I'm a 37-year old Seattle girl who was bitten by the travel bug on my first tour of Europe in 2004. This personal blog follows my attempts to visit as many countries as I can, as often as my budget will allow. Since starting this blog in 2007, I've also worked as a freelance copywriter for an online travel publication. This only served to add even more must-see locations to my already extended list.
Follow me as I try to balance "real life" with exploring the world, all while trying to conquer a wickedly ironic case of homesickness.


Savoir Fare London

Love this new little book! And I can be really picky about restaurant guides. Not only are these spots actually affordable, the illustrations make me want to visit. And it's a nice, small travel size.


Foot frustration

Ever since I first started traveling seriously five years ago, I've been on the search for the perfect travel shoe. And to my immense frustration, it continues to evade me.

I put miles under my feet every day I'm traveling. I take off in the morning and don't stop until I stagger back into the hotel late that night. Needless to say, I consider good foot support to be the utmost important requirement in the shoes I bring with me.

Finding a comfortable shoe isn't the issue. I have several pairs of aerobic, crosstraining and walking shoes that keep me moving quite well. However, they all look like this:

And nothing screams "I'm a tourist, I don't speak the language, I barely know where I am and I'm probably carrying loads of money," like bright white trainers on the cobblestones of Europe.

Yes, all the best shoe companies make slightly more discreet versions of their athletic shoes. But not many shoe stores actually carry them so you can try them on, a real frustration for wide-width, high arch feet like mine.

So what do I do? Go nuts on Zappos and order several pairs of $100 shoes to see if one of them might work? Oh wait...I don't have that kind of money. Or perhaps an orthodic insert? I think the Zappos idea is cheaper.

I need advice from fellow travelers on this one. Where did you find your perfect travel shoes? Should I just bite the bullet and start spending the cash?


ETBD's free travel festival

Do you live in the greater Seattle area? If you do and you haven't been to one of Europe Through the Back Door's free travel festivals, you're missing out.

Mr. Rick Steves' flourishing European travel company, based in Edmonds, hosts free travel classes all year long that I can personally recommend very highly. But several times a year, ETBD turns the entire town into a giant travel planning party...and it's all free. It's an amazingly valuable resource. The employees of ETBD are people that help others travel simply for the love of it.
I love to go up there; the wanderlust energy is palpable! Besides, Old Edmonds is a perfectly quaint town; it all adds to the experience. But sign up soon; these classes fill up fast!

And don't just check out everything ETBD has to offer. Venture around the corner to The Savvy Traveler, as well.


City Walks card packs

My recommendation of the day: the City Walks card packs published by Chronicle Books. This isn't a travel guidebook in the traditional sense, but instead it's a box of cards, which I adore for two reasons:
First of all, they're insanely easy to pack and carry. You won't find yourself weighted down with a bulky book when you usually end up using only a small portion of it. You can bring only the walks that appeal to you and save loads of valuable packing space.

Secondly, for being so efficiently sized, they're quite thorough in their information. One side of each card is a detailed walking map, the other side is a description of where to go and the significance of what your seeing.

And these walks aren't typical, touristy and boring, either. We'll be using the London version this May. And considering this will be my sixth visit to London, you can imagine that I get pretty excited when I find walks I haven't been on before. Needless to say, these walks don't disappoint.

City Walks are available for a myriad of cities worldwide. Check 'em out!


Fairmont Olympic, Seattle

If you're visiting Seattle soon, I can now personally recommend The Fairmont Olympic Hotel. I know, you're thinking, "Well, duh. AAA Five Diamond awards aren't given out to just any ole shack." Yes, but I grew up in this city. I've driven by this hoity-toity hotel a million times and have never been able to indulge.

However, due to a fabulous deal on Travelzoo (that's still going on, I might add), Hubby and I were able to snag a room in this posh pad for only $149/night. Add to that the free Executive Suite upgrade and chocolate-dipped strawberries delivered to our room for Hubby's birthday, and I'm encouraged to recommend that everyone take advantage of this high-brow living on a blue collar budget pronto. This is the life!


Fires in Australia

My prayers are with you, Victoria.

(Photo courtesy of New York Times)


Sprechenden Deutsch

Officially, I am a huge advocate of learning the language of the country you're traveling to and doing you absolute best to communicate in the native tongue.

Unofficially, I get really intimidated by speaking a language in foreign countries. Especially a challenging language like German, which I need to tackle for Austria this spring.

But I'm still going to try, and I've decided to use LiveMocha to do so. It comes highly recommended and seems very user friendly. Any other LiveMocha users out there?

Thank you

I have received an incredibly flattering review from Garlic Cheese Fries at Passport Check. It's little notes like these, knowing there are others out there that can relate to my silly musings, that keeps me writing and sharing.

I love the travel community. It's like a great big family...with jet lag.


Stay warm, Britain!

And if you don't mind my saying,
you're even more beautiful in the snow.

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