travel

Road Trip – Tasmania: Background Info + Planning Our Visit

Road Trip - Tasmania: Background Info + Planning Our Visit -- Em Dashed

Tasmania is Australia’s smallest and only island state. It’s named for the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman — a guy who managed to get like 47 world features named after him despite hightailing it outta New Zealand as soon as the Maori showed their faces. (Fun fact: according to Wikipedia, the spot on NZ’s South Island now called “Golden Bay” was initially deemed “Murderer’s Bay” by Tasman. Well, maybe “fun” isn’t the right word.) READ MORE +

My First Snow Day – Queenstown

I was born and raised in Minnesota, USA.

I’ve been trying to explain what that means for the last 5.5 years, but I get the feeling that no one really believes me. “Okay, but does it get to…minus 20?” they ask — as if that’s the end-all be-all of winter temperatures. Honestly, I’m not sure most people can handle that conversation, let alone an actual Minnesota winter. READ MORE +

My Favorite Weird, Unusual, or Creepy Spots on Fraser Island

My Favorite Weird, Unusual, or Creepy Spots on Fraser Island

When I first read that Fraser Island was the world’s largest sand island, I kind of thought that was a gimmick. Like naming them the Pancake Rocks because they “look like stacks of pancakes” (only if your pancakes are especially sharp-angled) or calling it the Blue Mountains cause of a slight blue-ish haze off in the distance (not exactly the dramatic scene I was picturing). READ MORE +

Christmas Markets in Hamburg, Germany

Christmas Markets in Hamburg, Germany

It feels kind of weird to say I’ve only gone to a single Christmas market in my whole life.

I’ve celebrated Christmas since childhood. My family was never been big on the religious bit, but I’ve always gotten into the tree-trimming, cookie-baking spirit. And really, what is a Christmas market but the tangible form of holiday spirit? It’s what all the non-Jesus-y carols are about: strings of lights, hot drinks in festive mugs, appearances from Santa, and deep-fried things being served up in greasy paper bags. Surely, I do this every year. READ MORE +

Huka Falls and Hot Springs in Taupo, New Zealand

Huka Falls and Hot Springs -- Taupo

I realize it’s highly unlikely you’re looking for another reason to visit New Zealand. You’ve probably already got a “pro” list longer than your arm — and if you ask me, it’s not too hard to see why. The last thing you need is another blogger to come along and rub your face in the fact that you’re not there right now. (Unless you are there right now, in which case: lucky you!) READ MORE +

How I Wound Up in the Netherlands

How I Wound Up in the Netherlands

As a foreigner in the Netherlands, I’m asked quite frequently what I think of this country — often by people who don’t seem to like it all that much themselves.

In fact, the question I probably get more than any other is, “Why would you want to live here?” (Usually accompanied by a raised eyebrow and that generally unimpressed tone the Dutch have when they speak in English.) READ MORE +

Sunset at Cable Beach — Broome

Sunset in Cable Beach, Broome

I can’t speak for everyone (to the shock and chagrin of many, I’m sure). But I would imagine we all have a place that, despite our open minds and best efforts, just didn’t “wow” us. Somewhere we don’t hate, or associate with a terrible experience, but merely wouldn’t think to recommend to our friends while there are so many other options in the world. READ MORE +