Five Reasons to Try a Group Tour

hiking amalfi coast

I was never enthusiastic about group tours in the past. I think I thought one would be too regimented and I wouldn’t have the freedom to do whatever I wanted to do because I would have to adhere to the guide’s itinerary. And in my early 20s, it was easier to plan travel with my friends but now that we’re older with job, spouse, or family commitments it’s not so easy to coordinate schedules and find time to travel together. So I started taking a few trips solo and while that form of travel has its benefits I wanted to try something new and that’s when I signed up for my first group tour.

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Photo Essay: My Travels in 2015

pescadero

The year 2015 has gone by so fast but I say that about every year. My travels this year, whether for work or play, have all been great and there have been a few milestones too that have meant a lot to me. Also, it’s a personal goal of mine to visit at least one new place every year, whether near or far, and I am happy to say that I met that goal and then some. Here’s a look back at my year of travels. It’s so nice to see everything that has happened and I’m already looking forward to more adventures in 2016.

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Holiday Tea at Crown and Crumpet

holiday tea

Ever since my nephews arrived on the scene in the last few years, my family has decided to buy Christmas presents just for the little ones. We don’t have to stress about getting more stuff for each other and can enjoy the kids’ reactions when they open their gifts. It’s the best part of Christmas anyway. My friends and I have adopted the same kind of thinking too and for the holidays we find a fun experience to do together instead of exchanging presents. Which is especially nice when you have been friends for decades and have no idea what to get each other anymore. This past weekend my best friends, Dee and Sasha, and I went to a holiday tea at Crown & Crumpet in San Francisco.

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Guilt and Relaxation on the Amalfi Coast

amalfi coast

There is a difference between what we think we should do and what we actually want to do. When we think “I should” a little bit of guilt and stress comes along with those words but when we think “I want” or do what we want to do, then we can feel more relaxed. That applies to all aspects of life including travel.  On my last day on the Amalfi Coast, I thought I should go on the last hike with my G Adventures tour, but instead I decided to relax at the Agriturismo Sant’Alfonso, the tranquil farmhouse where we had been staying all week.

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Book Review: The Vacationers

vacationers

I first wanted to read The Vacationers after coming across an article in Conde Nast Traveler written by the author Emma Straub. In the article, she writes about her travels to the Spanish island of Mallorca, a destination she decided would be the setting for her novel. Her description of the small towns, fresh food from the markets and tapas bars, and deserted beaches led me to finally read her book.

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Hiking the Amalfi Coast: The Walk of the Gods

amalfi coast

I turned 30 earlier this year and when I looked back on the last decade, I realized just how far I’ve come. I lived in another country, traveled quite a bit (and continue to do so), worked my butt off in grad school, and have built a career for myself that I still care about. It’s only at the end of a decade do you realize how great the years before turned out to be but I had my moments where I stopped and said, “Wow.” Hiking along the Amalfi Coast was one of those moments.

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Apple Hill and Why Girls Love Fall

apple hill
My friends and I were driving back from Placerville this weekend where we had spent the day in Apple Hill. To keep us occupied on the two and a half hour drive back to San Francisco, we listened to comedian Iliza Shlesinger’s stand up bit about girls loving fall. Have you seen it? It’s hilarious because it is so true. Girls love the leaves, wearing boots and coats, and pumpkin everything.  And the fact that us girls had just spent an entire day in Apple Hill, the epitome of fall, made us the exact people Iliza was making fun of but I don’t care. Apple Hill was gorgeous and smelled heavenly and reminded me why I love this cozy, festive season.

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Eating Our Way Through Pescadero and Half Moon Bay

pescadero

My best friend Dee and I like to say we have been friends “since the womb.” Our older brother and sister were in grade school together so our Moms knew each other when they were pregnant with us and we’ve known each other since kindergarten. So it’s a bit of an understatement to say we’ve been friends for a while. It’s a rarity to have a friend for that long and you would think we would be bored of each other by now but not so. We don’t need to do or say a whole lot to have fun together. We do like to eat and go to new places so for her 30th birthday recently we were perfectly happy eating our way through Pescadero and Half Moon Bay.
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The Wine Country Bachelorette

wine country bachelorette

When ideas for bachelor or bachelorette parties are thrown around, Las Vegas is usually one of the first suggestions but I’m now hearing more and more alternatives like weekend trips to Nashville, Montreal, or camping. Personally, I’m becoming averse to the Las Vegas bachelorette and its clubs, smoky casinos, and 24-hour party on the strip. And since I live in San Francisco, a relaxing bachelorette party in wine country sounds pretty ideal. Maybe I’m just getting older.

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