AD Travels
Wandering, loving, laughing, living
Travel Blog #7
  Last time I wrote I was at the airport, headed to Paris, having had a week of successful gigs under my belt. Since then...

*I've visited (and played music in) beautiful Paris along with the lovely little city of Freiburg
*Visited the mountains above the city for lunch and Sunday revelry with new friends
*Played 7 successful gigs at Casablanca in Waldshut (including a ridiculously fun music festival)
*Dressed my flat up to feel nice and comfy-cozy and a little more like home
*Played mini-golf on the Rhine 
*Drank local beer in a real biergarten (which was one of a million - they are everywhere you look)
*Bar hopped late night with new friends


*Made lots of plans for the remainder of my stay here.
  While in Paris, I was chauffeured around town by my friend Isaac from SD who was the best tour guide a girl could ask for! We saw all the sites. We took pictures at the Louvre, ate baguettes at the Eiffel Tower, and lit an offering candle at Cathedral Notre Dame. We stepped on the Center Point, stood under the Arch de Triumph, drank (quite possibly) the world's finest hot chocolate at Angelina, shopped the vibrant street market for the freshest, most delicious meats, veggies, berries, breads and cheeses, ate late night Crepes on the cobblestone street in front of Moulin Rouge, played gigs with international musicians, drank espresso at sidewalk cafes...

