Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Dreams We Are Awake For

Well, here it is, the last blog...I've decided to include a lot of pictures to try and sum up a lot of the experiences and to put into visual proof how amazing my year has been since I decided to leave for London back in June 2010.  (If you want to skip down to my thoughts, go to the bottom of the pictures!)  I hope you enjoy this look back:
One year ago today, I was in Mexico. 
Around this time I was sitting at work, doing mindless things when I decided I needed a change in my life.  So, I looked at my schedule and saw that I could afford to take a semester abroad. 

I immediately chose London. 

In October I was told I was going.  In November, I changed my plane ticket so that I would not come back until June.  I was definitely going backpacking.

On January 1, 2011 I didn't make any resolutions.  Instead I just ran full speed into the Atlantic Ocean at midnight.  That is how this year began, and it really set the pace.

The week before I left my friends and I also went to New York City for the weekend.  They also held a surprise party for me!   For the first time, it was real.  I was leaving.

On January 8th I said good bye to my family and headed to JFK in NYC.  That is the day that I met all of my new London friends for the first time.  It sure does feel like yesterday.  I remember all of the fears and all of the anticipation sort of went away once I met them.  I was excited to get to know these people!

When I arrived in London, the experiences began: I wrote about them, so here are just a few pictures to jog your memories.
You know how much I talked about candy.  Thank you to the Rosebery Bros who made London so much "sweeter"


My Flatmates

Remember Castle Tuesday....Forever. 

Ah, London Citizens!
Greenwich, Dennis promised to teach me how to be smooth, I promised to teach him how to drive.
Felt like the center of the world...sort of is.

Remember when I destroyed those fish and chips...and then attempted to eat the world's largest doughnut in Brighton?

Dennis' Birthday was such a great day.  That stood out to me for some reason. I think its the first time I felt settled into London.
Went to Wimbledon!
Our first trip outside of London.  We went to Edinburgh.  It was my first hostel too!  Here we are in The Elephant House Cafe where JK Rowling started writing Harry Potter!  That was a really amazing weekend.

Going into Frankenstein's on the Pub Crawl!
Wont forget this club in Edinburgh.
All of a sudden I'm on spring break.  Brussels was interesting, but had Delirium! 

Dennis and I in Brugges.

On a walk around Brussels, so cold that day, hopped on my first European bus this day to Paris!
The Eiffel Tower at night!

Team Rosebery knows how to act out paintings.

We also rioted.  Most Parisians do that.

Left Paris...headed to Amsterdam....then Back to London...then to Cardiff!

Saw some clowns....

Became some clowns
Back in London, my family came...

This was an awesome dinner party!  Hanging spoons! 

Of course you all remember this...I'm so happy that I climbed this mountain.  That really rejuvenated me. 
Always on the way to a Pub.

Back in the spring with my friend Laura!

Oh yeah...almost forgot...Martini Night..."Dirty Onion" Don't loose.

Got chased by Geese in Oxford

Hastings with UIL.  Bangers and Mash Party in style

Of course there was prom.

Last night out at a Pub!

Last ride around Hyde Park
All of a sudden I saw my friends go off and I was on the second stage of my journey.  It started in Dorset.

Then went on to Dublin, Wicklow Mts, Kilkenny, everywhere on the N11, Cork, Blarney, Newgrange and even Swords in Ireland.
Went to Stockholm....then went to Copenhagen (first night bus), then to Hamburg, Germany, down to a little sick, but I survived!Then off to Berlin...then to Riga, Latvia, Tallinn, Estonia, and Helsinki Finland (where it never got dark!)


Warsaw with my friend Emily!

Frieberg, visiting my friend Susie!

Helsinki...these stairs were so steep!

Prague!  So beautiful!

Krakow, Poland.  The old palace. 
Suddenly I found myself back in England...I felt home.
Last night in Europe.  Went to a party in Crawford House.  Really full circle. 

Me and Konstantin the night before I left. 
Endings are hard.  We are stuck in some weird dream like state trying to figure out what just happened and what it all meant.  For me, I've been realizing that this experience may have been bigger than I ever even expected.  Really, you never know what life throws your way...we can plan all we want but sometimes it works a different way.  In the end it comes down to accepting this and taking some chances and grasping opportunities, most of the time these opportunities pop up unexpectedly.  For example, I always dreamed of going to the Lake District and hiking there.  When I met Jill's husband at a dinner party I was invited to I told him that the Lake District was one place that I had always dreamed of going and that I was planning on trying to make a trip there.  Immediately he said he would bring me and some of my friends, and suddenly everyone at that table was off to hike a mountain a month and a half later, that experience in some way actually changed my life, you remember that post!

