43, 44, 45, 46. No, I’m not counting how many days in a row it has been raining in Seattle, but rather how many states I’ve visited. While I grew up within a family that advocated the importance of domestic travel, Hawaii has always been one of those elusive, fantasy-like destinations to me, similar to Rivendell. Since I saw 95% of the U.S. by the time I graduated high school, you would’ve thought that Hawaii would’ve been one of the first U.S. states I visited, especially with how…

At the end of 2010 I found myself saying that 2010 had brought out both the best and worst in me. So last year after I said that 2011 was the best year of my life , I knew the pressure was on for this year; and 2012 didn’t disappoint, as this past year, without a shadow of a doubt, was the best year of my life, putting even more pressure on 2013. Some of the highlights of 2012 included finding some semblance of home in San Francisco, living in…

There’s a lot that I love about Europe, from the beer to the accents to the “real football” to the chocolate, and much more. However, no matter how many times I visit, I just can’t get over how photogenic it is. There’s only so many beaches I can take a photo of in many parts of the world, while the diversity of Europe’s beauty is endless. I find myself gravitating to Europe so much because of the history. Its a history that’s firmly rooted in my family, as…

7 countries, 5 planes, 4 trains, 2 buses (One of which broke down, making this number, two, rather then one), and 1 ferry. That was my first six days in Europe, making it the most frenzied week of travel in my life. I did this, all the while, by getting in a car once, and that only by necessity, to catch a taxi from the U.S.A./France women’s soccer game in Glasgow on the opening day of the Summer Olympics so that I could make my flight to Belfast in…

I had been looking at the clock on the wall above my desk for hours, peering up every couple minutes to check the time before looking back down to work on the computer, my leg tapping nervously away. For most of the world and everyone else in my office, it was just another Friday afternoon, but to me it was much more. It was one of a few moments over the course of my 27-year life that I would call “climactic”, if it was in fact that. My…

I sat nervously by the window — tapping my feet, biting my nails, and peering outside every time I heard a car pass by — waiting to be picked up. This went on for 15 minutes. I’d get up to take a swig of water, pausing momentarily to remember to flip on the filtered water if I didn’t want to be sick with diarrhea, and then sit back down to start the cycle all over again. You’d think that I was waiting for a blind date, my limo…

“This is normal”, grinned my seatmate, as I hit the back of my head against the seat, let out a big sigh, and got up to exit the train. If this was normal, I’d hate to see what abnormal was. Tripping over the lip of a sidewalk or getting cupcake icing on the tip of my nose was normal, but not being stranded at the Austria/Italy border, watching in bewilderment as my train slowly pulled away to fix a technicality, leaving all of the passengers by the wayside….

I originally wrote this post two weeks ago, but trashed it. I never want to come across with a  boastful or “holier-than-thou”  tone and sometimes I write posts like this, but then delete them because there’s too much of “me” in the writing. However, this morning as I sat perched in the living space of my hostel on the island of Fuerteventura, listening to the sounds of the street and overlooking the North African-style flat roofs out to the ocean, my eyes welled up with emotion as I…

“You’re the first American customer we’ve ever had.” As soon as my surf instructor told me that, I knew I was in for a different experience in the Canary Islands. Now on day 3 of a 10-day trip to the Canaries and I’ve yet to meet another American or hear an accent that isn’t European. Visiting popular vacation destinations like Costa Rica and St. Lucia, I’ve just come to expect that Americans are visiting the same destinations I’m visiting, yet that hasn’t been the case here in the…

While my calendar states that the official start of summer is still a couple weeks away, as far as I’m concerned, it’s already started. I’ve already got my first farmer’s tan, I’ve worn shorts several days in a row, and I’ve been riding around this week with the windows rolled down. These things all feel like luxuries to me right now since the traditional summer months in San Francisco often means wind, fog, and cool temperatures; a far cry from my summers growing up in North Carolina. However,…