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402 days. 402 (plus or minus… mostly minus) posts.

Tag: travel

Day 107: What to Pack

My best friend from graduate school is coming to visit me from New York tomorrow and she asked me what to pack. Rather than send her a list broken up between eight separate text messages (with some “xoxoxo’s” peppered in for good measure), I’m sending it to her blog-style.

Stuff to Pack*

1. Your warmest coat. Unlike everywhere else in the country, it’s the middle of winter where I live. In fact, it’s been winter the entire time I’ve had this blog. The. Entire. Time. I’m both giggling and crying as I write this.

2. Wine. I tried to get some in preparation for your arrival, but I left my ID in my other coat and the guy at Kowalski’s wouldn’t sell me any without it. My incredulous and wide-eyed, “But I’m thirty!” didn’t phase him one bit.

3. Yoga pants. Obviously we’re going to dress up like we’re going to yoga, whether or not we actually go. We can drink the wine you’re bringing instead.

4. Dancing shoes (sneakers). I’ve compiled a long list of all the dance nights happening around town throughout the week. If we plan on going to all of them, we’ll make it to at least one. I’m itching to do the Roger Rabbit on a Wednesday.

5. Skim milk. This is a soy milk household. (Just kidding; I already picked up some skim. But I do think it’s gross, so you’re going to have to drink the entire carton by yourself.)

6. Those magical heat-emitting hand-warmer thingies you can put in your pockets. See number 1.

That’s pretty much it. I have towels and Girl Scout cookies for you.

See you at the airport!

*This list can be adapted for anyone visiting the Midwest in March.


That’s the two of us, running. Photo by the very talented Andrew Ippolito.

Day 52: Maggie

Ciara (my college friend and travel buddy) and I made our way to Magnetic Island on Tuesday. It was a really beautiful and sweaty drive down the coast from Cairns.

We missed a turn somewhere near the end of the drive and wound up in the Australian boonies (exciting!), but we high-tailed our way back to civilization and caught a late afternoon ferry to the island from Townsville.

Maggie, as she’s called, is absolutely gorgeous. Ciara and I are pretty sure she’s actually magnetic and magically cures weary travelers of all their ailments.

Here are a few photos from our first evening here:




Day 50: On the Road

Thanks very much to my mother, who is guest blogging for me today while I incoherently drool on a 14-hour flight (no medication necessary; any sort of air pressure change and I’m out). And yes, the Joie referenced below is the very same Joie who gave me a much-needed heads-up about what “fanny” means in Aussie slang on my “Getting Ready” post.


When Ashleigh called and asked if I (her mom) thought she was nuts to use the money she didn’t have to accept an invitation to visit a college friend in Cairns, Australia, I said, “Why not? Now is the time in your life to do it!” I actually think ANY time in life is the time to accept such incredible invitations, but that’s another blog for another day.

One of my very, VERY favorite artists lives in Australia. Curious, I did an Apple Maps (I know.) search to get directions so Ashleigh could meet Joie Villeneuve. Joie and her partner, Ilana, live in Perth.

Here’s what I found:

Cairns to Perth

Using my mad math skills, I think that means FIFTY-SEVEN hours of driving. New York to Los Angeles would take, according to Apple Maps (Again, I know.) forty-four hours. Ooof.

Here’s to a great adventure that doesn’t include a mother’s suggestion for a cross-continental get-together for soy chai lattes.

Joie and Ashleigh will meet another time.

Day 47: Getting Ready

On Saturday, I’m leaving my beautiful, snowy state (by “beautiful,” I mean a specific brand of beautiful… like, that-snow-used-to-be-pristine-but-now-it’s-brown-and-gross kind of beautiful). While I’m away, I’ll be in the sweltering foreign land of Australia.

Needless to say, I’m incredibly excited. My best friend from college currently lives there and will be serving as my travel friend and tour guide.

BF and I spent many a college night eating Easy Mac and coming up with fake stories about fake versions of ourselves. We were the funniest fakers on campus, as was evidenced by our slew of fake friends. I’m anticipating a delightfully fun fake reunion, followed by a real one, followed by days and days of hiking and snorkeling. And possible poisoning.

My dad pointed out that most of the world’s most poisonous species of animals live in Australia. I made the mistake of Googling all of them. My advice to you is to never do that.

Big Fish

That’s my BF and Giant Nemo (not poisonous) in Australia earlier this year.

In preparation for my trip, I’ve made a preliminary packing list:

  • Swimsuit (obviously)
  • Backup swimsuit (Since I didn’t already have a backup swimsuit, I quickly bought one on clearance from J.Crew. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a pretty color for under $10/piece, so I bought a suit the exact same color as my skin, covered in white polka dots. I’m not sure why it was on clearance.)
  • SPF one million sunscreen
  • My seven-year-old laptop (How else will I blog?)
  • At least eight pairs of shoes
  • A bunch of hardcover books
  • Advil for when I hurt my back carrying all those shoes and books
  • My blue ‘Go Fly a Kite’ fanny pack

I will continue to refine my list as the date approaches. Until then, feel free to let me know if I’m missing anything.

Day 36: That Poor Tag

For years, my most risky endeavor was to travel with a naked bag—no luggage tag, no identification, nothing that named my bag as mine. I’m not sure why I never identified it, other than that I always forgot to do it before I left and it always seemed too complicated to find a tag once at the airport (never mind that every counter stocks them).

Last spring, I finally obtained a plastic tag and zip tied it to my bag. I didn’t notice that I tied it to the very bottom until my dad picked me up at the airport last week and I watched him drag it around. That poor tag has swept at least six different airports.

I’m back at PDX today and I think I’m going to leave it. Forever. If I had any science skills whatsoever, I’d collect a sample from the bottom edge and analyze it under a microscope. I’m sure there’s some interesting stuff on there.