You don’t have to carry all that baggage with you.

Ask any seasoned traveler for advice and it’s likely you’ll be told: “pack light!”

While I’ve never been particularly good at packing efficiently for trips, (though I’ve gotten better!) I realized the equivalent of packing light has been at the center of my life at home since the new year started.

For so many of us, the world seems a bit heavier than usual right now. Intentional breaks from the news and/or politics can help. Personally, the heaviness has prompted some reflection about where I spend my time and energy. I’ve begun a process of thoughtfully letting go of people, places, things, and any other clutter that no longer serves me.  In the midst of all this San Francisco rain, it has become a “spring cleaning” of life, if you will.

So often we don’t recognize the confines of our own schedules, commitments, and demands. We take on more than we can juggle and find ourselves out of balance and unintentionally ‘dropping the ball.’ (Ladies, this can be especially true when feeling the ‘you can have it all’ pressure.)

Yet things are different when we travel. Often it begins before the trip even does. When you only have so much room in a suitcase, you’re forced to say no; there’s a finite amount of space (especially if you fly budget airlines.) You have to examine the purpose, function, and worth of every thing you choose to bring. What if we took this approach to our lives as a whole, where it’s so easy to pick up more and more without stopping to think about what may be weighing us down?

What if we took this approach to our lives as a whole, where it’s so easy to pick up more and more without stopping to think about what may be weighing us down?


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Well, just for the week.

And yes, you can consider this post’s title my best attempt at a terrible, belated April Fool’s joke.

After a whirlwind visit to Ireland for Saint Patrick’s Day, where I got an intensive lesson on Irish life past and present (and by that I mean more than just multiple hours spent wearing green and cozily sipping pints — did you see it all on Snapchat?) I’ve been home for just two weeks and already, I’m heading back out there into the world again.

As many of you know, I took a long break from even uttering the word ‘travel’ after a worst nightmare came to life on the road at the end of last year. I wasn’t sure when or how I’d resume my usual manner. So, I resolved to press pause on traveling and stay home for the foreseeable future…only to then lose my apartment.

In the months that followed, I tread water daily just trying to stay afloat. And when it feels like you’re drowning, the best way to survive without panicking is…(?) to find your footing. I sought and found great comfort in re-establishing myself in a new home and rooting myself in a daily routine.

In pursuit of this balance I’ve sharpened my skills for finding adventure in my own backyard, staying curious, active, and engaged with life and culture even when I’m not traveling. Yet at some point, even the boldest routines can begin to feel stale. (Isn’t repetition what creates a routine, after all?)

Once again I find myself seeking that familiar desire to stretch to the unfamiliar, like a runner whose legs ache to hit the trail. Still, more than ever to date, I respect, need, and value my life at home.  


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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 travel DIY project that brings the languages of your trips back home with you.

Now that I’m decorating a new space in San Francisco (yay!) and coming up on the one year anniversary of my best-trip-ever departure date, I am always looking for ways to incorporate my love of travel into my home.

While I’m a fan of maps, globes, and photographs, they can only go so far without being overused in a room.  After some thought, I created a piece that can memorably display any multi-country trip.

language project

Holding up to the light to trace each word by hand.

In the past year, I was fortunate enough to visit sixteen countries —  totaling thirteen different languages spoken.  I continue to treasure many of the traditions and keepsakes I kept consistent with each visit.

One of my favorite things to do in each new country was learn how to speak the bare necessities of the local language: “hello” and “thank you.”  While I always hope to learn more than this, I find these two words to be the most useful in any language on any part of the globe.  (They’re also the two words I can always still remember from each place.)

In the spirit of this tradition, I decided to create a graphic containing the words as written in the language of each country I visited.  As I journeyed across Asia, the Middle East, and Europe…the end result is quite visually interesting, if you ask me!


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