On this day, anybody and everybody is Irish.

“I went to America once.”

“Oh yeah, where’d you go? It’s a big country,” I said, stating the obvious in my jet-lagged state.

“VEGAS.” The eyes of my cab driver from the airport in Dublin lit up. “We went to an Irish pub,” he continued.

I try not to raise an eyebrow as I chuckle. “You came all the way from Ireland and ended up in a pub? An Irish one, no less?”

“Yes. As soon as I realized how expensive a pint was compared to back home though, I went in search of something different.”

Something different was the bar at Planet Hollywood. A bucket of Coors Lite for $10. I suppose that is quite American.

But what’s quite Irish, I wondered?

Dublin green door


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You came to Paris to fall in love. You just didn’t know it when you did.

For what does the city of love and light have to offer a solo traveler?

Love, and light.

Paris window

You stroll contemplatively. You have days where your only agenda is to go by a certain ice cream shop or pop in to a particular bookstore. You look up at the rows of structured buildings and admire the stretch of intricate, iron balconies placed delicately upon beige facades.

You pick one arrondissement and decide: this is your home for the next two weeks. You explore the neighborhood, find the cheapest place for wine in the evenings and cafe au lait in the mornings. The pâtissier begins to recognize you as the days pass slowly into evenings. You sit in parks and public squares and watch life and the city go by.

You dine alone for three hours, sit in a cafe with a glass or two or champagne, cherish three courses, and end with a cafe gourmand. No one rushes you. No one hassles you. You write in your journal or lose yourself in thought. And you enjoy every single minute.


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Or, Why You Should Go to Helsinki Just to Eat

As I pulled my chair in and inched my face closer to the microphone, I thought about what the Finns across from me, who happened to be the lovely people of Radio Helsinki, might ask me about why I was in Finland.

Sure enough, moments later we were live on air (my first live radio interview!) and as the hosts transitioned into English, they prompted the question I knew what coming: “What do you think of Helsinki?”

Helsinki's floating restaurant

I had only just arrived that morning. When asked if I was jet-lagged, I took a giant swig from my cup of Finnish coffee for dramatic effect. It was something like 3 am in California. I squinted as I sat there inaudibly, before answering the question.

“I’ve only just arrived, but it’s my first time in the country so I’m looking forward to experiencing this place,” I reply, feeling a surge of caffeine kick in.

“What expectations did you have for the city before you came?”

Without thinking, I answer abruptly: “Not really any, to tell you the truth.”

I get the impression it isn’t the first time they’ve heard this statement. So, I continue, “But I plan to get to know Helsinki through its food. I find it to be the best way to access a new culture and get a true sense of a place.”

What I don’t mention is that I also have no clue about what Finnish food is.


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The accidental discovery of French pharmacy beauty while traveling has completely changed my skin — and my perspective.

This is the story of a travel writer (aka not beauty blogger) who like many, loves visiting Paris and goes as often as possible. It’s the story of choosing a different arrondissement for each visit and making a point to discover the neighborhood as much as possible. The mode of discovery is  always the same: wandering aimlessly on Parisian streets and through alleyways (see also: flâneur) and trying (or not trying, because how very Parisian) to do so with an air of calm (read: not wide-eyed and smiling.) This latest visit is the story of an accidental French love affair…with the pharmacy.

The arrondissement in question for this visit was Saint Germain-des-Pres (6th.) I knew that I would be roaming towards Le Grand Epicerie (just do it, people) for its food and wine. I wrote down the restaurants and cafes I wanted to sit for hours in, and had a few names from new local friends as well. I had a few museums and parks to see. I’d bike by the Eiffel Tower and walk along the Seine, because…Paris! (Already failing at proposed Parisian coolness.)

Normally I would do my best to avoid any obvious area of Paris that draws in a crowd. Yet on this mildly sunny day, slowly walking against a brisk wind, a horde of people at the corner of Rue Bonaparte and Rue de Four caught my attention. Swarms of women elegantly exiting…a pharmacy? Sans health issues requiring a prescription, I popped my head in to take a closer look.


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A Journey Through Croatia’s Highlights Revealed a Peculiar Theme…

2015 has been a year of travel highs and lows, much like life. As I reflect on some of the best moments and destinations of the year, Croatia stands out to me. The country is very much on the rise, and the people are some of the kindest, proudest, and most generous I’ve encountered. The story below offers a glimpse of that. Road tripping Croatia is ideal. Not to mention how beautiful it is…

For these reasons, a road-trip in Croatia is my top recommendation for spring travel in 2016.

This story is brought to you in partnership with Expedia.com. All words, images, and opinions are expressly my own.

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“Welcome to Croatia!” he exclaimed at me, handing me of glass of unidentified liquid, moments after arriving at the Dubrovnik airport.

Rakija, or rakia, was my official introduction to Croatia, to the Balkans. Clear and served in what appeared to be a shot glass, I had no idea what it was — but it was presented with such warm enthusiasm that I thought to myself, I’ve got to have some of that.

The plan was to see Croatia by train with our Eurail passes. When I found out that we couldn’t get more than one train to the places we wanted to visit, the plan changed (as it usually does.)

So we picked up our car and drove just south. Headed for the small town of Ljuta, it was more than easy to fall in love with what I saw next.


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