Quidditch Changed My Life

I get told, if I had to guess, around ten times a week how weird or nerdy I am by the kids at work. This is undoubtedly due to my unashamed love of all things Disney and the fact that when the girls watch Disney movies, I know all of the words. I also talk about Albus…a lot. Some girls have even started asking how he’s doing every now and then. But with all my love for Disney and cats, there is one thing that my true nerd spirit holds dear.

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Harry Potter is the series that brought the creative part of myself out of my shell. It’s the first world I really escaped into and one of the few I feel at home with. I seriously can’t count the number of times I’ve read these books. That doesn’t even take into account the number of times that I’ve listened to the books as well (I just started Prisoner of Azkaban yesterday). As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t like music that much right now, so I turn to audiobooks. Even though I’ve read and heard the story so many times, it is just as much of an engaging story as the first time I read it.

So it wasn’t a surprise to any of my friends or family when I joined my college’s club quidditch team.

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Coming in as one of those fan-girl Harry Potter loving nerds, I was pleased to find just how physical the game is. If anyone were to ask my mom, she would tell them that she has never seen me be more competitive than when I was on the quidditch pitch. I would definitely have to agree. I’ve played plenty of sports in my life and did well. However, being on this team of misfits has been more fun than all of my sports experiences combined.

Not only that, but the quidditch community as a whole is simply amazing. I’ve met several wonderful people through traveling for tournaments and even doing some summer fantasy tournaments. Being a co-ed, full contact sport makes an even playing field for male and female players in that all are treated the same and follow the same rules. This, I feel, helped add to the overall family feeling because it wasn’t a sport aimed towards any kind of specific person. There were several people on the team who had never read the Harry Potter books or seen the movies.

When I first started at Lock Haven University, I was a lonely transfer student with no friends in the area and my cats were three hours away. I was in kind of a dark place after my last college experience, so I was nervous about starting new. I got lucky, though, that one of my first roommates became one of my closest friends.

I attended the club fair that is a college staple everywhere and saw three hoops in the distance. I didn’t stop at any other table. I beelined right for it and saw a group of students tossing around a volleyball. They were all extremely friendly and genuinely excited at my interest in the club. After that, my dark place slowly faded away as I was welcomed into this family.

I use the word family to describe the team a lot because that is exactly how I see them. Just about all of us have graduated and new, young players are carrying on what those before me built and what we all helped to grow and sustain. I may not talk to all of them on any kind of regular basis, but I know if I were to see them, it would be easy to fall back into conversation as if I had just seen them the day before. Some I do talk to quite often and some I consider my closest, truest friends.

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Photo credit on watermarked photos belongs to Isabella Gong Photography

Remember that fantasy fiction trilogy I mentioned…well that close friend co-author of mine is none other than my best friend, Zach. Without this team, he and I would never have met and would never have become basically siblings.

My parents were very supportive of the quidditch team and treated them like family as well. My mom even drove Zach about 5 hours from a tournament to his family because his nose had been broken. They traveled to almost every tournament, even though it meant spending money on hotels, gas, and sometimes event tickets. But they loved seeing how happy I was out on the field and were happy to make the trip to see me at my best.

Not going to lie, there were ups and downs with the team just like any other family. At times it was so stressful that I debated quitting. There were so many internal couples that it was hard to keep up at times. But my love for the sport and my love for my team kept me going. Any drama that had happened was settled eventually and I can easily say that I am on good terms with everyone from the team. Being with them taught me so much about myself as a human being and a lot about who I want to be going forward. They took me in as a lonely transfer student with no one and helped me transform into an almost whole adult.

I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be where I am today, as cliché as that sounds, without this group of people. They showed me that anything is possible and it’s okay to struggle because those who love you will always be there. I gained so much confidence in myself while I was a part of LHU Quidditch and I wouldn’t trade my time with them for anything.

To any of my teammates who may be reading this, thank you for being fucking awesome. I love you guys more than you know!

Until next time!

Love always,

Caitie♥

New Life Goal: Van Life

For a couple of years now, I have been obsessed with tiny homes. I’d watch all the shows on TV, look up videos on YouTube, and find stuff on Pinterest. My favorite ones to look at were those that could be towed and moved wherever you felt like living.

