I’m currently living every romantic comedy-lovers dream sitting alone at a cafe in Notting Hill.
The birchwood table scratches my elbows as I gaze out the window to watch the rain pour down against a contrasting sunlit sky. Across the street sits a small flower shop. Tethered bouquets rest beneath its canopy, their multi-colored petals spilling out of the buckets holding their stems upright. Around the corner lies the Travel Bookstore and not far is my London flat, only a few streets over from the iconic blue door of William Thatcher’s home.
I half expect Hugh Grant to stroll by any moment.
I’ve been perched here for hours trying to write about last month’s escapades and the ones due to come up. Yet my mind distractedly drifts to the guy I met last month. Blame it on the romance of temporarily living in Notting Hill –
Ok so I had to cut myself off here for the sake of this post.
Mainly because I said nothing during the first draft and wound up going completely off topic – writing an unplanned 5000 word tangent about the complexities of love connections on the road. An expose if you will on the deep, unconventional views my mind has on love and happiness. And what does love and happiness mean for someone who is constantly on the road with no permanent plan or address? Especially when they meet someone special. Someone they’ll most likely only experience a beginning with because having a middle and an end rarely happens when you live a life constantly leaving one place and entering another.
It’s an entirely raw and personal piece. Something I spent the past week on and will share in the not so distant future. But dammit I was supposed to be writing my monthly round-up. The one plugged into my editorial calendar as DUE MARCH 4th. So 9 nine days later (and following an emotional catharsis) here it is…
February kicked off two months of nonstop travel starting in Miami and continuing on to Mexico – a country I had previously never visited – before spending the last day of the month in London, England.
- I met my Maybe Soulmate. At least that’s how we jokingly refer to each other. Whether or not we kid around because we’re scared it may be true is a conversation for another day. Whatever – I’m not making a deal of it. I’m only mentioning it because he played such a big role in last month’s travels (and was the inspiration for the above mentioned 5000 word essay). Right now I’m taking it day by day. Text by text. Living in the now because he and I both know that’s all two people who aren’t sure where they’ll be a week from now can have. He’s a fellow nomad. The water-based kind in opposition to my land-based type. We met at the Miami Yacht Show onboard the superyacht he works on and though it wasn’t love at first sight (and may never blossom into love at all), we connected on a level only two people who are fundamentally similar yet vastly different can. Plus he made me enjoy Miami which we all know is a damn near impossible task.
- Drinking vodka with Russians onboard their yacht. I hate vodka. It is the devil – both in taste and behavior. I didn’t even like it when it was the cool thing to shoot down in college – I stayed loyal to my low-cost bottle of Miller Lite. Yet when I found myself invited to dinner with friends onboard one of the superyachts at the Miami Yacht Show, a single shot glass resided beside my wine glass. It was filled to the brim with vodka. Sitting across the circular table, the Russian owner of the boat raised his shot glass, looking around at each of us in expectation before slinging back the clear liquid. We all helplessly followed suit. It would have been rude not to. Keeping my face impassive I swallowed down the evil substance – sans mixers or chasers. Glad the moment was over, I set my empty glass down. It had barely tapped the table’s surface before being filled again. I would tell you about the rest of the night but all I remember is the repetitiveness of salute, shot, refill, bite of food, salute, shot, refill. My first experience hanging out with Russians was exactly how I pictured it.
- Having a photoshoot with tacos in the Wynwood District of Miami. Home to over 70 art galleries, stores, bars, and one of the largest open-air street-art installations in the world, Wynwood is the new place to be in Miami. I had a blast sipping matcha lattes at Dr. Smood and making my friend snap photos of me with the love of my life – tacos (sorry Maybe Soulmate) from Coyo Taco. The brightly colored muraled walls made the perfect backdrop for this year’s Valentine’s Day card…
- Eating my way through Oaxaca with one of my favorite food and travel writers. They say never meet your idols in person because your dreams will be crushed if they completely suck. I met mine anyway last summer and lucky for me – she was awesome. Jodi Ettenberg from Legal Nomads has been writing about travel and food since she quit her job as a lawyer in 2008. She expertly weaves storytelling and narrative into her city guides and shares her experiences on learning about a country’s culture through their food. Jodi has been based in Oaxaca for about a year and last month I joined her on a food walk as she took me to some of her favorite street vendors. We munched on cow’s head tacos, I tried my first memela (a toasted corn cake topped with a variety of ingredients), and even learned a bit about artisanal Oaxacan mezcals.
- Experiencing the natural beauty of the Hierve al Agua in Mexico. Maybe it’s due to my beach-upbringing but the notion of sitting on the white sand beaches of a Mexican resort sounded as much fun as watching paint dry – while frying my skin off and getting skin cancer in the process. It’s why I chose to visit Oaxaca City over the more popular resort towns of the Yucatan Peninsula. I like the mountains. And the region of Oaxaca is ripe with mountains. The petrified waterfalls of the Hierve al Agua were right up my alley. Mineral pools allow for swimming at the cliff’s edge as the “waterfalls” flow down its side creating a now calcified rock formation. It’s definitely not to be missed if you visit Oaxaca. More photos of the Hierve al Agua can be found on my Instagram page.
