'wanderer, there is no path, the path is made by walking. we're all wanderers in life.' -spanish poet, antonio machado

Monday, May 24, 2010

bienvenidos a valencia...

This was my office in Valencia. Unreal, huh?!

A couple of months ago I was playing the Valencia vs. Lisbon game. Valencia won. I was initially a little bit worried...a bit of buyer's remorse flowing through my veins post-ticket purchase. But, I can honestly say Valencia, Spain has been cemented as one of my absolute favourite holidays thus far. There is something about the Mediterranean beach culture that makes it just reek of good vibes. It suits me. For so many reasons. I don't know...maybe it's because I was embarking on unknown territory, never having taken a true beach holiday where I just chilled out like this. Maybe it was the people I travelled with, met and interacted with. I recently came across this quote, 'chemistry happens when people interact' and felt like it really summarized this trip and the people I met. Wow. The things people have experienced...the challenges people have tackled. Seriously impressive.

The latest travels brought many questions to my mind about what career adventures I may tackle next...and further down the road, and also reminded me how both scared and excited I am to be moving on to something new (and of course, how super-psyched I am to be getting married to the most amazing man I could ever dream of marrying!). Change. Zmena.

I'll make sure to jump on here in the next couple of days with more stories and images, but for now, I just wanted to wet your palette a little bit. For those of you looking for a change of pace...head to Valenthia (oops, Valencia ;)). Buyer's remorse no more.

Muchos Besos,


Sunday, May 16, 2010

i got hen'd in praha

the weekend in review:
thursday: try to sleep more than the avg 5 hours in order to prep for weekend
friday: hen party. wear ridiculous(ly amazing) props imported from states, including a corona beer hat. dance with table of gay men (who informed me that getting married was a bad idea...until they saw the picture of my custom-designed dress. typical.). dance a lot. sleep very little.
saturday: my birthday. eat an incredible brekkie, work, try to nap (to no avail). get ready for round 2: birthday outing with lo and tal. eat indian food. dance even more than the previous night. laugh loads. sleep very little. again.
sunday: my bro's 30th birthday. try to sleep (to no avail). suffer from stomach ache from indian food the previous day. pack for valencia. meet bro for lunch. leave for 7-day valencia holiday. bliss.

net result: very little sleep. loads of laughs and dancing. and, of course, one very blessed gal!

love, me

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I can't sleep...

...so I am telling my mind to 'give peace a chance' per this John Lennon wall inspiration wall I received the other day while on my Mala Strana walk.

Lately so many things have been on my mind...namely the changes associated with leaving one place I love and heading back to another place I love. During these transitions, it is always very difficult for me, as I tend to dive in and become fully engrained in my surroundings. Sure, it's great that I am adaptable and have a passion for exploration and new cultures, but it also makes leaving just a tad bit (okay, not just a 'tad') emotionally-taxing for me. Hence, the reason I am awake now, and have been since 5am.

I honestly believe I have the most scattered thoughts of most people I know. At any given moment I am thinking about hundreds of different topics and therefore my sense of direction is sometimes off (we all know I am absolutely terrible with directions) and my to-do lists become insanely-and-utterly-stupidly lengthy. This is what keeps me up at night.

Sad to go...happy to be going. It's an internal dilemma consuming my thoughts right now. At this particular moment I am thinking about:

_how amazing it will be to be with my fiance in a few short weeks,
_adequately marketing Mosaic House, the new property we're opening (went by for a site visit yesterday and was BLOWN AWAY by its essence-of-cool surroundings)
_continuing to market the existing three properties effectively, transitioning work to my awesome colleagues and the amazing new 'me' (Shannon, who is also from Minnesota with an agency background!),
_trying to enjoy the remainder of my time here with some holidays (Valencia this weekend...hopefully I won't have to work while away),
_planning my 'super' wedding and working with my Czech designer to create 8 dresses, 8 boleros, 1 veil, 1 handbag and 1 tie,
_readying my mind to head back home away from all of my ultra-amazing friends in Prague, packing (not quite sure how I am going to do this)
_departure from the nomadic lifestyle I've been living,
_trying to enjoy myself and take in the city and the European way of life for just a tad bit longer, _preparing myself for a shift in environment and mindset and culture,
_readying myself for the job search, flat-hunt and settling in to a new pace of life,
_and more.

Change. It's what this blog is all about, right?! I guess I wouldn't be here right now, at this second, if it weren't for the joys and woes and beauty associated with it. So, I'll say a big 'Na Zdravi' to 'Zmena'.

On top of all of this, I turn 27 this weekend. What happened to time?! I swear it was just yesterday that I was seven-years-old, running around our country home without a shirt or a care in the world, singing (awful voice back then too) and dancing (oh yes!), unaware of what life would be like when I was 27. I know, I know...27 is young (it's the new 17, right?! ;) I was told the other night - again - that I blend right in with my 19/20-year-old travelling peers. Yes!), but time flies. And, I'm having fun.

I'm happy. I'm blessed. I'm in love. Now all I need is for my mind to...give peace a chance.



