Tag Archives: France

2017, A Year to Myself

2017, A Year to Myself | The Atlas Heart

I never expected 2017 to be a year to myself, but then again, I guess you never really know what life will bring you with each new year.

I should know better by now.

Even though I didn’t expect it to be a year to myself, I can say with full clarity now that I’m so very glad that it was. This was the year that I found my independence again, understood fully what I deserve in my life, and embraced my alone time.

I’m someone who is already pretty good at being alone. I’m an introvert, most of my pastimes are solo ones – reading, playing my guitar, listening to music, cooking. And my work is very much a solo pursuit, from writing to doing digital marketing for clients.

I’m used to being alone, but 2017 was a year where I really just had myself to pull me back up from my bootstraps, to lean on, to make sense of stressful, happy, and sad situations.

Continue Reading

Short-Term Animal Volunteer Opportunities Abroad

Short-Term Animal Volunteer Opportunities Abroad | The Atlas Heart

I’ve always had a big heart for animals. That heart has only grown fuller as I’ve traveled more and seen the amount of animals that need help around the world.

From the many stray dogs I saw roaming around Greece, to the homeless kittens in Thailand, and yes, even dogs who were rotting from the inside out in Myanmar, there is plenty of help that is needed around the world and right here at home.

I’ll be the first to say that before this year I had never volunteered at an animal shelter. And to be honest, I initially did it for selfish reasons. I was going through a difficult time in my life in Thailand, and I just wanted to feel that unconditional love that animals are so good at giving.

Continue Reading

Book Review + Giveaway: Why LA? Pourquoi Paris?

Book Review & Giveaway - Why LA? Pourquoi Paris? - Paris, France | Europe Travel

*EDIT* We have a winner!! CONGRATS to Toni! You’ll be receiving your book in the mail within a couple of weeks.

It has been so long since I’ve hosted a giveaway on this blog, but when I got an email in my inbox about an artsy new coffee table book about LA and Paris, I knew I wanted to learn more about it.

The book that landed in my inbox was called Why LA? Pourquoi Paris? by Diane Ratican, illustrated by Eric Giriat and Nick Lu. It’s a colorful book full of captivating artwork and words that paint an expansive overview of both cities.

I’ve heard Paris compared to New York a lot, but rarely have I heard Paris compared to LA. The comparison peaked my interest because, from a distance, it doesn’t seem like the two cities have much in common.

Continue Reading

Wrap Up: September 2017

Wrap Up September 2017 - Reads

Oh hey guys, you may have noticed that the blog has been a bit quiet lately. The last month and a half has been full of travels, conferences, and exciting leaps in my marketing business that I run outside of this blog.

Pretty much since I left Greece in early September, I have been in full sprint mode trying to squeeze in as much as possible around Europe while still staying on top of my work.

It goes without saying that I have a ton to catch you up on – case in point, this wrap up post is three weeks late!! But you will hear more than your fair share of my thoughts in due time.

I’m currently writing this on a plane on my way home to California for the first time in over a year, and I’m excited – not only to see my friends and family…and to eat as many burritos as possible – but to have some downtime to write more and catch up on the many posts that are rumbling around in my head.

So let’s dive right into what I got up to in September!

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

10 Reasons You Should Visit Paris this Summer

Book Review & Giveaway - Why LA? Pourquoi Paris? - Paris, France | Europe Travel

The warm spring days we’ve been having in the Pacific Northwest lately have only made me think more about summer and what I want to do with it. Summer is a time for adventures, of getting lost in new cities, enjoying long days, and having chilled wine catch-ups on rooftops during warm summer nights. Summer is also the time to travel.

The first time I ever solo traveled was in Paris, France in the middle of summer. It was by no accident that I ended up in the City of Light by myself. From a young age I had always been fascinated by Francophone culture and had dreamt of going to Paris for years. I thought it was only fitting that it would be the first place to find my independence as a solo female traveler.

Continue Reading

Snapshot Memories of the Week: Paris, France

Snapshot memories is a new weekly series, giving a visual glimpse into different destinations and unique ways to view them. It’s also a way for me to look back on travels that occurred before and after I started this blog, and to give each place I’ve traveled the attention it deserves. 

This week my memories go back to Paris.

08-Topdeck 1 040


I had wanted to go to the city of light since I was a little girl, enamored with Francophone culture. I didn’t end up taking French language lessons until I reached university level, but that only sparked my interest more, especially since my instructor was from Paris.

01-Topdeck 1 004

I have to be honest, I didn’t have enough time to get a feel for the city as I would’ve liked, I only had a week at the start of my backpacking trip through the rest of Europe, and it went by far too quickly, especially with the long lines at most attractions in Paris during the summer.

10-Topdeck 1 043

It rained the whole week I was there. From day 1, I arrived at my little hotel room and found the few warm clothes hiding in the crevices of my suitcase. After spending a month in humid Florence never needing more than a light cotton t-shirt, the weather was something to get used to a little further north.

05-Topdeck 1 026

09-Topdeck 1 042

My first night I met up with one of my sorority sisters and a few of her friends from back in San Diego. We hit the town and I realized just how expensive a night in Paris can be. We went to a ritzy gay nightclub on Champs-Élysées called Le Queen that had a standard exorbitant entry fee that included a drink, and the same beat that played the whole night.

02-Topdeck 1 008

Even though it was overpriced and repetitive, it turned out to be an incredible night. We stayed out dancing until 6am so that we could save money and catch the first train of the day home in the morning.


The rest of my Parisian time wasn’t spent quite so extravagantly to the relief of my budget, but I still managed to squeeze in a lot with my time there.

24-Topdeck 1 144

19-Topdeck 1 097

I saw the Louvre and the very tiny Mona Lisa, I stood next to the beautiful Notre Dame, I toured the Pompidou Museum, sipped Cappuccinos in Parisian cafes looking out at the rain, sat along the Seine, and learned how to use the extensive underground metro system.

22-Topdeck 1 123

23-Topdeck 1 127

I found the best hidden kebabs in nondescript shops, stood under the Arc de Triomphe and discovered my favorite neighborhood in Paris is Montmartre, which gave me a chance to see the breathtaking Basilica of Sacre-Coeur, and brought me back to scenes from one of my favorite movies, Amélie.

16-Topdeck 1 073

18-Topdeck 1 084

I went to a ridiculously good burlesque show, toured the city lights, drove past the Académie Nationale de Musique, where Phantom of the Opera was supposed to take place, and saw the Moulin Rouge from afar. I stood in front of the Eiffel Tower all lit up at night, and I tried escargot for the first time and french onion soup.

20-Topdeck 1 100

15-Topdeck 1 070

I wish I had taken more pictures while I was there because there were so many character filled cafes (and way too many chocolate croissants that I ate), and so much beauty in the details of every day life in the city outside of just the standard attractions that every tourist and their mom goes to.

12-Topdeck 1 058

But alas with the snapshot memories that I do have, the way I would remember paris is in Colorful Funky Artwork, the Elegant (mostly gothic) Architecture, and the Famous Historical Monuments I came across on a daily basis. I found it to be the city of light in a great many ways.

Colorful Funky Artwork

Funky Artwork

Elegant (Mostly Gothic) Architecture


Famous Historical Monuments