Once upon a time I lived in California and befriended a beautiful moon goddess named Selene. She had never been to France, while it’s one of my favorite places. We would get together and swap travel stories and say, “one day, we will visit Paris together!”
Of course, friends say things like that all the time. I figured such a plan would likely never come to fruition, and wouldn’t have thought any the less of her because of it.
Time passed and the military took me away from sunny SoCal, and away from Selene. We kept in touch while I launched my new life in DC, and remained connected as we faced our respective struggles in 2020. Then, in summer 2021, Selene called and made the most exciting proposition.
“Let’s go to Paris! This summer, before COVID gets bad again. Seriously. I’m down, if you are.”
I was so excited and so down! But I was also so newly pregnant that I hadn’t told anyone yet – so I made my big reveal and asked if she was still interested in going with someone who couldn’t so readily imbibe in vin and fromage. Turns out she’s an excellent sport and wasn’t bothered in the slightest.
COVID counts were in a lull, and international travel less daunting, so we lost no time in booking a week in France, with a few days in Paris and a few days in dreamy Provence ❤
So, do we think that being preggers in 2021 stopped me from trying to make up for freedom lost in 2020?
Not on your life, Kittens!
Although the specter of Covid-19 continued to loom, I took full advantage of the relative summertime lull and did what I could to salvage the lost opportunities of the last year.
I didn’t make it to Jamaica, Tanzania, or Norway, but Puerto Rico, France, and Cape Cod made for some truly excellent consolation prizes (even if I couldn’t so freely indulge in beachside mojitos, Provençal wines, or raw oysters.)
Let me tell you about it!
I fell behind on documenting some very exciting travels in 2019, but that won’t stop me from reminiscing here and now on the Gypsy Kitty Diaries 🙂
For two weeks last summer – just about one year ago, to be exact – Chuck and I explored Italy with his darling family.
Now, all countries are too diverse and amazing to squeeze into one trip, but Italy was especially frustrating in terms of the limitations we had to impose on ourselves. Still, I like to think we did quite well. Chuck and I started out on our own in Como before driving to meet family in Tuscany and then wrapping up in Rome. Check out our highlights!
Over the past couple of weeks, I have explored some new nooks n’ crannies here in Southern California. Specifically, I saw Potato Chip Rock and San Juan Capistrano!
I experienced the former because I had friends visiting from Nebraska. You would think that visitors from the landlocked Midwest would want to see the beach in the dead of summer, but no! These athletic types wanted a hike..and a challenging hike, to boot. I had long wondered about Potato Chip Rock, but I will admit that I had no idea how strenuous it was actually going to be. Let’s just say that climbing 1100 feet into the air (and 2 miles of actual feet on the ground) was more than I bargained for, particularly under a full sun bearing down at 90 degrees. Continue reading
Chuck has deployed for the Marine Corps three times now. The first two deployments were to exotic Afghanistan, and no family leave was permitted. His third deployment is to Australia, and although his situation is vastly different (safer) than prior deployments, I still didn’t anticipate that he would have a leave block.
But he did indeed receive two weeks of leave halfway through the six-months assignment, and after much time/money/energy-based indecision, I booked a flight to go visit him. I’m so glad I did! Continue reading
New Orleans had been on my bucket list for a while. Despite living (and not even working) in Georgia for nearly seven months, I never made it over there. I loved Savannah and Charleston, so given NOLA’s French influence and notorious pulsating energy – combined with the southern hospitality, architecture, and cuisine I had already grown to love – I knew I had to check it out someday. Continue reading
You know when you see photos of beautiful places on Pinterest or Instagram or wherever, and then you go to visit those places yourself and they’re certainly still beautiful, but not as striking as the heavily enhanced shots you saw on social media? Well, Luang Prabang, Laos is not one of those places. It is every bit as breathtaking as you would imagine, and it was by far my favorite stop on our Indochina itinerary. Continue reading
It’s perhaps a bit misleading to entitle this post as though we toured Cambodia, because in reality, we only visited Siem Reap. I knew we couldn’t leave Asia without seeing one of the world’s greatest wonders, Angkor Wat. Despite is reputation for being overwhelmed with tourists, nearly everyone we spoke with said it was worth visiting anyway. I took them at their word and booked the flight from Ho Chi Minh City so we could spend two full days in this city of temples. Continue reading
This was the trip I never thought would actually happen. Chuck was away all of January, and we had no idea when exactly the Marines would schedule us to leave Okinawa. As soon as we got our orders, however, Chuck said with determined enthusiasm: “Let’s figure out your last week at work and book this trip!”
Unaccustomed to him being the eager one in planning these adventures, I hit up TripAdvisor and started booking Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos: our final Asian adventure. Continue reading
Cafe Pipineo is about 10 minutes from my apartment and serves the most luscious cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had my whole life.
Welp! We are just about 6 weeks from our presumed rotation date, and the Marines still haven’t given us orders for the next assignment. Never mind that pretty much everyone else in our lives knows where they are going. Chuck and I are masters of the “hurry up and wait” philosophy, at this point. That said, I continue to assume that we will depart Okinawa this spring. With our time here drawing to a close, I am hoping we can squeeze a few more adventures into our remaining weeks – however big or small.
One thing I will surely miss are the darling cafés that dot the island. They typically offer just 2-4 menu items at any given time, which sounds limiting but actually ensures a more memorable culinary experience. Of course, the ingredients are always fresh and local, and the décor is consistently unique and charming.
I won’t mind having more options (especially vegetarian and/or gluten free) when I return to the States, but I don’t know what I’ll do without a hearty guarantee of savory Japanese curry, garnished with local vegetables known to bless Okinawans with the longest lifespans on the planet.… Continue reading