If you’ve read my post about Travel Plans and Dreams for 2015 (and how they changed unexpectedly), 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 October on Stories My Suitcase Could Tell…
It’s been a lovely relaxing month of local travel here on the East Coast. There was a long weekend in Central Pennsylvania, where aside from the fantastic Julie Fowlis concert, all we did was eat, drink, and go for glorious walks in the sunshine. There was the first Travel Mini event here in NYC, an evening of mingling and discussion geared towards travel industry insiders, that was held at the impossibly stylish offices of Quinn PR.
There was boating in Central Park, Chinese food in Queens, and a vigorous walk in the woods at New Jersey’s Palisades State Park (just look at that foliage!). And finally: there was the arrival of my parents, who I’ve already been exploring the city with (a walking tour of Harlem was a high point so far). And of course, there are more suitcase stories from the three of us to come!
- Getting reflective and looking back at Memories of An Afternoon at the Grand Canyon.
- Writing, Blogging, and Creativity: A Review of Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert – my take on the book that seemingly every writer and blogger is talking about right now.
- A travel tale from Boating in Central Park: A Classic NYC Experience.
- Inspired by my interview with Julie Fowlis, I wrote this more personal post, An Expat’s View of the Importance of Language.
- If you like gin and tonic, then you’ll enjoy my review of the latest addition to Scotland’s gin tradition, in Isle of Harris Gin: A Taste of the Hebrides
- Here’s my collection of articles for EVENTS Newspaper about An Lanntair’s Faclan book festival (which is on NOW!)
- Joy for Julie Fowlis on US Stage. This is the first of my pieces on Gaelic superstar Julie Fowlis’ US tour, which you can read over at Magazine Hebrides.
- An interview with Amber of Words of Wander, who spoke to me about travel, blogging, and life in New York for her Around the World series.
7 Reasons to Visit The Bruce Peninsula, Canada, Kirst Over The World. I’m not going to give too much away about this blog post from my friend Kirsten. What I will tell you is that her pictures of the Bruce Peninsula will make you want to book a flight to Toronto asap!
Girls Who Travel, Nicole Trilivas. The lovely people over at Penguin sent me an advance copy of Nicole Trilivas’ debut novel, which is out in December, and I devoured it greedily. Keep an eye out for a full review of this fun-filled story – think Jenny Colgan meets your favourite travel blog – as well as an interview with Nicole herself!
How To Live The Digital Nomad Lifestyle, Vicky Flip Flop Travels. Vicky’s window into the world of digital nomadism was fascinating – and it’s not just full-time travel bloggers who are giving up the nine-to-five. A recommended read if you’re interested in learning more about how some people are making the working world fit their lives, instead of the other way around.
How to Feel Like A Local Anywhere, Frolic. Chelsea, a prop-stylist and floral designer based in Portugal, has some useful ideas on how to feel like a local while you travel. I loved the tip about visiting local markets (they’re the best!), and finding a coffee shop where you can be a ‘regular’ for a few days and get chatting to the neighbours.
EATING & DRINKING
Pre-gig pizza at The Millworks in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. After my lovely chat with Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis, my husband and I grabbed some dinner at The Millworks before the concert began. The food here is ‘hyper-local’ – everything except their salt, olive oil, and a few spices, come from Central Pennsylvania. Whether it’s the ingredients or the chefs (or both), our meals were delicious: wood oven roasted middle neck clams, followed by a grilled pear, ham, and arugula wood-fired pizza drizzled with rosemary honey.
Beer and tacos with my travel blogger buddies at the Pod 39 Rooftop. After the inaugural Travel Mini, hosted by NYC Travel Massive, Erin, Marie, and myself made our way to the Pod Hotel rooftop for a long awaited catch-up. Not only was it great fun, but it was the first time in a long time that I’ve felt like a tourist in New York, like a newcomer that squeals with excitement over something iconic – the panoramic night time views, twinkling lights, and dramatic archways are just that special!
Chicken hearts and Tsingtao in Flushing, Queens. My husband and I met five years ago this week in China, where we were both living as expats. Getting off the subway at Flushing in Queens felt a bit like stepping into a personal time warp. Surrounded by people speaking Mandarin, the mouth-watering scent of Szechuan and Xi’an cuisine, and a bottle or two of classic Chinese beer, Tsingtao, was strangely comforting.
As November is shaping up to be quite an eventful month travel-wise, I thought I’d share my excitement with you all. First up: exploring NYC and the surrounding states with my parents, who are visiting from Scotland. And then… I’m leaving the country! The start of the month will see me head to Canada for four days, where I’ll be reunited with an old friend, and I can’t wait! (For some background on why I’m so excited about this much-awaited adventure, have a read of ‘When Travel Plans Change’ and ‘What Does It Mean to Get a US Green Card?’)
After that, I’ll be hunkering down on the Upper East Side with a relaxing and luxurious ‘staycation’ at the Loews Regency (it looks heavenly), before spending a week with family in Arizona over Thanksgiving. So stay tuned over the next month (here, and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram too) for the latest updates and suitcase stories – I hope you’ll all come along for the (virtual) ride!
So there you have it: October on Stories My Suitcase Could Tell! What have you been up to this month?