Solo to Santiago // Here are the FAQ’s

This summer I will be embarking on one of the most incredible adventures that I have ever taken…

Walking the Camino de Santiago!

It has been something that I have thought about for years, and always told myself I was going to do, and now I am finally making it a reality. I don’t think I have ever been so excited and so nervous about a trip in my life.

If you have ever watched the movie The Way, starring Michael Douglas and Emilio Estavez, then you already have an idea of the trip I am talking about. If you haven’t*, then I’ll give you a bit of a run down.

* Psst, it’s on Netflix!

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I have never ever ever regretted booking a flight. Sure, sometimes I have had my doubts, or maybe, afterwards, the trip didn’t turn out exactly like I imagined it would be, but there has never been a moment where I wished that I stayed home.

So, go ahead. Book that trip. Do it.

I dare ya.

I promise you, it’s worth every penny.  
Oh, and when you do…be sure to tell me where you are going in the comments below! 

9 Years Since Paris // The Trip That Started It All

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Just over nine years ago, I found myself, a fresh-faced, 18-year-old Kaitlyn, wandering around the streets of Paris, with my friend Mandy by my side.

We had our noisy and ridiculously annoying rolling luggage following behind us, a map in one of our hands, and no clue where we were going. (Shout out to my step-dad for forcing us to bring that map!) Not one French person seemed to recognize the street name that our hotel was on, or had any interest in helping two clueless American girls.

After somehow figuring out that we had spent the last half hour walking in the wrong direction, we had a really good laugh about it (thank goodness!) and turned ourselves back around, finally headed to where we needed to be.

There are a lot of things that I can’t remember about this trip, but that first 45 minutes of arriving in Paris have been engrained in my memory like it was yesterday.

That weekend that I spent in Paris nine years ago was my first time traveling outside of my own country on my own (well, without family) and it remains the trip that I blame for my international travel addiction.

The following are all of the things that I really loved about that trip, along with some not so lovable moments. Every trip can’t be perfect, right?! Continue reading

10 Gifts Under $20: For The Travel-Obsessed Person In Your Life

If you are reading this, than there is a 100% chance that there is someone (or multiple people) in your life that freaking LOVE to travel! Yep, 100%. Everyone knows someone…If you can’t think of anyone, well, you always have me!

Here are some ideas for gifts to get them this holiday season, guaranteed to make you their favorite person come Christmas or Hanukkah, or whatever you may celebrate.

HOLIDAYTRAVELGIFTS

 

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HAPPY THANKSGIVING! // 16 Things I Am Thankful For

Thanksgiving is just a day away! I am hosting a Friendsgiving at my house this year for everyone that doesn’t have a place to go on the actual holiday, either because of work problems or because family is too far away. I have SO MUCH to still get done in preparation, but I find myself writing this instead. *Queen of procrastination, right here!*

happy thanksgiving

It is always at this time of year, when the holidays start sneaking up on me, that I start to analyze the wonderful people and things that I am fortunate to have in my life. I think that it is super important to reflect on how blessed we are in life and share our gratitude out loud, as a reminder to ourselves and others to appreciate all that we have and not take the little problems we face on a daily basis so seriously. Unfortunately, some people aren’t so blessed.

Aesop once said, “Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.” Indeed, gratitude is one of the hallmarks of a life lived well. It is a virtue that profoundly impacts your personal happiness and the quality of your relationships.

So here I find myself, coming up on the Thanksgiving holiday, reflecting on all that I am thankful for. Continue reading

It’s That Time Of Year Again!

It's That Time

So people who know me know very well that I am a huge fan of this season.

I mean, huge.

At the Tivoli Christmas Market in Copenhagen

I love decorating my house, or, you know, wherever I happen to be living at the time. I like all the comfort food and hot drinks and Christmas markets and parades and wearing scarves and big sweaters and cheesy ABC Family movies. It really is the most wonderful time of the year, in my opinion. Continue reading

12 Freaking Awesome Passport Holders I Need Now

One for every month is totally logical right?!

Recently, I read an article that was floating around online about a couple that had to miss part of their honeymoon because the new bride was told that her passport was “damaged”. The wear and tear on her passport caused the pages to be slightly bent and some seams hanging off the side. According to the agent at the US Airways desk, she needed to get a new passport issued before they would allow her to fulfill her travel plans. This meant a lot of unforeseen costs and missing half of their trip.

Talk about a major bummer.

This got me thinking. When I used my passport for a trip to Croatia this past August, I remember thinking to myself that it was starting to look quite ‘broken in’. In an effort to not find myself in a similar situation as the not-so-happy couple, I started to search Etsy for ‘passport covers’ and see what was available out there.

Turns out, a ton!

It took me quite awhile to narrow the choices down, but the following are 12 passport covers that I am totally tempted to buy. And if you don’t have a cover for your passport yet, I suggest you pick one out too!

PASSPORT HOLDERS

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Predictions Change // Answering The Ever So Popular Question “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?”

I have been 27 years of age for exactly 10 days now.

Happy birthday to meeeeee!

Happy birthday to meeeeee!