Sunday, May 9, 2010

'mom magic'

Okay, so yes - I am stealing my brother's blog post today, but I just couldn't resist...because it is just THAT good. I couldn't have said it better (I never would have imagined I'd say this;)), bro.

Many of you know that it has been very difficult for me to keep in contact with my family (and specifically my mother) while I've been in Prague and this has not been easy for me. An ocean, and thousands of miles, have set us apart...yet I still seem to feel my mother's love. Tonight I was able to talk for my mom and I was reminded (as if I needed a reminder) of just how special she is. Her love and generosity was flowing across the ocean and thousands of miles and just so beautifully enveloped me, as one of her big hugs would. How did she do that?! It's mom magic...something that only mothers could do. Thank you for your magic, mom.

Thank you, mother, for being a constant source of love, support, encouragement and strength for me. I am blessed to call you my mother and...finally (after so many years)...my friend. I love you.

p.s. Oh, and thank you, brother, for writing such beautiful words and allowing me to recycle your eloquently stated post. You are incredible.




Posted By zharrod on May 9th, 2010

Happy MOM’s day to every Mom out there, but especially to my Rock Star, Diva of a mom, Kate Harrod! Below is one of my fav pics of my mom!


So here is my Mom’s Day post for you Kate Harrod!

I pray you have a great day and know that your kids one-third of the world away from you miss you and adore you so much!

Thanks for everything you have done for you us and will do for us!

As I was thinking about you this morning, I thought of many things about you that have insprired me (or us) in our lives, so I thought I shared them with you and the two readers of zACHhARROD.com! Mom, thank you for inspiring us to…
…put our whole hearts into anything we did!
…not be afraid of emotions. It’s okay to cry.
…be in touch with our roots, your roots.
…travel. My mom would take us kids with her to her midwifery conferences all over North America. I think this is where her kids’ travel bug came from. (So mom, I guess , in some ways, it’s kind of on you that we live overseas!;-) Thank you for taking us with you!)
…work hard.
…never quit.
…be good citizens, even if we voted differently than you voted!
…never settle for mediocrity.
…strive to excellence in all do!
…make the most of what we have.
…love learning.
…be more than the status-quo.
…and much, much more….

I love you so much Mom! Thank you for everything you are and more over thank you for being my friend! Happy Mom’s Day!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

'the nature'

I'm heading into 'the nature' with my beautiful Czech friend, Lucie, for the weekend. Her family's cottage is on the German/Czech border and it is absolutely serene and gorgeous down there. I am blessed to have Lucie in my life and I am blessed to be here! One month from today I will be heading back to the States after nearly 1.5 years of living and working in Prague. A bit surreal. I am so blessed to have had this opportunity, and for all of the stunning people I've met and experiences I've had. I am excited to spend this time with Lucie, one of my very best gals here, this weekend in 'the nature' (very Czech of me:))...reflecting on the past, enjoying the present and looking forward to new beginnings in the future.



Sunday, May 2, 2010

a little follow-up...

...I want to make sure I took a few minutes to follow-up on the (very passionate) blog post I wrote the other day.

The other night I was challenged by my (sweet) fiance about what I had written. He posed a question to me something along the lines of, 'So, are you saying that everyone should take a gap year? There is a reason that the traditional path is is around and there's a reason why most people take it...it must work if it is the conventional path.' Interesting. And so we entered into a (sort of) heated dialogue about this notion...a dialogue that prompted me to write this little follow-up on my blog post.

Although somewhat frustrated upon hearing this, I am glad Tom challenged me, as now I am able to elaborate a bit more on my feelings and why I have taken this stance. Just as I don't believe the path of convention is right for everyone, of course I don't believe that gap year or study abroad travels are right for everyone. A one-size-fits-all approach to teaching our young people is not the way to go. I don't feel the need to back the current way things are done throughout the States because it is already being done this way and I don't believe significant change or a shift in behaviour would occur if I approached it this way.

As I said, I learned heaps of amazing lessons from the corporate world and was given great opportunities...but they weren't necessarily the right opportunities for me. Regardless, they steered me into the direction I am going today (bitter taste or no bitter taste) and that is what matters. My hope is to reach young people with this message before they experience it themselves, and waste years of their life or end up unhappy down a path that wasn't meant for them in the first place. That's it (or not 'it' as it is a large undertaking, I suppose).

The more I talk to people about this idea, the more stories I hear about how necessary something like this is, and how travel and experiences have shaped their lives. From starting a medical practice in the bush of Africa to two southern Italians travelling around South America in a small, beat-up car (www.movingslowly.com), I've heard stories that have moved me and brought tears to my eyes. It's incredible what kind of things people do, if given the exposure to new opportunities. And that's really what it is all about...exposure. If we at least give children exposure to many different life paths, it's up to them whether or not they choose to follow the path of convention or take the path less travelled.

Who knows?! Before you know it, the path of convention may end up changing and the path less travelled may become more travelled, and eyes of our young people - students and young professionals alike - may very well become more open to new experiences too. Let's just hope.

Here's to change, or 'zmena' (how appropriate),