All posts by Mimi McFadden

Mimi founded The Atlas Heart to create a community of travelers inspired to see the world. The Atlas Heart is a space where you'll find anecdotes on slow travel, craft beer, outdoor adventures, and all the eccentric bits in between that this world has to offer.

Historic Indulgence in Bruges: Hotel Prinsenhof 

Historic Indulgence in Bruges, Belgium - Hotel Prinsenhof | Europe Travel

The rain splattered against the train window as I traveled the short distance from Brussels to Bruges, only an hour away.

I’d dreamed of going to Bruges since I was around 13 and found a random penpal online who lived there. We wrote back and forth for months, talking about the differences in our cultures and how it was growing up as a teenager in Europe vs. America.

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30 Thoughts That Went Through My Head in Paris

30 Things That Went Through My Head in Paris, France | Europe Travel

Ah, Paris – the city of love, light, and romance. Oh la la!

I just finished up a week in this French capital, and as usual I had a range of thoughts that went through my head while I was in the city. Writers’ brains seem to be in constant motion. Call it a gift or a curse, but my brain is no exception.

In fact, my brain is more the equivalent of a dog when he sees a squirrel – easily distracted and excited about the mundane things in life.

I make it sound like a cool superpower when I describe myself as having “the curiosity of a child”, but really I just have a lot of random thoughts that ramble through my brain on any given day.

These were a few of the deep thoughts and reflections I had about French life while I was in Paris.

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Why I Still Believe in Solo Female Travel

Monkey Times at Angkor Wat - Cambodia

Solo Female Travel – it’s a term that has garnered backlash in the travel industry in recent years, one that people think is unnecessary and overused.

Everyone and their mom has become a “solo female traveler” with the rise of personal travel blogs. It’s old news, nothing special. Just as soon as the term became popular, there was an outcry for females to stop using it…mostly by fellow females.

Why should we have to label ourselves as solo female travelers, when guys just say they’re travelers? By putting a label on it we’re just encouraging the sexism and division in how females and males are perceived around the world, is what some women argued.

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Wrap-Up: August 2017

Naxos Island in Greece - Europe Travel

August flew by in the blink of an eye, as a lot of this year has seemed to. It was a month full of enjoying more of a fixed-life in Crete, Greece, figuring out my plans for the rest of the year, and island hopping.

I was still based in Heraklion for most of the month. Toward the end of August I left for Santorini, Paros, Naxos, and made my way back to Athens to explore more of the country. I’ve been here for two months already now!

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Why I’m Choosing to Settle

Shore Acres State Park, Oregon - USA Travel

Here it is. That dreaded post that eventually happens to most, if not all longterm travel bloggers. The post that says they’re finally ready to stay in one place.

When I say I’m settling, I don’t mean in the way that I’m settling for less than I deserve, but more  that I’m settling for my sanity and productivity. I’m settling for me, and I’m okay with that.

I remember reading these types of posts from the bloggers I used to follow religiously, and I would always feel let down, like they were a sellout somehow. That they gave up on travel. But the truth is, this lifestyle that I’ve been living for the past 4+ years, it’s not sustainable, at least not for me.

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If You Were Here (Part II)

Cotton candy sunsets in Langkawi, Malaysia - Asia Travel

The sun brought out the subtle green hues in the waves today.

I walked to the sea and floated in the warm reflections. They reminded me of the color of your deep set eyes, the specks of marine blues and greens and how they always had a crinkle, like the lip of a curling wave.

Do you remember that night? The tiny red plastic chairs, the uncontrollable laughter, a serene cloudless sky with the smell of sizzling fried chicken at our side.

It was electric.

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Travel Budgeting for Laos

Travel budgeting for Laos - Asia Travel

To continue my travel budgeting series around Asia, next up is Laos!

I finally made it to Laos after missing it during my last trip to Asia in 2013. Since I went in the low season this year, I found it harder in some aspects for traveling around and budgeting.

I still managed to meet quite a few new traveler friends, but starting off my time in the country with a week straight of heavy rains in Luang Prabang, put a bit of a damper on my time, literally.

Off season or not, Laos turned out to be on par, or even a little cheaper, than its neighboring Southeast Asian countries of Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Food and drink especially were inexpensive and accommodation prices varied a lot depending on where I was in the country.

This is everything I spent during my 28 days in Laos!

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Wrap Up: July 2017

Sunny Days in Crete, Greece - Europe Travel

Yassas – July was my first full month in Greece!

I know I’ve said this multiple times already, but I can’t believe how good it feels to be back in Europe. Besides it being more expensive than Asia, which was to be expected, there’s not much I’ve disliked about my summer move.

I immersed myself in all things Greek in July and my only regret is that I didn’t visit this country sooner. Greece was never at the top of my list as a destination I had to see, but now I’m imagining making it a regular summer spot from which to write for a month each year.

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12 Reasons Why I Already Love Crete, Greece

Crete, Greece - Europe Travel

“Some folks call her a runaway. A failure in the race. But she knows where her ticket takes her. She will find her place in the sun.” // Tracy Chapman

I know I throw the word “love” around a lot on here, but I have to admit I fall in love with places easily. There’s something about the concept of the foreign that has always intrigued and excited me.

I’ve already been in Greece for 19 days, which baffles me. It feels like I just arrived the other day. Time has flown by already, and I know it will continue to do so for the rest of the summer.

And time is flying because I’m happy. Like, head-over-heels in love happy with where I’ve decided to base myself right now.

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Looking Back on 8.5 Months in Asia

Wat Phu, Pakse - Laos Travel

“‘Live each day as if it’s your last’, that was the conventional advice, but really, who had the energy for that? What if it rained or you felt a bit glandy? It just wasn’t practical. Better by far to simply try and be good and courageous and bold and to make a difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you. Go out there with your passion and your electric typewriter and work hard…something. Change lives through art maybe. Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance.”  // Emma Morley (Excerpt from One Day)

When I stepped on that flight to Hong Kong last October, I had no idea how much my life would change in the course of eight months.

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