If you look up travel guides to Phoenix, Arizona you’ll notice that many of them include eateries in Tempe and Scottsdale. Many of Phoenix’s surrounding cities aren’t as massive as the capital, so they interlace at many points and are all too easy to access. The thing is, though, quality always beats quantity. As a lifelong lover of small towns, my bias is clearly showing when I say that I’d take less for more any day. Why feel overwhelmed by choices on every corner when a stress-free number (that still stressed me out while here, because there were so many…

If you breath on a creosote bush, it will bring out the smell of the desert in the rain. Climbing up Hayden Butte Reservation in Tempe, Arizona, as the sun began to slip below the mountains and washed the red rocks in a shade of rose, I stopped beside its dry branches along the path to let out a yoga dragon breath. Inhaling deeply, I was struck by the scent of summer rain, drenched over the desert. The last time I was in state forty eight, a common (and very clever) Arizonian tagline, I was fifteen and quickly falling in…

Meander along the River Liffey. Zigzag through cobblestoned courtyards and streets upholding Georgian architecture and its riot of colorful doors. Listen to the strings, the winds, the percussions of trad sessions tumbling out of pubs and ribboning around you. Make it just in time for your reservation at The Church, the fine-dining establishment that once housed Sunday mass and where Arthur Guinness was wed. Amid the pastoral landscapes of Ireland rises Dublin, a UNESCO City of Literature with a side of culinary dexterity and age-old friendliness that suspends it in time. Massive changes have taken hold, most recently following Ireland’s…

“We have two rules here: calories don’t count, and there is no inherent dignity.” Leigh Melander, the “founding fomenter” of Spillian Estate, tells us this before heading to the bar area and returning with glasses of Pilsner ale from the Catskills Brewery. The group of us–strangers that, within the few hours we’d been together, already felt like friends–sat in the foyer, glowing in the bask of the hearth, sipping beer, and listening to Leigh talk about the house like an adoring mother. “There’s a different energy here, I think because of the woods,” she said. “It almost becomes an instrument…

One sight of the mountains left me unraveled. From the lookout point of a college library, Lake Champlain drifts in sapphire ripples, cut with jagged white sprays of collision. Perched over the water, the Adirondacks rise like sentries. A vision of blues mimicking sky and sea, a cadence of peaks layered on top of one another that ribbon along the horizon. Interrupted only by pompadour domes decorating the tops of the campus buildings, the view is endless. And after my first look, I was hypnotized. Whatever the reason for returning, with every visit to Burlington, Vermont I’m caught in a…

“Un macaron… vanille et fraise, s’il vous plaît.” After finally putting my high school lessons to use, I concluded my French was good, not great, and I tried to funnel my request for the vendor alone to hear me. She, engulfed by the shade of her stand’s red and white striped awning, smiled warmly, nodded, and placed the white and pink pastries into a brown glassine bag. My best friend and I were perusing the Marche aux Fleurs Cours Saleya in Nice, France, bending on the shoulder of the Mediterranean. The open-air market abounded with bright tents, a dazzling but…

The day that Moulin Rouge announced its pre-Broadway world premiere, my sister Kaylee and I kept steadfast eyes on the calendar for its ticket release.  Skip six months to the moment the curtain fell on the show for the Saturday matinee’s final time, when I turned to Kaylee and said, “So, we’re seeing this again when it hits Broadway, right?” If I were still living in Boston, I would have gone home that night and bought another round/tried our luck at the lottery  every day for the next three weeks. My takeaway? I want to live in that glorious bohemian fantasy…

Traveling with friends is so fulfilling. I appreciate my solo travel time, because it’s nice to not have to abide by anyone’s agenda, and I’m instantly reflective of my experiences. But to travel with friends, a close sibling, or a significant other creates memories you can actually enjoy with someone else. Having a friend to share minor disasters, mind-blowing sights, and mega-fun activities with will mean a lot to both of you. Between studying abroad and travels with my sister and one of my closest friends, I have a film reel of moments that plays on a loop (even unconsciously) in…

It only takes a new setting to send those creative juices into a tizzy. I know my imagination kicks into full gear when I’m traveling, and my brain buzzes endlessly. For those of us whose souls live and breathe artistry, travel is air. It sets us up immediately to run into inspiration, and begs to be a piece of the puzzle. Most times, I’ve learned, it’s the missing piece. And the grand “Aha!” moment when you find it coats the world in gold. If you’re ever in a writing rut, do this: travel. As a creative writer, characters and stories manifest…

Burlington, Vermont is kind of a passionate love story of mine. It began two and a half years ago, when a girl studied abroad with an amazing group of people from Champlain College and, at the end of the semester, had to sever herself from them as she returned to school in Boston. I swore up and down while we were away that I would visit campus at some point. I wanted to see my friends and I wanted to see for myself the city everyone buzzed about. Four months after we all parted ways, I seized the opportunity to board a…

When in Rome, I really try to do as the Romans do. One of the biggest hurdles I face while traveling is not knowing the local landscape. My parents have always taken this sentiment to heart, annual summer vacations to the White Mountains of New Hampshire steeped with our longtime traditions. Anywhere else we’ve gone generally sees us wandering until something appears. As I’ve begun traveling separately, I’ve tried to maintain this, and sometimes try to be more proactive. Because, as we all know, it can be easy to lose sight given a number of variables. We all do it: read…