Oh, 2016. You were something else.

If you’re a longtime reader of this blog (thank you!) you may recall that I tend to recap each year utilizing a theme. In the past, there have been reflections through the lens of food and even hotel rooms.

After a year of so many ups and downs for the world, many of us are looking forward to saying goodbye to 2016. Reflecting on the year, I’m looking intently for the good in these past twelve months. Thank you so much for being part of the journey.

Choosing safe places to travel.

The end of 2015 had me questioning my travel experiences and the world as I knew it. I did not believe one horrible incident abroad would really stop me from traveling, but I knew it would take a few places gentler than Colombia to build my faith back up.

I’m grateful to Ireland, Finland, Estonia, Iceland, lots of travel around the USA, and return visits to my beloved France for doing that for me.

tallinn overlook


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my simplest self-care tips, inspired by hygge.

Or, unintentionally cozying up to a new Danish word.

Hello, friends! You may have noticed I’ve been a bit absent from the blog lately. I’ve always strived to share with transparency in this space, so perhaps I’ll start today by telling you that it hasn’t been an easy year for me with regards to writing. I do still write full-time for a living, but it has been challenging for me to write the personal pieces I often share with you here.

Many times I’ve pointed to the block that is still haunting me — yes, you guessed it — telling the full story of my robbery at gunpoint and bus hijacking in Colombia at the end of last year. There’s so much I want to say, but so much pressure (from myself, mostly) to get it right.

It’s fitting I should mention that event now, because that was the beginning of the self-care practices that inspired this post. After the hijacking, my sense of security, my view of the world, my ability to trust myself…all of these things came into question. I suffered from PTSD and sought treatment when it began affecting parts of my life. And while I’ve learned more from it than I can begin to write, perhaps the simplest way to begin to share is to tell you how I learned to take better care of myself.


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This time of year is consistently filled with excitement (and for some, dread.) Softening twilights signal the end of summer, when we put down our popsicles (or mugs of hot tea, if you’re a San Franciscan) and pick up our books, strap on our backpacks. It’s back to school time.

The little girl who loved school, who couldn’t wait for classes to begin…could hardly have predicted the evolution of the phrase “back to school” as a thirty-year-old. She likely could not imagine that one simple object and its meaning, its weight, would evolve alongside her.

 

Backpacking SF beach-8


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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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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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