  And then flew back to Germany filled with amazement, beauty, wonder, romance and cheese. 
  I have started to really love Germany this past week but within just two days, Paris stole a piece of my heart. It is no wonder to me why it is known as the city of love. It is absolutely in the air and just being there filled my soul  with such warm and wonderful emotions.  I will undoubtedly return. On this trip, in fact, I've already made plans! In the future, however, I will return with my husband, Joe. I can't wait to share this feeling with him.
  On the topic of charming cities, Freiburg, Germany had a heart all it's own; worlds different from the heart of Paris, but so wonderfully unique and very, very special in its own way. This monday, I took the train there, checked  into a cute little hostel on the edge of town and met up with a friend and fellow musician I had met only the day before at a mutual friends Sunday lunch. Freiburg is a city of street performers. Music literally fills the air and floats on the wind. The energy is high and lively, and the University in town allows for a young and vibrant vibe.  The cobblestone streets are overflowing with positive energy and happy people.
  The night I spent in Freiburg was crammed with music, cappucinos and spontaneity. We headed to a tiny little pub called Litfass where this goofy and very entertaining band was playing. This place at full capacity could cram in about 30 people, including the band: it was tiny and fantastic. They finished their set at around 11, and the crowd was pretty interested in what a musician from San Diego, California had to offer. So someone handed me a guitar and showed me the 'stage'.  Let me tell you: when I return to Freiburg, I will play at Litfass again.  The crowd was attentive, responsive and made playing original, live music all of the great things it is supposed to be.  I had a blast, they had a blast, and it was overall a really great night :) (the owners even passed around the bucket and I ended up getting paid for a night out I had assumed would cost me money!)
 The next day I hiked up to the most magnificent view over Freiburg. The trails were stunning, the weather was perfect and I didn't realize when I started the hike that it was going to be 3km straight up hill, so I wore my flip flops. I made it up and back down perfectly safely (although at times fairly slowly), however my knees and ankles are now, two days later, in need of some recovery time and serious t.l.c.
  Before returning to Waldshut, I walked the river, rode the tram to the end of the line, window shopped and drank cappuccino on the main street and enjoyed some ratatouille at a cool, old Irish pub, all the while feeling high off the buzz of this cool little city. 
  The next night, a couple of my new friends who work at the Journal restaurant in town (my temporary local) took me around to a few bars and cafes, and gave me a little bit of the local experience. Following that we headed to my flat and watched a movie, had some wine and german style tortilla chips and enjoyed new company and new connections :)  It was nice to have visitors to my abode. I love hosting :)
On my plate for the near future, I plan to: lots more amazing shows here in Waldshut, now with my buddy from San Diego, Mitch Budd who gets to Waldshut on Saturday! Jena to see Musee Mecanique play during their European tour! up with Ms. Jacqueline Adair, a lady who i studied abroad with in Australia, who's got a conference in Stuttgart (and maybe do a little light shopping at the NEX :))
...visit new friends in Heidelberg (which will be neat because of my upbringing in and around a print shop with tons of huge Heidelberg printing presses). into France to spend a couple days with my old friend Jaqui Lacroix (with whom I became friends during my time in New York at Ellen's Stardust Diner) and meet her beautiful little girl and handsome husband!
...check into a charming little Air BnB back in Paris and round out this tour with another visit to the city of lights and love (where I get to meet up with Sangeeta and Christine, two lovely women who I know from Fiji!!) and hopefully play a gig or two there as well :)
There's so much more to tell you...but I'm coming to realize there is always more. To sum up the last week or so, I guess I'd have to say that I'm very happy. I've found my flow, I've made some friends, I'm taking advantage of my days off and seeing and experiencing all that I can! 
...that, and relationships, relationships, relationships!!
I know that last post I stressed the importance of spending quality time with yourself. But if I could leave you with a challenge this week, it would be to either cultivate a new relationship, or spend some time nurturing a current one. At the very least, learn something new about someone you know. It is important to know and love yourself. And I strongly believe that it is equally important to share yourself with others. Human beings are not supposed to survive alone. We need each other, we need to receive love and we need to give it. I am so blessed and lucky in all the relationships that I have in this world...and I suppose it took a little time alone to remind me of that.
Be love and live well, my friends! See you next time :)
Wandering, living, laughing, loving: AD Travels #6
So here i am, sitting in the Zurich airport awaiting my flight to PARIS!! 
And I have to say, I have come back to a happy place. Yesterday I completed my first week of gigs at Casablanca Piano Bar in Waldshut, and although it was a rocky start to the week (mainly because I was feeling so incredibly foreign) it ended pretty darn well. The gigs got progressively better and I even started to meet a few people. But more importantly this week, i was allowed the opportunity to really spend some quality time with myself. And I've gotta say, once I waded through the feelings of extreme loneliness and alienation, I had a lot of fun. And I will be honest, it was a little terrifying at first.
  I was talking to  my friend Katelyn on Facebook messenger and telling her the tale of my lonesome woes, and she said something that really struck me as a  bit of a wake up call. She said "you're a nomad right now. And a nomad's friends are her guitar and her train ticket." 
  While I don't think that a week abroad by myself earns me the awesomely gritty title of nomad, I did take what she said very much to heart. And yesterday, I had a splendid time with my guitar, my train ticket and myself.
