What to Eat in Norway

After traveling to Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland, I’ve grown a deep appreciation for some Scandinavian goodies. There’s a general sense of fresh seafoods, the use of local herbs, game meats and unique berries that we loved exploring out there. Generally, people had told us how food is pretty expensive out there, which is the case if you plan on eating in fancier restaurants the whole time. We found lots of grocery stores with food prices similar to what we pay out here in the Bay Area. Even convenience stores like 7-11 have a quality selection of cheeses and breads, so we picked up quick foods to go throughout the trip. I really miss the food in Norway and have found myself already trying to re-create dishes back here in Oakland.  As I go through the photos, my mouth can’t help but water at the sight. Keep in mind, I […]

Continue Reading

Taking the Roads Less Traveled in Northern Norway

Prior to taking our Scandinavian vacation, I knew that I wanted to spend some time really getting to know the culture of the places. Of course all the major cities have lots to offer, but escaping into the less traveled areas is a for sure way to get one-on-one and experience a real dose of what the customs and people are really like in a country. On top of that, one of the major things on my list of things that I wanted to do in Scandinavia was go see the Northern Lights. I have seen it once before in Alaska, but I wanted to show my husband, Peabe, and my daughter, Evie, how amazing it looked in person. I once read an article about how climate change may effect the lights and wanted to be sure that they also had that experience in their lifetime. Lastly, I love getting […]

Continue Reading

24 Hours in Oslo with Parents and a Little One

My retired parents spend about half the year in my childhood neighborhood in Illinois, and the other half of the year all the way out in the Philippines.  Neither place is anywhere by my daughter in Oakland.  My husband and I both had grandparents raising us in our childhood, and we sometimes worry that my daughter doesn’t have enough of that same quality time. We recently took a trip with them to Norway, and spent some time in Oslo together.  The idea of trying to experience a new city is a little daunting because we would be in a larger group, and at different stages of life’s interests and general fitness.  I can see the benefit and prefer to travel in small groups when necessary, but I knew some adjustments would need to be made to enjoy our time together and see all that we wanted to see. As we […]

Continue Reading

Vacation Planning 101

If you haven’t guessed already from my Instagram account, I am in taking a little fall trip out to Scandinavia.  We will be in 4 different countries: Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland.  The trip is mostly for my family (my husband, daughter, and I), but my parents will be joining us to Norway as they had never been before.  We are traveling by plane, car, train, and cruise boat to 6 different cities, so planning took some time and coordination. I have been talking to some friends about it recently who have been pretty shocked to hear the deals that we’ve found and the tips to travel when organizing for this vacation.  We’ve tried to do the bulk of the prep work early on, so I don’t remember all of details, but I can share with you what I thought were key things to my planning. FINDING A LOCATION So we knew […]

Continue Reading

Making Family Traditions at a Colorful and Dry Yosemite

Ever since living here in California, I had only visited Yosemite in the springtime.  There’s something so fresh and clean about springtime there, with the falls gushing with water, crisp cold air, and sometimes a bit of snow on the ground.  We usually book a yurt with Yosemite Lakes Campground, just outside the park, so we’ve been a little spoiled by heated structures to relax in white we are there.  Going in the off-season also offers us a pretty open park, away from crowds and traffic, where we can really feel like we’ve escaped. This year, the campground was pretty booked and had availability in October.  With all the other things we had planned this month, it was a little inconvenient, but we booked it anyway and had hoped we could make it work.  The group of friends we go with changes slightly most years, and this time was no […]

Continue Reading

5 of my Favorite Stops En Route to Yosemite

Last weekend, we were fortunate enough to get another yearly tradition squeezed into our busy month, a trip to Yosemite.  I know I’ve been spending so much time camping in October, but this trip was different.  After two weekends of backpacking, and as the park was going to have the first winter storm of the season, I was happy to glamp it up with a yurt.  Yurts are canvas structures; imagine a round cabin but instead of walls like we would normally see on cabins, its wrapped in canvas. Not only are we generally excited to spend a weekend in a yurt, but we are able to spend it at one of my favorite National Parks.  It still seems a little unreal that I am so close to it now, about 3-4 hours away.  A short drive from the hustle and bustle of the city is the amazing views and fresh air of […]

Continue Reading

Celebrating 5 Years of Camping on Angel Island

It was 5 years ago, when Evie was only 7 months old, that we took her on her first camping trip.  We went to an island in the middle of the San Francisco Bay, called Angel Island.  Of course I was worried.  I didn’t know if she would cry all night or be fussy on hike to the campsite.  I called the State Park ranger on duty to confirm emergency procedures if something should end up happening while we were there.  I hadn’t even been to the island prior to the trip so I had no idea if they had boats docked overnight or even signal to reach anyone. She slept in the Bjorn carrier as we climbed Mount Livermore, the highest point on the island.  We apparently took the hardest trail to the campsite, with baby and backpacks of camping supplies, and my husband and I were exhausted by […]

Continue Reading

The Things I’ve Learned from Hiking the Lost Coast

Starting off my life from 35 has already been an adventure.  Breaking into 36 with a crazy hike to the Lost Coast in northern California, I can only hope that bigger and better adventures await.  As I start to make my new lists for myself in this next trip around the sun, I know there’s not much moving forward without looking back on the past.  That weekend hike with Jenny not only has taught me a lot about pushing myself in my outdoor adventuring life, but also in other aspects of my world. As far as hiking and camping, I am only inspired by this to take on more challenges like this.  There are a couple things I had learned, and for all those looking to try the Lost Coast for the first time, I thought I would share it. PACKING Here’s what I brought with me: 65L backpack Bear […]

Continue Reading

12 Points of Interest on the Lost Coast Trail, as Told By Us

First off, let me preface this with the part of the Lost Coast Trail that we did was a portion of the southern trail.  Most time when people talk about the Lost Coast, they are referring to the northern part, about 25 miles between Mattole and Black Sands Beach in Shelter Cove.  The southern trail is about 32 miles, from Shelter Cove to Usal Beach. I passed on the north part because I thought it would be harder to hike.   The trail has a lot of sand hiking, long stretches of rocks that roll underfoot, and tides you need to account for in your hike.  A lot of times, the tide comes in and leaves hikers stranded on parts of the trail, unable to move forward.  I wasn’t sure how my pace would look and don’t have too much experience with tide tables, so I preferred the southern part. The […]

Continue Reading

The Birthday Trip That Almost Didn’t Happen

In a previous post about backpacking in Point Reyes, I had mentioned that I had given myself this birthday goal to hike part of the Lost Coast Trail in northern California before the next birthday.  I had never gone on that long of a hike before and I don’t really do too much in the backcountry.  Maybe it was a way to just literally break free of all the things that weighed me down in my last birthday, and get back to a feeling of independence, self-reliance, and the general untethered-ness that one would like to feel again after having a child and family.  Of course I love my family and my life, but that birthday hit me like a ton of bricks, and I was faced with a lot of feelings about turning off my life’s auto-pilot.  That year was a turning point for me, and I’m happy to report a […]

Continue Reading