My Return To Paris | 2018

Paris: My former hometown, nemesis, and cosplay inspiration. It’s been four years since I boarded a plane and landed in France for the first time. “What could possibly go wrong?” I thought when I signed papers to work in a country I had never even visited with a family I had never even met. SPOILER: Everything went wrong.

Well, I guess not everything went wrong. Paris was the city that first got me in to cosplaying, and it was the first city where I started going to conventions, so I guess I do have to attribute those aspects of my life to my time here.

But overall, Paris and I have a love-hate relationship. It was really difficult living in this city and trying to learn a new language and culture…while taking care of four boys. To be perfectly honest I didn’t think I would come back. There was just so much pain tied to this city that I kind of kicked the dust off my feet when I left back in 2015.

But, here I am. 2018 and I’m once again in the city of love. I wish that I could say that this trip has changed my mind about Paris but there have been so many problems during my time here (48 hours) that I’m seriously starting to wonder if there’s some kind of curse on me, associated with Paris. To start things off, the Airbnb that I booked was NOTHING like the listing which resulted in me actually filing a complaint with Airbnb and getting a stipend from them to find a new place to stay. I’m also filing for a refund, but that can’t be processed until Tuesday.

To add insult to injury my computer died right after I got to the city because I brilliantly forgot to bring a converter for France, just England. And yeah yeah this is my fault, not the cities, but it still was added stress.

THEN my Airbnb experience “Yoga under the Eiffel Tower” got cancelled due to the weather, and while I was invited to a yoga studio instead it still just wasn’t the same…and I didn’t get a picture which was part of the package. Boo.

THEN it started raining today while I was heading out to my photoshoot, and I just about cried. If you are someone with curly hair, or know someone with curly hair you’ll know why. It’s not even a matter of getting my hair wet, once it’s raining the humidity is enough to frizz my hair into space. It still was raining just a little bit when I started my photoshoot, but I was absolutely convinced to do the damn thing and so I’m a bit amused/curious how those photos will turn out. Sorry, no blue dress for these ones. I just wanted some pretty pictures of me around the city I used to live in.

After the shoot I got a chance to go over to Shakespeare and Co. which is a really beautiful bookshop in Paris that you all should go to. Mainly because they have a cat that lives in the shop. But also because it has a really cool history of inspiring writers throughout the decades. I also was really excited to find a bubble tea place in Paris that I’d never seen before. I think it’s new, and it was definitely filled with Americans, but I was so happy to have my favorite drink. Oh, and then I ate a crepe. Which is pretty much what I’ve been doing the whole time I’ve been here: eating.

Someone asked me today what I’d been doing with my time in Paris and I literally had nothing to say other than eating crepes. How many have I had? You’ll never know, and I’m never going to tell you.

A Day In Bath: The Jane Austen Festival

One of the best decisions I’ve made on this trip was taking a sporadic trip west of London to a little city called Bath. Now, if you’re familiar with Jane Austen at all then you’ll probably recognize this city from a bunch of her books, most notably Persuasion, which is pretty much set entirely in the city. Jane Austen did not write Persuasion while she was in Bath but she did live in the city, so the reoccurring placement of the city in her books makes a lot of sense.

And it just so happens to be that Jane Austen was exactly the reason I went to Bath. A couple of years ago I’d heard about The Jane Austen festival and I wanted to go more than anything…but it didn’t really seem reasonable to fly to England just for that. So instead of booking a plane ticket I bookmarked the page on Facebook. And then I completely forgot about it—UNTIL a few days ago. It turns out that somehow I booked a trip during the festival this year. Happy accident, indeed. So on Sunday I jumped on the train and bought a ticket to a couple of events. I’d never been to bath before, or had it recommended to me by anyone so I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. All I knew were the Jane Austen references.

