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  • Life List #115: Eat beignets from Café Du Monde in New Orleans.

    Life List #115: Eat beignets from Café Du Monde in New Orleans.

      When you think of New Orleans you might think of The French Quarter, Bourbon Street, Mardi Gras, streetcars, jazz…and, of course, food. New Orleans is, after all, known for so many iconic...

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  • Amorphophallus titanum - corpse flower - at Volunteer Park Conservatory in Seattle, Washington.

    Five Days in Seattle

    I’d been to Seattle three times before. The first time, in 2009, I did everything my guidebook told me to do there. The second, in 2011, I explored for a few hours between a train from Vancouver...

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  • HOPE Outdoor Gallery in Austin, Texas.

    On Austin. And hope.

    A few weeks ago, I had a day. A day where I was both upset over something and excited about something and my emotions were all over the place. And all I kept thinking, all that day, was, “I need...

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  • Haul of vegetables from Green City Market

    August Alive.

    Things have started getting better. I’ve started feeling better. I’ve started feeling more alive again. Of course, when I’m feeling good, when I’m feeling alive, I tend to go o...

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I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.


Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
Val Bromann - Choosing FIgs

Hi, I'm Val. I spent most of my 20s in a standstill, unable to pick which path in life I wanted to take. I wanted the nomadic life of a traveler but also wanted the husband, the condo, and the kitten named Bacon. Unable to decide which life I wanted more, I did nothing. When I turned 30 I’d had enough of putting my life on hold and decided to start “choosing my figs.” So, I quit my job and bought a one-way ticket to Europe. After 3 years on the road I’m back in Chicago, exploring the city, decorating my apartment in too much teal, and planning my next adventure. Learn more.

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Where do you want to go?

My life list. What have I checked off? What do YOU want to check off?