Tag Archives: travel

March Resolutions – How Did I Do?

Happy April, Finding Delight readers! This year, I decided to approach my New Year’s resolutions a little bit differently. I wrote out all the months in my  journal and have filled in things I want to work on in 2017– 2 items per month. Not every item is filled in yet. I want to give myself space to grow over the year, to not set my resolutions in stone.

My hope is that, once something is set into practice for a month, I’ll continue the habit throughout the year.

I’d like to share results and thoughts at the end of each month because accountability. (You can check out past months HERE.) Here’s how I did in March…

March Resolution #1. Up my comment game on other blogs. 

I read, or at least scroll and skim, a RIDICULOUS amount of blog posts each week. As I mention in my very first post ever, I’ve been a fan of the medium since the early days. I had an online journal in the early aughts and, when that faded into obscurity, I followed several lifestyle bloggers with cult-like consistency.

When I was settling on resolutions, I tried to find a balance of betterment within every aspect of my life. So when I reflected on how I could make positive changes in how I approach blogging, I realized I need to stop being a lurker and start joining the conversation. (Not to mention, according to The Secret, you get what you give. And I’m tryin’ to get more blog comments, too. #keepinitreal)

So in March, I joined a few blogger Facebook groups and have tried to engage with folks as much as possible. We trade comments and brainstorm collaborations. It’s been a lot of fun!

There are still a TON of blogs I visit on the regs that I don’t often (or ever) comment on. I hope they’re happy to let me continue lurking. Haha!

Going forward: I’ll continue to stay active in the blogger groups I’ve joined. I’ll find a few non-group, new-to-me homies and resolve to comment on their posts with regularity. I’ll respond to the comments on my own posts when I want to keep the conversation going!

March Resolution #2. Keep fresh flowers in the house. Don’t scrimp on the anticipation aspect of travel. 

Yes, I switched this resolution mid-month. Whoops! But hear me out… When planning out each month’s resolutions in my journal I thought committing to a nice grocery store bouquet of flowers on the regular would be a worthy pursuit. Fast forward to every time I went grocery shopping in the first week or so of March and I realized I needed to scrap this idea. As I picked up and put down bouquets and mulled over price tags, I came to the conclusion that these colorful blooms just wouldn’t bring me enough happiness to justify their expense. And I’m ok with that.

So! Did I accept defeat and call it quits on having 2 resolutions for March? NOPE! Back to the drawing board.

Knowing that I had two upcoming trips in April, I chose to work on something that I’ve recently noticed about myself. I’m not so good at the anticipation aspect of travel. It’s like I know I have an upcoming trip but I tell myself NOT to think about it until the time draws near. This means I’m missing out! According to a 2010 study,  just planning or anticipating your trip can make you happier than actually taking it.

I think shying away from anticipation is a holdover from college speech & debate. We traveled to so many tournaments throughout the year that there wasn’t really enough time to put a whole lot of thought into the process ahead of time. We just packed our suitcases and off we went. And then we did again the next week.

But now! I’m leaning into the planning and anticipation of travel. Googling, asking for recommendations, packing lists, “to-do before I leave” lists, etc, etc!

Going forward: I won’t try to trick myself into thinking my trips are spontaneous…I’ll relish in all the happiness they can give me before I even embark!!!

Alright friends, let’s keep things going in April!

How are YOUR New Year’s Resolutions going? Three months down! Tell me how you’re doing in the comments below (#accountability) or feel free to email me – ebeth.berger@gmail.com – if you’d like to keep it private. You got this! 

P.S. Need help sticking to your 2017 goals? Check out this post. Oh, and “Like” the Finding Delight Facebook page! I’d love to have ya!

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mid-week round-up

Good morning my delightful friends! How are you today? We started watching Big Little Lies last night. What an all-star cast! The characters are super compelling but I’m not sure if I’m in love with the format just yet. I’m certainly hooked enough to keep watching though! Tomorrow we’re headed to the aquarium and I CAN’T WAIT! Hope you all have beautiful days, and here are a few things you may enjoy reading…

The politics of conspicuous displays of self-care.

50 things you need to eat in Miami before you die.

I NEED this In Omnia Paratus poster in my life!

The true story of the American work force as told by nine folks in the trenches.

How to become an adult. 
“Suddenly realize that you are now older than your parents when they got married, older than your parents when they had a kid, maybe older than your parents when they had you, even. Notice the ages come and go at which you had always told yourself you would have various little boxes checked, see them fading behind you like road signs, and feel a mix of disappointment and empowerment: “No, I am not the person I promised myself. Yes, I actually like this person better.”