The good news is, I was more than pleasantly surprised by bath and how much it had to offer. Before I left for London I had been researching Jane Austen tours because I knew I wanted to do something focused on her, but I definitely didn’t want to sit on a bus for 5 hours just to see the house she wrote in. I also didn’t want to pay +$300 in order to sit on said bus. I also have a pretty strict rule that I don’t pay over $150 for a day tour, so Bath was a perfect substitution. The breakdown:

$70 – Train round trip

$15 – Jane Austen Centre

$20 – 1 Hour Jane Austen Walking Tour

$40 – Roman Baths + Fashion Museum

$20 – Theatrical performance of Northanger Abbey

Grand Total $165 for an experience that was completely one of a kind, didn’t involve me sitting for long periods of time, and gave me the flexibility to do what I wanted when I wanted. It also saved me over $100. Bam.

My first stop for the day were the Roman Baths which have been a tourist attraction for thousands of years. The Romans built them as a tribute to the gods and swore by their healing qualities. I don’t know about that, and by the smell I wouldn’t say there was any healing going on, but I definitely think they were beautiful.

After I went to the Roman Baths I stopped by The Jane Austen Centre which is a collection of memorabilia and information about Jane’s family life and time in Bath. It really is more of a fangirl’s dream than a museum, but it was a fun time and not very expensive so I’d recommend it if you’re looking for something fun to do. There was also a tea room adjoined which I didn’t have time to visit, but I would definitely suggest checking it out, since I heard good things from those who did go.

Next up was the Fashion Museum which was I knew was going to be my favorite part of the day before I even stepped into the building. As someone who has studied historical fashion since I was five years old, I allotted the most time of my day to this museum. And it was so worth it.

After the Fashion Museum I had a scheduled walking tour as part of The Jane Austen Festival. Little did I know that everyone on this tour was going to be in costume. But hey, you live and you learn. The actual tour was amazing. It was comedy themed with a script and continuing story line that allowed the tour group to “find” different characters around the city and interact with the city. It was like going to a walking theatre production. Which, for this ADHD mind was absolutely brilliant.

After grabbing a quick bite to eat I headed back over to The Pump Rooms for a theatre production of Northanger Abbey which was hilarious because there were only two people acting out the entire production…well, two people and six puppets to be precise. I guess you’d kind of have to be there to realize how mad genius it was.

Overall the day was a complete success that completely wiped me out. In other words, I fell asleep on the train on the way back. But it was worth it. I had so much fun and I would love to come back another year and bring a costume along with me.

The Making Of Harry Potter: A Witch’s Tale

The REAL Hogwarts

Slytherin pride doesn’t start to describe my slight obsession with Harry Potter. I’ve been known to make people take the Pottermore test when I first meet them to find out whether we’re compatible, and I try to visit something new that’s focused on Harry Potter every time I come to London.

The funny thing is, I grew up conservatively so I actually wasn’t allowed to read/watch anything to do with Harry Potter. I really didn’t know a whole lot about it until I reached my twenties, and then the floodgates were released. But I’m not mad. In my family that just wasn’t a part of how we were raised, and we had lots of other experiences and books and movies that we watched that other families didn’t. The best thing about coming to love Harry Potter later in life is that I have a fresh passion for it. One that sometimes leaves me acting like the nine year old who just read The Sorcerer’s Stone for the first time.

Yesterday was one of such slightly obsessive days when I got to live out an absolute dream: walking on the set of the Harry Potter movies.

I was really excited that I bought a joint pass to the Warner Bros Studio because that meant I didn’t have to worry about bussing from/back to London/the studio. And let me tell you, it is not close. It’s about a 45 minute ride. As in, we watched an entire Harry Potter movie there and back on the bus. The great part of this, though, was that I paid about $100 for transportation to and from the location plus a five hour long experience. Not bad considering that Universal Studios in California is $150 and there are two rides and absolutely NO props or costumes.

