Hello, I’m Camille.

Thanks for stopping by!

  • 2023 Group Trips and How They Came to Be

    Last fall I hosted 14 friends from Pennsylvania and took them to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Massive and well designed, the MET truly has something for everyone, including the option for New Yorkers to pay what they wish, and to bring their friends along on this discounted opportunity. Now, I realized that perhaps there was a limit to how many friends I could get this discount for, so I asked. I never got a real answer on the limit though because apparently it is inconceivable that someone in their 30s would have so many friends! We had quite the string of questioning to get to the bottom of our friendship. Surely we were part of a club. Or a church group. Or someone, somehow trying to take advantage of a discount when they should be paying the group rate. We did get it all ironed out eventually, but it reminded me again, of how fortunate I have been to have a group to adventure with, both domestically and internationally.

    Then, a few weeks ago I was editing the pictures from my trip last summer. It was a whirlwind- around the world in 6 weeks kind of trip- and the pictures brought back memories of sweaty hikes, scenic surprises, and the refreshing taste of peach iced tea. Travel is not without its challenges, confusions, and disappointments- but I love it. So much! The world really is SUCH an interesting place to live!

    They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and while I can’t say that I’ve invented anything, needing something to do has definitely birthed some interesting ideas. In fact, the start of this blog came from a winter boredom lull. And, if you may remember, back in 2020, I plotted, planned, and booked a ladies’ trip to Italy, during a similar winter lull.

    Well, here we are in winter again and, while I’m not bored, I cannot help but wonder if I would have liked that ladies’ trip that got COVID canceled. I definitely still love to travel. And plan. And do things as a group.

    And somewhere in my brain, connecting all these little thoughts about the gift it is to travel, with friends, and my love for organizing trips, and wondering what I, myself, am doing this summer- I had this nagging question. So I asked some of you- What if I planned a summer group trip? Would you be interested?

    And really, the question is- Is there anyone out there who wishes they could travel more but they don’t like planning or they don’t have a group to go with? And, would those people like to go with me?

    Well, bless your hearts because some of you said yes!

    And so I began the exciting process of trip planning. Yay!

    And now it’s ready. As ready as it will be. To share with the world and see – is there anyone who wishes they could travel more? Who would like someone else to plan it for them? Who would like to go with a group that isn’t totally random people from the internet? Who would like to go this summer?

    Here’s what I have to offer. Thanks to the responses from my friends and followers, and my own obsession with travel planning, I have decided to offer 2 group trips this year (I do have the whole summer off, after all!) . The choices are:

    Spain and Portugal: Ten day group trip of the highlights of Spain and Portugal. This includes 2 nights in Barcelona, 2 nights in Granada, 1 night in Porto and 3 nights in Lisbon. The target dates are July 18-July 27, 2023. The target group size is 8-10. Price: $1300 + airfare and food. You can read all about it here. You can sign up for it here.

    South Korea: Ten day group trip of the highlights of South Korea. This includes 1 night in Seoul, 2 nights in Busan, 1 night in Gyeongju, and ending back in Seoul for 4 nights. The target dates are August 3-12, 2023. The target group size is 8-10 people. Price: $1300 + airfare and food. You can read all about it here. You can sign up for it here.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, for even entertaining this idea. I am hopeful that together we can make a summer of incredible, unforgettable, memories. If you have any questions or just want to talk about it, I’m always down for a conversation about travel.

    Advertisement

  • 2023- Group Travel Options

    Yes, options. Meaning, more than one! Thanks to the responses from my friends and followers, and my own obsession with travel planning, I have decided to offer 2 group trips this year (I do have the whole summer off, after all!) . The choices are:

    Spain and Portugal: Ten day group trip of the highlights of Spain and Portugal. This includes 2 nights in Barcelona, 2 nights in Granada, 1 night in Porto and 3 nights in Lisbon. The target dates are July 18-July 27, 2023. The target group size is 8-10. Price: $1300 + airfare and food. You can read all about it here. You can sign up for it here.