Ever since I turned 27 I have had this oddly suffocating feeling that I am not where I want to be. Remember when you were in high school (or whatever you may call it in your country), and teachers or parents or friends would ask you “Where do you see yourself in ten years?” Well, ten years ago, I was a senior in high school and I can vividly remember people asking me that exact question, and dreaming about where I saw myself…

Possibly married, or at least in a long-term relationship with someone. I have never really wanted to have children until my thirties, but I thought for sure that I would be on track towards a family. Ten years later, I saw myself finally getting over my professional confusion, finally figuring out what I wanted to be when I grew up, and actively pursuing a fulfilling and successful career of some sort. I also saw myself out of suburbia and dreamed of living in some glamorous metropolis of some sort…New York or Boston, or maybe even Seattle or Portland. My Friday nights would consist of going out for cocktails with friends at the end of a long work week, and bitching about relationships and whatnot. (I watched a lot of Sex And The City in highschool.) 

I have now hit that moment, ten years in the future, and I am nowhere near where I predicted I’d be.

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How A Local Hike Made Me Feel A Million Miles Away

HIKE

One of my absolute favorite things to do is hike. I am not a runner, never have been. I hate going to the gym and working out on machines. My workout of choice is climbing mountains. Taking in the fresh air, the sun and breeze on my skin, and feeling so strong and powerful when I get to the top, looking down on the world around me…

There is no feeling like it.

Living in San Luis Obispo, I am incredibly blessed to be surrounded by some beautiful mountains with a plethora of trails to choose from. However, I don’t own a car anymore so there is only one mountain in particular that I have easy access to when I am itching for some one on one time with miss Mother Nature. Funnily enough, this mountain is known by locals as “Madonna”. (No relation to the singer, sadly.)

Although a different hike, Madonna is pictured in the background.

Although a different hike, Madonna is pictured in the background.

I have hiked Madonna Mountain at least a hundred times since living in this town, and, although it is not my favorite, I still enjoy every chance I get to head to the top. Mountain bikes zoom past me with their bells ringing. Other locals pass by and nod hello or say “Good morning.” However, last week, I came to split in that path and decided that I was tired of doing the same ol’ trail for the millionth time (slight exaggeration there) and made a choice to explore the other side of the mountain. A side, I have to say, that I hadn’t been on in years.

It was the best hike I’d had in months.

As soon as I took the other path, the amount of people around me dropped to almost nothing. In the 2 hours that I proceeded to spend exploring the mountain, I think I passed maybe one or two people. It was so lovely to truly feel out about on my own with just my thoughts.

And boy, did those thoughts start flooding in!

So much so, in fact, that I had to get my phone out and start voice-dictating them into my notes. (Looking back on this particular note I am referring to, it barely makes any sense. I was rambling, and my iPhone didn’t seem to understand what I was saying very well through heavy breathing. Owell!)

As I continued along my new path, I kept coming to split in the road after split in the road. Some moving upwards, some heading back down, and some carrying on forwards. I had no clue where they would take me or which one I needed to get back towards the direction to my house, but I didn’t care. I wasn’t in a hurry and the feeling of just trying any path and seeing where it took me was exciting! I trusted that when I was ready to head home, I would find my way.

I know there is a life analogy in there somewhere for me…

I'm sure many people know this bench exists, but I still consider it my secret spot.

I’m sure many people know this bench exists, but I still consider it my secret spot.

The feeling I had on this mini mountain adventure of mine was incredibly similar to the same feeling I get when I am traveling and I first land in a new destination. My favourite part of arriving somewhere I have never been is just walking around by myself – no map – taking in the smells and the sights and the sounds. Embracing the unknown.

It is scariest, yet most exciting, part of my trip.

I think there are a lot of people out there that try to plan every. single. moment. of their trips. In some instances, preparation is important, but, in all honestly, you are just setting yourself up for disappointment. Nothing ever goes perfectly to plan when traveling is involved. It’s like some sort of rule or something. Embracing the unknown and trusting that the path you are on will take you to where you should be in that moment…Well, it can really lead you to some amazing experiences.

Trust me.

I have been incredibly travel-sick lately (as I usually am when I am living a “normal life” at home) and I really loved being able to enjoy those two hours running around a mountain on my own, feeling like I could have been anywhere in the world, far far away.

Needless to see, the other side of the mountain will be seeing a lot more of me in the future…

Panorama of San Luis Obispo, with Madonna Mountain in the middle.

Panorama of San Luis Obispo, from the top of one of the many hikes to explore.

Fallin’ // Avila Valley Barn in Photos

Fallin'This past weekend, my friend (and fellow blogger) Megan, came to visit me in San Luis Obispo, California. Although the weather was still hovering between the 70’s and 80’s, we were not about to let that deter us from taking full advantage of the fall festivities. It is still October after all…

We hiked a mountain and attended a college football game, but my favorite part of the weekend was hands-down our visit to Avila Valley Barn. Just off of Highway 101 on your way to Avila Beach, there is a huge old beautiful barn that is open year round for people to come and visit. They make their own ice cream and have a shop where you can buy tons of locally grown fresh produce (most of it from their farm right there). You can even hope on a hay ride and do your own fruit picking, if you so please.

I don’t visit Avila Valley barn very often, but when I do, it is definitely in the fall. This is one of the most beautiful and fun places to really get into the spirit of the coming holiday season, and my absolute favorite time of year! Plus, they have every shape, size, and style of pumpkin you could imagine.

Because this is the kind of place you really need to see for yourself to appreciate, I’m just going to leave you here to admire some photos from our visit.

Enjoy!

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