Endings are also a time to evaluate whether you achieved the goals you set for yourself.  Honestly I didn't have too many concrete goals besides staying alive (yay! Made it!) and having fun!  The good thing is that I also gained so much confidence from this trip.  It feels so good to wake up in the morning, even when I'm not in London and know I'm me and that I've done the things I've done...made the best of the good things and the bad things, done everything I can to make others happy and make my life fun and hopefully the lives of those around me just as fun.  Naturally we think a lot about how we effect the lives of the people we meet on our journeys.  I like to think that my decision to come to London back in June 2010 not only changed my life but in some ways the lives of other people in a positive way.   

I know for sure that other people's decisions changed my life.  I'm really thankful for that.   

You know as well as I do that life isn't about how successful we are or how we look, its about opening our lives to people who will love us and who we can love right back.  Sometimes I don't express that to everyone who deserves it, but really you all mean so much to me. 

So, here we come, to the end of the last blog post.

I have to thank a lot of people so I'm not going to try and say names but I know you all know who you are.  Honestly I am the person I am because I come from an amazing family, an exceptional group of friends and because I have an amazing dog (WAGGERS!).  We can never live our dreams without support, never, so thank you.

 I really don't have anything to ask of anyone except for one thing:  if you get a chance please email me or post a final comment on the blog!  Just say hi, say anything really...let me know you are there so I can say thank you to you personally!  (

One other thing, just wanted to say that living your dreams actually is worth it...I'm happy I can't describe it because that is how I'm going to force you to go live yours.  Feel this feeling!

Well, after I finish typing the last words to this blog, I really have no idea where this world will take me, or for that matter where I will take this world.  I know that as long as I have you all by my side and stay the person I am, I'm going to make this life and this world something pretty spectacular.  I already have done exactly that so you just all wait and see what is next...

Love, SP


  1. Dear Stephen,
    Thank you for letting us see what you saw and read some of what you experienced ( never will forget the amazing V log's!), it gave each of us at home so much joy to see you and your London "family"being part of something that will always be "in" each of you. Mom and I know that you will keep opening yourself and those around you to the amazing opportunities of life, not just the "big events" like your time in Europe, but in the every day experiences that make up the rest of our lives.

    Learning, loving, trusting, reaching, sharing and believing in yourself and those you care about make for a life well lived.

    Enjoy the moment, each and everyone of them!


  2. Hi Stephen

    It's a great thing to be able to look back at the last year of your life and know that it was so well lived. Even more so for me, the last year has seen you come into yourself as a person in amazing ways. Taking chances and giving yourself the freedom to be fully who you are is so apparent and rich in your whole being that all the people who love and care for you see it and are thrilled for you. Keep going and growing for your lifetime- you owe it to yourself and all the people around you. For me, I look forward to our next adventure. And a pint..... 26.2 next!

    Only the best for you-

    Tom M.

  3. Hi Stephen,
    A Long time ago I figured out I was never going to develop a cure for cancer or manage to negotiate world peace. After being fortunate enough to have the opportunity to do some traveling I realized how BIG and diverse the world is, and it was humbling.... with that new perspective I decided I would just try and make a small difference on a daily basis within my little world. Gandhi may have said it best "be the difference you want to see in the world".
    I cannot thank you enough for including us on this very personal journey. I will miss the blog updates from your wonderful adventure, but will enjoy watching and hopefully being a part of the bigger journey that you and for that matter, all of us are on! Continue to keep and open mind and take advantage of the opportunities that come your way, even if they take you in a different direction from your origional plan. Continue to care for and about people, and keep making those small differences within your world that make a big differecne in others.
    Excuse me for quoting Robert Frost yet again, but it seems an appropriate way to close my final comment on your final blog post. "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference".

    Thanks again!

    Tom S.

  4. Hi Stephen,

    Thanks for sharing your adventures of the past year. You really had quite a journey. The people, places and things you will never forget....and those pub's that's another story.
    It has been great seeing you progress through the years, from the days of you and Christian running around the house with your costume capes flowing to your becoming a "man" and bringing happiness to your family and friends.
    I really enjoyed our chats this past month and am looking forward to watching the rest of your life unfold...
    God Bless....Uncle Bob