If you’ve read my post about Travel Plans and Dreams for 2015, you’ll know that I’m on a mission to complete the ‘Take 12 Trips Challenge’ this year, with the goal of exploring at least one new place, near or far, each month. Along with the challenge, I’ve decided to start a monthly round-up of suitcase stories: what’s been happening on (and off) the blog for the past few weeks. So without further ado, welcome to June on Stories My Suitcase Could Tell…
June began with a visit to the theatre off-Browady, and the surreal experience of hearing Gaelic on stage, more than 3000 miles from home, as part of Dundee Rep’s play, In My Father’s Words. I had a brief few hours of sleep after the show’s press party (which was sponsored by the islands’ very own Harris Tweed Hebrides), before getting up early and heading for Maine with my Pennsylvania cousins.
We spent a week exploring the state, and adventures included a brief stop in Portland, 24 hours in Acadia National Park, a few relaxing days by the banks of Grand Lake Stream, and another family reunion in the charming seaside town of Kennebunk.
Closer to home, my husband and I paid a visit to the newly opened Whitney Museum of American Art, and tried some new food spots, including Mighty Quinn’s Barbeque, Big Gay Ice Cream, and the NYC institution that is Criff Dogs (think hot dogs with weird and wonderful toppings – I opted for teriyaki sauce and pineapple).
As the end of June rolled around, I headed to the monthly Travel Massive event in Manhattan, a meet-up of travel fanatics, writers, PR reps, and bloggers. The party was sponsored by South Dakota Tourism, who provided an evening of virtual travel to the Midwest, including a human recreation of Mount Rushmore, themed cocktails, and macarons.
And then of course, there was Pride week, which culminated in the famous Pride March along Fifth Avenue on the last Sunday of the month. Given the change in US law regarding marriage equality, the atmosphere was electric: there were smiles, applause, and cheers all around as people celebrated the historic decision.
On Travel Writing and Stereotyping the Outer Hebrides (this one is my most opinionated post to date, and the debate is still raging in the comments!)
The Women Warriors of Photojournalism, The Week. As someone who studied International Relations, works as a journalist, and nurses a never-ending desire to learn more about the world, it’s perhaps unsurprising that “foreign correspondent” often came up in my meetings with school career advisors. Naturally this feature – which looks at the work of three female photojournalists recently honoured for ‘capturing humanity besieged in war zones’ – immediately caught my attention.
Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I tore through this novel at the beginning of last year, and after hearing the woman herself give a talk on ‘The Freedom to Write’ at this year’s PEN World Voices Festival, I picked it up off the bookshelf and tore through it a second time. Even though I knew the ending, it was every bit as wonderful the second time around: Americanah is definitely one of my favourite novels. (Re-reading Americanah also reminded me that in my case, ‘a few chapters before bed’ almost always turns into ‘wide awake at 4am reading the last few pages.’)
A Millennial Goes Offline for 48 Hours & Then Blogs About It, Girl Lost In The City. London-based digital journalist Emma Gannon was challenged to spend 48 hours ‘unplugged’ from technology, and her post-detox blog gives us a look at how she handled it. After my (unintentional) digital detox in Kenya, I got really good at disconnecting outside of work; but in recent months I’ve found myself online far more than I’d like. Just as I was thinking it was maybe time for another technology-free holiday, I found myself in Maine – without internet or phone service. Wish granted!
Our Weddings, Our Worth, The New York Times. Op-ed columnist Frank Bruni wrote this very personal and moving piece in the New York Times last Friday, when the U.S. became the 20th country to legally recognise marriage equality. Warning: reading this may cause you to well up.
EATING & DRINKING
Oh-so-fresh French bread at the Standard Baking Co, Portland. We only had one night in Portland, Maine, before we drove north to Acadia, but there was time the next morning for a brisk walk by the harbour, and a tasty breakfast from this raved-about bakery.
Giant melt-in-your-mouth cookies at Levain Bakery, Upper West Side. I’ve been a big fan of these cookies since I first tried them a few years ago, and I introduced them to my friend Marissa (Editor of NYC-based lifestyle blog Some Girls) earlier this month. My verdict? Even better than I remembered.
Stroopwafels and Dutch coffee at the KLM Pop-up shop in Soho. Since attending the #KLMPopUp in Soho last week, I’ve been incredibly impressed by the team at the Royal Dutch Airlines. The pop-up itself lots of fun, full of free food and drink (who can say no to the chewy caramel delights that are stroopwafels?), competitions, and insights into their flying experience. On top of that, the KLM reps genuinely engaged in online conversation whenever I talked about it – according to them, the stroopwafels are awaiting my return to Amsterdam!
So there you have it: June on Stories My Suitcase Could Tell! What have you been up to this month?