    South Korea: Ten day group trip of the highlights of South Korea. This includes 1 night in Seoul, 2 nights in Busan, 1 night in Gyeongju, and ending back in Seoul for 4 nights. The target dates are August 3-12, 2023. The target group size is 8-10 people. Price: $1300 + airfare and food. You can read all about it here. You can sign up for it here.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, for even entertaining this idea. I am hopeful that together we can make a summer of incredible, unforgettable, memories.


  • Colorado or Bust!

    I know most people go to Colorado for the nature. I like nature as much as your average city dweller might, but I went for the people. With the return of travel came the return of summer trips with my Lancaster Friends. This is my fourth trip with some of them so we have the routine down pretty well.

    Have I mentioned how thankful I am to have friends to travel with? It’s everything.

    We started our trip in Breckenridge, exploring the famous ski town and riding its lift in circles. We underestimated the affect of the elevation on us so we limited hiking our first few days. Word to the wise, if you are planning to go to Colorado, keep your higher peaks for later in your itinerary.

    We closed out our second evening there with a ride through Boreas Pass for views.

    We followed a dirt road to a little lake on our way out of town for some waterfall hiking and more tree time.

    Our next stop was Colorado Springs for the Manitou Cliff Dwellings, Garden of the Gods, Pike’s Peak, and more hiking. Except that, surprise, surprise, I got tired of trees and requested a break. My friends (bless them) obliged me with a stop at a bookstore instead. Colorado Springs turned out to be a fun little town with decent restaurants, bookstores, and sometimes even folk music festivals in the park for you to enjoy while the rest of your group finishes their hike.

    We all found books at Poor Richard’s Bookstore.

    Our last stop of the trip was Rocky Mountain National Park. Tickets to national parks these days are a bit complicated, so make sure you do some research ahead of time. We were very thankful to snag some last minute tickets to round out the end of our trip. We spent the day stopping off for hikes between long, scenic drives. We found mountain lakes and elk and still had things to talk about after 5 days of traveling together. That’s always a good sign.

    The trip ended with a short night at an airport hotel before we each departed to our respective destinations. The hotel had fun mirror running the entire length and height of the wall behind the beds, just to add a layer of oddity to a place we were already planning to leave at strange hours of the morning. I would not recommend.

    Why Colorado?

    1. It’s domestic. In the era of COVID travel restrictions, domestic seems to be the way to go.
    2. It’s scenic. For someone who can get tired of trees, I still have to admit, Colorado is beautiful.
    3. It’s accessible. If you want to enjoy the scenery but aren’t very “outdoorsy”, Colorado is very drivable and beautiful spots are easy to access without exerting yourself too much. Take Pike’s Peak for example. You can take a train or drive if you don’t want to hike it.

  • City of Angels

    Let’s hear it for the return of travel!

    If I have learned anything from 2020, it is that I am not in control. In my perfect world, I’d be traveling the world. As would you, probably. But here we are, year two of a global pandemic. So, we take what we can get and we don’t get upset. For me, this meant keeping my travels mostly domestic this year. And really, after two years of no travel, it felt so good to be back, even if my passport didn’t get any stamps. Since cities are my favorite I’ll start with this one: Los Angeles.

    This trip was a short, two night stay with the primary purpose of visiting my friend Kai. She’s a brilliant friend from grad school and I always enjoy our long talks on everything from speech therapy to diversity to city living to crypto currency. Between her and her husband, I always leave a conversation feeling smarter. They keep me on my toes!

    I spent the first morning being shown around her neighborhood, catching up, and petting her cats. We stopped by Frank Lloyd Wright’s glass chapel in Abalone Cove and I awed at the succulent bushes.

    While she worked in the afternoon I set out in my own to see Downtown. First stop, the Hollywood sign. I didn’t need to touch it, just see it. Turns out there are some decent views from the Griffith Observatory. The Observatory was closed and it was too hot to enjoy most of the trails, so I just did the touristy thing and took pictures.