The tour started out in the great hall of Harry Potter where you could find some of the most notable Harry Potter costumes, and a collection of house robes. It was pretty amazing to be standing there on the same cobblestones that the actors had filmed.

Of course, I had to celebrate my Hogwarts house (#SlytherinPride) during this whole process. I only wish that I had been able to bring my robes. Yes I have robes. But there’s no way that packing that beauty would have been worth the wrinkles. I did, however, bring my wand that I had custom made a few years back. It’s been with me to Universal CA, so I felt like it was necessary to continue the tradition by bringing it with me to London.

Looking back, I have a feeling I would’ve spent twice as long in the exhibits if I hadn’t been severely jet-lagged but I still had such a great time at all of the photo ops and learning about the process of filming. One of my favorite memories is standing in Dumbledore’s study. I had never noticed that all of the paintings on the walls in there are of the school’s faculty…with their eyes closed. It’s little details like this that really make the Harry Potter series, and the franchise as a whole, breathtaking.

Getting to step aboard the Hogwart’s Express was pretty amazing as well. I don’t know how they fit an entire train in the building, but let that be a bit of an indication of how huge this place was. If you ever plan a trip out here I would definitely say give yourself a solid 4 hours to explore. And also to shop. Honestly the store at this location was so incredibly huge and had merchandise I’ve never seen anywhere else. Of course I bought a little bit of swag…or a lot. You’ll never know because I’m the only one who sees my credit card statements. The point is, if you’re going to go somewhere magical…make sure you come back with something worth talking about.

10 Confessions From A Travel Blogger

If you hate planes this is the post for you. Or, rather, flying. I love planes. Travel in general is usually a bit of a whirlwind, but it can look a lot more glamourous that it actually is. So, to give you a peek behind the curtain I’ve decided to tell you ten of my most deadly secrets:

