Euro Trip 2016: Our European Itinerary

NearlyΒ two years ago today, I boarded a flight from Seattle to Paris, on a trip that would upend life as I knew it. This was more than a family vacation. It was a pilgrimage, to see the place where my mother grew up and where my grandparents still live today. It was on this trip that I finally bridged the gap between fantasy and reality, and found myself in the place I’ve known I belonged in my entire life. Continue reading “Euro Trip 2016: Our European Itinerary”

Where to Next?

What a year it has been. So far I’ve visited family in Washington State, taken a weekend trip up to Canada, and vacationed in France and Italy. Before I get to writing about Europe, however, I wanted to take a moment to talk about what comes next. Dan and I spent a year and a half saving and planning for Europe. All that saving meant we didn’t have much money left over even for small trips to the beach. It’s an odd feeling, now that our Euro trip has ended, to have full wallets and no big trips on the horizon. Continue reading “Where to Next?”

Bavarian Charm in Leavenworth, WA

Leavenworth is one of those cities which, despite growing up in Washington, I never visited before moving to the other side of the country. I’ll be honest, in high school I thought Leavenworth was a small town with plenty of cows and not a whole lot of nightlife. One of those blips on the map that we passed by when making the long drive to visit family in Spokane.

How wrong I was. Continue reading “Bavarian Charm in Leavenworth, WA”

The Embassy Inn: Casual Comfort in the Heart of Downtown Victoria, B.C.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve shared my weekend adventures to British Columbia with my childhood friend Nadya. Having never visited Victoria before (no, a forgotten childhood visit does not count), I was anxious to see as much as possible. That meant doing a little research beforehand, traveling with reputable companies, and basing ourselves in a central but affordable location. Continue reading “The Embassy Inn: Casual Comfort in the Heart of Downtown Victoria, B.C.”

Beauty in Bloom at the Butchart Gardens

I feel like I’ve been leading up to this post for weeks now. I got to visit the Butchart Gardens with my friend Nadya back in April, and absolutely loved it! It’s hard now to believe that we ever considered skipping it altogether Β – read more about that lapse in sanity here.

In the end, we did choose to visit the Butchart Gardens, and we arrived hoping to be wowed. As we paid the $30 entry fee, I couldn’t help but think of all the other things I could buy with that money. 1/3 of a one day ticket to Disney World. Dinner for two at Kobe. A one-way ticket to visit my sister in Utah. Surely no garden could be worth all that?

How happy I was to be proven wrong. Continue reading “Beauty in Bloom at the Butchart Gardens”

A Snapshot in Time: Craigdarroch Castle

I don’t know about you, but when I hear about castles, I immediately think of far off places and fairy tales. Castles are the stuff of fantasy, places that exist only in the pages of a book, or in countries far, far away from the one I live in.

So when I read that Victoria, B.C. boasts not one, but two castles, the only question was which one to visit first. Continue reading “A Snapshot in Time: Craigdarroch Castle”

Girls Weekend in Victoria: Part Two

Nadya and I awoke early on our last day in Victoria. We’d slept soundly, exhausted by the previous day’s adventures in British Columbia. As we sat down to breakfast in the hotel lounge, the only thing we had planned for the day, we weighed the pros and cons of a visit to Victoria’s famous Butchart Gardens. Continue reading “Girls Weekend in Victoria: Part Two”

Girls Weekend in Victoria: Part One

We all have that one friend. The one who is constantly jetting off, having adventures, and just living the life. For me, that person is Nadya, one of my closest friends since middle school. In the years I’ve known her, Nadya has taken school trips to Europe, taught English in France and traveled all over the continent, and practically lived in Ireland, given how frequently she visits. Continue reading “Girls Weekend in Victoria: Part One”

A Rainy Day Visit to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Washington. Family. Bright, gorgeous flowers. A hint of rain. These are a few of my favorite things, and I got to experience all of them at the same time at Washington State’s Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in April. Continue reading “A Rainy Day Visit to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival”

An Early Morning Hike to Wallace Falls, WA

The chilly mountain air swept over us as the car doors slammed shut, making the hairs on my arms stand on end. I was home. There’s a certain smell that accompanies the woods on an early morning, the sun obscured by towering mountains and dense layers of trees. It always brings me right back to the years spent camping as a kid, eyes shut as I lay in my sleeping bag, taking in the chirping of birds, the hissing of camp sausages, and that fresh, damp air hanging over the campsite. There’s nothing like being in nature, experiencing it rather than reading about it in a textbook, and letting it sweep over you and take you in. Continue reading “An Early Morning Hike to Wallace Falls, WA”