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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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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