my tips on living the well-traveled life

Even though I still continue to travel, this morning I realized I don't post too often about it anymore.  2014 has already been a busy travel year, and it won't let up until June when I finally have a break.  I'm actually in Charleston now with one of my fave friends.  The weather is crisp and lovely, but raining heavily with no end in sight.  And if you were wondering why the pictures in this post include sunglasses and bright floral shorts, it's because the pictures are from my hawaii trip five months ago.  I thought I'd channel warm weather thoughts I'm pretty behind on blogging about my travels and current work. I'm sitting here at Collective Coffee snuggled up in a cozy arm chair reflecting about what it takes to live this life of constant travel.  I thought up a few qualities I think help me in all the travel I do.


Keep your bags always packed.  This is certainly very, very valuable.  Keep basic items always in your suitcase (see list below).  When it's time to travel this tip takes away all the guesswork from packing.  All the very important items I need for every trip always stay in my suitcase.  It prevents you from forgetting essential items.  And if you notice from the list below, those essential items actually take up very little space.  When I pack I'm actually only "packing" a few things: clean clothes appropriate for the weather and destination (flannels, sweaters, knit cap for this Charleston/Norfolk trip), additional weather appropriate shoes (boots for this trip), makeup, books and my camera gear.  The following items always stay in my suitcase: - all my toiletries, dry shampoo, lotion - a swim suit, a scarf, socks, clean underwear - a red bull, aspirin, allergy medicine, motion sickness medicine - flip flops and a pair of flats - a three-outlet surge protector (works on all outlets of variable voltage and is a lifesaver at airports and older hotels where outlets are limited), universal outlet adapter - an umbrella, baggu bags - my "airplane survival kit": inflatable neck pillow, an eye cover, ear plugs and a light blanket that can double as a scarf - and a few other items that escape me right now.


Maintain as much normalcy as possible when traveling.  When I travel I always use a purse that I use on a regular basis.  I used to use a "travel bag" but found that I would leave it somewhere or misplace items because I wasn't used to the bag.  I didn't have a rhythm to how I wore it or where I'd put specific items in it.  I realized it also helps me be aware of it since I'm used to how it lays on my body.  Another tip I noticed that works for me is to wear clothes that I wear on a regular basis.  This is important for many reasons.  First, I know for certain how comfortable I feel in the clothes.  Second, I know the clothes well enough to know the buttons aren't going to fall off or the pant legs won't ride up.  Finally it makes picking out outfits while traveling super easy.


Be flexible.  Yesterday evening my father alerted me US Airways canceled my thursday flight to Norfolk.  I automatically went into stress mode.  On the way back to my friend's house my mind was all over the place, wondering what I would do.  I had no idea what to do.  I panicked internally.  After about two hours on hold, a very friendly agent rescheduled me to a more convenient and shorter flight and all was well.


Understand your traveling style.  I used to fill my days with activities from when I woke up to when I went to sleep.  And if you know me, it only takes a few days of that to really wear myself out and become incredibly crabby.  After a few trips I learned I much more enjoy wandering with a few target must-do's per day.  Usually I plan ahead of time what few things I want to see and places to eat.  I then rank them and choose 2-5 things I absolutely must do on the trip.  For Norfolk it's going to the beach, Handsome Biscuit and colonial Williamsburg.  Sometimes it's a little less specific like for Charleston it was just go to a coffee shop and see downtown.  That way it ensures that I get to see the things I want, but still maintain the slow pace that keeps me sane.  Oh. And I like to wander aimlessly and find cute spots to sit and read and write and draw.  yay.  When I travel with other people I need to know they are similar to me in how they travel because I don't want them to wear me out and me to bore them to death.


Plan a timeline that with wiggle room. As more of my travel becomes work related I'm learning how quickly everything could hit the fan.  Thankfully with all the flights I've been on I've only experienced a few missed and canceled flights.   So now I try to be wherever I need to be at least two days before.  It decreases the stress of wondering whether or not I'll get to a certain destination or not.  I noticed inexperienced travelers try to pack in as much as possible into their schedules.  As with anything things are bound to take longer than expected.  So planning for downtime helps alleviate the stress of possibly rushing from one thing to another.


