It took more than a decade of hopping flights, living on two foreign continents, and dedicating the better part of my twenties to trips abroad to realize that travel is one of the best tools for personal development.

If travel can be made a priority in your life — dedicating your time, money, and resources to it instead of making other choices — the rewards will be far greater than just the frequent flier miles you acquire or bar stories you can tell. Along with your well-worn passport pages, you’ll gain invaluable experience that will teach you profound lessons about the world and about yourself.

Every person takes away different perspectives from even the same trip. Each destination is ever-evolving, we each bring a unique set of life experiences to it, and no two days in a place are the same. So while we associate certain things with specific places — you may have a spiritual experience when visiting India, or a culinary one when visiting France, for example — we can really never know what to expect to receive from our travels. Still, after decades of trips it’s hard not to look back and see some consistent themes emerge.

The ways in which traveling enriches our character are immeasurable. It is my hope that these side effects, the growth that happens alongside the joys and challenges of traveling, give you one more reason to get going and hit the road.


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(With These Five Things)

Sometimes a week away from home is all you need to realize how much you appreciate home.

And in my case, even when staying in a beautiful, comfortable house and without leaving San Francisco, this is still true.

If you watch my Instagram Stories (shameless plug,) by now you know I spend a lot of time in my second SF home (and watching a certain puppy dog, who I’m so attached to I have started calling her mine — much to the confusion of my friends.) I spent a week and a half there recently, bathed in sunlight and basking in the glory of their view of the city and the bay. Still, there is no place like home (even when you’ve been in a house so beautiful that coming home seems like a bit of a life downgrade!)

Still, there is no place like home (even when you’ve been in a house so beautiful that coming home seems like a bit of a life downgrade!)

Why is that? What is it about our own space and our own things that is so significant to our well-being? As I sat in my space after some time away, I took the time to look around at the small things that add meaning and a sense of peace and belonging in my little apartment bedroom.

Here is a photo of mine:


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Take me to the Pearl of the Indian Ocean in photos…

Looking back at Sri Lanka, I am still amazed at the variety of experiences you can have on just one small island.

In just about two weeks time I was able to….

  • hike mountain trails
  • sip fresh coconuts on tropical beaches
  • encounter elephants in the wild
  • shop the swarm at chaotic city markets
  • make temple offerings alongside local worshippers
  • go watching for blue whales
  • embark on one of the world’s most scenic train journeys
  • wander in gardens, sip tea in tea estates
  • eat curry on the street.

And that’s just in the southern half of the island!

While an itinerary is still to come, I wanted to share a photographic journey of my time in Sri Lanka.


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Reading about writing in books written by writers for writers.

A.k.a. inception.

I’ve been a writer all my life, but since I’ve begun writing professionally, I’ve found extra value in reading about writing.

Whether you write for pleasure or pay, professionally, personally, or otherwise…an interest in, or at least curiosity about, writing led you to this post today. Don’t make the mistake I did and wait too long to read the wisdom contained within these volumes’ pages!

Simply put, I wish I had found these titles sooner. Many have given me the figurative push forward I needed to sit down and get serious about putting pen to pad. So without further adieu, the best books for writers that I know of:


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Curious what it’s like to study yoga at an ashram in India? Here was my experience.

 

I spent a week living in a spiritual community in India. There’s a sentence I never expected to utter.

 

If you read this blog, you know that I practice yoga regularly and that it became a much bigger part of my life after a traumatic experience abroad (when I experienced and truly needed its healing power.) And if you didn’t know? You likely could’ve assumed given that I live in San Francisco (where yoga clothing is the mainstay on the city streets.)

 

But what you might not know is…I was kicked out of my first ever yoga class. Yes, let’s rewind back ~13 years to when my friends and I tried yoga for the first time in high school in my somewhat-hippie hometown. We were asked to leave after we couldn’t stop laughing when the class launched into ‘Lion’s Breath’ (which, if you don’t know what that is, I dare you to get on the ground on all-fours right now and exhale loudly through your mouth with your tongue out.)

 

So while I’ve come a long way maturity-wise since then (here’s hoping,) I thought back repeatedly to that moment when I was struggling at the ashram in India. That’s right, I struggled. Big time.

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Best Travel Gifts 2017 (and a few discount codes just for you!)

For those times when a plane ticket is out of your budget…

Just in time for you fellow shopping procrastinators, but good for any time of the year…here are my top picks for the traveler in your life. (Because who doesn’t love stylish travel gifts?)

We all know that experiences > things. But we all need some things. These items all bring me a little bit of joy. I hope they do the same for you.

stylish travel gifts!


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Yes, it’s the home of Banksy. Yes, there’s much more to it than that.

A Guide to Bristol Street Art (And More)

Of all the interests I’ve developed over the years, one I never expected to find myself enjoying so much is street art.

Most definitions make a distinction between street art and graffiti, though both are created in public spaces and often without permission. Among the differences: street art is constructive whereas graffiti is destructive, street art is about its audience whereas graffiti is about its artist. And while graffiti is often thought of as delinquent and defacing, street art is becoming prized, praised, and in some cases…sold in galleries.

I suppose what fascinates me most about street art is the manner in which it expresses the political and social issues of its environment. I’ve become more and more enthralled with street art living in San Francisco, but it all began with traveling.

Bristol Street Art


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Cities to Visit in the American South

Or, how I learned to fall in love with a completely different part of my own country.

I’m a California girl, through and through. A Northern California girl, to be specific (after ten years in Southern California, the distinction is necessary.) The more I see of the world, the more sure of that I am.

When someone asks me where I’m from whenever I’m abroad, I reply without thinking: “California.” I realize, of course, that they’re looking to hear my country, not my state.

Most expect me to reply with “the United States.” And while I’m a proud American (well, most of the time,) I really identify so much more strongly with being a Californian and San Franciscan…and I’ve never been clearer on that than now.

I’ve also never been more aware that California is a bit of a bubble. So when I had the opportunity to road trip from Alabama to San Francisco (coincidentally, not long before the election last year) I pondered where outside my home state I wanted to visit. It was time (again) for me to see more of my own country.

 

Why was I so keen on pushing past my comfort zone in other countries and on different continents, yet unwilling to explore the expanse of land just to the right of me?

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