Hello, I’m Camille.

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  • Brooklyn on Pause

    This is my fourth post in my Quarantine Chronicles Series.

    You may remember my post in April about balancing sane and safe. I didn’t know then, but that week was our peek in New York. My memories from that time are a little trauma informed. As a city, we are very happy to be on the other side of that hill and pretty serious about not wanting to return to it. As I mentioned at the beginning of this week, NY has a list of states that require mandated quarantines. At this point, that list contains 35 states/territories. Obviously, we are taking this seriously.

    But in the midst of all of this, I have discovered a silver lining. NYC without tourists. I know, it is VERY BAD for our economy and people’s livelihood. But back in May, when we were still ‘on pause’ with no hope of entering reopening phases any time soon, it felt like a gift.

    I first left my neighborhood after the shutdown to have a social distancing picnic with a friend at another park in Brooklyn. We brought our own blankets and had separate food. We kept our 6 ft when our masks were off. And we were so surreally happy to be out. And that’s how it felt, surreal, like the whole park was full of people who were happy to not be inside. Kids throwing balls. Kites flying. Someone with flags to twirl. Everyone happy to be out, but also, very conscience of keeping our 6 ft.

    The next weekend I ventured out a little further and hit the beach. I live on an island, so the beach isn’t far, but without the usual traffic, we made it there in record time! It was May so the beach wasn’t open. But it was very pleasant for strolling and sitting and, again, feeling blessed to have a place to go outside that felt safe. We actually went 2 days in a row because we loved it so much!

    A few weeks later I has another social distancing picnic at that same park in Brooklyn. This time it didn’t feel so surreal. Instead, it was just nice. Nice to catch up with friends I couldn’t see for awhile. Nice to be outside. Nice to find parking so easily in Park Slope. Also, the city has closed down streets to vehicle traffic during the day to give pedestrians more places to walk without running into each other. It’s called ‘Open Streets’. That’s very nice too.

    The adventures continued with an exploration of DUMBO and the Brooklyn Bridge on Memorial Day. Memorial Day, you know, the official kick off to summer in the city. My friend and I walked the Bridge and got Eggs Benedict to go from my favorite dinner. They weren’t that pretty by the time we got the the promenade to sit and enjoy them, but they were still delicious. Please let the emptiness in these photos sink in.

    The following week was the last week before my COVID adventure buddy Bekah was moving home, so we got creative with picnics and we had our first in person church thing, a walk by farewell.

    So, that was Brooklyn in May. I was very intentional then about who I included in my ‘inner circle’ and those people became my social lifeline. We are social creatures, created for relationship, and I will forever be thankful for the relationships that showed up for me during this season.

    Come back tomorrow for the final Quarantine Chronicle, a view of Manhattan this spring.

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  • ‘Sup date

    Welcome back to my Quarantine Chronicles Series. Today is my third installment and we’re half way through (happy hump day!) so I thought it might be time for an update to tell you all ‘sup.

    This summer, like the rest of the world, all my trips were canceled. I’m way too type A to plan anything major spontaneously, so I decided to spend more time than anticipated with my family. A whole month in fact!

    My advice to people traveling for a month: make stops along the way.

    My first weekend was spent at a cabin in Pennsylvania. We hiked and star gazed and watched ‘Hamilton’ by the campfire. I don’t love nature, but I do love these friends. Makes the creepy drive up in winding roads in the dark all worth it.

    I spent the first week at my little sister’s house in Ohio. She’s not that little anymore AND she has a baby. He smiles on command, so I had fun with that.

    Next was a family weekend in Columbus. The goal was for all of us to spend time together in a place we couldn’t escape from. So, we chose Columbus for the zoo and supplemented our time with the Book Loft of German Village, North Market, and the Columbus Park of Roses. All of us kids also hopped on electric scooters and zipped around our neighborhood one night. In a trail of 8 I’m sure we looked like quite the Buttercream Gang. One person who passed us called, ‘Hell’s Angels’ out the window. All in all, it was a successful weekend!

    Following this was 3 weeks of Indiana time. Going into it I expected that at some point I would get very bored and wish I was home. This time I didn’t feel that usual impatience. Perhaps because 1. I knew I had quarantine waiting for me, or 2. because I know that travel between states is harder this year and there’s a very real chance that I won’t get to see them for many more months. Either way, I savored it. I babysat the niece and nephew, had a lot of social distancing picnics, and even helped my mom with a bakery delivery one day. If I ever got bored I just invited myself to one of my sibling’s houses or tracked down my mom at work.

    I don’t know if you’ve done much traveling this year… but the trick, in my opinion, is to have plenty of masks on hand and take advantage of public bathrooms. There is nothing like stopping at a rest stop and discovering it is closed.

    And now, I’m home. School doesn’t start until after labor day, so I have a few more weeks to savor my weekday freedoms.