So that's basically my travel essentials!  Hope that helped you in some way. :D

rome | character

Oh how I miss Europe. Sitting here at my desk, and I love that I've been in California for more than a month. I love that I don't have to finish everything before a trip or catch up after a trip. I'm just here and content. I do miss the travel and the exploration of new places, but I'm loving exploring the Bay Area. I'm so happy to meet up with friends in between deadlines and meetings. I love that I've had time to read in the in betweens, when I'm waiting in line for the post office or taking the train or when I arrive early for a meeting. I love it. Traveling can't compare to being at home, but I love both all the same.

Most of my heart will always be in California (the other part is in New York, of course).


Rome, Italy. January 2013 | Canon 5d markii 45mm tse

cambodia | it's on.

Hi. I'm in Cambodia and although I realize I'm not addicted to internet, I'm actually still addicted to the internet. Cambodia is fourteen hours ahead of California, and I find myself wondering when people will wake up so I can read their blog posts or so that they can update their instagram (or better yet, like my instagram pictures.) Despite that aspect of my internet addiction, I do rather enjoy being unable to check my email or surf the internet throughout the day. I again remember how lovely it is to go through a day and enjoy that day. To go through a day and remember how I felt and remember that it wasn't interrupted by a text or email or some extraneous internet-related distraction.

Life is good here in Cambodia. A bit like home. A bit like adventure. A great combination, I think.

1153 tuk tuk cambodia

p.s. Cambodia reminds me of India... but more on that later.

my traveling companion.

If you hadn't realized it, I went on a two week european adventure. Most of my trips I travel on my own but this one I traveled with my little cousin Sam. She's actually not little, although she is kind of petite in stature. She's 21 but she's almost nine years younger than me, so I'm going to be calling her my "little" cousin for a while before I realize she's actually an adult. She has the travel bug, and I attribute that to her upcoming graduation. So we traveled around Paris, Milan and Rome. It was great. She always seemed to pick the tastier meal, but thankfully she always let me try her food. yum. There were times I tried to pawn her off on "hot" Italian guys, but that's another story. haha.

p.s. don't you just love all the stalker pictures I took of her. hahah.

india | on the road again. from dehli to agra

At the start of my India trip I was surprised to discover how short our trip was.  We actually only toured India for four days; the other four days of our trip was traveling.  So the day after I arrived in Delhi, we headed in our tour bus to Agra which was about 6 hours ish away.  The ride was long but I was thoroughly entertained by the sights we drove by.  India reminds me a lot of the other countries I've visited but in many ways so vastly different.  It's fascinating. The thing I do love about traveling from one spot to another is the journey you experience over a short amount of time.  Although we had few  spots, I feel like I saw parts of India I'd never see if not for this tour bus.  In fact I'm certain of it.  That saying "It's the journey not the destination" is so true.  This long ride gave me the time to sit and think about my life and where I was heading and where I wanted it to end up.  There's a lot about me that changed over this short period of time.  Traveling always does that to me.  It changes me.  Experiencing other cultures and worlds in and of itself is life changing but I also go through a personal transformation on all these trips.  The other day I remember how all this traveling started.  I was using it as an escape from an unhealthy relationship and a way of validating myself, trying to prove to myself that I was worth something.  I used it as a crunch.  And over time somehow it's become a catalyst.  A means to thwart my life into an even better direction.  I think of it as warp speed.  :)

The amazing thing to me about India is its vehicular movement.  How pedestrians, cars, trucks, bicycles and motorcycles all share the same road without any seemingly apparent organization is incredible.  I've heard drivers in India were crazy, but I honestly felt pretty safe both in our tour bus and in the cars arranged for us.  India is pretty spectacular.  I love that in writing these blog posts I'm reliving these experiences.   I'm so glad to have a blog and always have a place to share my thoughts and experiences. I love this archive of my life that is this blog.