Category Archives: Travel

Dreaming

I am very fortunate. I’ve traveled the world. I’ve made friends in places most people don’t even know exist. I once swam 6hours from one remote island in Fiji to another…. No, this wasn’t an open water swim race… I once trekked a mountain in New Zealand with a local club… with two kegs in tow. We proceeded to have ourselves a jolly party along the way… It definitely made the return trip lighter. I’ve spent a week off the grid at a World Rainbow Festival where I headed the kitchen one night and made a homemade curry for hundreds of people. We gathered old coconuts for days and scrapped fresh coconut meat out until our hands were bloody… We ate in a circle… Hundreds of people from around the world gathered in peace… Though utopia definitely comes with a price (despite Rainbow Gatherings not costing a penny), and I left with skepticism and a new appreciation for a roof over my head (living under a tarp on a beach in monsoon weather isn’t all it’s cracked up to be).

I could go on and on, but at some point along this international journey I said to myself, “I’m ready to settle down.” I know. I shed a tear too, but then I thought about all the opportunity that was right in my back yard. A job where i can start earning money. A husband to share in the adventure. And eventually a family. Ah, I guess you can say I was growing up.

I felt compelled to explore my country and discover the towns that are so remote I felt like I was in a foreign place. Have you ever been to Big Bend National Park? Terrlingua, Texas? Nothing says adventure like locking your keys in the car at midnight, after copious amounts of beer, when digging in your trunk for a tent to pitch outside the bar (free camp site for bar patrons). AAA said they’d be there in 3days. Instead a middle of the night desert adventure began through a ghost town, up a mountain, to a random house, where we given a place to sleep. Americans can be as generous as the strangers I met in say, Thailand. There is hope.

I’ve been traveling a lot for work lately which isn’t quite as adventurous as the travel in my youth, but I go to some pretty cool places none the less. I’m in San Francisco right now (currently experiencing insomnia) at my company’s HQ. One coworker just returned from a month in Asia. Another has been telling me about her 3 year trip around the world…. In a sailboat!

Wow. What an adventure. It is one of my dreams to sail around the world. First, I must learn to sail. Second, convince my husband. Yeah, it’ll be awhile, if ever. I might just settle for a week on a wooden sailboat in a tropical location. That might satisfy my desire.

Totally rambling. It’s 3:30am, and time to go back to dreaming.

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Good eats. Good times.

I’m not really sure what has happened to me the past 6 weeks (hell, 3 months), but one thing that is certain is that I survived!  As I sit comfortably on the couch next to my husband and dog, sipping a pumpkin spiced smoothie (oh! how I missed you Vitamix) and flipping through my iPhone, I’m reminded of all the wonderful places I’ve been…. and that I don’t have to get on a another plane until next month.

Here is a walk down memory lane from my recent travels. 

Beatles Love Cirque de Soleil at The Mirage, Las Vegas
Love was two hours of my life that left me wondering what the hell just happened?  I’m not sure what the writers were on when the wrote this, but it was something really strong, that is for sure.

Most of the action in Love was not in the air, but rather on the ground.  I enjoyed the show, but it wasn’t full of acrobatics like other Cirque de Soleil shows that I’ve seen. 

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Real Food Daily, Los Angeles
RFD is a hip, little join in LA that serves up everything from fresh juice to vegan comfort food. 
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Bi-Bim Bap at Wild Ginger, New York City
As I was walking to another restaurant to meet a friend for dinner, I passed Wild Ginger.  I totally stopped and grabbed a to-go menu and the next day when co-workers were asking about where we should eat lunch, I busted it out.  It was a glorious meal.  How pretty are all those colors? 

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Beautiful runs in New York City
From Chinatown to Brooklyn’s DUMBO, one thing I do know, is that my running game is back.  I somehow managed to drag myself out of bed extra early every.single.day I was on the road the past 6 weeks to exercise.  No matter how tired I was, how much I worked the day before, how stressed I was, sweating made it all better.  I even had an early morning running date with Rachel, one of my good friends from the Peace Corps, before heading off to a meeting in NYC.  Seriously nothing beats an early morning run, in a new city, before the streets are full of the hustle and bustle of life. 

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Café Gitane, New York City
I seriously felt like I was in France while eating breakfast at Café Gitane. The avocado, lemon juice, olive oil, chili flakes, on seven grain toast was seriously one of the best things that was ever placed on my tongue.  I think there was a whole avocado, smashed ever-so delicately, and piled oh-so high on perfectly toasted bread. 
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The granola with fresh fruit didn’t disappoint either.  I will definitely be back to Café Gitane, and I’m telling everyone I know who lives in NYC or who plans to go there too.  Since my pictures didn’t quite do this place justice, I’ve stolen from others.  This place is epic.
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Bread, New York City
Bread is the runner-up restaurant to my NYC trip.  I just had a salad that I don’t even recall as being out of this world,  but the bread (duh!) was really yummy in my tummy.  Not to mention the atmosphere was pretty hip.  I would definitely go back to Bread (and would recommend others to as well)! Again, my pictures didn’t really do this place justice, so I’ll once again steal others. 


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Runs along Lake Shore Drive, Chicago
Nothing beats starting your days with views like this.  It suddenly makes too many glasses of wine at the previous night’s dinner fade away. 

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Running through the ‘bean’ and being the only tourist there is special.  I think I might get grumpy at prime “self portrait time.”IMG_0740[1]

Sprinkles Cupcakes, Chicago
Sprinkles seems to be all the rage in cupcakeland; which I seem to be a foreigner of.  But vegan red velvet cupcake?  Yes, please.  I could have done without the cupcake though and just gotten the icing injected straight into my blood stream. 

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Fresh juice at Detriot Metro Airport’s Mediterranean Grill
How glorious is this?  I even was able to get my favorite juice combo – carrot, apple, and ginger – at the airport.  This might make up for the fact that I had to fly north to go south.  I’m glad I didn’t get any food there though, because yelpers ripped this place apart.

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In case you are wondering (I know Dave is), these trips were in fact for work.  But a girl has to eat, right?  See Love?  Mary Poppins on Broadway?  Snatch up deals along Michigan Ave?  Yeah, that’s what I thought too.   

Despite my attempts at playing tourist on work trips, breaking a sweat every morning, and hoofing it around town on foot, I’m pretty sure all the eating out > my running attempts.  I’m feeling a bit, uhm, out of “racing shape” honestly.

So, the best way to get out of this funk is to set a goal and start moving towards it. 

Your toughness is made up of equal parts persistence and experience. You don’t so much outrun your opponents as outlast and outsmart them, and the toughest opponent of all is the one inside your head.

Joe Henderson

Tomorrow, races will be placed on the calendar, and my eyes will be on the prize. 

Live well,
Carolyn

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