The Little Things

It’s been a rough few weeks. Between some stressful work days and a few not-serious-but-definitely-disruptive health ailments, I’ve been a bit overwhelmed.

So it’s been the little things pulling me through. Putting a smile on my face when I think of these little treats to look forward to when I get home.

Like a pint of ice cream waiting for me in the freezer. A cold beer at the end of the day. A National Women’s Soccer League game to watch (because let’s face it: I have a serious crush on some of those women! And I just love watching soccer!). Nothing like watching a brilliant goal!

But most of all, living alone. It could not have come at a better time.

Ya see, I normally live with roommates, but for the past month I’ve been house-sitting at my sister’s apartment while she’s been off exploring Australia.

And it’s been an absolutely lovely oasis in the midst of some trying times, like it always has.


This is the charming one bedroom apartment in the Noe Valley neighborhood of San Francisco that I lived in for three years before I quit my job to travel in 2011. My sister moved in when I left (what we both wanted), and now she’s lived in this space for just over three years. It is very much her apartment now. She has excellent taste in interior design (I have none!) and she’s turned it into an even more cozy and warm sanctuary than when I was living here.

Though remnants of my time here remain. A table and chair that I bought right after I moved in. Dishes that I had acquired from friends giving them away. A few kitchen gadgets and a pot from my first ever IKEA shopping experience. It’s a mutual benefit that she’s holding onto and using these items since I have no space for them in my shared housing situation.

But it was still a little weird for the first couple days while I was settling in… old memories from a previous chapter in my life came flooding back (and not just from looking at a familiar IKEA pot as I boiled my pasta!).

I shed a few tears over all the changes and transitions that have occurred since.

No doubt I’m feeling a little nostalgic being in this apartment, reminding me of when I first started out in San Francisco seemingly hitting the jackpot in life of landing a well-paying job and this awesome apartment to boot. I thought I’d live that life for a very long time, but well, things change.

While this apartment has always provided a safe comfortable refuge, there were aspects of that previous life that I was clearly feeling unsatisfied with, and therefore, I have no regrets on leaving it behind to pursue another direction. I’ve had some truly amazing experiences as a result.

Hiking in Patagonia, jeep touring around Bolivia, ziplining through the Ecuador cloud forest, living in the redwoods of Sonoma county, even learning the ins and outs of the tourism industry through my current job. Yup, all amazing and eye-opening.

Hiking towards Laguna Torre

Hiking towards Laguna Torre in Patagonia (2011)

Of course, this new chapter in my life hasn’t been without its struggles either, as clearly experienced recently. And my progress towards my long-term goals seems frustratingly slow at times.

But while I sit here now cherishing this space and hoping that someday I can once again afford to live alone (and out of the City), I am NOT pouting and moping about, wishing that I could go back to the life I had when I was living in this apartment.

Instead, I am focused on moving forward and enjoying the little things along the way.

No better way to do this than by taking full advantage of the time living alone now! Which I’ve been doing to the fullest!

Without having anybody in my living space, I’ve taken the liberty to live like no one’s watching.

My clothes and tea cups and karate gear are pretty well spread out throughout the apartment. I’ve left some dirty dishes in the sink for a few days. I’ve got Pandora on blasting the Celtic station in the background (with jig dance breaks thrown in for good measure). And why even bother to close the bathroom door?

Not only am I fully living alone, I’ve been in “treat” mode too. There’s a “convenience store” right around the corner with the usual suspects: Three Twins ice cream, beer, and chips ‘n salsa. Because why the hell not? I’ve been working hard and YOLO, right?


Here’s to hoping my walks up and down the steep hill to my karate dojo even out a few of those pints of Mexican chocolate! Probably not, I really should limit to one a week.

While I’ve been indulging like I’m on vacation or something, this is no vacation. This past work week was downright stressful and frustrating. We are under-staffed, and I’m feeling overworked, underpaid, and under-appreciated, more so than ever before. My patience has been tested repeatedly, and I’m just drained at the end of the work day.

This is all the more reason why I haven’t left the house much, the quiet alone time here gives me the space I need to re-charge so I can face the world again next time I step outside. Plus, that blissful feeling of coming home after work, opening a beer, plopping down on the couch, and binge-watching past seasons of the Amazing Race on the large flat-screen until midnight seduces me even more into staying put rather than going out and about, even on my days off work.

Because the little things, guys, the little things.

I am such a homebody. And it’s just plain easier to be a homebody when you live alone.

Not all productivity is lost though, even with the Amazing Race playing on in the background. There is a lot of my own work happening from this cozy couch! I’ve been studying bookkeeping tutorials online, researching and plotting out some upcoming backpacking trips for the summer, and well, what you see right here… writing it out.

I am savoring the little things in the present, building my future, and not regretting the past.

P.S. And Erica, if you’re reading this from Down Under, rest assured that your apartment will be cleaner than when you left it. You like Celtic music right? Well, it’s on your Pandora now! :) 


  1. This post made me feel so cozy! Love it. And MAN that ice cream looks good! So glad you are treating yourself and appreciating the simple things. I have been doing the same thing here, even though we planned to have moved on by now. A movie, a book, a walk, opening the door to listen to the birds, and LOTS of icecream!
    Wishing you more of the good stuff, Sam, you definitely deserve it.

    1. Thanks Sarah and right back at you! YES to ice cream! And smoothies too! My solution to everything right now :) Not to last forever as I don’t want to have to change pants sizes anytime soon, but I’ll take it for now.

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