Valryland - My Lincoln Square Apartment

Living in between.

My new apartment and a new feeling of being "here."

For the past four months I’ve felt like I’ve been living in between. Living neither here nor there.

At the end of October, after over three years of living nomadically, I “finished” my travels, flew back to Chicago on a one-way ticket, and accepted a full-time job.

Making plans for decorating my new apartment after living in between for so long...

Making plans for decorating my new apartment…

But, in the four months since, I haven’t really been “here.” Not yet. I was living in a friend’s spare bedroom. I was living off of a designated shelf in the cupboard, a designated shelf in the fridge, a borrowed bed, a borrowed pillow, a borrowed towel. All of my things were still in storage at my mom’s. I couldn’t join a gym because I had no idea what part of the city I’d end up in (and, let’s face it, the only way you’d get me to a gym is if it’s convenient to home). I couldn’t shop for furniture because I didn’t know if I’d end up in a one bedroom or a studio, if I could splurge on a queen bed or would have to make due with a twin. I’d been wearing the same four dresses and one pair of boots everyday, still living out of a backpack.



I was neither here nor there. I was neither traveling nor settled.

I was living in between.

And it was depressing.

Don’t get me wrong: I had a great living situation and am grateful to Katie for letting me stay with her (and her cats!). And I’ve actually loved working. I love my job. I love my company. I love my coworkers.

But I felt off and had little motivation for anything other then Netflix.

The whole situation made me feel like I was back in my twenties. In that state where I didn’t know what I wanted, what I was doing. When I didn’t travel and didn’t move and lived with my parents for way too long. When I cried way too often and did nothing but work, watch TV, and sleep.

But, at least, this time, it was only temporary.

I hope.


My Lincoln Square Apartment


This weekend I started moving into my new apartment. It’s a one bedroom in the Lincoln Square neighborhood of Chicago.

I’m living close to bars, restaurants, coffee shops, shopping, a gym, and public transportation.

It’s an old apartment, it’s a little crumbly, but I like it. There’s a lot of space. There are a lot of windows that bring in a lot of light. There are pink tiles in the bathroom. There are lots of closets waiting to be filled.


Pink bathroom in my Lincoln Square apartment


It’s a blank canvas that I’m excited to decorate just how I want.

I’ve already brought over everything I had with me. I’ve already bought some new things and made entirely too many trips to Target. I’ve even already ordered my perfect teal couch (though it will take at least 8 weeks to be delivered…)

I’m hoping that all of this brings me out of my funk. I’m hoping that I’ll finally start feeling settled because I will be settled. I’m hoping that I stop feeling like I’m living in between and more like I’m just living. That I’m here.

I’m hoping.



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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. 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, bought a one-way ticket to Europe, and traveled for three years. Now I'm back in Chicago, decorating my apartment in all the teal, petting my cats, and planning my next adventure.

  • Jen P
    March 4, 2015at11:07 am

    So which couch did you end up ordering?

  • Sid
    March 4, 2015at12:38 pm

    There’s something…i dunno…inflating about having your own space to shape as you see fit.

  • Erin
    March 4, 2015at12:21 pm

    You sold me on teal couch! 🙂 Can’t wait to see more pics — adorable place! I have to start moving into a new condo here in Belize because the one I’m in is selling and I’m dreading it. I hate moving, but reading your post may put me in a better mood about it. It’s sad though as most of my awesome furniture and all my Disney artwork are all back in CA in long term storage…it makes me wonder about moving back to the US at some point. :/

  • Priya
    March 4, 2015at5:55 pm

    I LOVE Lincoln Square! It’s one of my faves. Good on you for finally finding a place of your own!

  • Andy
    March 5, 2015at2:08 am

    What a neat looking place. Glad you are finally getting to find a place that you can have for yourself. Three years is a long time to live out of a backpack.

    As you know we are moving the end of the month to Berlin. It is a bit overwhelming too. All of the arrangements and packing and unpacking and signing up of things. And yet there is a anticipation to it that is cool. I’m looking forward to finially getting large canvas prints of some of out favorite travel pics for the wall. I’m looking forward (oddly) to having curtains and definitely to the bigger kitchen. Everything comes with good things and unpleasant things.
    And although we haven’t been dealing with it for 3 years, there is definitely that sense of finally settling in. We have been traveling through places since last September staying only a month at a time. And now even though we are technically home, it is still temporary for about that same month before moving. Every move made it feel like we were waiting. Waiting until we got to the next place for something to be different/better/whatever. I’m tired of waiting (like I’m sure you were) and just hope to settle into the new place.
    Once again, congrats on the place. Hope you get your couch soon.

  • Lindsay
    March 10, 2015at8:17 am

    Really lovely to meet you. I stumbled upon your blog after googling “things I’d like to learn” and I found your life list.

    Look forward to getting to know you better. 🙂


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