I'm Tara.

I'm just a silly little girl who likes to go places and tell her silly little stories.

SLK documents the adventures I've had across 5 continents & who I've become on my journeys. 

You can read my full story here!

more than lukewarm

more than lukewarm

It's so ridiculous that I'm even writing this post. However, given the reaction to my last journal, I felt it was necessary. Which is, again, ridiculous. There's so much of my life I don't share on SLK. I have to have bits of privacy for myself!?! I think sometimes people forget about the sacred parts of a person when they have an online existence, however meager it may be. I have a life not shared on a computer screen that's incredibly full, filled with relationships you need know nothing about. Moments kept close to my A-cup chest. Simply put: it's none of your business really, is it?! 

I've received comment after comment, direct messages, and even a few e-mails {why though?!} about Luke. Who is this mysterious British lad with a face like Hugh Laurie and a penchant for rap music? Are we? Aren't we? Will you ever find out?! If you're asking me every personal post in the comments about Luke, you're too invested. 

And yet, in saying that, I'm writing this because I understand your interest. Luke is someone to get invested in. I do understand why you, the few people reading this, want to know what's going on in his life and if he's still a part of mine. 

Luke and Touk were my best friends in Laos. Touk, who I wrote about here, was someone I was particularly close with for a lot of personal reasons as well as working next to her every single day to achieve what we hoped for the Women's Empowerment Project. Plus, we traveled together. Luke is someone I wrote about less than Touk, but he's not any less important. 

Upon arrival into Laos, I was greeted by the handsome, familiar face that belonged to Luke. I never told him, but I am so glad he picked me up that day. It was too good to see him. It had been a year since we volunteered together and I had just arrived from a long, emotional journey from London. Of course, in typical Tara fashion, I muffed our greeting up. He stretched out his arms for a hug and I looked up at him, a little numb from the journey, and the first words to come out of my mouth were, "They lost my bags." We laughed about it later. No "Thank you, Luke, for taking time out of your day to pick me up!" No "It's so good to see you after so long!" I kicked off our friendship with a shrug and "they lost my bags." Sometimes I out-awkward even myself. 

And, trust me, Luke has witnessed the most awkward moments in the Tara playbook. A few post-workday meltdowns. Me eating 4 tacos savagely while everyone else nibbles away at 2 like civilized humans. That time I threw up purple sticky rice after too much wine and then locked him out of my room so he couldn't see me like that. Catching me watching a documentary in full face mask {the least desirable}. Experiencing a handshake even I am embarrassed about, and that is saying something. But being around him so much of the time made me incredibly comfortable in my own skin, even in moments when I was the ultimate 'uncool' girl. With the handshake being an exception. 

Luke isn't a 'share-er' the way I am. A lot of the time we'd hang out, laughing while watching Atlanta or HarmonQuest {sometimes Black Mirror} and I'd talk way more than he would. That guy listen. One night, not long after I'd arrived, dramatically pondering my own life, Luke listened to me talk about personal stuff I'm positive he was uncomfortable hearing. It all came out like word vomit. I didn't even hesitate. And he just sat on my bed with me and listened like an absolute champ. 

He's more than meets the eye. So much more. He cares about people and culture and strives for self-improvement. He makes me laugh. Mostly at him, but also with him. He's got a million quirks and he surprised me almost every single day in Laos. Every new layer I unveiled felt special. Like I was earning getting to know him.

Luke writes a blog called, 'A Lukewarm Existence,' which puzzles me because his life is much more than lukewarm. Giving your time to help in places like Zambia, India, Thailand, and Laos seems to be the very opposite of lukewarm. If anything, it's operating a life in very real places for truly noble reasons. His existence is more than lukewarm. And, even though he writes the most formal What's App messages {I'm working on it}, he's a very real human being. 

So, what does any of this mean to you, those who continually comment for information? Are we secretly dating? Is Luke 'the one'? Did we quietly elope in Nong Khiaw?! Ha. First, no. Secondly, Luke doesn't need to be my boyfriend to be an important person in my life. Laos without Luke would have been seriously lacking. And, you're all right. He is THE guy. The guy any girl would be so lucky to have as a partner. The guy who makes you laugh and dances in the hallway and buys you flowers on your birthday. He could easily be 'the one' for the right girl. The girl he's as mad about as reading Reddit first thing in the morning. The point is this: his worth isn't determined by his name appearing in my writing.

And my worth isn't determined by how we're associated. 

I wish those who read this blog would understand that my documented experience aren't made more significant by who I'm dating. Life is always a bit extra rich when shared with special people, sure. But who I've become, the things I've seen, what I've done, the words I write...they aren't the makings of a T.V. show. The people I write about aren't characters. They're the loves of my life. The individuals I share my offline world with. There's no Romeo and I'm not Juliet. The credits don't roll after a spicy kiss in a humid hallway in a foreign country. It sounds glamorous. It's not though, I promise. 

People forget that I'm a seriously regular, even boring girl. I don't live in a romantic comedy where the boy plays music on a boombox outside my window. Sometimes, people need reminding that this space is just bits of my super ordinary life. 

One made up of handshakes + purple sticky rice vomit.

how to do NYC on a budget

how to do NYC on a budget

the road ahead

the road ahead