Oh, this post is a long-time a'comin'. I know that you all want to know about Lauren pre-travel/self-awareness-junkie/yoga-fiend.
Okay, you twisted my arm long enough. Lo, I present to you a photoessay titled "Lauren Through The Years: Bad Hair Can't Hold Me Down."
Here I am on my first, no-parent trip out of the country. I'm 20, dating my first-real-heartbreak-of-a-boyfriend (I don't know that he'll be that yet in this picture. Ah, blissful ignorance) studying abroad in Ecuador, shooting a blowdart at a tennis ball on the Fourth of July, and apparently double-layering my Old Navy tank tops over a fuschia bra?
Hey London! Nice outfit. I'm 23 and my best friend Alex and I are touring London. How did we, two single gals from NYC, decide to go to London? At the behest of two lively (albeit less attractive than we might have liked them to be in the daylight) Brits that we met a few months before in a bar in the East Village. Right. I know what you're thinking. I'm moving on anyway.
The proudest accomplishment of this trip is that I managed to pack for five days of London touring and clubbing in January in a carry on duffel. I wore leggings four out of five days and only brought one other pair of shoes. I'm a traveler in the making.
23-almost-24. I run my first marathon. I tell myself I will NEVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES DO THAT SHIT AGAIN. In September, October, and November of that year, I run one marathon each month. Then in 2010 I run the New York City Marathon. So, good job keeping that promise to yourself, Lauren.
I'm 24 and living in my first big girl apartment in Brooklyn. I make the acquaintance of two intriguing Aruban characters a few months before while I was visiting their island with my family and invite them, half-jokingly, to come visit me in New York. They do, and we have a long weekend of hilarity, stomping around Williamsburg, the East Village and Midtown. These kids were the first people that taught me what travel magic really is, and that when someone invites you to stay with them a half a world away? You say yes immediately.
Ah, finally. I made it to 25. I have my quarter-life crisis. I get fed up with not actually knowing how to surf and take myself down to Las Olas and officially learn. But actually, I meet some pretty amazing women, including the one there on the far left, who becomes one of my best buds every in the world. And I learn what true mentorship is all about. (Note: this is when "self-awareness-obsessed-Lauren" starts showing up. She's pretty persuasive and sometimes downright annoying).
25 again, this time in Colorado just a few short weeks before I took off for Southeast Asia. Starting the trend of taking a slew of pictures of myself in Dancer's Pose on high mountain peaks and white sand beaches. It's the year of travel, and apparently I know no limit on my Dancer.
See what I mean?
I leave for Asia for three months. I'm still 25 and slowly realizing that yes, in fact I am having a quarterlife crisis. Though three months of travel didn't cure me, it got me a lot closer to helping me figure out what kind of life it is that I want to live (also, those white sand beaches didn't hurt too much either).
I'm 26. My brother and I decide to take New Orleans by storm. And by storm, I mean we decide to fly down on Mardi Gras, drink a lot, take many self-portraits with varying faces of angst (see above). We get separated at one point during the night after he tells me not to go anywhere. He finds me talking to a Texan in a bar, discussing how we should make a documentary film about a road trip from New Orleans to Austin the next day. Unsurprisingly, those plans fall through.
26 again. I decide to get my act together and run a lot of 200-mile relay races. Apparently, this is what it looks like when your act is together. Discuss.
Alright this concludes this week's discussion of "Lauren Through the Years". What are your biggest accomplishments? Does anyone else let a year or two or three go by and feel like they've accomplished nothing, only to take a look back at pictures and be like "well, wait. I've actually done SO MUCH"?