    From there I headed to Grand Central Market for ice cream, because what is city exploration without dessert?

    Across the street I stumbled upon Angel’s Flight Railway, the world’s shortest railway. It looked too fun not to jump on for a lift to the top.

    I found a few more skyscrapers and at least one iconic building before heading back to Kai’s for boba on the beach.

    We closed out the evening with a sunset walk on the Manhattan Beach boardwalk– beautiful homes and beautiful views.

    Day 2 was all about Joshua Tree National Park. I’ve been wanting to check it out for a while and God bless Kai for agreeing to face that 100* desert with me. But first stop, brunch. If you’re in the area, I do recommend Crossroads Cafe. Delicious!

    Now, all I knew about Joshua Tree was the tree part. What I didn’t realize was it also has some famous rock formations.

    And that was it. Oh, except that we also did some outlet mall shopping at Desert Hills Premium Outlets and got take out Korean food for dinner. This is why travel is best when you are visiting people, because it provides a variety that tourists cannot capture.

    What I liked about this trip:

    1. Travel is back! I savored the feeling of take off, of stumbling across new things, of being anywhere other than my little routine. Oh the absolute gift it is to travel.
    2. This was my first city trip in two years. Now, this summer I did tell my friends that, “It’s not that I need concrete, it’s that I need real people connections.” I’ll leave the context for that quote for another post, but after 12 hours in LA I realized, maybe I do need concrete? I mean, mountains and lakes are beautiful, but cities give me a different kind of joy. Probably the same joy you get from mountains and lakes, that I don’t get. I’m not sure. But I think it has to do with 1. people, 2. my lack of nature survival skills, 3. my life experiences, 4. how God made me. All that to say, “Yay! A new city!”
    3. The East Coast/ West Coast comparison was interesting to me. I think you need to step a toe into each of the major cities and wade around through the Midwest for a bit to get an understanding of the diversity that is America. As a New Yorker, this is an especially interesting topic as there is always a little rivalry between us. So, it was interesting to see what LA is like. (Spoiler: I still think New York is better.)
    4. Kai time. As you know, when you’ve been friends with someone for almost a decade, it’s a special treat to see them in the place they grew up. So, while travel is coming back and you may be dreaming of all the places to go, I recommend prioritizing friendships. Visit someone. Take them with you. Of all the things we’ve lost in this pandemic, real connection is the one that is probably hurting us the most. It’s up to us to do something about it.


  • Springing Back to Life as Normal

    On April 1st, New York ended its travel quarantine requirement, which means I no longer have to quarantine to see my family AND the tourists have returned.

    It was a special time without tourists here. I will never forget it.

    But it’s very, very nice to have them back. Or, more specifically, it’s very nice that my friends and family can be tourists and visit me. It’s nice that most of the museums and events are opening up again. (Except Broadway. Broadway isn’t open yet.) And it’s very nice that indoor dining is back and outdoor dining is here to stay.

    All the niece and nephews came to visit. The selfie game is strong.

    Spring this year has felt like hope. It’s been as deliciously warm here and it seems like a thousand trees are in bloom all at once. My social life is starting to balance out and my students have been funnier to me in the last week than they usually are. It feels like there’s hope, and I’m grateful for that.

    One of my highlights this month was a staycation in Manhattan over Easter weekend with local friends. I wanted an adventure and I didn’t want to quarantine. Manhattan was just the ticket. We stayed in Chelsea at the Moxy and it was perfect. The rooms were efficient (no closets) but beautiful. And the view was 100% worth it. It’s also conveniently located to great food and short train rides to anywhere you’d like to go.

    All in all, my highlight of our staycation was the food. Maman (French cafe), Grace Street Coffee (Korean coffee shop), Koko Wings (Korean fried chicken), and Milk Bar (specializing in cereal milk desserts) are all lasting delicious memories.