French cartoonist Pénélope Bagieu has taken a unique opportunity to correct public misperceptions about the life of Mama Cass.

Related: Adding California Dreamin’: Cass Elliot Before The Mamas and The Papas by Pénélope Bagieu to my Amazon Wishlist.

Also Related: Five Great Graphic Novels!

To the women of America — A warning and a rallying cry from Poland.

Betsy DeVos and the history of homeschooling. 

Never been to Tokyo? Here’s a crib sheet of stuff that is useful for your first trip. #goals

The baby in the plastic bag. #longform

A call to travel abroad…in your own country.
“I was a foreign correspondent for many years, work that involves the shedding of assumptions and absorption in place. To see what’s over here, you have to let go of what’s over there. Scott County, for coastal metropolitan Americans, is a foreign land. In a fissured nation, there are fewer and fewer moments of genuine encounter between rival tribes, each confined in its ideological canyon. So what could bring the country together, usher Brooklyn closer to Scottsburg?”

Working while female. 

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — Carol Rossetti’s Colorful Illustrations of Female Empowerment and Winter Wardrobe Pieces.

mid-week round-up

fire-escape-street

Welcome to 2017, my friends! Gah! How futuristic does THAT sound? I hope you’re all doing well and settling into the new year with ease. Did you make any resolutions? Set any new intentions? I’d like to develop some new organizational systems (paperwork, computer files, my planner…all these Christmas decorations that need to come down eventually, lol) and decrease time spent in front of screens. I’m also kick-starting my year with daily yoga videos from Adriene. (LOVE her January challenges!) Now, if reading more random internet articles was a resolution of yours, I’ve got ya covered… But you can feel free to click through even if it wasn’t…

Adding Chris Bohjalian’s book The Sleepwalker to my 2017 reading list.

Glamour just published it’s first issue produced completely by women. It’s about time.

This stamp set from Concord & 9th makes the sweetest DIY cards for winter.

Sherman Alexie, Lindy West, and Ta-Nehisi Coates all quit Twitter this week.

Would you paint your walls blush?

There’s a massive restaurant industry bubble, and it’s about to burst.

Death on the hippie trail.

The introvert’s travel bucket list for 2017.

Yoga may not be scientifically valid, but it works for me.

Diaries shed new light on siege of Leningrad.

The little-known link between Princess Leia’s iconic hairstyle and the Mexican Revolution.

*shrugs* Shit happens.

mid-week round-up

horsehead

What’s going on this week, guys? I hope you’re enjoying the book-themed week here on the blog. It seems fitting, given all the rain we’ve been getting, I just want to curl up on the couch and read novel after novel. Are you reading anything good right now? Hope your day is great wherever you are, and below are a few reads of a different variety (back to all-things books tomorrow though!)…

Voyages: Visual journeys by 6 photographers.

10 New Orleans musts for under $10.

Stop taking pride in not knowing how to do basic shit.

This ballerina starts her day with a corn-dog as a PRE-breakfast. (#spiritanimal)

Confessions of workplace masturbators.

I’m saving this podcast for a rainy day…or road trip.

Female debaters everywhere feel ya Hillz!

How to decorate a large wall.

30-minute sheet pan potatoes and chicken sausage.

Investments that will save you money in the long run.

Hugo Lucitante’s tribe sent him into the outside world so he could return and save their village.

Typecast as a terrorist.

mid-week round-up

peach-bloom

Hi friends! What’s going on in your world this week? Chet and I are putting plans in place for an October trip to Louisiana. (Remember this? We’re hoping to hit up Festivals Acadiens again. Mmmmm, crawfish potatoes!) Hope your day is spectacular, and if you’re in an internet-y mood, here are 12 links to keep you clicking…

Customs that are totally normal in some countries, but weird everywhere else.

The agony and ecstasy of dating at a strict Christian college.

Re-tracing a rail adventure across half the continent to Haight-Ashbury.

Archaeologists are discovering how fugitive slaves kept their freedom deep in the swamps.

Why do tourists visit ancient ruins everywhere except the United States?

Stacy London on ageing and style.

Extreme hunger is tearing apart Venezuela.

Mother Teresa: Martyr or Myth?

Ann M. Martin talks The Babysitters Club and rebooting another children’s series.

Why doesn’t Keeping Up With the Kardashian’s show nannies?

The consequences of monetizing your bliss.

So, this is going down in Lexington.

mid-week round-up

lizard

Happy Wednesday! I landed in Lexington yesterday afternoon and am excited to get to work on all the final wedding preparations. So much to do! Before I left Miami, Chet (who will be flying in next week) surprised me with a new camera. I absolutely love it!!! I am the luckiest girl alive! I hope everyone has a great Wednesday, and now onto the links…

How to capsule your beauty products.