  If you know me, you know that my social life is of utter importance to me. I thrive in the presence of family, friends and fans. I gather all I am as a human being from the relationships that I cultivate. I guess this may have been the first real time (or at least the first time in a long, long time) that i didn't have that soul income from those surrounding me. But after talking to Katie, after really accepting and thinking, "okay, maybe im not at a point where I can draw from others," and after the impending fear of that realization, I may have had one of my favorite days of all time.
  I talked to myself ad nauseum, watched German cooking shows, sang to myself (sometimes intentionally off key), found an amazingly gripping russian soap opera to which I played the part of Mystery Science theater 3000, cracked myself up to no end, danced, drank champagne, ate a whole block of cheese, laughed about it, got lost and took the wrong train, had another good laugh, went to my gig, sang my heart out, smiled from ear to ear and skipped home in the pouring rain at 3am, past a healthy helping of overflowing bars. 
  And I am happy to say that I really like me.  Yep. Im pretty great. Kooky-whacky, definitely. Crazy...a little.  And if I could leave you with  a challenge today, it would be to spend some quality time with yourself and see how funny, cool, thoughtful, energetic, crazy, goofy and meaningful you really are, without the assist from others. And don't get me wrong. I don't mean a day of running errands and getting things done. Clear your calendar. Don't plan anything.  Turn off your phone. Get off of Facebook. Just for a day. Just as an experience. Just as an experiment. 
I bet you will be pleasantly surprised :)
Till next time!
Wandering, loving, laughing, living
Travel Journal #4
   While I was feeling like royalty in my airport hotel room shower last night, after ten days of driving, camping, not showering and sharing very close quarters with three other fully grown adults, I realized that all I've written about in my blog  is what we've done and where we've gone and very little about what's been happening on my emotional/personal journey.
   After my last blog, there've been views of the lake in Taupo, window shopping in Napier, tasting rooms on the wine trail, flat whites in Masterton, the roaring, crystal blue waters of Huka Falls, the Museum in Wellington followed by drinks and a walk along the windy harbour,  twisty mountain roads through the lush and mind-blowing gorgeousness of National Park, Glowworms in Waitomo, a speeding ticket 100km out of Auckland (whoops!) and sheep, sheep, sheep as far as the eye could see.  I suppose that we've been so mobile and on the go throughout this trip that I really haven't found an opportune time to stop and just be with myself, chill out a little and do some reflecting. 
   My folks and my husband took our camper-van and headed to the airport earlier today, and now I sit here alone, nestled up in a delightfully fuzzy blanket with a glass of malbec in the hotel lounge, gazing out the window at the rainy, blustery monday outside and figure that I must have been waiting for this moment to get the the deeper stuff all along. 
  I've said it a million times and I'll say it a million more (probably because I really, honestly believe it): travel opens eyes. Cliché, maybe.  True, absolutely.  I am overwhelmed with the natural wonder of this place and, quite frankly, the magic of this world and all it offers. The people, places, sites, sounds, smells, the mystery, the surprises, the romance, the magic.
Yep. Magic. I'm fairly sure I've used this descriptor about 875 times on this vacation (now, I suppose 878). 
   It's that indescribable feeling when my eyes cannot convince my heart that what they see is real, and at the same time my heart doesn't need convincing. Instead it's just playing around with my soul, like kids making castles out of couch cushions. And my soul fort after this tip has quadrupled in size. I'm filled with the magic stuff. I can't get enough of it. 
   Im happily caught in a whirlwind of excitement, nostalgia, wonder, determination, exhilaration and a tiny bit of fear.   I board a plane in 5 hours and fly for almost 24 hours after that, bringing me to a new land of wonder and magic all the way on the other side of the world. 
So let's build some castles, shall we
Wandering, loving, laughing, living
Travel Journal #3
  Woke up in Ruakaka which was, again, stunning, and took a run on the beach, attempting to even moderately keep up with my husband who is currently training for a marathon...not one of my brightest ideas. I would have run a lot stronger, but as we quickly realized, the entire beach was made of rocks and running on it was similar to running in quicksand. It was beautiful, but oh so painful on my oddly old  knees and ankles. And I may have let him run a few more miles than I did. You know, just to be nice.  
   After the morning exercise fiesta, we took off driving to the Sky tower in Auckland, a spot even local NZ-landers say is worth the trip up.  But first we had a delightful lunch at Rebo at the base, where I ate gnocchi (quite happily) accepting that this is vacation and I live in a place where delicious gnocchi at noon is not readily available (not to mention any time of day. Fiji is not your Italian Food Mecca). We trailed up, had cocktails at the top, took some stunning pictures of some amazing views over Auckland, and then headed on to Hamilton to a campsite at the Glenview Club (where we met Grant the bartender who told us about Hamilton Gardens). Had we not me Grant (aka Smiley) we would've never even known about these phenomenal gardens.
  The absolutely stunning Hamilton Gardens are what I'm referring to. On my recommendation i say make it to Hamilton and go there (if you're ever in New Zealand). We finished our Gardens visit at the cafe overlooking the lake, had a delightful latte and brekky, and then we were onto Rotorua.  Upon arrival, we promptly stripped down to our skivvies and jumped into inflatable balls resembling human sized hamster enclosures at OGO (this is a real thing), and  rolled down a steep, grassy hill.  Definitely a memorable experience :) 
  Next was Hell's Gate Thermal Pools, whichever pretty damn stunning.  These thermal pools and geysers ranged anywhere from 40-130 degrees Celsius, bubbling, boiling and fizzing out of the earth's surface.  It was so fantastic that I kept having to remind myself that the pools were in fact a natural wonder and not man made Disneyland attractions.   
