Category Archives: europe

Paris Plans – April 2016

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Every ticket I book abroad has a waiting period. I would be lying if I said I make plans and book them without any fear or reservations. I have known for a while I was going back to Paris in April. My sister told me the day of the Paris attacks in November that she had booked a ticket for her family to go to Paris. This was just hours before the attacks. Thank goodness she kept her plans. She always told me they would wait and see if it was safe but for now they were still going…

I planned to arrive the same day my sister did so I could pack in as much time as possible with them. My niece is 2 1/2 and I have been waiting since the day she was born to take her to Paris. I begged every trip to let me take her. This time she is finally coming with us! She now asks me “Auntie show me the eiffel tower” and “show me Paris” asking for videos and photos on my phone. It makes me so happy! I cannot wait for her first croissant and carousel ride. There will be a lot more about Emma’s first trip to Paris in later blog posts.

So much of me wanted to book a one way ticket to Paris. Its probably one of my biggest regrets coming home after all these years. I keep reminding myself that I am still young and there is still so much time in my life to live abroad again. I can’t wait to share the love of travel with someone.

The plan right now is the spend two weeks in Paris. A few days with family, then my Paris family, my birthday, friends and work. Its going to be a jam packed two weeks and I hope that if the weather cooperates cherry blossoms will be in bloom during this time too. I am so grateful for the opportunity to run my own business and create my own schedule. That also means you work hard and you play hard.

I can’t avoid the most recent topic in the news of the Brussel attacks. I am keeping everyone in my thoughts and prayers. This has to stop! But one thing that can’t stop is travel. The terrorists continue to fill us with fear. The first thing people want to do is cancel trips and avoid danger. But if we avoid living our lives then we are already surrendering and letting them win. Paris is quiet now because of the attacks in November and I can only imagine the Brussel attacks will cause more trip cancelations. I still plan on traveling in two weeks and if you have a trip planned I encourage you to do the same.

I would love to know your thoughts on travel in Europe and if you have a trip scheduled are you keeping or canceling.

xo

 

 

 

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Solo Travel in Europe

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A while back a friend proposed the idea of me traveling alone. I thought the idea was crazy and dismissed it. I was in my young twenties and was honestly too scared. 2007 rolled around and I decided to take a trip back to Italy. My first since studying abroad. I brought two of my best friends along to show them some of my favorite parts of Italy. This is when I first started waking up early to photograph. I thought this would be a good way to explore the city solo and get out of my comfort zone. To my surprise my two friends willingly woke up early to join me. I was happy to have them along but still wanted the experience of being alone in a city. They could sense that I wanted to stay in Italy since I had been talking about how much I loved my time abroad. At one point they both encouraged me to just stay and not come come. That would be crazy I thought… or would it be?

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Either way the seed had been planted knowing that I had the support of two of my best friends. I lost my job shortly after in 2008 and really wanted to follow my passion for being a travel photographer. Sometimes its other things that push you outside of your comfort zone. I have always been grateful for that little push. What did I have to loose? It took me a while to figure out my footing how I was going to make it happen and in the end of 2009 I decided I was going to go to Paris. Yes my family thought I was crazy but once I get an idea in my head its hard to let go of it. So I started planning. This was just a short trip 10 days total but my first solo trip abroad. I went using unemployment money and airline miles from my previous job. I did a lot of research on an inexpensive hotel and booked a ticket.

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My high school French teacher taught us how to use the metro and it all came back to me. This was my first photo as my arrival to Paris back in 2010. I remember it vividly. I was so excited to explore and can’t remember being nervous at all. I photographed the city from morning to night for a total of 8 days. I learned to much about the city by walking and exploring. Everything was new and exciting. I remember walking around the eiffel tower and thinking ” I wonder what it would be like to live here and be inspired by this every day?” That of course planted a seed to my move to Paris in 2013. After the trip I came back to Chicago and started really working on my etsy shop posting photographs and selling them. I can’t say it was overnight it took a little while to figure things out but by the following year I was completely on my own financially as a travel photographer. That was a lot scarier than going to Paris solo.

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When I talk to friends and strangers about solo travel the first thing they mention is fear. It can definately be scary going outside your comfort zone. The next couple posts I will talk about Staying safe while traveling, eating alone, perks of traveling solo and more. I would love to know your thoughts have you traveled alone? Love it or hate it? If you haven’t what’s holding you back?

A glimpse at Rome

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My time is Europe is always nonstop. Its a challenge to stop as much as it is in the States. Don’t get me wrong I have had uninterrupted chats with friends over coffee, lunch, glasses of wine the last couple of weeks. Its nice not being completely attached to my iPhone or other electronic devices.

I left my computer back in Paris and my cell phone didn’t have an Italian SIM card so I was catching email when I could walking through the streets of Rome or back at my airbnb apartment.

Paris has been a comfort for me the last few years. I know how to zip around the city by foot or metro and my french is improving. The city feels like a second home more than anything. Italy was my first love and will always be. Its where I first studied abroad and was bit by the travel bug 11 years ago but being back in Italy felt foreign. My first couple of trips to Rome I did not like the city at all. It was filled with graffiti, pick pockets, and lets be honest it wasn’t Florence. Although in the last couple of years it has been calling me back. It took a while but I am glad I decided to go back and give it another go.

To be perfectly honest I arrived on a sunny 80 degree October day in Rome. Palm trees lined the streets with packed cafes serving pasta and cappuccinos on every corner. What’s not to love? I grabbed a chair at the closest busy cafe pulled out a map and a menu and was set to explore.

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To be continued…

Happy Holidays

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In January I spent time traveling throughout Europe. I was lucky to find that most of the lights and decorations were not taken down right away. The streets of Geneva Switzerland and Venice, Italy are in this post with their windows and lights. Happy Holidays to you all!

Crush in Old Town

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This weekend is the Crush in Old Town. The festival is smaller than the Summer Wells Street Festival but the same location. The Festival runs from noon – 10pm. Stop on by and say hello! I am busy working on new product for the show:

London Calling

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As the Summer Olympics are about to begin here is a quick look at London:

 

 

 

Rainy Day in Chicago

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After a month of beautiful California weather with no rain, I am back in Chicago where it is pouring and on the cold side. My first show is tomorrow so setup was pushed until tomorrow morning. Hopefully the rain stops by tomorrow morning so we can have nice weather. I love photographing in the rain but today there is too much work to be done before tomorrow. Here are a few of my photographs from rainy days in London, New York, and Paris. Where is your favorite place to be when it rains?

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