Thoughts on a 100-Mile Commute

Each day, I drive 100 miles to and from my job. With 500 new miles on my odometer at the end of every week, I don’t find myself longing to travel as much as I’m used to. I’m already in transit quite enough these days, thankyouverymuch.

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Where You Should Go: Long Weekends in Europe (part 2)

Hi friends, readers, expats! Before I jump into the second half of my long-weekend recommendations, a quick update on my life: I got a job! A real-life, full-time, honest-to-goodness job working as an editor (something I loooovvvvve). A job with a regular paycheck to pay for travel. A job with ample vacation time. I couldn’t be happier! With this latest transition, however, comes fewer blog updates, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. But even though I might not post as often, I’m not going away. (-:

If you caught my last post, you know it was inspired by my friends over at Adventuring Pandas asking me where they should go in 2017. I had more ideas than one post could accommodate, so I broke it into two halves. Voila: the second half!

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Where You Should Go: Long Weekends in Europe (part 1)

My friends over at Adventuring Pandas recently asked me where they should go in 2017. The answer is wherever they can get themselves to, but even after I’d narrowed it down from there, I realized the answer required more than just a Facebook reply—and besides, many of my readers are probably also planning their 2017 adventures.

What follows is the first half of a collection of places I’ve visited in Europe that would make a decent long weekend, with at least one reason why I loved it! The second half of the list will follow in a few days.

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Three Days in Canada

Last year you learned the lengths I would go to for a grape pie.

It’s not just the pie. It’s the experience. And this year, I added another country to that experience.

My BeFF and I went first to Canada, spending a few days in Welland, Ontario, before returning to Pennsylvania via Monica’s Pies in Naples, NY.

We had sunshine, wine, freighters, and a koi pond on our jam-packed yet relaxing three-day vacation.

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Ich bin (ein) Berliner

When I was in high school studying German, my teacher told us about JFK’s famous Ich bin ein Berliner speech, pointing out that, in German, we don’t say, “I am a Berliner” or “an American” or “a Pennsylvanian,” but simply, “I am Berliner,” or “I am Pennsylvanian.” Adding an article before Berliner kind of made it sound like he said, “I am a type of gooey jelly donut famous to this region.”

But I digress. Whatever the literal translation, his meaning was clear. And today, I feel exactly the same way.

SidewalkMauer

Berlin Wall 1961–1989

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On Being Spaintaneous

The year before I studied in Germany, a friend of mine studied in Spain. That semester, she stopped wearing her watch, she stopped worrying as much as we’re both prone to, and she learned how to be spontaneous, or, as she called it, spaintaenous.

What a great way to live.

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Pont du Gard, 2009.

Just like my friend, I typically like to plan things. I like to know where I’m headed and what steps I’ll take to get there. But there’s a big, suppressed part of me that hates being so regimented.

And this week, she won out.

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Travail

The difficult moment as a travel writer: Do I write about the negatives?

Yes, travel is wonderful. It opens you up to all new experiences and horizons and ideas and people. But it’s difficult—no coincidence the root of travel is the same as that for travail—and how much of that should I write about?

But you see, this trip is nothing like what I expected.

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Mapping My Path

You can thank my BFF for today’s post. She told me I really needed to blog about my treasure map I created last year, and she’s right. It’s the whole reason I’m headed where I am right now, and it was inspired by, of all things, a presentation about end-of-life care.

You see, about a year ago, I got to hear the famous doctor and author Atul Gawande speak at my workplace. His books have inspired many changes in the world of medicine, and his talk that day inspired me. He discussed his newest book, Being Mortal, which is, in part, about end-of-life care. He told us he’s learned to stop talking at his hospice patients and instead asks them four simple questions, questions with the goal of giving that patient their Very Best Day, each day that they have left:

  1. What is your perception of your condition?
  2. What are your biggest fears and concerns?
  3. What goals are most important to you?
  4. What trade-offs are you willing to make?

I turned to my friend and whispered, “Forget hospice. These are the questions we all need to ask ourselves every day of our lives.”

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