    See you tomorrow when I talk about going out in Brooklyn in May.


  • Toronto and Back

    This is day 2 of my Quarantine Chronicles Series. To read yesterday’s travel guide of the Pacific Northwest, click here.

    Back in 2018 this group of friends traveled to Maine. We liked it so much, we decided to go for a sequel. Toronto was the selected destination, but we made a few stops on the way up and back.

    Niagara Falls

    The first stop was Niagara Falls. We spent the day soaking up the spray from the falls and roaming the town.

    We stopped at the imax theater for some history and folklore of the falls as compiled in the 1980’s (it was a rather outdated movie). That said, my favorite part was discovering that they had real actors tied to ropes and swimming at the top of the falls in the retelling of a story from the 50’s. That was one dedicated actor!!

    From there we headed to the Niagara Falls History Museum. We were very amused by the dress up costume options, but the rest of the museum was pretty average I would say. If you are looking for dinner along the way, I’d recommend Potato Jackets for heaping servings of Halal food or poutine.

    Toronto

    We started our time in Toronto with a walking tour, to orient us to the city. My favorite thing I learned is that there is a piece of legislation in place in Toronto that gives incentives for businesses to build around history rather than starting over. This leads to amusingly mismatched architecture that I really enjoyed!

    We also stepped briefly into the PATH. The PATH is an underground city that connects most of Toronto’s downtown. It’s full of foods spots and shops and anything business people may need during their lunch break. As a city dweller, the concept enamored me.

    We stopped at Toronto City Hall for a free public bathroom and pictures with it’s infamous sign.

    From there we roamed a few miles, through graffiti alley and chinatown for lunch.

    The next day we made good use of our Toronto City pass and hit Casa Loma. It reminded me a lot of the Pittock Mansion I mentioned yesterday in Portland, but was much bigger and had a much deeper history. Also, it had towers to climb with sweeping views of the city. That said, it did have the same shower jets in the bathroom.

    We wrapped up the day at Bluffer’s Park beach and dinner at the Victorian Monkey, an eclectic gastro-pub with excellent burgers. Would recommend!

    The Victorian Monkey had a monkey, much to our delight.

    For the icing on top of our day, we whipped through the CN Tower on our way back to the airbnb. Standing among the world’s highest observation decks, it definitely was a favorite for views.

    For our final day in Toronto we again used our Toronto Pass, this time for the Ontario Science Center and the Ripley’s Aquarium. Both a very family friendly and fun activities if you are looking for something to do in doors.

    We divided our indoor time with a trip to Toronto Islands, for a round of Frisbee golf and views of the city at dusk. The taxi ride to and from was definitely my highlight.

    Buffalo

    We broke up our drive home with a stop over in Buffalo, NY on the way back. Buffalo was once a major city, linking rail systems with the Erie Canal. It’s also the home of General Mills but we unfortunately missed out on the wafting smell of Cheerios that I was anticipating.

    We started our day with a tour, this time of the Buffalo River, which wound between grain silos and included the history of Buffalo’s glory days. Very interesting!

    From there we got lunch at I don’t remember where and headed to Rust Belt Books, a charming used bookstore with a residing cat. We got lost in there for awhile. Books make great souvenirs.

    We ended this day with Shakespeare in the Park, which is literally a Shakespeare play by local performers on a public park stage. We caught, Loves Labours Lost, which was a comedy. We STILL laugh at some of the lines from that show!

    Our final day of the trip was a slow start with breakfast at Undergrounds Coffee House and donuts to go from Paula’s Donuts, two wins in my book.

    What I loved about this trip:

    1. I love cities, so a trip almost entirely about cities was a win for me. Toronto is casually considered the clean version of NYC and is often used as a filming location of NYC based movies. Something about that made it especially lovable for me.
    2. Toronto is a VERY diverse city. Since diversity makes me happy, I liked that.
    3. We took it slow(er) and got to enjoy more. Often I end up traveling long stretches and at least one day in the middle of the trip is wasted driving. With only 7 hours round trip, we got to spend more time doing things and less time entertaining ourselves. I hope I’ve learned a lesson there.
    4. As always, the people make the trip. This trip was no exception. I have especially hilarious memories from this trip that will hopefully hold me over until the world reopens and travel is possible again.

    Join me tomorrow for an update on what I did this summer.


  • West Bound: A Week in the Pacific Northwest

    Welcome to my Quarantine Chronicles Series. This is my first installment.

    This trip took place a little over a year ago and came together on one man’s spontaneous idea to pursue the cheap flights he saw online. West Bound! was the name of our trip planning google doc for this adventure.

    Here’s how our itinerary broke down:

    Days 1-2: Seattle

    Our first stop was the Boeing Factory Tour. If you are into airplanes, I definitely recommend. If you aren’t, you will probably still find some of it interesting like I did.