  1. I don’t like flying
    TBH I’m pretty indifferent when it comes to flying, but I definitely don’t like it. I’m terrified of planes crashing while I’m on them and turbulence scares the shit out of me (sorry for the swearing, mom). But you know…it’s a small price to pay when it comes to having experiences of a lifetime and I have to weigh my fear against my longing to see more of the world.
  2. I eat McDonalds and Starbucks when I travel
    Stop your little judgy-judge self. I definitely do like supporting small businesses but something I’ve noticed about those places is that hey often don’t have wi-fi and are cramped for space. Which if I’m trying to write makes life a little difficult. I also have a lot of food allergies and so sometimes I just want something predictable and easy to choose from. Fun fact: I’ve tried McDonalds in +10 countries and the menus are ALL different! 
  3. I actually really like most hostels
    I know at some point I’m supposed to outgrow hostels, but I really like being around other people who share my love of travel. That being said, I would NEVER stay in a hostel in the U.S. because the culture is completely different, but when I’m traveling around the globe they give me some great opportunities to meet new people and have new experiences. 
  4. Sometimes solo travel gets really lonely
    Even though I’m a class 5 introvert I still get really lonely sometimes when I’m traveling. Most of the time I’m great, and I definitely prefer to travel solo but there are definitely days that are rougher than others. Usually to fix this phase I plug into my Facebook group of girls who travel, try to schedule meetups with my friends or join a walking tour. 
  5. I walk miles and miles and miles
    Something that you don’t really get to see is just how much I walk when I’m traveling. I mean miles and miles and hours and hours. I’ve always loved walking, but I also love the gems that I can find when I’m walking around a city. That being said, I never walk alone late at night and try to stay in mostly populated areas so that I’m safe. 
  6. My favorite thing to do is go clothing shopping
    This is kind of the worst because I’m a backpacker which means that I have basically no room for clothes when I travel…and yet somehow I’m always buying clothes. Usually I’ll just choose a few amazing pieces because of space restrictions, but absolutely love walking through shops when I’m traveling.
  7. I love old churches
    Churches are my happy place. I was raised very religious, and while I don’t hold the exact belief system of religion that I was brought up with churches always bring me peace and anchor me. In Europe it’s also beautiful because these places of worship have been around for so many centuries and the craftmanship is just jaw-dropping. Not defending the history of the church, but there will always be a part of me deeply tied to it.
  8. I make a lot of dumb mistakes and have to laugh them off
    So this morning I tried to get on a train and could not for the life of me figure out how to put the ticket in the machine. No this is not my first time in the U.K. Yes, I have ridden public transportation here before. But for some reason when it came time to slide my ticket in, I went completely blank. The  lady standing in line behind me basically cheerleadered me on until I figured it out but it was a great example of one of those times that I do something really stupid and have to just laugh it off. When you’re traveling around to different cultures and countries this is going to probably happen a lot. One of the most useful travel tools you can develop is humor. 
  9. I have social anxiety
    Let me tell you what happens when I get around a group of people: my mind, body, and soul start shutting down. Throughout traveling I’ve been able to acknowledge this and develop some strategic ways to make traveling work for me even though I hate being around people…especially unfamiliar people. For instance, I’ve invested in noise canceling headphones. I take breaks throughout the day to go back to my hostel/Airbnb. Not optional, I force myself to take breaks. I bring books with me. I plan like nobody’s business so I don’t get overwhelmed when I leave my home base. There is no right way to travel. Customizing your experience so that it makes you happy is the only thing you need to worry about. 
  10. I go to bed really early, and wake up really early when I travel
    You might think that the party life is what traveling is all about, but unless I’m in Copenhagen, this is just not how I travel. Referencing back to my previous point, being around a ton of people is really exhausting for me, so waking up really early (like 6am or 7am) and taking a walk around a city can be a really refreshing way to start my day. In order to do this, though, I have to go to bed pret-ty early which means no late night partying for me…unless I’m in Copenhagen.
  11. BONUS: Jet lag is from the devil
    You may have heard of those people who jet-lag barely affects. I am not one of them. That’s why I’m finishing writing this post at 4am and why the hostel workers were like “Do you have to be up for a flight?” Nope. I’m just terrible at getting my body to cooperate. It usually takes me about three days to get over jet-lag so I usually don’t plan a whole lot of interactive activities during those days. Why? Because I’m not a saint when I’m tired. And now you know.

Small Business Saturday | The PNW Dream

Corinna and I have known each other since we were super young. As a fellow child artist, I was always (in the best way) a little jealous of her mad talent for illustration. As an adult, I am more than happy to support it. Yesterday was the grand opening of Corinna’s new shop/clothing line The PNW Dream, a children’s clothing brand that has a the beauty of Pacific Northwest nature, sprinkled with everything I love about European children’s clothing: timelessness, and magic. Here’s a little more about this beautiful online shop:

Maybe I should introduce myself to begin with, my name is Corinna Ren. Mother, freelance artist, maker and lover of the earth we live on. Yesterday I launched a business called The PNW Dream, with another wonderful momma named Desiree. This business has been a dream really, and it has been in the works for a very long time. The PNW Dream currently sells handmade kids clothes, but we are planning to quickly expand to older and adult sizes as well as some other PNW themed goods… but we hope our company will also do more than that.


Let’s talk about the PNW brands

The PNW brands are popping up all over. As much as that might mean a lot of competition, I’m loving it and find it really beautiful. There is a clear and strong culture emerging from a generation of people who grew up during one of the greatest transitions in history to the Information Age.

What makes our generation stand apart is that we were there pre daily-tech to this time now, where everyone has a smart phone and is constantly trying to maintain an online presence etc. etc. We grew up being kicked outside to entertain ourselves. We grew up hiking and exploring the Pacific Northwest beaches and forests.

I don’t think we realized it when we were small, just how much all of those experiences would mean to us. Especially since we got to enjoy them without the distraction of what our friends from school were also doing at the same time. We weren’t constantly being fed updates and checking for approvals on our own updates and posts. We had the incredible privilege of spending our childhood present.

