Fresh Start ... Wait, What Day Is It?

I just finished Deep, by James Nestor, which I promise you will devour even if you don't like diving. Several months ago, I highlighted it in a Literary Escapes piece I was writing for Ensemble Lifestyles magazine. I would have read it sooner but a certain someone (you know who you are) stole the book from me and read it first. Now I know why. I can't help but mention the mass of people Nestor took time to generously ...

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Much Ado About Carry Ons

We United Statesians do love our stuff. We go to big warehouse stores to buy it. Build glorious mansions to display it. Rent storage units to house the overflow. And perpetuate extreme gift-giving holidays to feed our addiction. Many of us even go on vacation with the singular focus of acquiring other countries' stuff. En route, we like to keep as much of our stuff as close to us as humanly possible, even if it creates inhuman conditions for ...

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The Pre-Trip Safari (Or, How to Hunt at the Mall)

They say you should wait. You should buy things when you're there. But, before every big trip I take, I invariably end up at the mall hunting for one or two items that will complete the perfect picture I have in my head of my upcoming adventure. A scarf that fits my packing color scheme. The perfect touring shoes. The latest swimwear. And always, always, these ...

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Faking it in Italy

The first time I went to Italy, I was doing the semester abroad thing with my university. We were stationed in a large dorm-style guest house in Florence. I had two years of Italian language classes under my belt and was surrounded by professors and savvy fellow students who pointed me in all the right directions. It was just after my father had died and being so far away from that reality was ...

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Chard Farm Savvy

One summer, before we were married, Marcus and I tried working on a vineyard in New Zealand to fulfill the romantic notion that working on a vineyard is all that it’s cracked up to be. After two weeks of squatting and standing up repeatedly all day as we thinned the vines under the watchful eye of our weather-worn supervisor, Wendy, the muscles in my thighs began to ...

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What to Pack

I know you're busy picking out your summer festival wardrobe but there's something I've been meaning to talk with you about. It happened, or rather didn't, on a trek Marcus and I took around Morocco. The initial inspiration for this trip was a rather well-produced video for Icebreaker, a line of merino wool clothing that can pretty much ...

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You're a Trip

One of my college roommates used to say my name like it was a question. "Nancy?" Then she’d shake her head and pronounce with some finality, “You’re a trip.” I’m pretty sure she meant I was a head case. But head cases like to take such sentiments as compliments. So I always grinned when she said it, which tripped her out even more. Anyway the point is ...

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