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?

read more

What it’s like to return to a place you once disdained, and discover that you quite like it after all.

Or, How I Finally Fell in Love with Indianapolis (and where to eat there so you will too.)

 

Two years ago, heck, even two months ago…if you had told me I’d be landing on the tarmac for a work trip to Indianapolis, I’d have laughed in your face and told you you were insane.

It’s nothing against Indiana. Some of the loveliest people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting have their roots in the Midwestern state. It’s just that the job I used to have, the one before all this blogging business, took me there on a semi-regular basis. And when I left said corporate career, just over four years ago, I had zero desire to ever return to the place I most associated with that part of my life. Just like so much of turning away from that path, I was certain I was leaving it in the past.

So as I stared down at the plane ticket bound for IND, I could hardly believe life had taken me back there. Travel writing might just be the most opposite pursuit from pharmaceutical sales. How did pursuing a completely different career take me to the same exact place?


read more

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


read more

A Mission District walking tour for travelers from around the globe…and this local.

It’s an all too familiar scene.

Friends visiting San Francisco text to ask if I’d like to join them somewhere in the city. They know I love sharing my city with visitors, especially those who haven’t been before. Yet a small part of me cringes when I hear their list of plans: Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, Union Square, Ghirardelli Square, riding in a cable car, clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl.

I resist the urge to text them back with “No! Don’t do it! It’s a trap!” …Those are all parts of San Francisco that I have fond memories of, especially as a child. And for those who haven’t been before, they’re essential parts of the SF tourist experience.

The moment in which I shudder has less to do with any given person’s San Francisco itinerary and more to do with thinking back to when that was all I knew of the city. It’s all that most who visit know of the city.


read more

Where does one go to find the best bookstores in San Francisco?

It’s no secret that I’m a huge book nerd. My ideal afternoon includes prancing around foreign cities in search of the best libraries and bookstores. Yet in just over two years in San Francisco I’ve gotten to know my local bookstores — and they’ve become some of my favorites in the whole world.

In honor of #NationalBookLoversDay this week (which I am celebrating fully,) here is a list of what I consider to be the best bookstores in San Francisco.

best san francisco bookstores.

read more