Or any age, really.

As I sat there, staring at the date on a calendar, feeling the gravity of a supposed “big” birthday…naturally I found myself reflecting upon the many lessons I’ve learned in thirty years.

Wisdom can be encountered in a book or summarized in a quote (and believe me, I’ve enjoyed my share of those!) but more often than not, the teachings of the world must be learned and earned through life experience.  Named “the hard way” by some, I spent much of my twenties seeking out words and thoughts of others’ lives well lived, all the while seeking (and unknowingly creating) a road map for myself.


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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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Life is made up of hundreds, thousands, of little moments. Sometimes these pockets of time seem to make sense. Other times they’re random and endlessly confusing. Still there are slivers of our lives in which we feel irrefutably connected. This is a story about one of those times.

Dozens of little coincidences (which go much farther back) led me to open up an email newsletter this morning and read it through. Isn’t that how life always is, a series of sychronisms until they add up to something meaningful? I put it out of my head and went about my day.

Oddly, one of my favorite little quirks of living in San Francisco is riding the MUNI (the bus system and public transportation in SF.) It never fails to be an interesting spectacle. It is always humbling. Yet after getting ready to board a bus from Tahoe triggered a panic attack (due to parallels with what happened in Colombia,) I’ve steered clear of buses whenever possible. It was only because it was raining (and because the cafe I intended to work out of did not have wifi!) that I left for home at that precise moment. Feeling raindrops speckle on my skin like splattered paint, I decided it was time to try the bus again.

Like any good series of coincidences, this story really begins earlier in the day when I opened that email newsletter.  Perhaps it goes even farther back, to my seeking reiki healing therapy in the past few months.


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Let me begin by stating: 2015 was both the best and worst year of my life to date.

2015 will always be the year I cemented myself as a professional travel writer, lived happily in a glorious Pac Heights apartment, and gained and deepened some of the most important relationships of my life.

It’s also the year I was robbed with a gun to my head in Colombia, lost said glorious Pac Heights apartment for reasons outside of my control, and lost a good friend who died unexpectedly in a plane crash.

So, how to review a year such as this? I’m at, well, a loss as to how to summarize a period of time with such highs, and such lows…

With each year that passes I like most to share thematically here, with you, on the blog. In past years, I have summarized the year’s highlights through expressions of photography or food. This year…it’s hotels.

Hotels? Really?


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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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