Travel Health Tips From My Death Bed

Staying healthy while you travel can make a big difference on how much you enjoy your trip!

Staying healthy while you travel can make a big difference on how much you enjoy your trip!

So the title is a little dramatic, but I truly feel like death, so I’m going to run with it.

I’ve come down with some kind of illness that I got at the very end of my trip to Indonesia, and it’s the sickest I’ve been in a long, long time. I can’t move from my bed–I feel like I have the flu (terrible sore throat and headache plus achy muscles), except thrown in the mix just to make sure that I really feel like shit (literally) is that I have some gastro-intestinal issues as well. I won’t go into the details, but I am looking mighty svelte after not eating anything but saltines for the last three days. #bestdietever

I finally took some antibiotics and am starting to feel human again/am able to type. As I’ve had some time to think about things while being bed-ridden, I will grace you with some of the thoughts and travel tips that have occurred to me while being metaphorically sucker punched from the end of my trip. Read on so you can avoid being like me right now:

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My Personal Happiness Project

In my last post, I wrote about how I was slowly coming to the realization that happiness–how I feel, my mood, my energy, the fulfillment I gain from doing things–is a choice. Being happy isn’t something that happens to me, just as life isn’t something that happens to me. I can control things in my life and actively do things that contribute to my happiness. Some are big (like making a career change) and some are small (noticing the sunlight as it warms my skin).

Rio Ipanema profile pic

 

I also recently came across part of a quotation by George Jean Nathan that really struck a chord with me:

“… be satisfied with life always, but never with one’s self.”

Inevitably, there are things in life that you can’t choose or control. But what I can control? Myself! So I am devising my own happiness project: a small, but I think attainable, plan to intentionally do the things that make me happy:

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The Choice to Be Happy

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Tonight, while finally taking some much-needed alone time, and catching up on some blog reading and general Internet browsing, I came across this post about the choice to be happy. It could not have come at a more crucial time.

Tomorrow is the last day of a job I have had for the last almost-five months, and while I am so ready to be free from it, I am also really afraid of what is to come next. I came to New York City to pursue a career in film and television production, and it’s been a really rocky, unstable, and challenging road. But, I am proud to say that i have achieved my goal: I work in production! I contribute to the making of movie and TV magic! But what I couldn’t have predicted is that these last couple years have been really trying on my moods, my personal life, my physical wellness, and more. The tedious work, long hours, and outsized egos of the world of TV and film have made me easily irritable, moody, and quick to complain–a terrible version of myself, and no job should do that. What’s even worse is that I’ve lost sight of the original reason I wanted to work in TV production: that I wanted to produce and create interesting visual content (most of all, about travel and food).

So I am taking this break from production to try to reclaim what has always been mine all along: my happiness. The blog post I linked above was a great reminder that I am the agent of my own happiness. I hold the key to whether or not I will feel crummy and miserable today, or if I will feel content, calm, energetic, and at peace. A large part of being happy, too, is consciously appreciating the things in life, both large and small, that are wonderful and recognizing all the ways I am blessed.

As of tomorrow I am choosing joy over the easy thing, which would be to just continue on and accept that next paycheck from the next production job that rolls around. But as the infographic above so succinctly illustrates, if I’m unhappy, I have to change something. So here’s to turning the page on a new chapter and choosing the better version of me, a happier and more appreciative version.

Foodie Find: Hog Island Oyster Farm — Tomales Bay, California

Look at all those bivalves!

Look at all those gorgeous bivalves!

Many years ago, in college, I tried eating an oyster for the first time (and it was a gigantic one–in my memory it was at least the size of my palm, if not bigger) at our senior class picnic. Rather than learn to embrace the seafood delicacy, my fear of the slimy bivalve was confirmed, and  I nearly barfed up all the beer and other unsavory liquors I had been drinking all day. I promptly decided I was not an oyster person and didn’t eat them for years after that.

I don’t exactly remember when or how it was that I was reintroduced to oysters, but I think it probably happened after moving to New York. Now that I am a cosmopolitan person with a more refined palate (oh New York), I actually really love them. The briny, cool taste accented by fresh lemon juice and a drop of red wine vinegar is just a unique food experience that you don’t get from anything else.

There’s also something about eating oysters accompanied by a crisp glass of white wine or a refreshing pint of a good brew on a sunny day that just embodies awesomeness. (You know it’s not true that you should only eat oysters in months that end with ‘r’ right?) Not that I work in an industry that allows me to get out of work early enough to do this, but a good oyster happy hour deal where you can sit outside, take in late afternoon sun, and get your buzz on is perhaps one of my perfect ways to spend a nice summer day.

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Isn’t this picture already making you want to be there?

My family visited Northern California last summer and you can imagine how psyched I was to find out that there is an oyster farm, about a 1.5-hour drive north of San Francisco, where you can just sit out at picnic tables, shuck your own oysters, drink local beers, and bring your own picnic. And the oysters are cheap! This is literally the dream. One day I will live near a place like this, go there all the time, perhaps after a good morning surf or painting session (or whatever future cool me will be into) and take it for granted that I am in such close proximity to greatness.

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The picnic tables at Hog Island Oyster Farm in Marshall, CA.

