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.



One of the perks of San Francisco was accidentally running into a Flight001 store. Flight001 is one of my daydream websites, so you can imagine how excited I was to stand in the actual boutique and play with all the fun travel items.

After spending way too long looking at absolutely everything, I proudly walked out with this luggage tag and this passport cover.

Masks on a plane

I've had a few people ask me if I did indeed wear this mask on the plane. The answer is yes, I did...on the way there. I got the best sleep I ever have on a plane, amongst coughing and sneezing co-passengers nearby. And the simple thing worked, as well. I stayed perfectly healthy for the duration of our trip; not even a scratchy throat bothered me a single time. I seem to be a poor mask-wearer, however, as the metal bit you're meant to pinch left two bruised abrasions on the bridge of my nose. Yes, it was funny. I spent the first few days in Oz looking as if I'd recently been in a bar brawl. Yet, to me, my health was more than worth it.

High on a very successful holiday and wanting to avoid looking as though I'd been punched (again), I opted not to wear the mask on the plane ride way home. And whadayaknow, I'm typing this post from my bed, wrapped in blankets, doped up on cold meds, running a fever, congested to the point of being dizzy.

Therefore, my final conclusion: the mask works, and that is worth looking just a little bit foolish. (Though I plan to better mold the metal bit next time!)


Review: Sydney, Australia

I've been trying for two weeks to describe Australia, and I'm still at a loss for the proper words. It is different than any place I've ever been to, and it frequently contradicts itself. But there is one thing that is absolutely certain:

Australia is wonderful.

Australia gets under your skin. It romances you; it stays with you. The weather is warm and the people are kind. Flip flops are as common during the workday commute as they are on the plentiful beaches. There is a constant breeze that smells like eucalyptus, plumeria and gardenia. Beautiful blue-green water crashes dramatically against warm yellow sand and stunning red cliffs. Sounds of lorikeets, kookaburras and ibis fill your ears. Forests of peeling eucalyptus trees roll across neverending hills. Influences from Europe, America, Aborigines and the Far East seem to coexist without any effort at all. It is old and it is new. It is rugged and it is elegant. It is arid and it is lush. It is city and it is bush. It is Australia, and it is proud of that fact.

London is still at the top of my list, but Sydney has powered its way to number two. Not really that surprising, as Australia is obviously a Commonwealth country. Reminders of Mother England are everywhere; any Anglophile will feel quite comfortable there. The fifteen-hour flight was actually no less miserable than the ten-hour flight I'm accustomed to, and I commend Qantas for their frequent snacks and much-appreciated hot towels.

Our two-bedroom Meriton Kent Street apartment was perfect for us, and the location near Town Hall offered a vast array of dining, grocery and transportation options. There was even a Starbucks the next building over; I was thrilled! Our view of Darling Harbour and the city skyline was stellar, especially during the two spectacular thunderstorms that rolled through during our stay.

Some aspects of Australia are so stereotypical, it actually brings a tear to your eye. Kangaroo fur is soft, emus are a little bit creepy. Forests of eucalyptus look just like in the films and photos. The bird songs are beautiful, a constant reminder of how far from home you are. The sun is brutal; we sported sunburns the entire time. The insects are incessant; bring insect repellent! I've never seen as many flies as I did while we were horseback riding in the bush.

On the other hand, some elements of Oz surprised us. Food and drugstore items are ridiculously expensive; worse than Hawaii. I never thought I'd find a more consumeristic country than America, but the sheer number of malls and food courts in Sydney left us totally gobsmacked. And just as soon as you think you've got it all down, something else different presents itself. For example, we London-lovers are totally accustomed to the law of standing on the right. In Australia, you stand on the left. You walk on the left. Everything is on the left.

The horseback riding was a dream come true. The Blue Mountains are stunning. The beaches take your breath away. Oh...and the BridgeClimb. Wow. I highly recommend it, even to people with an issue with heights. Their safety procedures are so secure, it's no wonder no climber has ever fallen. Sydney Harbour cruises should also be compulsory. It is stunning; nothing more, just simply stunning. My first jet lagged, right-off-the-plane view gave me goosebumps.

My plan has once again failed; I'd hoped to cross Australia off my list and finally settle down. That simply won't be happening. I will return someday; I must. Sydney was fabulous, but it is only a small percentage of the immense country. In the meantime, I'll buy lottery tickets so I can live in London for the Northern Hemisphere's spring and summer and live in Sydney the other half of the year. Just the thought makes me smile.

Thank you, Australia, for an amazing holiday. I tip my hat at your beautiful country and amazing people. You are a land to be respected and appreciated, and our trip was absolutely wonderful!

Review: San Francisco

Our 31 hour layover in San Francisco went beautifully well! I'm spilling over with rave reviews for every vendor we used. (Disclaimer: the author was not compensated in exchange for any recommendations in this blog. The information provided in this blog is solely the opinion of the author.)

The Omni Hotel San Francisco was beautiful. We were welcomed with complimentary cake, champagne and a kind birthday card. Our accommodations were perfectly comfortable, and the complimentary pre-scheduled morning breakfast and beverages delivered to our door was the perfect way to start our busy day. The location on California Street was convenient, and we were able to find reasonable dining close by.

Call us cheesy, but we loved Alcatraz. It was a peek into a completely different time and different world. I'm glad we chose to take the first cruise of the day; it cut down on crowds, and the morning sun above the water was a lovely way to see the city skyline.

Our secret to seeing all of one city in only one day was hiring a local guide, and I can't say enough good about Holger with Silver Lion Tours. From the ease of communicating with him to his exuberant greeting hug, it truly was like having a friend show you proudly around his city. He snuck us around traffic and tourist traps, stopped for any photos we wanted, offered informative commentary about everything, provided much needed snacks, and surprised us with little known local secrets all throughout the day. He not only took us everywhere easily, but he recommended his favourite restaurant for dinner (didn't charge us for the time it took us to eat), helped us prepare for our long-haul overnight flight, and saw us safely to the airport in a timely manner. Thank you so much, Holger!

I enjoyed San Francisco very much; it seems like a warmer version of Seattle with heaps more character. Perhaps I'll go back again someday and spend a bit more time.

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