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.

Wrap Up: December 2018

Wrap Up: December 2018 | Whistler, Canada

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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.

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A Guide to Getting a Work Visa in Australia for Americans

A Guide to Getting a Work Visa in Australia for Americans - The Atlas Heart

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Getting a work visa in Australia can be as easy as filling out an online form in 15 minutes.

It always surprises me how many Americans don’t know about the working holiday visa in Australia.

To be fair, I was one of those Americans too, until I took my first solo venture to Europe and made friends from a variety of different countries. One of those friends happened to be British, and she told me about the working holiday visa she was planning on doing in Australia, and how she thought it applied to Americans too.

In an instant, the course of my life changed drastically.

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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.

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The Best Things to Do in Mesa, AZ

Best Things to Do in Mesa AZ

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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.

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Wrap Up: October & November 2018

October & November Wrap Up - The Atlas Heart

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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.

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Morocco Travel Tips: What to Know Before You Go

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

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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. 

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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.

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Travel Tips for Portugal: 20 Things That Surprised Me

Travel Tips for Portugal: 20 Things that Surprised Me | The Atlas Heart

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Travel tips for Portugal so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Here are 20 things that surprised me about Portugal!

It’s baffling to me how much of an underrated destination Portugal still is. I only heard countless good things from other travelers before I finally saw it myself, but it still has far less visitors per year than nearby countries, such as Spain, France, and Italy. 

Perhaps that’s where its charm lies, however – it’s not overrun by tourism. Although, it’s now starting to get there, with tourists taking over in the summer and swarming to spots like the Algarve, Lisbon, and Porto in recent years. 

Because Portugal isn’t at the top of everyone’s list when they visit Europe, I had a narrow view of what to expect from a few select perspectives, all of which said pretty much the same thing: Portugal is the best country in Europe, you’ll never want to leave, etc. 

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Traveling Iceland in May: One Week Itinerary

Traveling Iceland in May - One Week Itinerary | The Atlas Heart

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Thinking of traveling Iceland in May? Read through this detailed one week itinerary for Iceland to figure out where to go and what to see during your upcoming trip!

So, you’re planning a trip to Iceland? And in my favorite month?! Congrats! I’m already jealous of you because Iceland is a crazy beautiful country and the first (or second, or third) time you see it is magical.

After noticing Iceland pop onto the radar circa 2012, with the creation of WOW Air and their layover deal, it has been a country that has peaked my interest.

Northern Lights, puffins, and raw shark meat? What’s not to love! Okay, maybe not the potent raw shark meat, but everything else sounded great.

Except for the fact that it’s one of the most expensive countries in the world. Womp womp.

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Wrap Up: August 2018

Wrap Up: August 2018 | Pena Palace, Sintra, Portugal | The Atlas Heart

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I arrived back to California a few nights ago and I already feel like a weight has been lifted, as if my shoulders can finally relax from carrying around the backpack that I’ve been living out of for the past 5 and a half years.

Without a doubt, it feels good to be home because I know this is exactly where I want to be right now.

It’s the first time in a long time where I’ve been content to not have any future trips planned at the moment. Mostly, I’m excited that I moved into my new place in San Francisco yesterday and that I’m already starting to set up a more fixed life in the Bay Area.

When I was walking around the city on my first full day back, waves of excitement kept washing over me with the dawning realization that this is my city now. It’s a place that I can start calling home and get to know in a more detailed and nuanced way.

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