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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What Nature Teaches Me About Being Thankful

It’s a tough time to celebrate Thanksgiving, for sure. As we sit with our families over a meal, a lot of bad things are going on in this world.  Yes, I am thankful that we aren’t sitting front lines to terrible atrocities happening right now. As I’m looking back on a pretty tumultuous year for me and my family, I know a lot of great things happened this year too.  Yes, I am thankful for all the blessings we all have had. As I worry for my daughter growing up in this world everyday, I know she’s been learning and growing with a firm sense of self and wonder.  Yes, I am grateful that she is such a rad kid. As I know I have been dealing with a lot of personal highs and lows this year.  As I loose friends and learn to cope with a new loneliness, I […]

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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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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 […]

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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 […]

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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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A Quick 24 Hours in San Diego

Back when we were deciding where to move to when exiting Chicago, San Diego was actually my first choice.  I knew I wanted to be in California, and I knew that I had a lot of family there for when I got homesick.  As much time as we’ve spent in Los Angeles, or even Anaheim, I had not gone back to visit San Diego since first moving out to the Bay Area about 8 years ago. I have been wanting to go back for the past 4 years and introduce everyone to Evie, especially to my Auntie out there who always took care of my siblings and I when we came to visit on family vacations.  We’ve talked about spending the day at Legoland, or taking her to visit the pandas at San Diego Zoo.  It was finally time to stop talking about it and make a trip there. To […]

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Road Trip to LA and the Raising Bertie Premier

When our friend, Jon, told us that there was a premier for his new movie in Los Angeles, we jumped at the opportunity to be there with him.  He’s one of my husband’s oldest friends, my old roommate here in Oakland, one of our best men at our wedding, my wii-bowling nemesis, the official officiant for my wedding, and one of the most talented filmmaker and photographer I know. He left us out in Oakland one day to do some filming for a documentary in North Carolina and told us he would be back in a month or two.  He never returned.  As much as we missed him, we knew how important this was and we grew attached to the characters when he would talk about them.  It was a labor of love, filming over the span of six years, and anyone would be able to see the heart and soul […]

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5 Reasons to Celebrate the National Park Centennial

Can you believe that the National Parks turned 100 this year?  How crazy amazing that we even have these places of such unspoiled America to enjoy?  So, I know what you are thinking… “oh boy, Jamie, another post about National Parks?”  My answer is YES!  Since it is officially National Parks Week in America, I need to share some major things about the parks that you may or may not know. Balancing at Yosemite National Park at 3 years old. Celebrate the National Park’s Birthday with FREE ENTRANCE! Evie’s hike to the waterfalls at Olympic National Park. August 25th-28th is actually FREE for anyone who wants to go.  There’s actually a couple of free days for the NPS throughout the year but this weekend is special for the 2016 Centennial.  The fee waiver includes entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees. Other fees such as reservation, camping, tours, concession […]

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