  That night was Rotorua Thermal Holiday Park. Mom and dad went to a traditional Maori experience and Joe and I had a delicious dinner in Downtown Rotorua at a restaurant called Craft Brew kitchen. It was a great little date night followed by a little dip in the thermal pools at the park and an early bed time. 
More to come.  We've been traveling hard and seeing so much that I'm playing a massive game of catch up with the blogs. But when the time is allotted, I'll keep you updated :)
See you soon!
Travel Blog #2: New Zealand
   About twenty minutes ago, left the romantic North Land town of Russell and I can genuinely say that I already miss it. It was truly a town full of beauty and magic, tucked away in one of the many, many coves of the vast and absolutely stunning Bay of Islands (144 islands, to be exact). 
  We hadn't planned on staying the night in Russell, but we were all so enchanted with the town the instant we arrived that, over a glass of the local wineries Pinot Gris and a couple of the 'unofficial best burgers in New Zealand' at the Duke of Marlborough Hotel, we decided,  unanimously, to change our plans. We found a lovely holiday park and booked a spot for the night, and for the following morning, four tickets on a Bay of Islands catamaran speed boat cruise. 
   At the campground, we were all able to take a lovely sunset stroll on this incredible boardwalk that spanned over a mangrove filled marshland, come back to the camper and have a little evening happy hour, and, my favorite part, take deliciously hot showers provided by the camp! It's really amazing how good a shower feels sometimes (this being one of those times).
  In the morning (this morning) we woke up, packed up and headed back to the dock where we would board the 9:30am cruise. But first, we indulged in a little espresso and scones at the Waterfront Cafe. There were two people sitting at the table behind us, enjoying their morning. One was a Kiwi lady named Leslie, the other a gentleman named Bruce. He was musician with long, grey, curly locks, a salty, weathered mustache and a top hat sporting a long red feather. He was originally from San Francisco, and sailed to NZ 35 years ago; a trip that took him four and a half years. 
   I, being as I am, asked the server about the live music scene in town.  The asking of such a question was indeed music to Bruce's ears, and he used it as an opportunity to strike up conversation.  Two things I learned about Bruce this morning is that the man has a serious passion for playing music, and that he is currently battling cancer. It was lovely to see him light up at the idea of playing some tunes with fellow musicians, and inspiring to see such undying hope and excitement in him. He said that the opportunity to play with other musicians was one of the only things to get him out of his chair these day. Then we spoke about (and agreed on) the incredible soul healing qualities of music.  It is magic, and he possessed it.  We made a deal that next time I am in Russell, I will look him up and we will jam. 
Now I've got a great reason to return :)
  Another thing that will undoubtedly fuel my necessity to return to Russell is the unbelievable beauty of the Bay. The cruise was rife with mind blowing views and breathtaking scenery. From the dolphins that swam playfully around the boat to the island stop with a ten minute hike resulting in the most colorful and vast 360 degree views, from the dock of Pahia to the passage through the "Hole in the Rock," the cruise was all that I wished it would be.
   Now on to Auckland and Rotorua, which I've heard is beautiful but smells like rotten eggs because of the thermal pools... Let's see how my nostrils fair, shall we?
Travel Blog #1: New Zealand 
   Lifting off the Nadi runway Into the wild blue yonder this morning I  couldn't help but marvel at the spectacular views of Viti Levu and all it's lush, expansive glory.  Before moving to Fiji, I would've never believed these mountain ranges and twisting rivers would be the view I'd find from up above. The reality of this island's breathtaking beauty has far surpassed anything my imagination had previously concocted.
As I sit here high above the ocean, listening to the whir if the engines and the quiet buzz of pressurized silence, inhaling the delightful hybrid aroma of in-flight scrambled eggs and air freshener, I find myself innundated with contemplative thought, backstroking through a mush-pot of emotion: primarily excitement, wanderlust and elation but with hints of nostalgia and nervous anxiety. 
   We are on our way to New Zealand (or New Zealand Land as my parents have so charmingly coined it) for a ten day escapade across the north island, finding abode in a motor home and vacationing, exploring, wine tasting, food indulging, hiking, hot spring swimming, glow worm caving and all around adventuring. Armed with a first aid kit, a 3 cup french press, sneakers, a rain jacket, a guitar, lots of laughter and a huge appetite for travel,  this trip is looking to be every bit the deliciously exciting excursion I've been so eagerly awaiting....and more :)
  So much more...for after the New Zealand Land leg of this trip, I'll embark on another adventure, all the way on the other side of the globe in Europe, playing music and loving life in the northern hemisphere. 
   This is the first installment of what I'm anticipating will be a hopeful, entertaining, heartfelt and occasionally comical blog series, chronicling my travels, stories and experiences along the road, and around the world.  I hope you enjoy!

Hold your breath, close your eyes, count to ten
Then exhale, nice and slow, start again

And repeat, and repeat, and repeat again
Til your breath brings you back to okay again

Til your chest
Doesn't feel so empty, so empty
Fill it up again
Just breathe

Be alone with your heart, with your mind
Hurry not, keep it calm, give it time

And with time, and in time, start to heal again
Til the time and your heart make you heal again

Til your chest
Doesn't feel so empty, so empty
Fill it up again
Just breathe

Just breathe
Just breathe
Just breathe

In the times that it feels like the end
Hold your breath, close your eyes, count to ten...

Til your chest
Doesn't feel so empty, so empty
Fill it up again
Just breathe

Til your chest
Doesn't feel so empty, so empty
Fill it up again
Just breathe


Curious Moments and Inciting Incidents