How To Spend 8 Days In Cuba

Most times we are limited to how much time we take of from work and general responsibilities to go traveling.  Especially with a little one at home, I wanted to plan enough time to really experience the Cuban culture but didn’t want to spend too much time away from her.  That being said, you also want to give yourself some time to relax and recharge, and not feel like you are coming back stressed from the trip’s itinerary. After travel time, my trip ended up being about 8 days in Cuba.  I tried to get a little bit of everything, but of course you won’t be able to get everything in such a limited time.  My cousin and I kept to a certain region of the country to not spend additional time in traveling, but I would love to return one day and learn about the rest.  I am really […]

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A Whirlwind 72 Hours in Finland

Norway, Denmark, and Sweden were all incredible countries with a lot to offer.  We decided to add one more country to top our Scandinavia trip off, and we were glad we did.  Finland was pretty amazing, and as draining as our whirlwind trip was, we felt we topped it all of on a high note.  With a limited amount of time there; we tried to cram as much as we could in a short time, but ended it on an amazing experience at one of the greatest Finnish traditions, the sauna. We were lucky enough to find a night cruise from Stockholm to Helsinki through Viking Line Cruises.  We set sail on the Gabriella Cruise ship, and got a private room (with private bathroom) for $104 total!  Our private room had 4 beds, so if you travel there with multiple people it is a steal.  Even with the 3 of […]

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A Tale of Two Hostels

During our trip to Scandinavia, my family and I were lucky enough to stay in a couple different types of lodgings and get different experiences in all the cities.  As we were planning the trip, we tried to find places close by the things we wanted to see or in an area we wanted to experience.  We also tried to keep in mind that food would be expensive and having an available kitchen may alleviate that expense.  We looked at a couple different places, and found we chose based on different things. In Oslo, we actually stayed in someone’s condo through AirBnB.  Here’s condo on the Oslo fjord was in a busy area, just by the Opera House.  Arctic Cabins in Vestvatn gave us a different experience where we were out in nature and removed from city lights to see the Aurora Borealis.  When it came to larger cities like Copenhagen and […]

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A Look Back at the Women’s March in Oakland

After the election results in November, I remember reading the invite to this Woman’s March and thinking to myself that this NEEDED to happen, and asking myself why isn’t this happening sooner.  I think my immediate need for action was basically me not understanding the scale of what this event was going to be.  As the date grew closer and the anticipation of the inauguration was building as well.  I am past the point of “how did this happen?” or even mourning the times as it were.  I am past feeling the sadness over the whole situation and I have just letting the anger consume me.  I am okay with that, the anger needs to stay and keep me motivated. What made me so proud that day of the march was to see that I wan’t alone, that there was a fury that we all must feel and be activated […]

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10 Reasons Why Halloween at Copenhagen’s Tivoli was a Great Decision

As we are in full swing of celebrating winter holidays, my mind is still with fall holidays. Who doesn’t love Halloween?  You can get all dressed up and get candy or go out to a party, then spend the next day nursing a hangover with some free chocolate.  I was always a fan of dressing up in homemade costumes when I was younger, that I think I’m reliving that excitement a bit with my daughter, Evie.  I get really excited about costuming, and she gets really excited about candy… although, she doesn’t really eat a lot of it (still has candy from last year), but Peabe and I get into her stash every now and then when  we need something sweet. This year, as we were going to be in Scandinavia, I was worried about how she would take the news of not dressing up, trick or treating, or getting […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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