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.

101 Things to Do in California

101 Things to do in California

Note: this post contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips. 

There are countless options for things to do in California. It’s a state that offers so much in terms of varied landscapes – from the desert to the beach, mountains, and redwood forests.

Having lived in California for 23 of my 28 years, there’s a lot I love about this place I most recently moved back to and now call home.

And I’m not alone. In the US, California has been the place to move to, a state of transfers and outsiders who come here for the high standard of living, the beautiful coastline, or maybe to make it big, either in Hollywood or the tech industry in Silicon Valley.

California is a place for laid back vibes, dreamers, and outdoorsy folk. Although there are a lot of stereotypes when it comes to California (and Californians), you can’t put the people or the landscape in a box, it’s much too varied.

Continue Reading

San Diego Hiking Guide: Torrey Pines Hike

Torrey Pines Hike | San Diego, California

Note: this post contains affiliate links

If you’re looking for an easy hike in San Diego that offers drop dead gorgeous views of the glistening coastline, look no further than the Torrey Pines Hike.

I lived in San Diego for 5 years and luckily had a chance to tackle quite a few hikes around and just outside the city.

The thing is, San Diego is full of beautiful hikes and opportunities to get outside. It has fantastic weather year-round, and the city itself is full of outdoorsy people who love to get outside and tackle a new challenge on the trail.

Continue Reading

Wrap Up: January 2019

Wrap Up: January 2019 | San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts

Note: this post contains affiliate links

2019 started off at a full sprint. From ringing in my brother’s wedding on NYE, to my first trip of the year to Colorado, and leaning more into my love for all things San Francisco (even with the recent frigid Bay Area temperatures). I already have a good feeling about 2019.

This year has already thrown me a handful of challenges, reminding me to not get too comfortable in my new fixed life because there is still a whole lot of work to do in my business, my relationships, and my personal development. There is always room to grow, which I look forward to continuing to do throughout 2019.

Continue Reading

Arizona Road Trip Itinerary: One Week in the Grand Canyon State

Arizona Road Trip Itinerary

Note: this post contains affiliate links

A detailed Arizona road trip itinerary to spend the perfect week seeing the highlights of the Grand Canyon State.

If I didn’t have such a love affair with California I would seriously consider moving to Arizona. The state is filled with diverse landscapes, friendly locals, and so many good road trippin’ options. You really can’t go wrong with an Arizona road trip, because every corner of the state is filled with natural desert beauty.

I went back to Arizona for the second time this past November and somehow ended up even more amazed by what the state has to offer. I’m now trying to get my dad and stepmom to move here from Oregon so I can have more excuses to visit.

Continue Reading

Wrap Up: December 2018

Wrap Up: December 2018 | Whistler, Canada

Note: this post contains affiliate links

The last month of 2018 was equally slow and fast. My weeks were filled to the brim with work, content creation, travels, and holidays parties, but I loved soaking up every last minute of one of the best years I’ve had in a long time.

At the end of November, I was contacted by Mazda. MAZDA people!!! A few weeks later, I was ecstatic to head up to Whistler, a new Canadian destination for me, for a few days to work on some sponsored content for them and drive a few new 2019 Mazda models. I even managed to get in an afternoon of snowboarding falling on my ass in the snow.

I also spent about a week down in Santa Cruz this month to have quality family time and enjoy our last Christmas in Santa Cruz.

Continue Reading

2018, A Year of Finding Home

Arizona hiking Monument Valley

After spending so much of 2017 on my own, I made it a plan in 2018 to build up more of a community in my life again.

I did this in two ways:

  1. Finding a home base so I didn’t have to live out of a backpack anymore.
  2. Planning my trips based on which friends I wanted to see and catch up with the most, above seeing as many new countries as possible.

Because I made community such a big focus of 2018, I felt constantly loved, supported, and surrounded by good energy this year.

It was a wonderful year in so many ways. Another year of growth, of nurturing my oldest and newest friendships, and leaning even more into my independence.

Continue Reading

The Best Things to Do in Mesa, AZ

Best Things to Do in Mesa AZ

Note: this post contains affiliate links

The Best Things to do in Mesa, AZ range from candlelit dinners in the desert to kayaking below sheer bronze-tinged cliffs and cacti. Here’s what you should know about one of Arizona’s most underrated cities.

I visited Arizona for the first time a couple of years ago for a short trip, hitting all the usual spots like Phoenix, Sedona, and the Grand Canyon.

So, when I was invited by Visit Mesa to explore more of Arizona this fall, I jumped at the chance to see other parts of what the state had on offer for adventure and outdoor enthusiasts (hint: there’s a lot).

I felt this with my first visit, and I’ll write it down here: Arizona is one of the most beautiful US states. Its red rocks, desert vibes, and versatile landscape are all a traveler’s (and photographer’s) dream come true. I can see why so many people choose to retire there these days.

Continue Reading

Wrap Up: October & November 2018

October & November Wrap Up - The Atlas Heart

*Note: this post contains affiliate links

You may have noticed that I didn’t write a wrap up post last month.

It was already almost the end of November by the time I finally had a slice of free time to write for this blog, and I already had guilt about not getting out my wrap up post for October yet.

So, I decided to give myself a break and just combine my wrap-ups for October & November into one post.

As I’ve gotten more into this whole running my own business thing, I’ve realized how important it is to let things go sometimes, and come up with solutions that will stress me out the least while still getting my highest priority work done.

It’s a delicate balance, but it helps when I think of the bigger picture and the importance of avoiding burnout.

Continue Reading

Morocco Travel Tips: What to Know Before You Go

Morocco travel tips - What to Know Before You Go | The Atlas Heart

Note: this post contains affiliate links

Morocco Travel Tips – from booking buses and tipping, to Moroccan time and aggressive men. This is what you should know before arriving in Morocco. 

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first touched down in Morocco. 

Even though it has become a popular place for millennial travelers in recent years, I knew there were probably still a lot of misconceptions about the country that I had unwillingly internalized through the media and one-off negative travel stories. 

Continue Reading

Wrap Up: September 2018

Yearly Wrap Up September 2018 - San Francisco

September was an exciting month of returning back to California and setting up a base in San Francisco. It was a bit surreal to be back stateside after only a few months abroad, but I couldn’t deny how happy it made me to be back in California and in a culture that I knew like the back of my hand.

I had to keep pinching myself to remind myself that I was actually home and that I didn’t have plans to leave again anytime soon. It was a weird but refreshing feeling.

After running around trying to see as much as possible in Portugal and Morocco in August, it was nice to simply slow down and focus on my work, my writing, and spending quality time with family.

Continue Reading