    Since this is a travel blog I should also mention the museum my sister discovered when she came to visit. The Morgan Library and Museum was the personal library of JP Morgan. It’s a bit over priced, in my opinion, but very, very interesting! And pretty. And not too crowded. So we still liked it.

    And that’s how life is going… slowly getting back to normal.

    Maybe some day soon I’ll be able to plan a ‘real’ trip somewhere. Until then, Manhattan helps.


  • I Will Know the Pandemic Is Over When

    These days new topics of conversation are a little hard to come by, especially if you enjoy over-analyzing like I do. With the start of 2021, even more than most years, we have breathed a collective sigh of relief to end the year that can’t be named. Now, most of the people I know have actually had a decent year, myself included, and have grown in some really important ways. But, universally, it’s been tough and we all are holding our breath to see what’s next.

    So we’ve begun the topic, “When will life be back to normal?” which is especially hard to answer when I’m not sure what ‘normal’ means anymore. I, like most of you, have been forever changed by 2020, probably in ways that I don’t realize yet. I’m not saying it’s changed me more than some other years, but it’s been a big one.

    So I’ve started a list: How I Will Know the Pandemic is Over. (aka- Things I Took For Granted) I think ‘life going back to normal’ is too vague, but I am curious when we will get to stop using the phrase, ‘We are in a pandemic!‘ to explain ourselves.

    Here we go!

    I Will Know the Pandemic is Over When:

    • I can make plans without making sure they are cancelable, refundable, or contingent.
    • I can remove the lamp by my desk (who’s sole purpose is to shine on me during zoom meetings).
    • I can work out at my local Y (that has been closed since March) without a mask.
    • I don’t have to quarantine to visit my family. (I’m sitting in day 5 of said quarantine right now.)
    • I don’t have to screen my friends before hanging out with them. What precautions do you take? Who do you see in your daily life? Are you ok with the precautions I take?
    • All the things are open and I can make plans to go there without researching if they still exist. Restaurants. Movie theaters. Broadway. Libraries. All the things.
    • Hugs and cheek kisses at church. I know, not so common in the Menno world, but cheek kisses are all the rage at my church here in Brooklyn and I do miss being able to greet people properly.
    • All my students attend in person, 5 days a week. Currently some of my students attend 5 days a week. I guess that’s progress…
    • We don’t have to social distance or wear masks at church. Let’s just say, I’m looking forward to singing, uninhibited, in a crowd. (Like heaven is, you know.)
    • I go to places to meet new people. It feels like a long time since I made a new friend.
    • WE CAN TRAVEL, OUT OF THE COUNTRY! I’m a big fan of travel returning some day. It’s not too soon to start planning for 2022, right?
    • We say ‘remember when…’ and remind ourselves to be grateful for all the things on this list.

    When I look back at 2020 I marvel at the history we’ve experienced as a city. Shutdowns, sirens, semi trailer morgues!, curfew, riots, cheering in the streets. New York is fundamentally different and we as a people cannot live outside of that change. It affects us too.

    But if I have learned anything in the past year it is that God is in control and He is faithful.

    So here’s to 2021. To the hope that this pandemic will end. But more assuredly, here’s to faith that God is big enough for whatever is coming next.


About Me

Hello! I’m Camille. Thanks for stopping by!

I am a full time speech therapist and a part time traveler, world pandemics aside.  I currently live in Brooklyn, New York but I’m from the Midwest.  My travel opportunities tend to come in cycles, but when I have the chance, I love to talk about them. I didn’t travel much growing up, unless you count summer trips to my great grandparents in Iowa. I would say that I grew into it, starting with trip planning my senior spring break trip to Sarasota, FL and growing from there.  I managed to squeeze in some destinations during college but my passport really got a boost when I graduated, adding 20 countries and numerous stateside cities to the list since then.  I tend to be a little type A in that I like lists and planning but city living and globe traipsing have taught me a lot about flexibility and resilience.

Follow Me On

Subscribe To Page

Subscribe for updates when I post.