    The next morning we started our day at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery. We figured that we had to get Starbucks at least once in Seattle, so we settled for the Reserve. I’m not a coffee snob so I guess you can take my review with a grain of salt, but I thought it was delicious and beautiful.

    Next stop, Pike Place Market. We didn’t spend much time there but I think we easily could have. The shop owners we met were very friendly and the booths were endless.

    Around the corner from Pike Place is the gum wall. We were slightly grossed out and highly entertained.

    Then we went up the Space Needle. Personally, this is my favorite thing we did in Seattle. You probably don’t want to do it every time you go, but the moving glass floor is fun and the views are phenomenal!

    We had brunch at the Fat Hen. I can only say, do that. Wonderful eggs Benedict. We were seated next to some cops who chatted with us and gave some great local recommendations. We decided that Seattleites are pretty friendly.

    Next stop was the Ballard Locks. It’s no Panama Canal I’m sure, but still very interesting to watch the boats transfer from the fresh water lake to the ocean. We also got to see a salmon swimming upstream, even though it was not really salmon swimming season. I definitely recommend taking the tour as it gave me a better understanding of what all we were looking at.

    We stopped at Gas Works Park to kill some time. It was an interesting park with great views of the city.

    We ended our day at Waterfront Park. It has a Ferris Wheel we didn’t ride, lots of food, and views I highly recommend. Obviously, I’m all about a good city vista.

    Day 3: Mt. Rainier

    Mt. Reiner is pretty self explanatory. We drove to the visitor’s center in Paradise and did a little hike on the Nisqually Vista Trial. There was still snow on the trail in June but it was a perfect short hike for us. Our group loved the nature time after a few days in the city.

    Day 4: Oregon Coast

    Day 4 had us trolling down the Oregon Coast, stopping on our way for beaches and views as needed. My favorite stop was in the town of Seaside, because of the ocean views. It’s also the end of Lewis and Clark’s trail, so that was pretty cool.

    My second favorite stop was at the Tillamook Creamery. The ice cream is delicious but they also have cheese and food and a fun little tour about how it’s all made.

    I can’t remember any more where all we stopped, but these views are pretty easy to find, so if you pass a stopping point, pull off and hike a little.

    Day 5 & 6: Portland

    Our first day in Portland was very rainy, as to be expected I suppose. We stopped that the Multnomah Falls, just east of Portland, before tromping around the city for Blue Star Donuts and Powell’s Books.

    Our last day in Portland, and of the trip, was spent flying through all of Portland’s main attractions. We started with the Pittock Mansion. One thing that is very interesting about the West Coast vs. the East Coast, is that the ‘old money’ of the city isn’t as old out west. Case in point, this mansion was built with electricity and fancy shower jets.

    Next we rode the aerial tram for elevated views of the city.

    A walk through the Rose Testing Gardens and a stop at the “Keep Portland Weird” mural concluded our day in Portland before our ‘red eye’ flight home.

    And that was it. Thanks to Dervin for the idea and everyone for pulling it together. It came together like magic.

    Why you should visit the Pacific North West:

    1. As you can tell from this post, Washington and Oregon offer a beautiful variety of scenery. It’s especially nice for groups because, as long as you keep it moving, everyone enjoys some part of the trip.
    2. It’s very tourist friendly but not overly touristy. While we definitely ran into other tourists (some from Australia even), most of our stops didn’t feel like tourist traps.
    3. The weather was delicious. I’ve discovered that I really enjoy heading north in the summer. There is something refreshing about needing a light jacket when all of your friends are sweating it out at home.
    Love traveling with friends. Highly recommend!


  • Chronicles from Quarantine

    Yes, I am in quarantine. Because while I was in Indiana it was added to NY’s mandatory quarantine list. And because I’m not above the law, so I’m observing it. The minimum $2000 fine if I’m caught it also pretty compelling. I’m half way through and I can honestly say, I think I’ll survive. It feels a lot like last April except that I can’t go on walks and I’m not working full-time.

    On the plus side, I finally have time to do what the rest of the world did in April and catch up on little projects and hobbies. Welcome to Quarantine Chronicles. For this final week of quarantine I will be posting daily, to catch up on all the blogs I’ve been thinking of writing for the past year but haven’t made time for.

    What to expect:

    Monday- Travel Guide for the pacific northwest, based on my trip last summer that I never talked about.

    Tuesday- Travel Guide for Toronto, also based on an undisclosed trip last summer.

    Wednesday- Summary of my summer ‘travels’ 2020. It’s a lot of family, beware.

    Thursday- What it was like going out in May in Brooklyn, post pandemic peak.

    Friday- What Manhattan was like in May with the world shut down and no tourists!

    I hope you join me for the ride!


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.

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