The cutest planter.

These teas sound AMAZING!

The long-term risks of early puberty.

Craigslist Confessional: Stealing office supplies to support family.

What we can learn from an Indonesian ethnicity that recognizes 5 genders.

I loved these books as a kid (especially the prairie one, obvi).

The serendipitous joys of traveling solo.

What to read once you’ve finished the latest season of OITNB.

Aziz Ansari on Trump.

America’s best little beach towns.

This is a long one but I HIGHLY recommend checking it out if you’ve got some spare time. It’s extremely eye-opening.

friday round-up

couples shoot 1

couples shoot 2

couples shoot 3

So I had a link post ready to go up on Wednesday and totally forgot to publish it. I guess that’s what happens when you go on a little mid-week trip to Delray Beach. Whoops! Our friends Carrie and Ganer (who visited us last week in Miami) were on the second leg of their Florida vacay and graciously invited us for some extended fun at the beach. We jumped at the chance, and had so much fun eating tacos, lounging in the sand, and collecting seashells. Carrie is an extremely talented photographer (she’s shooting our wedding!!) and asked if Chet and I would like to do an evening couples shoot by the water. Ummm, YES PLEASE! Pictured above is a little preview. I can’t stop looking at them! Those colors!!! Go check out Carrie’s site  —> Sur La Lune Photography —> she does INCREDIBLE work.

Anyways, I thought I’d go ahead and pop up these links for you (a couple days late), share a few photos, and get back to regularly scheduled programming on Monday. Have a great weekend!!!

How to travel 6 European countries in 9 days with 0 planes.

19 things you might not know were invented by women.

If every state had an official word, what would it be?

This documentary looks crazy-awesome and right in my wheelhouse.

On the ground with a Doctors Without Borders operation in South Sudan.

Miss Manhattan.

13 years old in the age of likes and lols.

How to make an envelope from old magazines.

Makes me want to flip a house.

Yoga mantra.

Looks like the perfect spot for a Miami stay-cation!

What successful people do on Sunday nights.

And Sur La Lune on Instagram!

mid-week round-up

weather vane

Wednesday again! What are y’all up to? Chet and I got dressed up and went to The Frost Museum on Saturday night for the opening of the Shakespeare’s First Folio exhibit. It’s always fun to have a reason to get cute AND geek out simultaneously. Haha! The book was open to the “To be or not to be” page of Hamlet which was definitely a nice choice. There’s just something so wrong about a book behind glass though. I wanted to flick through it so bad! Wouldn’t it be amazing to feel all that history at your finger-tips? I’m headed to Bowling Green, KY on Friday and I’m looking forward to giving some friends a squeeze. But what should I pack?! Half a year in Miami and I’ve already forgotten how to Winter. In the name of packing procrastination, let’s wander around the internet…

Bill Maher, Charlie Sheen, and modern day snake oil.

Why are men missing from the Zika Virus warnings?

A video game that mixes animation and magical realism to tell the story of a family’s profound loss.

A rape case which highlights differences in legal cultures and the colonial dynamic in the nineteenth century.

Broadly documents the fight to end revenge porn.

Leslie Knope + Ann Perkins = BFF

A yummy Valentine’s treat.

Thoughts on Gilmore Girls.

Remy Charlip and the problems of dance notation.

Financial advisor for millennials.

I totally want to stay at this Icelandic hostel.

Lessons from the longest study on happiness.

I talked to a woman for 4 hours on the train.

Recently, my friend Rachel shared the following story with myself and a few of her other friends and I jumped at the chance to have her share it with all of you, too. Not only was I touched by her experience but it spoke to so many of my thoughts on alternative transportation (which you can read about in this post). I believe Americans, who have long shut ourselves off by hopping into cars each day, stand to learn so much by sitting next to and around people who don’t look like us. Our deeply ingrained “car culture” doesn’t allow for the type of amazing interpersonal interactions like the one detailed below. The type of beautiful, sometimes painful, interactions which broaden our perspective and give us pause. Keep reading…

rachel post 3

A note:  I feel the need to preface this story with a statement about myself.  I’m a white, middle class, cis gendered, heterosexual woman.  In some ways, the story below is about meeting someone fascinating.  It is also a story about being confronted with my own privilege by way of a meaningful interpersonal interaction.  I say all this to acknowledge the fact that sharing this story broadly gives me pause.  It puts me in the position of, potentially, being one of those well meaning white folk who uses the experiences of others to garner some sort of attention or approval for themselves.  My intention in this writing, is to honor the power of talking to strangers and striving for empathy in a world that could use a measure more of that.  My intention is to encourage others to be open to interpersonal interactions that may broaden or challenge their worldviews.  I welcome correction if my intentions are not reflected in the action of sharing this story.          

