Tuesday, July 19, 2011

road trip planning

12 days to cross the country seems like ages, but it's just not. The more I look into things, and other people give suggestions, the more that I realize how much there is to see--enough to fill months! But since 12 days are all that we have (as reality encroaches all too quickly in your mid-20's), we're going to make the most of it.

My friend Gabby came up with a brilliant idea: a road trip scavenger hunt. On the list so far:
-see the world's largest (something)
-buy cowboy boots and a cowboy hat
-real Texas BBQ
-go to a beach where we can swim (after all, we are from Northern California)
-take a picture of a road in the middle of nowhere
-and a bunch more, I just can't remember

It's a great start--but any more ideas?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Birth of the Travel Bug

Four months in Argentina. Not quite where it all began, but certainly the point of no return. The purchasing of the guidebook. The cramming much too much into my suitcase and the dreaming of scenarios that justify the bringing of each outfit. The taking off alone. The mid-flight surge of excitement and nervousness. The beginning of endless restlessness and a love affair with travel, adventure, wandering, discovering. Realizing that the phrase "settle down" makes me shudder.

Argentina is where incredible nightlife, plazas, craft fairs, glaciers, lakes, waterfalls, relics of Peronism, Che Guevara's childhood home, dinosaur fossils, cave paintings, Jesuit ruins, indigenous villages, epic steaks, wine tastings, rafting in the Andes, tango in the street, futbol mania, horseback riding through golden plains, whale watching and desert mountain biking all coexist. So who could blame me for never looking back?

Pride Season

Seattle's Famous Space Needle Topped by Pride Flag

The funny thing about places is that a lot of their character boils down to their people. A few weekends ago I attended Seattle's Pride Parade and subsequent Pride Fest. Not only was it a great time, filled with free parade route loot (baskets of strawberries, free burritos, day glo maracas, cookies, hilariously vulgar stickers and beads, anyone?) and outrageous passersby, it was also incredibly meaningful.
Taking place just days after gay marriage became legal in New York, the event was themed, "Be You. Be Proud. Express Yourself!" The parade and festivities were all about taking pride in one's individuality while not just tolerating but celebrating the city's diversity. Seattle did a wonderful job at this, with groups ranging from major corporations to local dance troupes filling the streets with creativity, rainbows, poignant political and public health messages and, of course, nudity for nudity's sake.
After many cumulative months and years spent in places around the world that stifle expression and individual freedoms, events like pride parades really make me grateful and proud to be in the U.S. If it's not too late, find a pride parade near you to celebrate your place's people.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


If you're from the Central/North coast, chances are that you know about fog. I mean, know it, like a person you live with: its habits, its patterns. It becomes predictable in a way. You can tell when it will burn off (if it's low), when it's staying for the day (if it's higher), when it's coming in at night (when it gets windy) and when it won't come in at all (on those rare, warm nights). Or at least this is the Carmel Valley version of fog.

Despite my familiarity with the phenomenon, it still surprises me sometimes. The beauty in its mystery, and how it feels like you could walk across it, nothing more than a dimpled pillow--certainly more than air and water.

A few days ago I went on an astounding hike. The trail was familiar, but the view felt brand new.

Starting out, below the fog:

Inching higher, obscuring the trail:

At the top, sunshine over the clouds:

Friday, July 8, 2011

breaking news

Did you know that there are albino redwood trees? And there are at least two in Big Sur?


I'm definitely hunting for them before the end of the summer! And posting pictures, obviously.