The same way Nintendo has massively succeeded in appealing to our nostalgia with their Pokémon Go and other crazy re-releases… these PNW brands appeal to a cultural bond we all share, the one of our upbringing in this beautiful landscape.


Why that means something

The fact that so many PNW brands are popping up, and not only that, but are gaining traction and finding success, means that there is an identity ingrained in the people who buy these products. That’s our generation, we have discovered how much we identify with the PNW.

What’s really important to realize is that the generation following us is the first one growing up knowing nothing else from smartphones and constant information overload.

We don’t even know yet what the full effects will mean although we are starting to find out. Are these kids experiencing the outdoors? Are these kids grasping the beauty that they live in? Are their parents sharing that beauty with them?


Our brand

So, many people these days are creating brands, starting business, advertising on Facebook, fighting for an instagram following, and we don’t want to add to the noise.

While garnering support and making sales will be important to the success of our business. We also have goals and aspire to uphold values that will help raise a generation of kids who also get to experience and love the world we live in, distraction free and immersed in the depth and wonder of nature.

We want to create a brand that resounds with the people who buy our products, but we also want to spark an interest and love for the outdoors in the generation that follows.


Building a culture

Culture is essential to the upbringing of a developing mind. It builds identity and stability. How cool is it that many PNW brands are contributing to building a strong culture of people who enjoy the outdoors, and who share that love with their kids?

That’s what we want to be a part of, that’s what we want to give towards. We feel so privileged that as we take photos and showcase our products, we get to hit the trails, find the waterfalls, let our kids throw rocks and get their feet wet in order to do that.

Who knows how far we will go, but we are excited to give it a go. No matter what, we are just glad to be adding to a culture that I hope will hold tight. A culture that I hope will be a powerful and defiant movement against the destructive and draining social media obsession.

If our vision resonates with you, there are so many ways you can support us! Follow us on Instagram, like us on Facebook, spread our brand, or shop at our store! If you have ideas you’d like to share or just want to send us a hello, feel free to email us at shop@thepnwdream.com.

You can also find my design brand at www.rogueren.com

Tea Talk 12: Paige Pilar | American Expat In Italy

Paige and I are part of the same travel group on Facebook. It’s a pretty awesome community of bad-ass babes who travel the world and support each other while padding their passports. Paige is a new resident to Italy, and has some seriously gorgeous photos over on her Instagram. Without further adieu, here’s Paige!

What started your passion for travel?

My passion for traveling began when I was younger, I always said I wanted to have a job where I can travel the world; because I knew there was more this world had to offer and then what I saw on a daily basis. When me and my husband moved to Italy a year ago, I just told myself that I was going to take advantage of this opportunity to see as much of Europe and the world as possible. So far I’ve seen 10 countries since last November.

What’s one travel tip you think the world should know?

One travel tip that I think the world should know is to wake up early. I think this is a good tip because so many people think they have so much time to do and see everything which isn’t true. I like getting up early when visiting another country because I want to try their breakfast foods if they have them and walk around a bit to feel like a local. Also Europeans start early as well so I personally like to get in before the crowd gets out of hand. Getting up early is also a must because a lot of places close between 2pm-5pm in Europe, this including restaurants and gas stations depending on where you’re visiting.

What’s your favorite cultural habit you’ve picked up?

My favorite cultural habit that I’ve picked up would have to come from living in Italy. I always like pasta and wine but I eat it literally every time I go out now. I don’t have the desire to make pasta at home because I feel like Italy is known for pasta and amazing lasagna. So I eat out a lot which a lot of Italians do, they are very big on food. I also love wine tasting and going to winery’s and learning the history of it, which I wasn’t that interested in back when I was living in the states.

What would you suggest for other women who are thinking about traveling?

