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.


University Rooms

College campuses always make me want to go back to school, especially Oxford and Cambridge in the UK. Come to find out, University Rooms offers the next best thing: room and board in British university dorms that are unused during breaks.

I mean, who wouldn't want to stay here?


America's travel habits

I found this Bundle study very interesting. I'd be even more interested to see a comparison of cost of living, earned incomes and types of travel for those surveyed.
(click image to enlarge)

For even more information, read Bundle's full Travel and Leisure report. I find it interesting that my city comes in a number eight in all three polls.


Let's talk travel mags

I am such a sucker for travel magazines. I get lost in the expansive selections at the large bookstore chains, trying to justify $60 for a huge pile of glossy pages. This is even worse when you consider that I have subscriptions to four monthly travel publications, as it is. And I definitely have favourites:

Budget Travel: My favourite usable travel mag. The tips and articles in BT are entirely functional, and it is always full of clever ideas to stretch your budget and make travel easier. I usually rip into BT as soon as I see my copy in my post box; it's like talking travel with a friend. I especially love the traveler's tips and the humourous stories posted in every issue.

National Geographic Traveler: My favourite daydream travel mag. I know I won't be able to do half the adventurous things in Nat Geo Traveler, but I love to imagine myself trying. It is a wonderful inspiration for images and ideas! Daisann McLane's Real Travel column is quite possibly my favourite thing to read in the entire travel world.

Afar: I'm pretty sure Afar is relatively new to the scene, but I already really like what I see. Describing themselves as "uncommon travel" and "in pursuit of passion", this publication addresses how travel can change the perception of the traveler and how to travel while remaining conscious of those effects. I've only thumbed through a single issue, but my subscription slip is already in the mail.

Smithsonian's Travels with Rick Steves: Smithsonian publications have just begun to publish a proper magazine for Rick Steves; the premier issue is on newsstands now. I'm curious, but I hesitate purchasing a copy only because I already have every other newletter he has ever released. I'm curious to see how much new material there will be in this magazine, or if it is just more of the same advice he has already published elsewhere.

Lonely Planet Travel: When I can get my hands on an import copy from across the pond (which is just about never), this one is usually pretty useful. Lots of tips and ideas laid out in a very easy to read way. I just wish it was available in the States! (hint, hint!)

Travel + Leisure: I see T+L as the sort of old-standard travel magazine. Some usable information, lots of filler. They tend to run a lot of "Travel Awards!" and other similarly hyped campaigns, which end up making it not as useful as others. But the articles and photography can still be enlightening.

Condé Nast Traveler and Town and Country Travel: I confess, these luxury travel mags usually incense me. While their spreads are stunning and it can be fun to daydream that one day I could win the lottery and actually afford to consider these types of trips, I usually just end up closing the back cover painfully aware of how detached from the real world the rich can be. I mean, just how many ads for Rolexs and diamonds does a travel publication need, really?


London summer

It has been over a year since I've visited my beloved United Kingdom. (twitch, twitch) I've been managing my UK fever somewhat decently this year.
Or at least I thought I was.

Today, I opened the home page of the Londonist
to this lovely group of photographs:

Something about these pics.
Warm days. Green parks. The energy of the city.

Yep, there it is.
Raging case of I-Miss-the-UK now in full force.


My weakness: luggage tags

A suitcase for your suitcase

Perfect for a designer

Me gusta!


Boston itinerary

I'm slowly working out general itineraries for our East Coast trip in September. Here is how Boston looks so far. It is a lot to cram into a short period of time, but we're the kind of travelers that hit the ground running in the morning and don't come staggering back until the late evening, so I'm pretty confident we can achieve this list. However, I'm still wide open to advice, from tourist traps to restaurants and beyond.

Day one:
Arrive by train at South Station at 11:30am
Cab to Omni Parker House hotel
Boston Common
All 14 sites on the Freedom Trail
Observation Deck of the Custom House Tower

Day two:
Boston Public Garden
Copley Square and Newbury Street
Trinity Church
Boston Public Library
Town of Cambridge
Harvard Square
Charles Street Meeting House
Louisburg Square
Charles River Esplanade
Beacon Hill, Acorn Street

Day three:
Spend the entire day out of the city
at a TBD Atlantic coastal town

Day four:
Check out of Parker House by 12N
A small handful of free hours, any suggestions?
Must be at the airport at 4pm

One of our biggest ponderings is which transportation option to choose within Boston. Should we do the more affordable LinkPass for the T or the more convenient Hop On/Hop Off trolleys? And finally, does Boston really live up to its walkable reputation?


Itch to roam

"I had an itch to roam.

I wanted to wander through Europe, to see movie posters for films that would never come to (my country), gaze wonderingly at billboards and shop notices full of exotic umlauts and cedillas and No Parking sign O's, hear pop songs that could not by even the most charitable stretch of the imagination be a hit in any country but their own, encounter people whose lives would never again intersect with mine, be hopelessly unfamiliar with everything, from the workings of a phone box to the identity of a foodstuff. I wanted to be puzzled and charmed, to experience the endless, beguiling variety of a continent where you can board a train and an hour later be somewhere where the inhabitants speak a different language, eat different foods, work different hours, live lives that are at once so different and yet so oddly similar.

I wanted to be a tourist."

Bill Bryson
Neither Here Nor There


Just in time

My favourite travel DVD series just came out with a NYC version, just in time for me to sit in front of it and drool. My must-see list just became challengingly longer, and I'm now frightfully aware of how large this city really is. And if I thought my excitement was hard to contain before...
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