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Wrap Up: April 2018

April | Yearly Wrap Up 2018 | 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

March | Yearly Wrap Up 2018 | Dolores Park, San Francisco

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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Things to Do in Mendocino, California for a Weekend Getaway

Things to Do in Mendocino, California for a Weekend Getaway

Things to do in Mendocino. What you need to know to plan your own Mendocino getaway- the perfect hideaway on the northern California coast!

You might not know this, but most people’s dream California road trip is more or less a list of things to do in Mendocino.

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.

You might add in a hike in a redwood forest, a sea lion colony, a night of camping in the desert, or a day of exploring one of the many national parks. 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, and its northern city, Mendocino is home to most of those options. It’s a state that I continue to discover a little more of each time I come back.

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Wrap Up: February 2018

A Guide to Visiting the Taj Mahal - Agra, India

It’s weird to think of the past sometimes and where I was in February at this time last year – in Thailand, then Vietnam, and at the very end of a bad relationship. I was at the cusp of so many things – both positive and negative.

I was in a place where I had shut myself off from the outside world (i.e. living on a tiny remote island). And what I didn’t realize at the time was that I was also preventing myself from appreciating quality connections – both nurturing the old and creating the new.

Fast forward a year later, I’m back in California, surrounded by some of the closest people in my life,  and I feel more grounded than I have in years. Maybe it just took coming home for awhile, or realizing that California is still very much a ‘home’ for me even after all the times I’ve left it and come back.

All this is to say that my February this year kicks last year’s February’s butt.

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Travel Budgeting: Backpacking India for Two Weeks

Travel Budgeting - Backpacking India for Two Weeks | Asia Travel

A look at the average per-day cost of backpacking India for two weeks on a mid-range budget.

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

I’d been wanting to go to India for years, but it was always one of the few countries that I was hesitant to do alone – at least for my first trip. You hear so many negative stories about India in the news, especially in terms of its seemingly rampant rape culture and its overall intensity as a country to travel to as an outsider.

With that said, I’d actually only ever heard good things from people (read: fellow women) who had been to the country and loved their time there.

And yet, I still had a reluctance to tackle it on my own. I’m not exactly sure why. I so very rarely travel with other people, maybe it was just one of those countries where I wanted to treat myself and travel with a partner in crime. To take on the extreme cultural differences and busyness with another well worn traveler and wanderlust soul.

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Wrap Up: January 2018

Wrap Up: January 2018 | Montreal, Canada

My January was a month of many ups and one profound piece of sadness. I went to Tahoe and Montreal for the first time, and Chicago for the second time, to see some of my closest friends. It was everything I could’ve asked for to start off my 2018 on a good foot, but it was also the month that my papa passed away.

Not that it makes it any easier, but I was glad to be home this time to be with family. My last two grandparents who passed away did so while I was abroad, and it was heart wrenching to be so far from my friends and family during such a delicate time.

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