In mid-November I was on a 17 hour Amtrak trip back from Portland, OR to my home in Northern California.  I’d been in Portland for a professional conference which had been super inspiring and successful.  I was taking the train because 1) I put off buying my plane tickets because I am a procrastinator at heart and by the time of my purchase the train was half as cheap as flying, 2) train travel is way better for the environment, duh, and 3) because public transportation always lights this small fire in my introverted heart; it’s as though I am suddenly in a space where it’s okay to be whatever form of myself I feel like being that day.

The train ride up had been beautiful.  I left at 11:30 pm and I awoke to views like this.

rachel post 1

The ride back was different.  We left at 2:20 pm, so most of the ride would be in the dark, and I had a seat mate until Klamath Falls, around 10:30 that night.  

The man working our car was a hoot.  He was loud, talked to all of us like we were 11-year-olds (not in an unkind way, but in the way you do when you have dealt with tons of adults who can’t be trusted to think things through), and had a gelled back hair-do that was 100% too perfect for this world.  My seatmate was a young dude who worked for Intel as a coder and was headed to Klamath falls to buy his very first car.  We chatted for a bit.  He was an interesting kid, we had a lot in common, and each time the fellow working our car gave someone an extra helping of sass, my seatmate, myself, and the woman sitting alone in the pair of seats across the aisle from us would laugh.  Because it was awesome.  Because this guy clearly gave zero fucks, or so it seemed.  The fella told me afterward that he likes to seat people near others he thinks they will get along with, which, mind you, he is basing completely off of a 10 second look at you and your bags.  So, this guy is dishing out sass, it’s great, and my seatmate, myself, and this woman start to chat.

I don’t remember the exact sequence of events, likely because it was dark and our conversation lasted for hours and the long monotony of the train ride made everything seem blurred around the edges.  So I can’t tell you how or why this woman started talking, but I can tell you the things she said and how they made me feel.

She was a Native American woman from the far north of Washington State.  She’s from a whaling people on the coast, but she hadn’t seen the ocean until she was a young adult.  She was raised by a foster family, described it as basically growing up Amish.

She had a photo album tucked into the top of her backpack.  It had pictures of herself as a teen in a long dress in front of a small house.  She showed me pictures of the wide open grasslands that occur at high elevations, on land that so few people want, where impoverished populations are often pushed.  Her husband had died two years previously.  She showed me pictures of her 7 year old son.

She was 25-years-old.

She showed me a picture of herself and her late husband standing beside a 600 pound black bear, which she had shot.  He was supposed to stay and help her process the meat, the hide, the internal organs, but the next day he and his father were called away for a week to work as well diggers for an oil company.  He told her she would just have to figure it out.  She described the process as “horror movie gory,” which I totally believe, but she told me how they utilize every part of the animal.  How she froze the meat and used it for more than a year, distributed rendered bear fat throughout her community, gave meat to the old women living down the street who had no one, and how she still had all the bear’s claws. The internal organs were kept in a bucket in a warm place, I was never clear for what purpose, and, for a year, when friends came over to drink beers around a fire, they would pull out buckets for everyone to sit on, and the out of town friend always found themselves, unknowingly, perched atop a bucket full of bear innards that heated and stank until, suddenly, they realized what was happening.

After her husband died (a drowning, though he hated the water and she still doesn’t know why he went down to the river), she took her 5-year-old son on a two year long road trip across the country.  They camped and bartered and traveled down through Texas and the southeast, up the east coast, and on into New York City.  She worked in hospitality in some fancy hotel there, and a manager told her she was good at it, could move up if she went back to school.  She’s starting an MBA in the fall.  She wants to build a set of tiny houses on her high elevation property in Oregon.  Maybe people will use them as hunting cabins?  She has a generous smile, and I would probably pay to stay in her backyard.

Life is often more intricate than we could ever anticipate.  After a 15 minute stop at a station where passengers exited and boarded the train and those continuing on took a smoke break, she asked me if I wanted to see some “badass jewelry.”  Obviously, yes, I did.

rachel post 2

​It’s a type of bead work called peyote stitch, which I googled afterward.  She had one piece with a bead that had the letters LL and a little star laser cut into it.  She told me it was her maternal grandmother’s symbol and name, Little Light. Somewhere down south, maybe New Mexico, someone had seen the little laser cut symbol in some of her beadwork, recognized it, and asked after her grandmother–whom this woman on my train only knew of and had never met.  This random person, who she met thousands of miles away from her home, asked for her phone number. Two weeks later, a call came from an old man who asked her mother’s maiden name, then told her he was her grandfather.  In the last two months, she had met all three of her sisters and her birth mother.

