Three Crazy Trips I’m Planning For 2018

I’ve been pretty silent about my trips this year. I think it has to do with a little bit of burn-out surrounding the whole “travel blogger” thing. I started backpacking because I loved seeing the world and because I’m a writer who starts to lose their sanity if they aren’t writing every day—never to get attention. After traveling, and living abroad, I kind of hit a wall as far as what my motivation for travel was. Was it to get followers? Likes? Pad my portfolio?

There isn’t anything wrong with any of these things, but I needed to take a step back from the spotlight (if you will) and rediscover why I want to travel. The answer I came up with is that I want and need to travel for my own artistic inspiration and spiritual certainty.

As far as art goes, discovering the classic works of art has always been one of my number one goals with travel. I’m in love with the works of Van Gogh, Renoir, Gauguin and Monet. I also love seeing new illustrative styles and sculptures. As a writer, I’m also always looking to discover the literary backgrounds of the places I travel to. I’ve visited the hometowns of Shakespeare, Beatrix Potter, Ernest Hemingway, and Charles Dickens just to name a few. I hope to see more.

All that being said, I’ve thought long and hard about the three trips I’ll be taking this year. These are where I’ve decided. FUN FACT: None of them are on the list of “Must Visit Spots for Millenials in 2018”. I didn’t choose them because of anything like that. I picked them because they speak to my heart.

1. Quebec City, Canada

When I was nine years old I went on a road trip with my family that lasted about a month. During the road trip I had my ninth birthday and we crossed over into Quebec, Canada. For those of you who don’t know, Quebec is the French speaking portion of Canada and from the moment I heard people speaking I was in love. Obviously now I know that French-Canadian and French are very different, but as a kid I had no idea. The minute I got back to Seattle I asked my mom to enroll me in French lessons, and I’ve been studying the language ever since. I absolutely adore it. Rather than Montreal, where I went last time, I’ve decided to stay in Quebec City. I’m super excited for this adventure, and for being able to see the Chatêau Frontenac! Cities with castles are just better.

2. London, England/Paris, France

For my birthday this year I’m planning on returning to the UK. The focus of this trip will probably be literary, since I’ve seen a lot of the main attractions. I may also try to stay in a beautiful spot by the water for my birthday. This trip will likely extend to Paris, as well, since I’ve always wanted to take the train across the channel and it’s been on my bucket list.

I think one of my favorite things about revisiting spots is that you get familiar with the cities and therefore you’re willing to take more risks. You feel comfortable enough to go into random pubs on the street, or to wander off the map a little. Funny enough, I really didn’t like London the first time I went…or really even the second time. But now that I’ve been there a few times it’s starting to grow on me.

3. Arcata, California

This is my least planned out trip because it will probably fall late in the year, but I’m planning on visiting some family in northern California, and exploring the Redwood Forest! I’ve wanted to head down there for a while, but I just haven’t been able to make it for various reasons. I’m super excited to go spend some time enjoying nature and seeing one of the natural wonders of the world.

BONUS: I’m also probably going to be taking a weekend trip to Vancouver, BC but stay tuned for more details!

Comment Français A Volé Mon Coeur

Olympic torch, Canada

Picture a little girl. She turned nine years old last week and is simultaneously excited and bored to death with life. She wears her hair in multiple braids every day. She likes to make things and learn about new people, but mostly likes to watch the world around her, as though she is learning the moves to an intricate dance she hopes to perfect.

This little girl is a bit odd. For her 9th birthday she asked her mom to take her to Williamsburg so she could study colonial life in the 18th century. And, on the way there, her family made a stop in a little place called Quebec, Canada. Amidst the unreadable traffic signs and how beautiful all the people speaking sounded, it felt like heaven. The little girl is mesmerized and entranced. She thinks she’s walked into a storybook, and she doesn’t ever want to step out again.

Studies show that what you gravitate toward when you’re 7-9 years old is an early indicator to what you’ll be passionate about in your adult life. You might lose it during middle school, or hide it during high school. But, generally it comes back again and again, as though some kind of haunting presence.

This is what happened to me in third grade. The moment I heard someone speak French for the first time I was hooked. I couldn’t/can’t believe how beautiful it was/is! The language was like verbal painting, and I LOVE painting. The moment I got back to my own hometown I insisted that my mom put me in French lessons. I wanted to know everything. How to speak it, how to read it and how to move to France when I was older. My mom wasn’t on board with the last request, but she enrolled me in classes nonetheless.

French has always been something I’ve poured myself into, but has never seemed like “work” to me. It’s always been there, more or less like a hobby. Something I’ve gone back and forth to all the way through college. I don’t really talk about it. Most people are surprised when they find out I know any French at all. But, having the opportunity to now live in the very heart of what has captured my own, has brought it to the foreground again in my life.

This past week I started French tutoring, so I’ll have a solid foundation for when I actually move. I was going to wait to enroll in classes starting in April at the community college near my house, but decided, after looking at enrollment fees, that private tutoring was actually way cheaper and more one on one instruction. So now, I’ll be going once a week to meet up with my tutor.

One thing that is really surprising me is how much my mind has retained, although I haven’t spoken one word of French for almost five years. I’ll hear a word, or a phrase and think, “Wait…I know that…” It might take me a couple of minutes, or being reminded, but I think it’s all re-sticking pretty quickly. It kind of feels like I’m rediscovering my identity after having amnesia. And I’m not gonna lie – I love it.

That being said, here are

My goals for French: 

– 1 hour per day of practicing

– At least semi-fluent before I even get on the plane in August

– I’d love to be able to Skype with my au pair family while speaking French, instead of speaking English and have the parents translate to the kids

– Join some kind of group to meet other people in Seattle that speak French,

so I can speak with them (April/May)

– Start writing my blog posts in En Français and English so I can practice, but you guys can still read them

– Learn to flirt in French. That’s right – I said it.

A bientôt!

Me and Grandpa
Mini me when I was 9, and my grandpa