It’s already June, school is out for the summer and I have the chance to go to work with my mom—to Paris. She has a deadhead to the City of Light, meaning she isn’t scheduled to work the flight back and if she gets it cleared with the airline, can find her own way home. The plan is to head up north to Normandy for the 70th Anniversary of D-Day (after a day in Paris of course), but it is all up in the air. I’m lucky to snag the one and only standby seat out of Chicago, so thankfully I’m up in the air, nestled under my cozy navy blue travel blanket in the middle seat. Read more
Although it has been official for a while now, the moment has come to make it blog official— I’m moving to Madrid, Spain! I’ve been dreaming this dream since I returned from studying abroad in Sevilla in 2005 and a lot has gone into making it happen, including securing a year leave-of-absence from my school district. I’ve been back to Spain six times since then and every trip has nudged me more and more to plant some Spanish roots. Read more
It’s hard to believe that exactly a year has passed since I finished the Camino de Santiago and it has taken me that long to recap that anticipated moment of arrival. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to keep in touch with my Camino friends, and have even been reunited with a few— with Therese in December in Belgium, with Guy last week in San Francisco, with Daniel TODAY in Columbus, and of course with my dear Filippo. All five hundred miles hold lasting memories for me, beautiful scenes and, good-souled people. The following are excerpts from my Camino journal. Read more
It was an opportunity to step onto another continent, and while that interested me immensely, winding along Costa del Sol in a tourist bus with 42 students, I couldn’t help but battle a bought of pessimism. Would riding a camel through a parking lot (more on that later) and playing follow-the-leader through the maze-like medina with a group of 50 people be an authentic travel experience? Read more
While it was certainly difficult to turn down spending Valentine’s Weekend in Paris, reaching towards a new French destination proved to be the right choice. Reims, capital of the Champagne region in northeastern France is best known for its Champagne Houses and its historic position in French history. Read more
I could barely hold in my excitement as my brother opened his 18th birthday card. I was surprising him with a trip to Spain for Spring Break with the student group I was leading.
It was a chance for Dan to experience a new culture, meet new people (as he didn’t attend the school where I teach), and make lasting memories with his sister. Read more
Bonjour, France. I’m baaaack!
It was mid February, the sun blazing and warming the air to a perfect 50 degrees Fahrenheit, a welcomed heat wave against the arctic blast of this Midwest winter.
And there I was, suddenly transplanted into the French countryside, riding shotgun along the Route touristique du champagne. Life just felt crazy, beautiful. Read more
The dipping sun is the perfect backdrop to my sugar high. I have been salivating over the waffle stalls, but then politely declining for far too long. Within moments I have devoured the satisfying treat and Filippo and I are headed arm-in-arm towards the museum district. From beyond the bare trees, the sun, being sure not to wear out its welcome, is at the optimal level to create a dramatic light scene. Thick beams cut through the bicycle axels and envelop the amateur skaters stumbling on the seasonal ice rink. Read more
We’re tracing the bicycle-lined canals making our way towards the city center and sure enough, there he is, with his staff and hat with the scallop shell. Really he’s more like a pal now, a familiar face, however far from home I may be. Only a few minutes into our Amsterdam adventure for the day and Santiago is there to greet us, maybe to remind us why we are even here together in the first place. Read more
Filippo and I had just arrived back to Brussels after a lovely day in Bruges when I got the best travel surprise. Thanks to Facebook, I found out my dear Swedish friend, Therese, from my first Camino just so happened to be a mere forty minutes away in Antwerp. We were on the phone in a matter of minutes making plans for the following day. Read more