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.

7 of the Most Peaceful Places around London

Kew Gardens, London | 7 of the Most Peaceful Places around London

My picks for the most peaceful places around London, to find a slice of solitude without ever having to leave the city.

London is a city of many talents. Its draw is its mind-boggling variety – the endless options for restaurants, attractions, bars, and events at any time of the day, week, or year. It’s the epicenter of the UK, and a consistent contender for the most popular city in Europe (a regular battle with Paris for that title most years).

However, the constant hustle and bustle can be as exhausting as it is invigorating. The beeping horns, loud sirens, the pollution, mad drivers that are always in a rush to be somewhere.

It’s hard to find stillness in a city of 8.1 million. And stillness is simply not the vibe of London. Its intoxicating atmosphere is one of constant movement, everyone seems to have a part to play as the Londoner who has places to be and no time to waste.

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Wrap Up: May 2018

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

It’s hard to believe that it was just the beginning of May that I was still stateside. It feels like I’ve been away much longer, mostly because I’ve done a lot in the past few weeks, adventuring to Iceland, Scotland, and England. 

The month started with a round of goodbyes in California. I had a night out for my going away drinks in San Francisco, and saw some of my closest California-based friends before I took off for expat life again. 

Before the second week of May, I was on a plane with my friend Urvi to explore Iceland for a week. The country was even more awe-inspiring and understated than I thought it would be. It’s a place I could see myself coming back to regularly. 

The rest of the month was spent in the UK, in England and Scotland.

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My 28th Year: On the Places I Once Called Home

Solo traveling through Sydney, Australia in 2013 - The Atlas Heart

You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place. // Miriam Adeney

I’m currently on a train in Scotland, rolling through the lush green countryside. There are deep blue-grey lochs on my left and clean white light filtering through the many windows in my car. 

This is my life, or at least it has been for the past 5 years. I somehow find myself in the most beautiful places, usually by myself, or all to myself, if you frame it that way. 

It’s my 28th birthday this Saturday. The past years have been a whirlwind of travel memories, some of my strongest friendships, losses, and countless new beginnings. 

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Wrap Up: April 2018

Wrap Up: April 2018 | Wilder Ranch State Park, Santa Cruz, California | USA Travel

April brought good weather, fond memories, and my last full month in the US before heading off to Europe. As I’ve been doing for most of the past six months, I spent half of my time in San Francisco and the other half in my hometown of Santa Cruz.

April also reminded me of how hard it’s going to be to leave California this time around. Except for the little taste I had of living in Greece this past summer, it was the first time in a long while where it felt like I had a small community that could build into something wonderful. 

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A Guide to Visiting the Taj Mahal

Guide to Visiting the Taj Mahal | Agra Sightseeing | India Travels

Taj Mahal facts and information to plan the perfect visit to a famous World Wonder.  

Although usually one to dread overly touristy spots, visiting the Taj Mahal had always been a dream of mine – as I’m sure is the case for many of you reading this post. 

When my friend Pascale and I decided to backpack around Rajasthan, we knew that the Taj Mahal would be one sight we didn’t want to miss. Agra, where the famous monument is located, is just outside Rajasthan in Uttar Pradesh, but near enough to not be (too) much of a hassle to get to. 

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5 Local Experiences to Have in Budapest

Budapest Skies Sunset Gellert Hill | Local Experiences in Budapest, Hungary | Europe Travel

Fun things to do in Budapest, Hungary – from a local perspective.

The Atlas Heart is a place to find the best local experiences in cool cities around the world, and to throw out misconceptions we might have about other cultures. With this in mind, I sometimes seek out other perspectives on this blog to help with a more layered view of the world. 

Today, Katie Matthews from ‘Where to Stay in Budapest’ shares her picks for the best local experiences to have in Budapest, Hungary – a city she has been living in for the past 15 months. 

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Finding Home: Brussels Edition

Finding a Home: Brussels, Belgium | Grand Place

My goal in the next year is to travel to a select few places, to see if I could actually set up a base there.

This is what I found in Brussels.

Last year, I wrote a post about how I’m ready to find a home base, where I can have a proper community again and a life that’s not only about travel. I want to be able to have a sense of home to come back to.

I’ve also realized as a writer and entrepreneur, I can’t be a full time traveler and do all the things I want to do for my business. I can’t keep growing at the rate I want, and I no longer want to feel stagnant. Thus, I’m finally ready to find a stable place from which to work remotely and to start setting down some roots.

In being as transparent as possible on this blog, I want to take you along on this journey through a series of posts about finding my idea of home, and what that ends up meaning to me. 

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Wrap Up: March 2018

The Places I've Lived in 28 Years | The Atlas Heart

On one hand, March went by in a slow and methodical way. March always feels extra long coming after February and I packed so much into this month, it’s hard to believe that it has only been four weeks. On the other hand, IT’S APRIL!! The 4th month of the year already.

There were a few things that I thought I would’ve done already by this time in 2018 – namely, I thought I would’ve started writing my first book and already be living in Europe. However, I’ve learned how good it can be to let go of expectations sometimes, and just let life take you where it will.

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2 Weeks in India: An Itinerary for Rajasthan

2 Weeks in India - Rajasthan Itinerary

Even if you only have 2 weeks in India, it’s possible to pack in a lot when you narrow your trip to one state.

India was always one of those places at the back of my mind, often in my thoughts as a faraway land that I dreamed of going to one day. The truth is I’d been wanting to go to India for years, but had never made an active plan to do so.

It was always too far, too expensive to get to, and I never had enough time – most people recommend at least 1-3 months for a trip to India.

I was also concerned about traveling alone as a female, even though I’d been told numerous times that most female travelers are completely fine traveling around the country on their own. It’s still hard to not get sucked into the common media perceptions of India.

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Girls Getaway: A Weekend in Mendocino, California

Girls Weekend in Mendocino, California | USA Travel

What you need to know to plan your own weekend in Mendocino – the perfect hideaway on the northern California coast!

What do you think of when you hear the words ‘California road trip’?

Perhaps it’s grand coastal views, world famous beaches, a day of cruising down Hwy 1 in a convertible with good company by your side.

If you know California well, you might add in a hike in a redwood forest, a sea lion colony, a night of camping in the desert, a day of exploring one of the many national parks, or maybe getting lost in the rugged north. In the right season, you might even add in a day of snowboarding at Mammoth after a couple days of surfing off the coast.

California has a wealth of options on hand for any traveler or local that’s adventurous at heart. It’s a state that I continue to discover a little more of each time I come back.

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