I would suggest to other women thinking about traveling, to be cautious and aware of your surroundings. I personally have never traveled alone but even if you go with someone this suggestion still applies, because everyone doesn’t have the best intentions. Example I and my friend went to Burano, Italy and we got some food but she had to take cash out. Now I waited at the restaurant while she went to the ATM and this man took a photo of her, she was a little freaked out because of course that’s not normal, but that just goes to show you that you never know who is watching you and their intentions.

What’s one failure that you learned a lot from, when it comes to travel?

One failure that I learned a lot from traveling is not taking out enough money to do everything I would have liked. I have been on some trips where I just didn’t save enough or didn’t prioritize my money right. I would recommend if you are traveling on a budget to look up prices of every place you may want to visit in that country, and covert the money into your currency so you know in advance how much to bring.

What’s one fear that you overcame, while traveling?

One of my fears that I have over came while traveling would have to be over thinking if a terrorist attack would happen while I’m in a country or not. I use to be so scared of traveling because you hear all these stories and stuff on the news. But I overcame that fear because I started to have the mindset that life is too short to let a “what If” thought determine if I was going to travel or not.

What is your favorite way to travel (ex. plane, train, automobile) and why?

My favorite way to travel depends on what’s cheaper and what’s the driving distance. Usually for me a plane is cheaper then driving because Italy gas prices are ridiculous and Europeans are more impatient drivers than Americans. I do like driving but the traffic is horrible in Italy so I think that’s where my preference came from. When I’m in the states I usually drive from state to states because it’s less traffic and I get to my destination in a timely fashion.

What is one piece of advice that you wish you could give your past self?

One piece of advice I wish I could give my past self would have to be “not to wait”. I feel like life is so short and waits for nobody and if you want to travel then do it, “what’s the hold up?” Time waits on nobody and we only have one life so why not live it to our fullest with no regrets. I use to get caught up in hanging with my friends but if I knew what I know now, I would have travelled a lot sooner instead of clubbing or shopping.

What is one place at the top of your bucket list that you’d like to visit?

One place at the top of my bucket list would have to be Thailand. Thailand is so gorgeous and plus I’ve always wanted to go to Asia. Also I love Thai food which is one of my favorites so it’s only right to visit. I will be making that dream come true next summer with my husband, we plan to take two weeks off to travel Thailand, Philippians, and Malaysia. I am pretty thrilled about that particular trip because it will be the longest one we have ever taken.

Let’s talk about your current trip! What was your inspiration for your adventure?

My current trip was to Burano which is in Italy it’s about an hour away from Venice. The inspiration for this trip was vibrant colors, I love pastel colors, colors alone especially bright colors just make me so happy and makes me think of a carefree spirit. I had been trying to go to Burano for the longest, but the weather was never right or something would come up, so I was excited to actually make that a day trip. It was one of my favorite trips and I didn’t even do a lot but just admired Burano’s beauty.

What has been the best/toughest part of your most recent trip?

The best part of my Burano trip was the weather being perfect and the beautiful colored buildings. Also on the way to Burano you have to stop at Murano which is known for hand making glass so that detour made the trip amazing as well. In Murano they show you how the glass is made and have all these little stores filled of so many unique glass sculptures, chandeliers, watches, and more. The toughest part of my trip was having to wait in line for the ferry to get from Murano to Burano because the crowd was crazy packed. The line took about an hour because the ferries are only so big, so next time maybe getting down there earlier will help prevent that.

What’s one thing you’ve learned from your most recent trip?

One thing I learned from my most recent trip is to not take offense to the locals that might stare a lot, because a heads up they will… and that to understand we all have different ways we was brought up, so what we may think is rude may be normal to other cultures. Another thing that I learned about myself during this recent trip was that I didn’t know how much I admired architect and colors as much as I do. Also that I love meeting new people and talking to them and getting to know their background and culture.

For anyone who would like to keep up on my travels I post on Instagram : @SunkissPilar and Facebook as well under Paige Pilar Henderson.

