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.


Visions of England

We're having a lovely time in England!
A few photos from the last four days...


Last minute addition

There has been a last minute rearrangement of plans, and it looks like we're going to Brighton and the coast of East Sussex after all! My inner architecture nerd is especially excited to see the Royal Pavilion:

While the reason behind the change makes me sad (we'll miss you, Lisa!), I'd be lying if I said I wasn't elated to finally make it to Seven Sisters and Beachy Head. These chalk cliffs have been on my bucket list since before I knew what a bucket list was: ten years old, watching Kevin Costner's Robin Hood roll around on the beach under them. I can't wait to stand proudly as close to the edge as I'm safely allowed (much to the chagrin of my acrophobic husband, I'm sure)! Here's hoping for dry weather!

(And a big thanks to Abby for reminding me that I haven't been there yet.
You're holiday pictures were truly inspiring!)


A London-lover sounding off

UPDATE: Tube Strike has been officially suspended. PHEW!
Original article below:

Wednesday morning, I logged onto my computer to read the two words I really didn't want to read: Tube strike.

Over the last eight years, I've experienced many LU rush hours and a crippled Tube, but overall, I've managed to avert the full blown strikes. Yet, there it was: three days of our romantic escape glaring back at me from the screen listing the upcoming strike dates. $%#@&!*&%!#$@!!!!!!!

While I fully understand that stiff-upper-lip London finds a way to go on amidst these strikes, and alternative transportation options will be beefed up for the strike, I also know that 3.4 million displaced commuters have to go somewhere. This translates to long waits in bus queues and/or traffic:

I think this kind of frustration is a bit different for locals versus travelers. Not that it doesn't suck for locals as well; excessive commuting traffic always sucks. But excessive traffic on holiday sucks even more. Londoners didn't save for a year to be there, Londoners aren't trying to make the most of a measly few days they've looked forward to for months, and Londoners most certainly didn't spend thousands of dollars and fly twenty hours round trip in excruciating economy-class to be there. To Londoners, those ridiculous hour-long bus and taxi queues are a headache after another work day. To travelers on a limited schedule and budget, these long waits could actually sabotage the long-awaited and long-saved-for vacation.

While we're still clinging to hope that the talks announced Friday will continue and rectify the situation entirely (oh please, oh please, oh please!), I've also come up with an entirely new Plan B, just in case. It basically consists of walking to any and all places of interest within a few miles of our hotel for the first three days we're in the city and praying to God that it doesn't weep rain. It means we'll have to totally scratch several looked-forward-to spots off our list, but it also means we won't waste time in lines a mile long just to cram onto a overcrowded bus or spend an insane amount of money we don't have in a taxi stuck in horrible traffic.

I have to admit, while I support the basic principles behind unions and don't think anyone should be sacked unjustly, I am now totally on board with the millions of Londoners that believe the Tube strikes are becoming far too excessive. Besides this lovely encounter, three of my past London trips barely escaped strikes, as well. Too many too often, and the point becomes completely lost on everyone. Strikes can't become a crutch, or they'll lose their effectiveness entirely.


Prudence vs fear

I've been asked several times already whether or not my husband and I are still going to London in two weeks given the US State Department's newly issued Worldwide Travel Alert to American citizens.

My answer is an emphatic YES,
for a myriad of reasons.

I'm not saying we, as travelers, should cease to exercise common sense. I am saying there is a difference between a prudent traveler and a prisoner of fear. Right now, this alert gives us absolutely no specific information whatsoever. It essentially says that anything could happen, anywhere, at any time, including within America itself. Of course, absolutely nothing could happen, as well. No one really knows.

Yes, if something does end up happening, within America or abroad, it will be horrible, it will be scary and it will be heartbreaking. But right now, there is no way of knowing, and if we live our lives dictated by that kind of vague speculation, we're setting ourselves up for a lot of disappointment. Besides, the entire point of travel is to deliberately step out of our comfort zones to expand our own knowledge.

For that reason, unless a far more tangible, definable and legitimate threat presents itself between now and then, we are packing our bags, we are standing in all the painfully long TSA lines, we are getting on that plane and we are spending our holiday overseas as originally planned. I can only encourage anyone else with upcoming travel plans to do the same.

If that still doesn't help, think of it this way: there are an estimated 90,000 flights worldwide every day. Not only are the statistics on our side, but an increase of vigilance surrounding our airports and subway systems just made our travels much safer than they were yesterday.

"Courage is the knowledge of how to fear what ought to be feared
and how not to fear what ought not to be feared."
David Ben-Gurion
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