- Happening upon a Oaxacan wedding celebration. Full from a delicious (and the only non-Mexican meal I had the entire trip) dinner at La Matatena, a new friend and I took a stroll through the city center. The air was pleasant, if slightly crisp. Music played in the distance, the sound of trumpets echoing the loudest. As we approached the Church of Santo Domingo de Guzman, two giant figures emerged high above the crowd, dancing in circles around one other and closing the gap every few minutes so their handcrafted lips could touch. They were meant to represent the bride and groom while the real-life couple danced throughout the street with their wedding guests. It was my kind of celebration. A video clip of the party can be seen here.
Posts Published in February
I did more writing in February than I ever have in one month yet I have nothing to show for it on the site.
Some articles were freelance for other sites and publications. I’m also putting the final touches on a 10,000 word guide to Oman, a travel narrative piece on my time in Liverpool, and a sampler platter if you will on Oaxaca and why you should visit this unsuspecting Mexican city. All these should be published in the coming weeks along with my in-depth essay on the complexities of romance on the road.
What’s Coming Up in March?
I guess it would be more accurate to state what’s coming up during the rest of March. From the UK, back to south Florida, and possibly down onto South America, below is everything March has in store.
Destination #1 – London, UK
I’m sitting bundled up against the window in my Notting Hill flat eating a prawn and mayonnaise sandwich (along with prawn cocktail flavored potato chips) and getting crumbs all over my laptop. This is the extent of my London plans – just living here. London is my second home. I spend 12 weeks here every year; always staying at an AirBnB in a new neighborhood as I try to get to know this fascinating city and all its local secrets. Luckily my English friends are all too willing to let me in on their daily lives and love showing me the best the city has to offer.
Will I Be Am Doing in London?
- Further exploring the Brixton neighborhood. Brixton has quickly become one of my favorite areas of London. I briefly dated an English bloke who lived here and it has since become popular with a lot of my other English friends. I’ve already explored the various food stalls at the Brixton Marketplace and attended a birthday party at the funky Barrio Brixton, a South American-themed cocktail bar and restaurant. Up next on the agenda is to visit Pop Brixton, a self- proclaimed, “temporary project that has turned disused land into a creative space for local, independent businesses.” Reputed to be full of music, food vendors, shops and more – I can’t wait to see what all the fuss is about in person.
- Researching the best of the best local neighborhood pubs. Pub culture is huge in London and is a local experience anyone visiting should partake in. Each neighborhood has their own distinctly special pub where locals hangout for a pint or two on a daily basis. The best way to blend in and see this local practice in action is to forget the pubs in the city center and seek out the true, down home spots in the neighborhoods outside Zone 1. Places like The Rookery in Clapham. I’m working on a massive local’s guide to London (one I’ve been researching and working on for 2 years now) and intend to include a pub guide section. So watch this space!
- Dancing and singing on the tables at Archer Street. Archer Street is my favorite bar in London. My English friends take me (often more than once) each time I come over to London. It’s seriously good fun and should be on your London Nightlife Bucket List.
- Re-visiting a few of my favorite museums. I love The National Gallery, the Imperial War Museum, and the Saatchi Gallery. I try to visit at least one of them on each trip I make.
Destination #2 – Palm Beach, Florida, USA
I love this sleepy little town in South Florida. It’s downtown area is comprised of gridlocked streets named after local flowers, herbs, and various other perennials. If that’s not Pleansantville enough for you, the roads even run alphabetically – Banyan, Clematis, Datura, Evernia, Fern, Gardenia, Hibiscus, Iris (ok you get the picture). Brick sidewalks are adorned with sidewalk cafes. Bars and restaurants line the blocks making it easy to weave your way from venue to venue. I love the vibe and am excited to return at the end of March.
What will I be doing in Palm Beach?
- Attending the Palm Beach International Boat Show. Remember how last month I told you I sometimes get paid to market luxury yachts? Well, hot on the heels of the Miami Yacht Show is the Palm Beach Boat Show which I’ll be heading to later this month.
- Delicious cocktails and dinner at the world-famous Breakers. Touted as one of the most luxurious hotels in the world, its bar and restaurant lend an air of sophisticated Old World charm. I love dressing to the nines and enjoying a rightly-made Old Fashioned in their lounge.
- Seeing my Maybe Soulmate again. Hopefully. I know better than anyone how travel plans can change on a dime. Hence why I live my life one single moment at a time. No matter what happens (or doesn’t happen) I know he’ll be in my life in some capacity for a very long time. So right now I’m remaining cautiously optimistic that I’ll see him in Palm Beach.
That about wraps up this month’s plans. Have you got anything fun going on in March? Tell me about it in the comments below!
Why Suffer From FOMO When You Don’t Have To?
Taking on the classic “round-the-world” route, the next Travel Dispatch journey kicks off Nov 15 as I travel east to west, looping the globe over a period of 12 months with $25,000. Now’s your chance to get in on it from the very beginning!