Hog Island Oyster Farm is a small, locally-run business that just has a feel-good vibe to it. The people that work there are really friendly (one of the guys was a Georgetown student home for the summer!), and I like that they do one thing (farm and sell oysters) and they do it simply, but well. It’s places just like this that I wanted to start making videos about. At the time, I didn’t have a video camera, so I used my brother’s crappy camcorder to take some footage and I thought, Hey if I can manage to create a video from it, great. If the quality is too low, no big loss. I recently finally found the time to look through the footage and cut it together. The image quality isn’t great, nor is the sound (I need to buy a mic!), but hopefully you get a little bit of an idea of how cool this place is. Also, this is the first time I’ve ever appeared in anything I’ve shot, so didn’t have a script written, as well as the first time my brother had to hold the camera for me. So let’s hope that future videos just get better and better! :) (And maybe I’ll step up my on-camera wardrobe game a bit.)

Check out the video below. And the next time you’re in Northern California, impress all your friends by taking them to Hog Island Oyster Farm!

A Fall Weekend in the Catskills

I took a weekend trip with some friends (one of my favorite trips to take!) to the Catskills, right as the leaves were changing and the weather was still beautifully warm and sunny. I love taking pictures–and some photos can be so evocative and arresting–but I like the idea of making little videos of trips as well, as I think they’re such fun ways to hold on to those memories. And, since I’ve really been slacking on my promise to make more travel videos, I thought it’d be a good opportunity to try to get back on the proverbial horse and “just do it.”

This is the first video I’ve edited using footage from a new camera I recently got, and I’m still trying to figure out the file type, capture settings, and how best to edit it. This is also my first montage video (without narration or much on-screen text), but I hope you’re still able to get a sense of narrative and place just through the images and the way I’ve cut the footage. Take a look–hope you enjoy it!

New York City Has Its Perks

There's something about the streets, and the buildings, and the way the light hits them just so at certain hours of the day in New York City that give me pause more than any other place I've ever been.

A moment of relative quiet on a New York City street.

Recently I went to visit a good friend in Philadelphia and she asked me, “So how are you still liking New York?”

Anyone who has ever lived in New York City understands that there is a perpetual love-hate relationship that begins to take shape as soon as the initial triumph of having moved to New York wears off. Truth be told, there are a lot of pretty shitty things about New York. Just a few examples: the acrid stench of piss in the hotter-than-bowels-of-hell subway stations in the summer; the hyperloop-fast pace of life that everyone operates on; the literally hundreds of people that stand between you and purchasing the Trader Joe’s masala-spiced veggie burgers that you love so much; the fact that these 300-square-feet micro apartments exist “to help young professionals find appropriate housing” (that’s a space that’s only 10 feet by 30 feet wide, people!), and that you still have to pay $2000 a month to live in one(!!); and the constant pressure to have more money than you actually do, to wear better clothes than you actually do, to have a cooler coif than currently sits on your head, and to have achieved more success than you have actually achieved. These things, frankly, do not rock about living in New York City.

And yes, residents of quieter, less-trendy, less-densely populated places don’t have to deal with this bullshit. We’re a sort of brother/sisterhood–comrades who’ve all taken a few punches from New York at some point, have gotten bruised though not completely knocked down, and somehow, emerge on the other side still defending this city for all its worth. It’s us against them. They have parking spaces that are easy to find, can buy a jar of salsa for less than $7.99, can sleep through the night without being woken by a bus wheezing and screeching on the street below, and they don’t get body checked by aggressive homeless people on the street (this actually happened to me the other day–totally unprovoked). But the funny thing about living in New York is that one minute you’re getting body slammed by a homeless woman with crazy eyes, and the next Julia Stiles jogs by while you’re enjoying a bloody mary, and you’re just like, “Eh, all just a day in the life.” I’m not sure what I even really mean by that, but it was a series of events that happened to me that felt very New York. I guess what I’m trying to say is: All those shitty things about New York? They don’t quite outweigh all the truly awesome things that sometimes–just sometimes–make it feel like a privilege to live here.

I’m reminded of this on certain occasions, like when friends ask me how I like living in New York, or when the Golden Hour sun glints off all the windows flanking a long Manhattan avenue. Or when I spend an afternoon in Brooklyn Bridge Park, or I check out any blog about NYC ever and remember that there is more cool stuff happening just one $2.50 train ride away than in almost any other place in the world.

I was reminded of it again when I went to the Joyce Theater last week for a performance of the Company C Contemporary Ballet. Being that I am poor (see: above gripe about never having enough money), we took advantage of the fact that the Joyce offers $10 tickets! Our seats were in the front row, so we couldn’t see some of the dancers’ footwork, but it was certainly worth the $10 to watch these beautiful, lithe dancers move in ways that made you completely awestruck by the power and control (some very talented) humans can have over their bodies.

But the cool events happen constantly–and they’re often free! This weekend, I am checking out an art installation in a closed-off traffic tunnel and also going to Governor’s Island for a traveling turn-of-the-century vintage amusement park. Both gratis, both uber cool, both sort of haute culture, if you will?

It turns out living in New York City has its perks. It’s just constantly testing you to make sure you really want to be here.

Myer’s Bagel Bakery in Burlington, Vermont

I said I’d do it, so I did it. A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about how I was finally going to just make a video and not let excuses (lack of a video camera/microphone/skills/confidence, you name it) get in the way. When I decided this, I happened to be going to Burlington, Vermont the next day, and it was an opportune moment to try to take some video. Having read my blog post about my favorite bagel in New York City, and knowing that I love a good bagel, a friend who had gone to school in Burlington suggested I try the bagels from Myer’s Bagel Bakery while I was there.

Bagels at Myer's Bagels in Burlington, Vermont

Bagels at Myer’s Bagels in Burlington, Vermont

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