Tea Talk is a monthly series featuring extraordinary women who travel around the world! If you know someone who should be featured, or would like to be featured yourself, shoot me an email at morehouseemilee@gmail.com 

Staying Grounded When Chaos Hits

I definitely don’t live a standard life. And the thing about being a risk taker is that sometimes things fall short. And other times, everything falls short at the same time. Which is pretty much what happened last week. Let’s just say a lot of things crashed and burned. But that’s life, isn’t it? One minute everything is one way, and in an instant shit changes.

Since it seems like a lot of people in my life are experiencing chaos hitting the fan, I thought I would share some of my go-to techniques for staying grounded when life isn’t playing nice. Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Gardening

I’ve loved gardening since I was born. No joke. I think my love of gardening came from my Irish/English grandpa who always had a massive garden and would teach me how to take care of each plant and honor the earth it was planted in. Being around plants soothes me. At the moment I’ve created a bit of a garden with some vegetables, roses, herbs and the most beautiful hydrangea ever. When I’m feeling super stressed out I go and sit out on my porch and just take in the reminder that growth will still happen, no matter what life feels like at the moment. Related image

2. Reading

I own more books than is probably healthy, and I try really hard to manage my addiction to buying them. This one I blame on my mom, since I grew up with an entire library to choose from. I love the wisdom and dependability of books. They’re still going to be there waiting for you to learn, or love, or let you leap into a fire pit to save an entire world. Who cares how your day way? There are adventures to be had. Right now I’m reading these books:
The First American
How We Got to Now
The Name of the WindImage result for hermione book gif

3. Meditation/Prayer

If you’ve followed along on this blog for a while, you know that I’m a Christian and my faith is a really important way for me to bring balance to my life and worldview. When things get hectic and chaotic I take time to step back. I turn off my electronics and meditate to recenter. I think this is a really important part of being human, whether you’re connecting religion to it or not. Because when we find peace in ourselves, the outside world has a way of falling together, as well. Image result for meditation gif

4. Art/Cooking

I’m an artist and I do art. A lot. Whether it’s knitting, crochet, painting, cross-stitch (my latest craze), sewing, or making a recipe from scratch, creating with my hands brings me back to my center and calms me. I’ve always been like this, and I think it’s the same for a lot of people in my family. We’re makers. It’s in our DNA. We couldn’t stop even if we wanted to. Image result for cook little mermaid gif

5. Standing on my bed and lip syncing to Miley Cyrus

Ha. Ha. You thought these were all going to be adult and normal. Gotcha! I’m a huge Miley Cyrus fan (judge me if you must, you scoundrel) and I’ve found that her album Bangerz is just about the perfect lip syncing music to get that “F U” attitude off your heart. Be thou warned, that these are explicit lyrics. But, ya know, sometimes you need so yell a few swear words to get your mind back on track. The point is, have fun. You’ll be amazed how much of a difference it makes.

What do you do to re-center yourself? I’d love to hear about it! 

The Wonderful World Of Dating As A Travel Blogger

Let’s be honest. Dating in 2018 is a shit-show.

Most people on Tinder are looking for unicorns (don’t look it up, mom) or hookups, and the rest are some kind of weird, with more baggage than a flight to Antartica.

“But, Emilee! What about…” Stop. Before you tell me about how your sister’s cousin’s best-friend met her husband on POF, I’m talking general scope here. For most who are looking for more than a quick hook-up, the dating scene is bleak. Real bleak.

And for us travel bloggers? Goddesses of plane tickets and bullet journals…the struggle is even more real. If you’re a girl who travels you know what I mean:

  1. You’re way picky because you’re a little too awesome for most guys out there.
  2. People assume that every trip you take has something to do with getting a fresh scope on that continent’s male population.
  3. You aren’t in one place long enough to really establish a relationship, so you hop from long distance to long distance, with visits on holiday weekends and summers.
  4. People love to ask this question, “How are you still single!?”

