Backpacking Through Europe-

Backpacking Through Europe-

In July I will be going on a backpacking trip through Europe. I am looking for some advice from people who have gone before or suggestions from readers who live in Europe…any suggestions of places to stay, places to eat or places to see…even treasured cities to visit. Major cities/countries I will be hitting include. Dublin- London- Amsterdam- Belgium- Prague- Germany- Barcelona- Paris -Venice- Italy- Switzerland -Open to others as well. If you have any light to shed on the trip for me please let me know. I will be traveling with 2 girlfriends. we are flexible and spontaneous. 42 days long for the trip.

Dating: Is there a standard timeline?

When people begin to date somebody many questions go through a persons mind. We look at the person we are dating and we ask ourselves, “are we wasting our time or can this relationship work out”? we ask, ” Are we compatible, can I marry this person someday?” These are a couple questions that go into starting a relationship. My opinion is that if I cant see the relationship going anywhere, I will stop it before it starts so that nobody wastes their time. Any relationship that you end up in will end up in marriage/commitment, or a breakup. It is inevitable. When you are into a dating relationship it is easy to put timelines on certain things or set up guidelines. To make the decision that you are going to wait 6 months until your first kiss or to say that you cant get to know somebody and who they really are until after the first 6 months is a fallacy. it changes with every person you date. I do believe that time does tell, but I also believe that it should never be cookie cutter and that each scenario is relevant to each person. You should not determine that you will not marry somebody until a certain number of months have passed or till specific guidelines have been met. You are limiting fate. We think it is crazy when people get married after 6 months and we tell them that it is too soon to know the person. But really, who are we to decide another’s trust level with another person. 

An example would be, if two people are dating for 6 months and they see each other 2 times a week for dinner and they are in an exclusive dating relationship they will take a while to get to know each other.  If two people meet and go on two dates and plan a trip together, if they go away on a cruise for a week, they are having breakfast, lunch, and dinner together, as well as staying the night with each other and spending the in-between times together that is the equivalent of how close the other couple has gotten in their dating of several months. Both spend equal amounts of time together but the trust milestones will be different. The couple that spent a solid week together will be as close and bonded as the couple who has been dating for 6 months……if the couple who went on a vacation together gets married sooner, society may say that is too soon to know somebody, but; Is it?

In a relationship there are certain trust milestones. At a certain point when you feel comfortable with a person you start to divulge information that you keep a secret from society. When you start to trust somebody enough to talk about these things, your walls begin to come down and you begin bonding. That is the trust process. Trust is crucial to any relationship. With two different people there could be two separate timelines for when those trust milestones are acheived. does that mean that you are “more destined” to be with one person rather than the other, no. All it means is that the timeline of trust barrier breakdowns is different. That is why it is important to not hold yourself back or set a timeline in relationships. Each person you meet will be different. And NOBODY will ever be perfect for you. There will finally be one person who you can learn to compromise with and build a future. There will never be anybody that is perfect for you. That is a myth and it is not realistic. That delays so many relationships because we build this fassad of looking for the perfect match. When you love somebody, you have to compromise and sacrifice because true love is sacrifice.  Key points: don’t judge any relationship but your own, don’t limit yourself; have fun. Enjoy the process. The best person to ask advice from is yourself. You will know better than any of your friends what is best for your own life. 


HUFFINGTON POST: Taking Back The Pen Is a Dawn of Hope for Detroit

For those who asked for the link to the article…here is the article published on the Huffington post about my autobiography I published: This was written by a man from NYC that I met briefly in Detroit, who went home read my book and sent out this article: 


“There is not a lot of good news coming out of Detroit these days. The city is wrestling with bankruptcy, unemployment remains high, morale is low, and there is a growing uncertainty about the city’s future.

There is, however, one person who is walking testimony that hope and tenacity trump adversity no matter how far down the scale you, or a city, have fallen. That person is Rachel Dawn, author of Taking Back The Pen: Resiliency Amidst Life’s Predestinated Storyline.

A few weeks back, I happened to meet her while seated at the bar of the Westin Book Cadillac hotel in downtown Detroit. I was rummaging through some emails on my BlackBerry when she commented, “Why so serious?”

At first her lighthearted comment struck me as peculiar. If you look outside the window of the bar, you can see the boarded up buildings across the street. Given the solemn mood in the city, I thought to myself, “She must be from out of town.”

But when I asked her where she lived, she happily proclaimed, “I’m from Detroit, born and raised.” If that comment surprised me, her response to my next question — “What do you do for a living?” — astonished me.

“I’m an author. I wrote an autobiography. I was born to a drug-addicted prostitute and was homeless for most of my life. The book is about overcoming life’s obstacles.”

There are a few times in life when you are truly humbled. For me, this was one of those moments.

Taking Back The Pen is an incredible story about Rachel’s tenacity to overcome adversity. What most people would call Hell, she called home for most of her life.

Her biological mother was a heroin addict and prostitute. Her biological father was a member of a biker gang. She was separated from both parents at age four. Her foster parents repeatedly abused her, physically and emotionally.

With each passing chapter, her hardships grow worse. Rachel’s biological brother, Brian, the only person she trusted in life, was shot and killed in a carjacking. She almost died in a bicycle accident that severely traumatized her brain. For most of her adolescence, she lived on the streets, in a van. And her marriage, the only bright spot in her life, ended in divorce.

Many people have hardships, but what makes this book so inspiring is Rachel’s attitude. Her comment to me, “Why so serious?” speaks volumes about her positive outlook on life. As a 24-year old, she courageously chooses to embrace her past and turn her obstacles into opportunities and her adversity into an advertisement for personal triumph.

Despite the incredible odds against her, she has not only survived but has thrived in her new life. She put herself through college, self-published a book and today is a registered nurse. Most noteworthy is her desire to fill the remaining chapters of her life by helping other people who similarly face extreme adversity.

The thesis of her autobiography is that you have the power to turn around your life, no matter how dire your circumstances may appear. You are not responsible for the environment in which you were born or raised, but you do have the power to write the rest of your story.

Rachel’s turnaround in life is nothing short of miraculous. For anyone who suffers from depression, addiction, abuse or some other calamity, this is a must-read book about the human spirit and how resiliency and faith in something greater than yourself can change any difficult storyline, including a city’s.

As she can attest, it is always darkest before the dawn.”

John Stimpson lives in New York City.

Here is the link to my book: Taking Back The Pen


Article copied from the huffpost website: