How to Hike the John Muir Trail Without Falling Down…

John Muir Trail

The John Muir Trail (JMT) is a 211-mile backcountry trail in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California.

The trail boasts some of the world’s best scenery and runs from Yosemite Valley to Mt. Whitney and barely touches civilization… no roads, no towns, just pure unadulterated nature.  The John Muir Trail crosses Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and Yosemite National Parks and countless other wilderness areas giving it distinctly unique terrains at various points along the trail.

And I should know…

In 2013, a few friends and I celebrated my husband, Brock’s, 30th birthday by hiking the John Muir Trail and what a celebration it turned out to be.

Don’t miss my insider secrets in this tell-all interview…

Continue

Florence City Guide: How to Explore Florence Like a Local…

Florence City Guide

My name is Alex and I lived in Florence, Italy for six months.

Florence can best be described in these five words: enchanting, bright, lively, historic, and unique.

Women should consider visiting Florence because Florence is a magical place that has captured the imaginations of generations of travelers. Between it being the birthplace of true Renaissance art to providing some of the best pasta in the world, Florence has a little something for everyone.

Continue

Out of My Comfort Zone and onto a New Zealand Road Trip…

New Zealand Road Trip

With our eighth backward lurch and frantic pull on the emergency parking break, I was beginning to worry.

It was as if we were constantly riding to the top of the big hill of a roller coaster but never getting to enjoy the thrilling downward plunge! Somehow I had found myself sitting in a gigantic campervan halfway around the world.

My husband Mike was in the driver’s seat attempting to learn how to drive a stick shift vehicle (left handed!) on the treacherous “hills” of New Zealand.

While it had certainly sounded like a fun adventure two months earlier when we decided to take a career break to travel the world, as my knuckles turned whiter and we constantly stalled on the same hill, I started to think that we had bitten off more than we could chew…

Continue

How to Find and Buy Guatemalan Textiles

Guatemalan Textiles

It was love at first sight.

The talented women of Guatemala’s indigenous communities simply wove their way into my heart. The brightly colored huipil they wore in daring combinations– which somehow just worked for them– and the endless variety available for sale called to me like a moth to a flame.

Surely in another universe I ended up blowing my entire budget right there in the marketplace.

And yet, in this reality at least, I remained strong and ended up with a few fabulous items that will be used often and cherished for years.

Here are some tips to shopping for Guatemala’s exquisite textiles…

Continue

A Motor-Flight Through France by Edith Wharton

This travel story is an excerpt from A Motor-Flight Through France by Edith Wharton.

The motor-car has restored the romance of travel.

Freeing us from all the compulsions and contacts of the railway, the bondage to fixed hours and the beaten track, the approach to each town through the area of ugliness and desolation created by the railway itself, it has given us back the wonder, the adventure and the novelty which enlivened the way of our posting grandparents. Above all these recovered pleasures must be ranked the delight of taking a town unawares, stealing on it by back ways and unchronicled paths, and surprising in it some intimate aspect of past time, some silhouette hidden for half a century or more by the ugly mask of railway embankments and the iron bulk of a huge station. Then the villages that we missed and yearned for from the windows of the train—the unseen villages have been given back to us!—and nowhere could the importance of the recovery have been more delightfully exemplified than on a May afternoon in the Pas-de-Calais, as we climbed the long ascent beyond Boulogne on the road to Arras.

Continue