Sound ’bout right?

We’ve chosen a lifestyle that’s counter intuitive to the way most of the world thinks. Which means we’d rather buy RT tickets to Malta than baby formula and diapers. And some people don’t get that. And some people never will.

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Let’s be honest, traveling changes you. The type of guy you’d go for pre-traveling is probably completely different than the one you’re looking for after island hopping in Southeast Asia. Experiences mean more. Open-mindedness means more. And a willingness to travel means a hell of a lot more. In fact, one of the biggest turn-offs is a guy saying, “I’m not really into travel.”

Because when it comes down to it our lifestyle means we’ve pinpointed what we love already. We’ve taken the time to love ourselves, and to pursue the things that make our hearts soar. So if you’re a gentleman suitor not up to the challenge…bye.

And let’s talk travel community. When a travel girl finds another travel girl they’re like soul sisters. We’re a strong community of bad-ass women who have set out to find deeper meaning, and to meet beautiful people around the world. Our favorite book?

This book is actually super good. Read it.

And there’s nothing wrong with us living our lives off the beaten path. We’re our genuine selves, and that’s more valuable than you might think. Authentic is hard to find, ladies. Don’t ever let it go. Because someday you’re going to find someone who makes you feel complete and whole. Maybe that’s a guy, or a girl, or a cat, or own glorious self…just promise me you’ll never stop traveling and doing what you love.

After note: I wrote this post a while ago and have since started dating a pretty wonderful guy. That being said, I think this still rings so true. Dating as a travel blogger is a world of its own.  

The Sunshine Blogger Award

A while back I got nominated for a blog award and I’ve been so busy with work that I never got a chance to react to it. So, first off, I’m so sorry for the delay but a huge thank you to Jordyn at Living on the Upbeat!

As you all know, I kind of fell into blogging as a way for me to handle all the crazy that is solo travel, and it’s been a crazy four years as I’ve met people around the world and through the internet who have inspired me to do better, live better, and open my mind to new ideas.

Here are the questions Jordyn had for me:

My answers:

1) If you could travel back in time, what time period would you visit? Probably the late 1800s-early 1900s because I’m obsessed with that time period and the clothing.

2) What is your favorite animal? Giraffe

3) Are you a morning person or a night person? I think I’m naturally a night person, but because of work I’ve had to adapt to being a morning person.

4) Who do you look up to? Any woman who has taken a little and made a lot from it.

5) If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Reading people’s minds

6) Coffee, tea, or neither? Definitely a tea person.

7) What is the most interesting place you have visited? Interesting? Hmmm probably Morocco. I would love to go back!

8) Something on your bucket list? Buy a house.

9) What are some small things that make your day better? I love being able to be in my own space. I’m a true introvert, and being in my room/house/garden make me feel so much more alive.

10) Dream car? Don’t know, don’t care.

11) Who’s your go-to band/artist when you can’t decide what to listen to? Classical music.

My Nominations:

  1. Samantha Deubel Photography
  2. Joy Filled Wander
  3. Traveling The World Solo
  4. Celeste Noche
  5. The Wandering Ginger
  6. The Bearded Genderqueer
  7. Camino Casamel
  8. Life of Fairy Tales
  9. Mikayla Jane Travels
  10. Madison McGhee 

Questions:

1) Favorite summer activity? 

2) Favorite book of all time? 

3) What is your biggest goal for the year? 

4) Do you have any pets?

5) What are your hobbies? 

6) Favorite holiday? 

7) Best vacation you’ve had? 

8) Favorite quote? 

9) How many languages do you speak? 

10) What’s a nonprofit you support/love?

The Rules:

1) Thank blogger(s) who nominated you in the blog post and link back to their blog.
2) Answer the 10 questions the blogger asked you.
3) Nominate 10 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
4) List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

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!