The holidays are officially here, y’all. But oh boy, the road here is one filled with short deadlines, frantic shopping and lots of family time. November saw the final push of my semester with 12-hour days at the magazine and more Starbucks orders than I’d like to admit. (Caramel brûlée latte all the way, but my wallet is crying.) This has, by far, been the toughest semester, really on all levels, and between you and me (and anyone within earshot of me on any given day), I’m ready for it to be D-O-N-E.
And so it shall be. I’m looking forward to sleeping in and working (actually for money, if you can imagine), but before we move step forward into the holiday season of parties, here’s a look at my top 5 this month:
1 . Staycation
Sometimes I feel like a fraud of a travel blogger when I haven’t left Missouri since August. But I have to remind myself that’s a false idea of travel. No, I haven’t been to Paris in the past couple months, but there is so much more to explore in this world, including right under our very noses. Travel is a state of mind — one where we embrace curiosity and adventure no matter where we are. This month, I enjoyed one of the last warm fall days at Les Bourgeois Vineyards in Rocheport, Missouri, with two friends, and it was just the respite I needed on a Sunday afternoon before returning to the to-do lists.
2 . TSA Precheck and Global Entry
Have I mentioned I love travel? And especially flying. I love taking plane rides, but I also hate waiting. For my birthday this year, I asked for TSA Precheck and Global Entry, which is basically the airport version of Disney’s Fast Pass. You go through your own line of security, which is shorter, and no more paper customs forms! So easy, and it lasts for five years. Yes and yes!
3 . Holiday hoobie whatie
I’m a gift giver through and through, and I’m 90% finished with my list. But if you’re still looking for ideas, here’s my 2019 gift guide for your travel-loving friends and fam. If you’re sick of spending money and just want something for free (yes, free), sign up for my *NEW* free travel resource library. I’ve got all the packing lists, playlists, foreign language help and budget planners you’ll ever need.
4 . Stop and smell the roses
Like I said, this semester I’ve had to put my life on halt, due to a busy schedule. I like routine, and getting used to a new one is tough. Not maintaining a regular workout schedule, always having to pack meals here and there and adopting a nocturnal clock have been rough, and naturally, now that it’s almost over, I’m reminding myself to stop and smell the roses. Being a magazine editor is long, hard hours, and in the stress, it’s easy to forget why you chose this and why you love it. But this month, I got a little reminder when I got to art direct a fashion shoot for a magazine story. I traipsed around town, pointing at this and that to borrow for the photo shoot. Sometimes I forget that I have a really cool job, and this moment reminded me of why I started.
5 . Live a little et comme les français
I deeply apologize to anyone who hasn’t experienced French hospitality because it’s unlike anything else. The way I’ve heard it described is that in general, Americans are friendly right off the bat, but what you see is what you get. The buck will stop and soon. But the French often have a more coy exterior and don’t seem as kind from the get-go. But once you’ve earned their trust, you’re in, and you will be smothered with a hospitality rarely experienced in the States. A local French woman invited our French honor society over for a multi-course dinner with the most gorgeous charcuterie board I’ve ever laid eyes on. We sipped and noshed as we chatted and laughed for hours, and although I came drained, I left in high spirits.
Here’s to finishing 2019 strong. Happy holidays from mine to yours!