Big Sur

Some days in California, all you need is a car and a bit of freedom.


Cheat Sheet
Roof: Lil House (via Airbnb)
Food: Big Sur Bakery & Nepenthe (great view!)
Beach: Pfeiffer Beach
Beware: Poison Oak. Everywhere.


Saltwater Air

I decided to poke my head out during vacation because I'm finally breathing warm air, embracing the sunsets, and walking through sand. I am utterly and fully on vacation--the type of vacation where the air is warm and sticky and the days are long and full. The air is salty, curling the brunette strands around my face and sticking to my toes.

Pictures from  Big Sur, California


Not Telling

There's some of life that's been pretty fantastic and some that's been not so great, and most of it is being lived elsewhere in the corners of a sunny deck and a full kitchen table. Sometimes I want to not-tell a great many things, so I hide my pen and shut my computer and get on with life and the stories that happen.

So if you've been wondering what's been going on.
That is it.
That is what's been going on,
at least a small bit of it.

You shouldn’t try to stop everything from happening. Sometimes you’re supposed to feel awkward. Sometimes you’re supposed to be vulnerable in front of people. Sometimes it’s necessary because it’s all part of you getting to the next part of yourself, the next day. Cecelia Ahern

I've been traveling a lot. It was Boston first and then to France.
I've been learning and cooking and running.
I've embraced the rays of summer, bought tickets,
checked bags, spilled lattes, laughed loudly and cried more than I'd like.
I tell my family I love them, because I do, and I try not to rush the days,
even the bad ones, because they are only here once.

I also try to not worry, although I think I'm quite bad at it…not worrying, that is.
I try to ask myself the hard questions, and call my mom, and go for drives, and give hugs,
and write emails, and remember what's needed from the past so I can push into the future.
And I'm trying harder to be present and kind and healthy.

And while I pretend that my computer is shut and my pens are dusty, that is only partially true. Because I've been writing the bigger story, getting it down in fits and starts. It's rough, incredibly ugly, but I've promised myself there will be something, even it's only ever this, there will be something.

If you believe that you have something special inside of you, and you feel it’s about time you gave it a shot, honor that calling in some small way — today. – Elle Luna



What is the fatal charm of Italy? What do we find there that can be found nowhere else? I believe it is a certain permission to be human, which other places, other countries, lost long ago. 
 Erica Jong

For us to go to Italy and to penetrate into Italy is like a most fascinating act of self-discovery, back, back down the old ways of time. Strange and wonderful chords awake in us, and vibrate again after many hundreds of years of complete forgetfulness. 
D. H. Lawrence
Methinks I will not die quite happy without having seen something of that Rome of which I have read so much. 
Sir Walter Scott

It is the city of mirrors, the city of mirages, at once solid and liquid, at once air and stone.
Erica Jong


Everything on a Tuesday

I try to stop more, to appreciate the day, let myself unwind.

And today was hard--the crappy, ugly kind. It was the type that I'd rather do without and try to bury deep into yesterday. It was tears on a weeknight, and a dinner to keep, and everything just seemed to be not-right in the square peg, round hole way.

But then the night was warmer with a breeze and I walked outside to move both my feet and heart. I ordered tea from a favorite shop, and wrote down all those feelings. I gave the world some space to flex and grow, the pains of change and thought working there way though the murky spots, adding clarity, forming ideas.

When dinner arrived, it was delicious and fun and extremely needed. The ability to laugh and joke and swear are the amazing gifts friends can give. There is no use being with them if one cannot let go of all that pretentious shit--you know, the stuff that gets in the way and musses up the goodness we try to hide. We talked food and travel and work and driving and all those normal-life oddities that are a part of todays. There was a clear understanding that this was all fair game on a Tuesday night because it's whatever it needed to be at that moment, a non-agenda in a city I love.

Walking home alone in the quiet of SF, I realized there are good people I've got around me these days. People who tell me to write, and that I'm a bad liar, and that maybe life is looking pretty good, and there are some very real things I should quit and start.

So even on a crappy normal Tuesday, that is now technically a Wednesday, I've got a bit of magic and love and luck in this damn city. And isn't that? Well, isn't that everything?


Rome: A City of Life & Brokeness

I arrived on maybe 3 hours of sleep, went to the wrong baggage claim (in the wrong terminal) walked the length of the airport, entered security through an employee entrance, retrieved my bag, took a train, took a bus, checked into my hotel and read this sign: This night will change the time. Move forward one hour the clock. I looked at my friend and started laughing. Of course I'd fly across the world and then loose an hour. Of course. But that is the adventure of traveling: nothing ever goes quite as planned.

Rome was amazing, in the truest sense of the word. A friend pointed out that it seemed like I needed it:
the timing was right and the city necessary. In truth, it was all of those things.

It was the feeling of being overwhelmed yet free, unrestrained but connected. It was wandering with only the present in mind, a space I do not occupy too often or without much practice. But in Rome it was easy--or easier--and it was good to be reminded of the importance of today.

On a scale of 1-10, Rome was a 12. As my friend put it, "I think I love Rome as much as I do because it oozes passion, it’s loud, and it’s madly in love with food." I felt stronger there, more alive, living into the truth that it is okay to be completely me, always.

In the evening, we walked through Piazza della Rotonda with the Pantheon beside us, and there sat a man with his bike and his cello, spreading music into the warm spring air. Mid-sentence, mid-step, I stopped. We stopped. I listened and breathed, remembering again that being human can be one of the most grand things in the world. When we continued walking, I threw my hands in the air, "We're in Rome! I can't believe it. This place... this place is amazing!"

We wandered the streets in search of pastries, gelato, pasta, wine and sunlight. Food and conversation guided us through a city that welcomed our energy, laughter, and appetite, things for which we never once apologized. We opened our window every morning with only one goal in mind: let the day become.

I surrendered to the eternal city for 4 long days, filling the air with words and questions and the heavy truths that begin to surface when the distraction of busyness is removed.

We're all in the middle of one mess or another and Rome gets that. It so gets that. It's a city with stories, with secrets, with history, and it has the strength to hold the burdens we insist on carrying.
Rome knows perfection is boring, stale, dishonest.

That is why I love it.

It is a broken and beautiful city, strong and honest in all the right ways.

The Details
Hotel: Hotel San Silvestro (breakfast included!)
Gelato: Della Palma
Gnocchi: Rosa Rosae
Pizzeria: Da Francesco
For more Rome travel tips, click here.