Ever just feel drawn to a place?

I’ve been wanting to see Charleston for what feels like ages now. With many trips to the South in the past few years, I became more curious about the tree-lined paths and the warm, seaside air of South Carolina. Both sides of my family lived there at one point, and I was beginning to understand just how different parts of the United States can be away from my comfortable bubble in Northern California.

One of my best girlfriends here in San Francisco grew up spending summers on Myrtle Beach. I’d heard stories from my dad about his childhood summers there. And while I’m no Southerner, I’m certainly a beach girl.

Charleston pink buildings


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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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To connect, or not to connect? That is the question.

In my ideal world, the word ‘connect’ would simply pertain to interactions between people, in real life. Especially because as a freelancer and a writer, I spend a lot of time on my own. I’ve become quite used to keeping my own company, to being completely independent, and as such, doing things my own way.

Yet I’m undoubtedly an extrovert. I get my energy from being around others. I welcome the chance to collaborate as often as possible, and that often means traveling with others. Traveling (or even sometimes eating dinner) with others lately has illuminated just how much the phrase “seeking connection” has shifted, in as little as the past few years.

More and more the word ‘connect’ means to the Internet — to our Twitter accounts, our Snapchat memories, our Facebook overshares, the ol’ email ball and chain. I’ve often said I have a love/hate relationship with social media. Lately I’ve been questioning the amount of time we spend documenting our lives versus simply enjoying them.


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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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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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