Aside from my family and health, the thing I am most grateful for is living in an age of accessible, fast travel, the privilege of my resources to be able to continually do so and the time off from my job to travel to various parts of the world. My husband and I both work in public education and almost as soon as the last school bell rings, we board a plane.

I do not travel for relaxation or comfort. I travel to learn, grow and connect. I live for those first confusing moments when I step out of an airport and into a new country where the smells, sounds, faces and sights are new to me and telling of an adventure ahead.

I love going to new countries and visiting their cemeteries, grocery stores and watching the kids in the school yard, in the most non-creepy way possible. I live to taste the local beer, fumble through a menu in an embarrassing-version-of-a-new-to-me-language and humbly request a vegan meal. I love seeing how responses vary to that request in different parts of the world.

 

I have learned so much from being completely lost, confused, disoriented and in fear of offending cultural norms. I am energized by the conversations I have with people I meet and cherish learning how they interpret God, how they approach marriage, how they raise their children and converse about politics.

I have learned to slow the eff down in Spain, how to feel music (fado!) in Portugal, how to be at peace amongst chaos in China, how to step up my manners in Japan, how to appreciate indulgence in Italy, how to savor art in France, what true devotion is in India and how to smile in Nepal. Mexico continues to teach me the tempo of my own soul.

You can read recaps of some of my trips below:

India: The Land of Contrast

India was beautiful. India was horrible. India was unbearably hot and overwhelmingly humid. India had beautiful, tranquil breezes. India stunk like cow shit, hot piss and rot. India smelled like aromatic spices, sacred incense and sweetness. India was scathingly loud...

Why India?

If all has gone according to plan, I am landing in New Delhi, India today and will be off exploring for the next few weeks. I will be making my way around Northern India and Nepal, then back to the states for some backpacking through Colorado. I am trying to keep my...

Desert to Mountains

I am reminded over and over again about the beauty of living in the Inland Empire (even as the temperature is currently soaring over 100 degrees). The past few weekends have been spent transversing the diverse terrain of this beautiful land. I cherish the privilege to...

Portland and 10 Year Vegiversary

When I saw the date finally announced for LA Vegan Beer Festival, I almost cried. My heart physically hurt. I have attended this event every year. It has always been scheduled in May and the date has now moved to June. I am usually off on a plane as soon as my school...

Mt Baldy Hike

This past weekend my trainer from the gym invited me to hike with her and a group up Mt. Baldy. I told her I would think about it....I was first going to say no. I had "too much to do." I was busy all day Sunday and should really take Saturday to "rest." I am glad I...

Tokyo-The Food

I ate extremely well in Tokyo. I was pleasantly surprised to find such a diverse selection of international food in Tokyo and easy-to-veganize versions of local cuisine. I mentioned this in my Beijing post, but I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to learn...

Tokyo-The Sites

 Tokyo is filled with modern wonders and historical intricacies. We spent all of our time in the city, exploring the various districts and neighborhoods. We spent many of our evenings and early mornings in the lively, bright and vibrant Shinjuku district. We also...

My Impressions of Tokyo

When planning to visit Beijing, my husband and I talked about where else we wanted to go. We both easily agreed upon Japan. It was only a few hours on a flight and we could explore a whole new country. I was not sure what to expect of Japan and my friend agreed to...

Beijing-The Sites

Beijing has such a rich history and many historical sites. My friend did a great job of narrowing down the most important places to visit in our trip. We started with The Lama Temple. The Lama Temple was built in 1694 with such intricate architecture and adornments....

Beijing-The Food

I like to think of myself as an adventurous traveler. I try to keep an open-mind and soak in the local culture and customs. I am not at all picky about my accommodations and have slept in some interesting places. I try to stay flexible with all modes of...