I liked the idea that I wouldn’t have to live in any given place for an extended amount of time. I mean, how am I supposed to decide where I want to live for the rest of my life when I haven’t seen even a quarter of the possibilities? The more I looked into tiny home living, the more options I saw. One day, I stumbled upon van life. The thought of having a van with my whole life in it, giving me the freedom to pull off into some parking lot to sleep before moving on to my next great destination gets me so excited for this next stage of my life.

I think maybe subconsciously I knew I wanted a more nomadic lifestyle a long time ago. It just took recent events in my life to give me the push and courage to really go for it. I am fully aware that this will be a year or two long process and I’m pretty sure my mom thinks I’m just kidding or going through a quarter life crisis kind of thing. This very well may be a quarter life crisis but I can’t think of a better way to focus my motivation than working towards my dream lifestyle. Better for me to do it now than when I’m 50 and consumed by regret.

I’m 25 now and already carry regret. But while there are aspects of my life I regret, out of every bad situation, there’s come something good. Whether it be in finding new close friends that I’ll have for life or adopting a cat, I’ve always managed to find something positive.

Moving on back to living in a van…

Most of the people I’ve told about this plan think I’m crazy. Maybe I am, but I’ll be a crazy cat lady on the road. Most of them, I’m sure, think it’s a random idea that will work its way out of my system after a bit. But I have never felt so sure of something before in my life. I’ve done a lot of research into what it means and takes to live on the road in such a small space. I currently have a lot of shit, so downsizing is definitely necessary. I also know that van life will not be all sunshine and pretty views.

One thing that I am like 93% sure of is that I want to self-build my own van. In doing that, I want to try to use as much as I already have in the build. For instance, I have a chest of drawers 20180328_081001with a top that lifts open. In that top section, I can fit my makeup and there is a mirror on the underside of the lid. I THINK that I can dwindle my clothing down to fit in that piece (not including sweaters/wintery items). I also have a nightstand that I Harry Potter-ized that I would really like to keep as well because of how cool it turned out. In addition to those, I already have a nice mini fridge.

I have a very particular layout and design in mind when I picture my dream van and the only way I can get that is if I do it myself. I would obviously need some help with the harder stuff like electrical and water hook-ups. I want my van to be able to go completely off-grid. I’m talking solar panels, back up batteries, maybe even a water filter system if the price is right, that way I can take water from any source if need be.

Money is a crucial topic to this project, especially since I am firm on aspects I want in my van. It is going to take a lot of saving between now and the next year or two. A huge part going towards a van. I don’t mind if I have some sort of payment on the van because I don’t want a super old one with a ton of miles on it. But that would just add onto my need to have a job on the road, which is definitely necessary thanks to my college education. What I would ideally like to do is find a remote job doing work such as transcribing or freelance/content writing. Now would probably be a good time to mention that I’ve been working on a fantasy fiction trilogy with a co-author/one of my best friends. So if that takes off, it could prove helpful. Also, even though this blog is more of a therapeutic outlet, I know it can prove to be profitable if done well. Even if I only make a small amount from it, every little bit helps.

I am 100% positive that I want to have in my van is some sort of shower. Not an outdoor one, either and it doesn’t have to be your stereotypical shower. I have found a bunch of different and unique options for a shower in a camper van. I also want a toilet. I would take advantage of public bathrooms when possible, but if I’m camped out somewhere, I’m not a fan of getting out in the middle of the night to do my business in nature.

Another aspect that will play a huge part in the layout is Albus. I want to catify the shit out of the van. My biggest fear with this life shift is Albus. He currently does not enjoy the car. However, the main place he’s ever gone in a car is the vet and no pet likes that. So currently he nervous drools a lot when he goes in the car. However, on the 7 hour drive from Massachusetts, he did very well. He only drooled for about ten minutes then curled up either in my lap or in the back seat. His vet prescribed him some kitty sized Prozac and said that would help him relax in the car. I’ve also found this pheromone travel spray for cats that is supposed to help reduce stress while traveling. I’ve only tried it once so it’s hard to give it a review. While I worry about Albus adjusting to van life, I also think of how much he loves being outside and what an adventurous personality he has. I had him outside yesterday on his harness and I pictured taking him all over the country exploring. I also have a vision of having a ‘catio’ attached to the side of the van so he can get some fresh air even when I have to stay in the van to work.

This is just the beginning of what I hope will be an amazing journey. If you have ever or currently or dream to have a van life journey, I would love to hear from you! Drop a comment below!  Until next time!

Love always,

Caitie♥