost, trying new things, listening to new music, learning a new language and telling a story.So TL;DR: I started blogging when I was very young to cope with some really hard traumas that I went through and then turned it into my dream job a few months ago.

Writing Prompt: Describe snowboarding

My little sister and I goofing off before we hit the mountain. She's a skier and I'm a boarder, proof that we can live in harmony ;p

My little sister and I goofing off before we hit the mountain. She’s a skier and I’m a boarder, proof that we can live in harmony ;p

It’s no secret that I’m a snow bunny. I live for being at the mountain regardless of how average I am at it. It always starts when I wake up, my toes tickle me awake as my chest warms to welcome me to the day. My legs, on the other hand, force me to get out of bed in the most antsy of fashions. Sometimes it’s hard to even focus enough to eat, I do because I should but I’ll be damned if it’s not like trying to force a sugar high two-year-old to sit.

As soon as that crisp mountain air touches my nose I know nothing can touch me. I start relaxing into my body and into a more solid foundation. I am centered, focused and a force to be reckoned with. I feel sexiest on the mountain and covered with nice, warm, layers. You can bet sun or snowfall that I am headed to that mountain to experience my ultimate freedom.

Once I am at the mountain I know I am home and the snow shimmers a friendly ‘hello’ in a multitude of colors just for me. Snow is not white. My feet fit knowingly into my boots and with each click of the bindings my heart stutters and skips, if I’m lucky I’m there early enough to be the first one to carve their name into the side of the mountain. Even the cold bite of the ski lift against my legs after a hot run feels like heaven.

From the top of the mountain you know why the Gods and Goddesses would have picked Mount Olympus as their home, the view is breathtaking. You can see forever on a clear day, watching the mountains fade into that soft periwinkle blue before disappearing into the horizon. The chilly air stings my cheeks, sinking into the bones in my face, as I snap into my bindings and head down the mountain. My hips already know this motion, they live for this as much as I do.