January 2015.

Here we are! Another new year. Another time when one usually thinks, “ah! time for a fresh start!” Another set of pressures to actually take that ‘fresh start.’ Another load of possibilities. Another new year.


It feels strange to measure time in years because I think that forces you to lose the appreciation for each day, however, at the same time, I understand why we do it. It’s hard not to when the calendar always resets itself and you live January 15th after January 15th after January 15th. I heard a great quote recently that was something along the lines of; “your life is really only 10 minutes long. when you look back at it, really, it’s only 10 minutes. so what are you going to do with those 10 minutes?”

I agree with that but have trouble with it at the same time.

I guess in the end, time is what you make of it. I think if I try to appreciate every day for the little things – the fresh baked banana bread, the new bottle of lotion in the middle of winter that smells like the ocean, the cuddles with your kitties during your morning coffee – then when I look back on my 10 minutes, I will feel pleased with it all.



… I’m not really sure what I’m getting at… but I’ll see if I can find my point before too long 🙂

It feels like the blink of an eye since I walked back in this house from my life in New Zealand, but when I look at the calendar, I see that it’s been nearly 6 months already. Half of a year. There is snow outside in Minnesota. And I’ve gotten word that it’s a bit unseasonably warm in Nelson.

In those 6 months I’ve really taken a look at why I went to New Zealand. Not why I picked New Zealand as a destination, but why I did the trip in the first place. Why did I need to do this? What was I leaving behind? What did I expect to gain in going? What do I need to confront now that I’m back? What is my next move towards happiness? While I’ve been able to answer some of these, I haven’t answered them all. Some of these are buried deep but I’m not giving up. I’ve been working quite hard towards a happier and healthier Jess.

At the same time I’ve been doing this, I’ve certainly felt the itch to travel again. If I was really honest with myself, I think that itch was there the minute I got back. Sorry family, I love you to pieces and Minnesota will always feel like home, but the world is big! REAL big!


So despite the long story, I think the point of this is that I’m making more exciting things happen for me! I’m headed out again in just 5.5 weeks. yikes! At this juncture I’m leaving the states behind at the start of March and going with just a few of my absolutely amazing family members to a place off the coast of Portugal that yields search results like these:

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 12.12.05 PM

Um yes please!

And from there? Once they head back to the states i’m … uh… not 100% positive. Eventually in April I plan to go to Italy? And I am really, really interested in getting to Spain (where I am excited to dust off some very old Spanish!!) and then … ? Then somehow/sometime I’m getting back to the states – likely at or right around June 1st. It’s pretty amazing how many question marks I have in my plans at this juncture. After starting my morning with my favorite inspirational book on the planet, I decided to sink myself into the depths of the internet to attempt to ‘plan.’ And now I’m feeling crazy overwhelmed by my 3 bazillion options, feel like I need to start a ‘bucket list’ for JUST Europe and am tempted to get a beer to just chill.the.f.out.

But it will all work itself out. It always does. Maybe I’ll end up taking the night train from Rome to Paris to then fly to Reykjavik? Ok! And maybe I’ll wind up on the beaches of Granada watching some crazy cat lady’s 20 cats. I’ll take that too. What about painting shabby chic chairs outside Toulouse? Perfect!

As anyone who has attempted to be a faithful follower of the Chocolate Moose Images blog knows, I’m not consistent with my writing. I so so SOOOO wish I was!! Maybe if I keep doing traveling I’ll have more desire to put things in words… ? Ha I bet that’s wishful thinking. Sorta like, “if only I had that fancy, new pair of running shoes. THEN i would run!”

… I know I am not alone in THAT sentiment!

So anyways, the second point I believe I am trying to spit out is that

A. there will be more travel photography on here.

B. there will likely be MORE travel photography on my instagram account [@chocomooseimages].

C. there will be ANIMALS on both 🙂

D. I really really REALLY hope to get all the AMAZING animals that I’ve worked with in the last 6 months on the blog before I leave the country. You and your people are all so excellent you deserve some time in the blog sun 🙂

E. anyone who has made it this far [both in this post and at this point in my life] is FANTASTIC! thank you for sticking with me and finding what i have to say somewhat entertaining or engaging or maybe just downright wacky you can’t turn away…


I think now is a good time to stop talking, do more searching and MAYBE make some decisions … the more I think about the cats in Granada, the chairs in Toulouse and the Rome-Paris-Reykjavik ideas, the more I want to make them happen.