Some time in the last several months she had also gotten engaged to a man she met while traveling.  He gave her several thousand dollars and told her he wanted to be with her, that she could come and be with him in southern Oregon, but really all he wanted her to do with the money was get herself and her son out of the drug riddled community where she had grown up.  She’s been gone for over 6 months.

There are so many other details, so many happenings in this one woman’s life, which she shared with me.  She described in visceral detail the feeling of walking across what I suspect was a quaking bog in Maine.  She told me about her fiance’s family in upstate New York.

Her first marriage was arranged and happened when she was 18, and she felt so lucky that she had loved him.  When he died, she knew she had no idea how to be a mother, but she knew how to be a fucking fantastic friend, so she went with that.  She used to drag her son out of bed and into the yard in the dark, chasing him, tickling him.  Maybe it used to scare him, but now he whispers into her ear “Pull me off to the dark Mom, scare me.”

She told me she could hardly imagine a world where you could be 28, have no children, and have only just gotten married.  

She told me she thought every person was like a puzzle piece.  There are things in your life that happen, and maybe they carved parts of you out, hollowed you in a way.  But if you look for people, maybe some of them might just click right into those empty spaces.

rachel post 4

So, what’s the point?  Other than the fact that the tapestry of the human experience is vast, varied, and chest tighteningly beautiful? I’m not sure there is one.  For me, people consistently question my willingness to take the Greyhound or an extra long train ride, and I’m going to keep telling them it’s because people are more relaxed when traveling connected to the Earth.  To me, people feel distant on planes, they are just going from place to place.  And maybe that’s part of the privilege of being born with the means to move through places while holding yourself separate from them.  Sometimes I want that, and I’m lucky that I have access to it.

But, sometimes, the chance to see what things have touched other people’s lives is a difficult gift.  You see a picture of a 21-year-old woman standing before a dead, 600 pound bear, having no idea that, tomorrow, she will be left to deal with that on her own.

When people share themselves, I think the only appropriate response is a deliberate, active softening of my heart to those who experience life as a less friendly thing.  I feel touched by the knowledge that even difficult paths are so full of beauty.  I try to be grateful when people are kind and generous and offer up their experiences to me whole cloth.

It’s certainly no one else’s job to teach me about the world, but it’s surely my job to learn.

This woman told me, “Your first interactions with someone are so pure and unedited.  Why wouldn’t they be?  I’m never going to see you again.”  I told her we might see each other again; after all, stranger things have happened.


To read more of Rachel’s work, including the full account of the conference she attended in the midst of all the train travel detailed above, check out her blog Sweet Tea, Science. Rachel is currently working on a PhD in Ecology and lives in California with her husband, pup, and ragdoll cat (sidenote: her cat and my cat are brothers!). She is a kickass scientist and storyteller and I love reading the nitty-gritty details of her fieldwork, her honest accounts of academia, and all the ways she’s making the world a better place. Thanks for sharing your story with us, Rachel! 

mid-week round-up

rocky surf

How is everyone doing this week? Not loving all these rainy days we’ve been getting! It’s definitely warm enough for the pool so why can’t the sun just peek out a little bit! Oh well, I guess this is what Fall in Florida is like. Anyways, the threat of rain inspired us to go to the art museum the other day so I can’t complain TOO much. The exhibits were beautiful! Also, did anyone watch the So You Think You Can Dance finale? This was such a good season!!! I think I’ve successfully convinced Chet that we will be replacing it in our weekly line-up with Dancing With the Stars (which just started on Monday). I’ve only caught bits and pieces of this show over the years but I’m ready to dive in. The “stars” this year look nuts! Hope the rest of your week brings you lots of happiness, and here are a few links for you to enjoy today…

Joni Mitchell’s breakfast of champions.

I’m a Samantha with a touch of Molly. You?

I suddenly want to add a cute kitten to my desk set-up.

Traveling abroad on a budget.

The business of funerals is no longer a male-dominated industry.

I can’t stop watching Casey Neistat movies.

And speaking of movies, here’s an enthralling Vice News piece on schoolgirls for sale in Japan.

I would very happily eat these school lunches.

Netlix recommendations so you can curl up and watch when the weather turns yucky.

BRB, off to convince Chet that we need to make mini no-knead pizzas for Pizza Friday.

And just in case you need a few words of encouragement today!