Meg Buys a Mattress

mattress hunting

I would rather spend a night in the dirtiest hotel in El Salvador than buy a freakin’ mattress. I really loathe these sorts of domestic things. They just seem pointless. Why buy a mattress? Like most home furnishings, they are just large and expensive barriers that hinder me from picking up and leaving the country whenever my heart desires.

But this means something. I’m gingerly inserting small roots into the damp soil of the Pacific Northwest. For a woman who has based a large portion of her identity on traveling, it’s rather uncomfortable. (I mean, I have a whole blog about it.)

And then a few weeks ago I read this amazing-heart-stoppingly-honest blog post about the courage to stay in one place.

I paused, reflected and then committed. And this is how I find myself on a rainy Saturday looking at mattresses in Big Lots.

I have mixed feelings about it. I still fight back the tears watching Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown thinking how far away I am from visiting those exciting, distant lands. On the other hand, one of the things that drove me crazy in Argentina was that I had no plan. I couldn’t make a plan because I had no idea how long I was going to be in that empanada-loving country (Swoon, I totally miss empanadas…I digress). Ultimately this was one of the reasons that caused me to leave because turns out it is actually kind of hard to move forward if you don’t have a plan.

But this is the alternative?! Buying a freakin’ mattress in the suburbs of Seattle on a rainy Saturday? Shoot me. Now.

Still, this is happening. I signed a 2-year phone contract. I let my mom drag me to consignment stores in Ballard where she calmly counselled me on buying adult-like furniture. (Check out Ballard Consignment and Classic Consignment)

But you want to know the best part about settling in and getting a mattress? I can now invite and host all my dear travelling friends when I convince them to come to Seattle 🙂

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Taking Pictures of Strangers While Traveling

Flower Lady in Vientiane

Flower Lady in Vientiane

This is one of my favorite pictures from my trip to Southeast Asia.

Unedited, unfiltered and no cropping.

The glowing offering of marigold flowers, a halo of rusty umbrella spokes and the two o’clock, Beer Laos drinking, family social hour frame the flower lady perfectly. Her face radiates serenity and pride even on a balmy day on the side of a polluted bus station road in the capital city of Laos, Vientiane.

I always hesitate to ask locals for photos when traveling. One, because I’m shy. Two, because the last thing I want to do is make strangers feel like I’m on a cultural safari and “oh wouldn’t you mind being my next subject?”

But they are by far my favorite photos. Glimpses of culture diversity and universality muddled into 5 x 8 inch reason to travel. And so I muster my sweetest girl-next-door-who-lives-out-of-a-dirty-backpack smile and point to my camera, begging for a photo of a busy Laotian flower lady. Her family giggles and claps at the novelty of a falang wanting a photo of their daily routine. The flower lady gives a small smile before confidently grabbing a bouquet of white daisies and freakin’ works it, giving the camera all she’s got.

Because that’s what makes a damn good picture.

sunset

Christmas in Maui

Ask any Seattleite, there is absolutely nothing sexy about winter’s 50 shades of grey. It is straight up depressing. Say hello to darkness at 4:00pm everyone.

The most common remedy for the winter blues is drinking or flying somewhere sunny (or both). This year for Christmas, I choose sunshine.

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A 5-hour direct flight unloads a pale version of myself and my extended family on the shores of Maui. We are not alone. Snowbirds from all around the Pacific Northwest, Alaska and Western Canada scramble through the airport, all begging to be warm and see the sunshine again…. pleaseeeeee!

Maui does not disappoint. It is warm, sunny and has a laid back I-don’t-need-to-wear-shoes-vibe. It’s no coincidence that the only radio station in the US that plays reggae 24 hours a day is based here. Yeah man.

Still Maui resorts can seem like a lame Club Med for families with $15 lava flows and kitschy Hawaiian shirts. However the island is geographically beautiful with plenty of stuff to do for active travelers like:

Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP)

paddle-board-maui

Turns out there is a reason everyone is into stand up paddle boarding these days. It’s freakin’ fun. And perfect for spotting mossy sea turtles and lemon yellow fish in clear, warm tropical water. Fish just hang out and turtles move very, very slowly while sunshine ripples off their backs. Read More